Cherrapunji, now renamed Sohra, is a must-see destination for tourists. It is located 56 km from Shillong in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. Cherrapunji is known as the wettest place on Earth, with an average annual rainfall of 12,000 mm. The wettest day on record was in 1974, when 2,455 mm of rain fell.
Despite its heavy rainfall, Cherrapunji faces a drought every year. This is because the rain falls in a short period of time and does not have enough time to seep into the ground. The heavy rainfall has also sculpted many rock formations, imposing cliffs, and waterfalls all over the southern slopes of Cherrapunji.
Here are some of the places to visit in Cherrapunji:
- Mawsmai Cave: This illuminated cave provides tourists with an experience of caving. It is the main attraction of Sohra.
- Dain-Thlen Falls: This waterfall is located 5 km away from Cherrapunji. It is named after the Thlen serpent monster, which is said to have been killed at this spot.
- Noh-Kalikai Falls: This is one of the most striking waterfalls in Meghalaya and is the highest in the state.
- Noh-Sngithiang Falls: Also known as Mawsmai Falls, this waterfall is actually a number of waterfalls cascading down to a canyon.
- Thangkharang Park: This park offers a panoramic view of the steep cliffs and the Kynrem Falls.
- Khoh Ramhah: Also known as Motrop, this is an imposing single rock formation in the shape of a giant cone.
- Living Root Bridge: This natural footbridge is made of the entwined roots of rubber plants. It is located in the Laitkynsew and Nongriat villages.
Hints for tourists:
- Cherrapunji is a one-day sightseeing trip. It is a two-hour journey by road from Shillong. It is best to start early from Shillong and reach Cherrapunji around 9 am to catch the glimpse of various sites and the plains of Bangladesh. Chances reduce after noon as the clouds start rising from the valley and cover the view.
- Meghalaya Government has regular luxury coach services which start from the Tourist Office located at Police Bazaar, Shillong. It is advisable to book the tickets in advance, but it is also possible to take your chances. Taxis are more convenient though and costs are reasonable (Rs 800 for a full taxi).
- It is best to start early and finish your trip to Cherrapunji by 2 pm. On your return journey, you can stop by Elephant Falls and Shillong Peak, which are not too far out of the way.