Cherrapunji, located 56 km from Shillong, in the East Khasi Hill district of Meghalaya, has dropped its name, which was given by the British and has been rechristened as Sohra, as it is traditionally called by local tribal population, is a “must see” destination for all tourists.
The average rainfall is 12,000 mm a year and the record for a single day was 2455 mm recorded in 1974 confirming it as the “Wettest place on Earth”.
Heaviest rainfalls in the place are experienced in the monsoon, from April to September every year yet, despite very good rains Cherrapunji always faces a drought, year-after-year.
The heavy rainfall has sculptured many rock formations, imposing cliffs and waterfalls all over the southern slopes.
Places to see in Cherrapunjee.
Mawsmai Cave: The illuminated cave provides tourist an experience of caving. This is the main attraction of Sohra.
Dain-Thlen Falls – Just before reaching Cherrapunjee a road to the right leads to the falls 5 km away. Daiñ Thlen means cutting off the Thlen (a serpent monster).
Noh-Kalikai Falls – One of the most striking waterfalls and the highest in Meghalaya.
Noh-Sngithiang Falls – Also known as Mawsmai Falls is actually a number of waterfalls cascading down to a canyon.
Thangkharang Park – It offers a panoramic view of the steep cliffs and the Kynrem falls.
Khoh Ramhah – The “Giants Basket” also known as “Motrop” is an imposing single formation in the shape of a giant cone.
Living root Bridge – Located at the Laitkynsew and Nongriat villages. This is a natural footbridge made of entwined roots of rubber plants.
By the side of the Pomsohmen stream lays the cremation ground of the Sohra Syiemship (Cherra chieftain). This sacred cremation ground called ‘Ka Kpep Syiem Sohra’is located on the Sohra-Shella road approximately 1 km. from the Sohra market.
Hints for Tourists
Cherrapunji is a one-day sightseeing trip. It is a two-hour journey by road and one must start early from Shillong and reach it around 9 am to catch the glimpse of various sites and the plains of Bangla Desh. Chances reduce afternoon as the clouds start rising from the valley and cover the view.
Meghalaya Govt has regular luxury coach services which start from the Tourist Office located at Police Bazaar, Shillong. One should try and book at least a day in advance though chances can be taken. Taxis are more convenient though and costs are reasonable (Rs 800 for a full taxi).
Start early and finish your trip to Cherrapunji by 2 pm, thereafter on return Journey see Elephant falls and Shillong peak which is not too much out of way.