Become One with Nature on a Budget Tour to Cherrapunji

Cherrapunji has recently become every vagabonds dream destination. Thanks to its glorious waterfalls, lush green landscapes and friendly people. Know what to expect if you’re on a Cherrapunji Tour.

Cherrapunji, also known as Sohra, is a tranquil corner of Meghalaya where nature resides in peace. Sohra, being the original name, was changed to Cherrapunji under the British rule because they couldn’t pronounce it and uttered ‘Churra’ every time they wanted to refer to Sohra.

That being said, Cherrapunji is a wonder of nature that houses magnificent waterfalls and lush green forests. It is credited as the wettest place on Earth. It was like a fresh breath from the over-explored mountains of Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand. Cherrapunji has that aura of virginity, which I wish it continues to have. It saddens us to see the fate of ecology of infamous hill stations near Delhi. (Poor Shimla, Mussoorie and Nainital.)

I cannot put its beauty into words but there were so many hues of green and blue. I never felt so close to nature. I gasped every time I spotted a blue lagoon or a picturesque sight.

It is a bittersweet situation to write about such a treasured place. I don’t want irresponsible tourists to flock the town and wreck this wonderland of nature. If you ever get the chance to see its beauty, even you would feel responsible for keeping it intact. It is for real, a road less travelled!

In a hope that all of us will be responsible travellers, we would be sharing our journey to Cherrapunji in three parts. This is first part that has all the information about our journey from Delhi to Cherrapunji and the Cherrapunji Tour that we booked from Meghalaya Tourism’s office. The next blog will have everything about our hike to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge and the last blog of the series will have details about the trek to the Rainbow Waterfalls.

Table of Contents

How to travel from Delhi to Cherrapunji?

  • How to travel from Guwahati Airport to Shillong?
  • How to travel from Shillong to Cherrapunji?

Day 1 of our Cherrapunji Tour in Shillong

  • Places to eat in Shillong

Day 2 of our Cherrapunji Tour: Sightseeing

  • Mawkdok Valley
  • Mawsmai Caves
  • Cherrapunji Eco Tourism Park
  • Bangladesh Viewpoint
  • Thangkharang Park
  • Nohsngithiang Falls (Seven Sister Falls)
  • Nohkalikai Waterfall – the best is for the end

When to plan a Trip to Cherrapunji?

Since Cherrapunji is accredited as the wettest place on Earth, accept that it rains here throughout the year. However, during the winter season, it rains comparatively less than wet months.

We did our Cherrapunji tour in the month of February and didn’t see any rainfall. This allowed us to hike to the Rainbow Waterfalls without any difficulty. If it had been raining, we couldn’t think of crossing those unsteady metal suspension bridges or jumping in the lagoons. There was some drawback as well. We couldn’t tick off seeing Seven Sister Waterfalls from our bucket list. They weren’t active at that time due to less rainfall in winter months but this surely gives us a reason to visit Cherrapunji again.

If you’re planning a trip in the winter months, make sure to carry some warm clothes as it gets really cold during the night time.

According to Lum Lang, our host in Tyrna, the best time to visit Cherrapunji is March. We would still recommend planning your Cherrapunji tour somewhere between October and March. The local festival of Nongkrem Dance is also celebrated in the months of October and November that attracts a lot of tourists from India and abroad.   

Scroll through to know about how we travelled all the way from Delhi to spectacular waterfalls of Cherrapunji.

How to Travel from Delhi to Cherrapunji?

We did our Cherrapunji tour in the month of February for four days. We boarded the flight from Delhi to Guwahati, which came at a reasonable cost. It is advisable to take an early morning flight so, that you can reach Shillong by noon.

You can also take a flight directly to Shillong Airport and then take a cab to Cherrapunji. However, the flights directly from New Delhi to Shillong are expensive than taking a flight from New Delhi to Guwahati. The difference is almost double.

(Round Trip: ₹ 6,500 p.p. approx. from New Delhi to Guwahati and Guwahati to New Delhi)

(Round Trip: ₹ 12,000 p.p. approx. from New Delhi to Shillong and Shillong to New Delhi)

It takes around 3 to 4 hours from Guwahati Airport to Shillong. This is best suited for people on a budget. However, if you are on a time constraint, it is advisable to take a direct flight to Shillong.

How to travel from Guwahati Airport to Shillong?

We took a shared taxi from Guwahati Airport to Shillong for ₹500 p.p. Private taxis were also available at the airport. However, it is rare to get a shared taxi directly to Shillong from the airport. In that case, you can get a taxi to Paltan bazar from the airport and from Paltan bazar you can get a shared sumo in ₹ 200 – ₹300 p.p. till Shillong.

We were able to reach Shillong around 2 p.m.

How to travel from Shillong to Cherrapunji?

It takes around 2 hrs from Shillong to Cherrapunji in a private taxi for ₹1500 – ₹2500 depending on how you negotiate. The cabbie will also show you some tourist spots on the way.

If you are on a budget like us then you may consider travelling by a shared sumo. You can get a shared Sumo from Bara Bazaar in Shillong. It will be a bit confusing, so, you can ask a local. Don’t expect taxis guys to help you here. These sumos run whenever they are full, so, there really aren’t any fixed timings. They will only charge ₹70 p.p.   

We chose to rather book a Cherrapunji tour from Meghalaya Tourism’s office. It was a day tour in a bus that showed us around Cherrapunji and rather than going back to Shillong, we chose to stay in Cherrapunji. The whole tour cost us ₹200 p.p.

The journey from Shillong to Cherrapunji was worthy of becoming every poet’s muse. It was full of lush green meadows, clear blue sky and bustling villages.

Scroll through to know what we did on our tour to Cherrapunji.

Day 1 of our Cherrapunji Tour in Shillong: Ward’s Lake, Bread Café, Meghalaya Tourism and much more

Since it was our first time in Meghalaya, we thought it would be a good idea to include Shillong in our Cherrapunji tour. We planned to stay there for a night.

After our taxi dropped us at Police Bazar in Shillong, we checked into our hotel, Hotel Barbareek Inn, which was located near Bara Bazar. It took us a bit more than 30 mins on foot to reach our hotel.

Hotel Barbareek Inn is a decent hotel, which was priced fairly. Though, we would suggest anybody who’s planning to stay in Shillong to book a hotel near Police Bazaar or somewhere away from the main areas to avoid crowd and hustle bustle of the town.

The same day we arrived in Shillong, we went to Ward’s Lake in the evening. It is a beautiful man-made lake surrounded by manicured plants and gentle slopes. You can also do boating here.

We clicked a few pictures and took a leisurely stroll while planning for our next day.

After coming back from Ward’s Lake, we went to Meghalaya Tourism’s office to book a day tour for the next day.

We chose Cherrapunji (Sohra) Day Tour for ₹ 200 p.p. The package included Cherrapunji sightseeing in a bus. The spots included the infamous Mawkdok valley, Seven Sister Falls, Eco Park, etc.

Places to Eat it Shillong

While we were in Shillong, we went to Bread Café for a quick lunch. They had a vast variety of cakes and flavoured coffee. Gaurav ordered a sandwich, cappuccino and chocolate eclair, and I ordered a cheeseburger and Frappuccino.

To my surprise, the cheeseburger only had cheese and some lettuce without any patty. Though the taste was fine, it could have been better. The sandwiches and coffee were great.

For dinner, we went to a south Indian eatery called Madras Café at Jail Road, opposite MTC building. They had a huge variety of dosas and yes, filter coffee. Though the place was just average, the food was great. Both of us lavished our dosas and got done for dinner. 😊

If you enjoy eating at a fast food restaurant, there’s also a KFC in MarBa Hub, which is right in the middle of Police Bazar.

Day 2 of our Cherrapunji Tour: Mawkdok Valley, Mawsmai Caves, Nohkalikai Falls and much more

After being amidst crowd and hubbub of a city, Gaurav and I desperately wanted a shot of greenery. Cherrapunji came as a pleasant surprise.

The Cherrapunji sightseeing bus was scheduled to leave around 8 a.m. from the bus stand in front of Meghalaya Tourism’s office. As soon as the bus arrived, we hopped onto the bus and I took the window seat.

We were accompanied by a guide throughout the tour.

The Cherrapunji tour included the following spots:

  • Mawkdok Valley
  • Mawsmai Caves
  • Cherrapunji Eco Tourism Park
  • Bangladesh Viewpoint
  • Thangkharang Park
  • Nohsngithiang Falls (Seven Sister Falls)
  • Nohkalikai Waterfall – the best is for the end

Mawkdok Valley

Mawkdok Valley offers a great view of the green hills of Sohra that seem to end at the same height. The slopes of the valley have a thick cover of forests that perfectly contrast with the clear blue sky.

This is the place from where Sohra tourist circuit also starts from. For getting at the viewpoint, you would have to climb down a staircase but the view from there is so worth it. Words really can’t describe that spectacular view.

Mawsmai Caves

Mawswami caves is a nature’s handiwork that has gone through natural abrasion and underground water for many years. We have seen similar caves on Baratang Island. These limestone caves are magnificent and surely worth a visit when you’re on a Cherrapunji tour.

Mawswami caves are pretty long but tourists are only allowed to access 150 meters. You would be able to see various forms and figures inside the cave. The stalactites and stalagmites inside the caves attract many eyeballs. Other Mawswami caves there are various other caves in Cherrapunji that are open for tourists.

These limestone caves of Meghalaya fascinate researchers from all over the world.

Cherrapunji Eco Tourism Park

It is a man-made ecological park in a place like Cherrapunji where there’s an abundance of natural beauty and green vistas. The eco tourism park had nothing special to offer, though our guide told us that during monsoon the waterfall in the eco-park is active, which is a great sight.

You can also see seven sister waterfalls from here, which we couldn’t because of the winter season. The Missing Waterfall is yet another attraction. The origin of this waterfall is still untraceable, which adds to the mystique of unexplored hills of Meghalaya.

Bangladesh Viewpoint

When we reached the Bangladesh Viewpoint, though the sun was a bit too harsh, we loved the view from the top of a hill where we were standing at. Air that was running for miles hit our faces offering relief from the heat.

As far as our eyes could see, we saw plains stretching till the horizon. Sight disturbed by some haze, we could see Bangladesh.

It seemed to be close but yet too far. It’s awful how we have built these borders.

Our guide told us that there are many other viewpoints across Meghalaya from where the tourists can see Bangladesh. In the Cherrapunji tour itself, there were two Bangladesh viewpoints.

Thangkharang Park

Thangkharang Park is a viewpoint for Khoh Ramhah rock, also known as Mawtrop. It is a huge, conical shaped rock that resembles an unturned Khasi basket. The legend has it that it is a fossilised stone basket that belonged to an evil giant. He was poisoned by the locals for his evil behaviour. The basket that he left behind turned into this magnificent rock.

At Thangkharang park we took a leisurely walk amidst nature. Though we visited the park around 4 p.m., it is advisable to come here in the evening when the weather is a bit cool.

There was also a greenhouse in the premises, which has numerous species of the plants.

Nohsngithiang Falls (Seven Sister Waterfalls)

These waterfalls are a must visit if you are on a Cherrapunji tour. We saw the pictures of these glorious waterfalls at Meghalaya Tourism’s office and we couldn’t wait to see them in real.

Our bus took us to a viewpoint from where we could see all the seven waterfalls if it wouldn’t have been winters. Gaurav and I were pretty disappointed but the landscape made it up for the inactive waterfalls. Those towering mountains and lush green vistas took our breath away. We could only imagine how magnificent the landscape would look with active waterfalls.

We promised ourselves to come back here.  

Nokhalikai Falls

Nokhalikai Falls are synonymous to Cherrapunji. They are the tallest plunge falls in India, which Gaurav and I think is so cool. We were a little disappointed after seeing the seven sister waterfalls, which were dry and we thought Nokhalikai falls will be sharing the same fate. After reaching the place, we were so surprised to see this beautiful, beautiful waterfall still active and running. We were awestruck!

A string of water falling from soaring high mountains and crashing into a blue lagoon. It is was really that magical!

Nokhalikai Waterfall also has a mythological tale attached to it. There was a woman called Ka Likai who had to remarry after her husband died. She had to leave her infant girl at home for going to work every day.  She got so much consumed with the work and her baby that she didn’t pay attention to her second husband. One day, the jealous husband thought a way of getting rid of the baby. While Ka Likai was away, he killed the baby and cooked her meat after throwing away her head and bones.

When Ka Likai returned home after a long day at work, she didn’t see anybody but a plate full of meat. She lavished her dinner and then reached out to betel nuts and leaves, where she found a severed finger. It didn’t take her long to realise what has happened. In mere frustration and grief, she started running off the edge of the plateau and jumped causing a waterfall. In this manner, the Nohkalikai Waterfall was named after her.

This waterfall is a must visit on a Cherrapunji Tour.

Phew! That’s a lot of places to see in such a small town. We would like to wrap up our Cherrapunji Tour blog here though this was just the beginning of the magic.

In the next blog, we will be talking about our hike to the Double Decker Living Root Bridge and then our trek to the Rainbow Waterfall. Yes, it is as wonderful as it sounds.

If you have any question regarding Cherrapunji, feel free to reach us at hissideherside.in@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you. 😊

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Love,

Devanshi and Gaurav

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