off beat places to visit in Meghalaya - Part1

Unseen Meghalaya: 10 Less Explored Off-Beat Places (Part 1)

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One of the seven sisters in North East India, Meghalaya is home to an abundance of culture and beauty. The state houses remote waterfalls, caves, secluded villages, living root bridges, hiking trails, and other natural treasures. Usually, Shillong and Cherrapunji attract a majority of the tourists who step into this state of diversity. However, we explored several locations beyond these two, and it was no less than an adventure. So, let us take you through a few off-beat and less-explored places you can visit when you go to Meghalaya.

Off-Beat Places In Meghalaya

1. Nartiang Monoliths

Nartiang monoliths

Although numerous monoliths are scattered across the state, the Nartiang village has the highest number of vertical stone structures. Located on West Jaintia Hills, Nartiang has an archeological garden where you can walk past several monoliths and monuments preserved since the time of the old Jaintia Kings. The upright vertical stones called “Menhirs” are dedicated to men, and the flat horizontal stones called “Dolmens” are dedicated to women.

The tallest monolith, known as Moo Long, is 8 m high and 18 inches thick and was erected by U Mar Phalyngki, a trusted lieutenant of the Jaintia King, to commemorate his victory in battles. Other monoliths were erected by his warriors and the clans between 1500 – 1833 AD to commemorate the glorious events of the Jaintia kingdom.

  • Entry fee: Free
  • Parking Facility: Available
  • Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM
  • Restroom: Not available

2. Mawryngkhang or Bamboo Trek

The Mawryngkhang trek summit

Known as the scariest trek in Meghalaya, the Bamboo trek or Mawryngkhang trek is a man-made trail built using several bamboo bridges bound together using cane, ropes, and nails. As you hike from start to end, you’ll find waterfalls and streams to be your companion, which also acts as guiding markers for your trek. Once you reach the ‘U Mawrungkhang Rock,’ you’ll know that your trek is complete. 

Check this detailed guide to learn more about the adventurous trek.

3. Phe Phe Falls

Phe Phe waterfalls, Meghalaya

To reach the majestic Phe Phe Falls, you need to climb down hundreds of steps where you can hear the thunderous sound of freezing cold water crashing into the pool. The visual is truly surreal, as you can see through the crystal clear turquoise blue water. If you want to indulge yourself further, take a dip in the pool, but ensure you are wearing a life jacket for your safety. Spend some time at these waterfalls and absorb the magnificence of nature and the serene atmosphere it creates. 

When you get closer to the top of the waterfall, you’ll realize that it’s a double-decker fall. Essentially there are two levels that can be reached via a flight of stairs. Interestingly, the vibe of both these levels is quite distinct; you mustn’t miss either. 

  • Entry fee: Free
  • Parking Facility: Available
  • Timings: Open 24 hours
  • Food: Although the waterfall is remotely located, a few small snack shops can be found on your way. One is located very near the lower waterfalls.
  • Best time to visit: Monsoon & post monsoon
  • Guide: Not required
  • Restroom: Not available

4. Kongthong Village

Popularly known as the singing village or the whistling village, Kongthing is located in the East Jaintia Hills district. What’s fascinating about the place is that the village comprises over 900 residents, and each person has two names. One is the song of the clan ancestress (Jingrwai Lawbei) and a conventional name. 

On reaching the village, you’ll hear unique whistles and songs echoing around. This communication technique is unique to the village and has been practiced for centuries. Recently, Kongthong Village was nominated for the “Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO award.

Twin’s tip: Watch the documentary film named “My name is Eeoow,” which beautifully portrays this village’s tradition.

5. Mawphlang Sacred Grove

Mawphlang Sacred Grove

Every tribe in Meghalaya has a sacred grove. One of the oldest and most famous is the Mawphlang sacred grove. Mawphlang means “Moss-covered stones.” The enchanting forest is home to rare species of plants, mushrooms, flowers, etc.

The Mawphlang sacred forest is where the Khasi kings and leaders gathered and conducted significant rituals. These major spots are marked with monoliths which are still considered remains of a dignified past.

Locals believe that the sacrifices made to the forest god protect them against sickness, and if one makes a wish at the sacred stone, it will be fulfilled. Visitors are not allowed to take anything from this hallowed forest, not even a pebble or a twig.

To enter the sacred forest, you must have a guide. Furthermore, it would take about 30 minutes to 1 hour to explore the complete area.

6. Khoh Ramhah or Mow Trop

Khoh Ramhah or Mow Trop

Like several other places on this list, Khoh Ramhah has multiple names, including Mow Trop and Pillar Rock. It is a massive rock formation that looks like a giant upside-down conical Khasi basket. The legend goes that the fossilized stone basket belonged to an evil giant who was greedy and antisocial. To be free, the people offered him a meal mixed with sharp iron and nails, which killed the beast. The basket he left here turned into a 200 ft. high stone.

On a clear day, you get to see the beautiful views of the Sylhet plains of Bangladesh and a beautiful waterfall. There’s ample space for you to sit and enjoy the views around you.

  • Best time to visit – Monsoon
  • Parking fee: Rs. 50 for a car, Rs. 20 for a two-wheeler.
  • Entry fee: Free
  • Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM

7. Kudengrim Village

Take a day trip to visit this remote village which is also situated in the West Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya. Here you will get a chance to hike, cross streams, and walk on bamboo while witnessing incredible views from the bamboo skywalk and the canopy treehouse.

Mukre step wall, Rbangpohpamlong & bamboo ladder, double-decker living root bridge, Amlamar, Suisynkew living root bridge, Sohran pool, and a treehouse viewpoint are a few main attractions in the village. You can stay in the village and also hire a guide to explore these places. 

Do not trash the place. We request you travel responsibly.

  • Best time to visit: Monsoon months
  • Contact Number: 9862529125,7005085765, 8132007901, 8787862703
  • Accommodation & Food: Available in the village
  • Guide: Required
 

8. David Scott Trail

A hiking enthusiast’s must-do. David Scott is one of the oldest hiking trails in Meghalaya, connecting the two villages, Mawphlang (starting point) and Lad Mawphlang. Covering a distance of 16 Km, this hike is suitable for beginners and children who will be thrilled about the adventure. The suspension bridge, arch bridge, Umiang river, and the breathtaking views of Khasi hills make the hike eventful and intriguing.

  • Best time to visit: Hiking in the monsoon is difficult due to its sloppy terrain. September to April is the best time.
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Guide: Optional. Hiring a guide costs Rs. 1500 for a 4 to 5-hour journey.
  • Guide committee contact number: 8837456191, 8368487316

Note: There is no mobile network reception throughout the trail. So download the GPS file if you’re hiking independently.

9. Mawlynnong Village

Mawlynnong village

Popular as the cleanest village in Asia, Mawlynnong village truly deserves the title. The village is famous for its community-led efforts to maintain cleanliness and promote eco-tourism. Even the kids participate in the activity, which makes the village stand apart from several others you’ll visit during your trip.

Take a stroll around the village, and don’t forget to see a century-old European-style church built in the middle of a lush tropical paradise. If the Nongriat double-decker root bridges are difficult for you to hike, the living root bridges of Nohwet are just a few steps down. 

10. Krem Mawmluh (Cave)

Located in the East Khasi Hills district, the Mawmluh cave is one of the first 100 geo heritage sites listed by UNESCO. Stretching for about 7 Km, the exploration takes about 5 to 7 hours. The cave is riddled with stalactite and stalagmite formations along the way, and you would have to crawl through the passage. 

Although the place is innately dark, lights are installed at regular intervals for you to see the path clearly. But besides the limestones within the walls, what’s truly fascinating is the secluded atmosphere of the caves. They almost transport you to a different plane, and you can hear the slightest sounds you make. Needless to say, the cave is a popular spot for adventure tourism in the state.

Interestingly, there are over 750 caves in Meghalaya. However, only 150 of them have been explored fully or partially. So, if closed places and claustrophobia don’t bother you, cave exploring and spelunking is something you should try. 

While these are just a few examples of off-beat places in Meghalaya, there’s a lot more. You might have heard of a few of these, but be sure to check them out because our words don’t do justice to their sheer magnificence and beauty.

If you liked our collection of less explored and off-beat places in the state of Meghalaya, do drop a comment below. For more such hidden gems, detailed itineraries, travel guides, and tips subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media – Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

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