Most people in India know Cherrapunji as the region with the highest rainfall and thats that, but this mountain abode and its charm was more mystical than any place I have experienced in India. Cherrapunji is also known by its original name Sohra. The road from Shillong to Cherrapunji itself is ripe with promise with flowers on wooden balconies, pine trees, mountains blanketed with grasslands and an ever descending mist. It is a steep motorable road which rises dramatically upwards to the clouds. Wooden houses with long laundry lines is testament to the heavy mist cover in this region.
Cherrapunji is still quite remote and has not been taken over by mindless tourism and people there are conscientious about protecting their land and keeping it clean. The first stop on the road to Cherrapunji was a dramatic ravine on top of a green mountain where a brook gurgled among the rocks deep below on the ravine. There was a well laid out trail that was built by the people of Cherrapunji which went a long way across the mountains. There was a very exciting zipline which went across the ravine, Cherrapunji is a treat for the adventurous.
There are deep and mystical folktales that add to the mystery of Sohra especially the story of Nohkalikai falls is quite chilling. Nohkalikai also happens to be a very soul fulfilling place to go to. Since the reaches of tourism is minimal there, the shops and kiosks sell local and fresh wares like fragrant cinnamon barks, mountain flowers and honey. The falls can be seen from a plateau, though we weren’t able to see the falls due to the thick cloud cover. The mist and plains, the sounds of a far away river the strums of a guitar and an unknown voice singing a local song made the memory an amazing one for us.
Another note worthy place to visit in Cherrapunji is the seven sister falls and the adjoining eco park. The seven sister falls over look the plains of Bangladesh. The eco park lies on top of the falls were you can see the seven sisters originating including an eighth fall that goes missing and underground from the top of the mountain. The seven falls are quite steep as they fall from India and flow onwards to the plains of Bangaladesh. The eco park has a few play areas and is generally quite delightful for kids.
Another absolute delight much to my toddlers angst was Mawsmai which are limestone caves which test the endurance of an amateur. The small section of the caves that have been opened for the border development. The effect of the caves is quite thrilling with dark limestone walls that wind beneath the mountain as one has to crawl and twist and leap to reach from one end to the other. Cherrapunji has a lot to offer and a traveler has a lot that she can soak up from this delightful place at lands end.
Places to eat and stay in Cherrapunji or Sohra
- Cafe Cherrapunji
- Polo Orchid
- Backpackers hostel
- Eateries around Mawsmai Caves
Did I mention, pineapples in Cherrapunji; they are absolutely divine, don’t forget to grab a slice.