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Cherrapunjee

Cherrapunjee is 56 kms from Shillong and is literally the high point of any visit to Meghalaya-one of those ultimate eco-friendly destinations-a place renowned all over the world for having the privilege of receiving the highest rainfall in the world. Set against the backdrop of breath-taking landscape, it is a place to discover the Indian summer monsoons, a unique annual meteorological phenomena directly influenced by the south west monsoon and the north east winds. The heavy monsoon rains over these mountains undoubtedly creates in Sohra one of the rarest bio-diverse vegetations in the world. Truly a beautiful corner in north-east India, waiting to be discovered and explored. The old Cherra or Sohrarim was the original Cherra village but with the coming of the British who set up their headquarters further south, the village came to be known as 'Sohra' or present day Cherrapunjee. It was here that the British realized the enormity and intensity of the rainfall and set up a meteorological office for measuring the rain. Sohra was declared by the British to be the capital of Assam in 1832, which was later shifted to Shillong in 1866 due to the inclement weather.

Places to visit :

Mawkdok Dympep Valley View : A few kms from Umtyngar, as one takes the right turn from the road junction, one comes across a beautiful bridge known to the locals as the Duwan Singh Syiem Bridge, that is the entrance to the Sohra tourist circuit. From here the landscape abruptly changes into picturesque deep gorges. The Forest Department has constructed a view-point where visitors can stop a while and enjoy the spectacular natural beauty.

Dain-Thlen Falls : Just before reaching Sohra, a road to the right, leads one to the falls which is 5 kms away. The waterfall derives its name from a Thlen or a snake of gigantic size which dwelt in a cave. Legend has it that the people destroyed the snake in order to rid themselves of its reign of terror. Adjacent to the very spot where the Thlen was slaughtered lies the Dain-thlen Waterfalls. Natural rock carvings of the episode draw visitors to see the image of the Thlen, the symbol of greed, corruption and evil.

Nohkalikai falls : A hauntingly beautiful waterfall, cascading down from the top of the gorge to the mystic deep green pool below, reminding one of the tragic legend associated with it, of a grief stricken mother who plunged to her death, unable to overcome her sorrow over the murder of her daughter by her husband.

Mawmluh Cave : Access to the cave is via the river, which lies to the south east of the Cement Factory. The entrance is about 10 ft. above water level. A single entrance leads to a double passageway, where the upper portion in certain areas have caved in due to the intensive quarrying of limestone above the cave. The river enters the cave and forms pools of water within the cave. This cave stretches for about 4,500 meters but is marred by pollution entering the cave from the cement factory. Locally known as Krem Mawmluh, it is one of the longest caves in the Indian subcontinent.

Mawsmai Cave : 6 kms from the Sohra market to the south lies the village of Mawsmai in the di­rection of Bangladesh border. At the village crossing, one passes grasslands surrounded by for­ests, ending in a clearing. From this clearing, a concrete pathway through the jungle leads up to the main cave entrance. This cave is the only cave that is fully lighted. The cave can be divided into two parts (old and new). Of the two, the new cave is yet to be lighted. It has impressive formations of large passages and chambers.

Nohsngithiang Falls also known as Mawsmai falls, is 1 km south of Mawsmai village and derives its name due to the fact that the waterfalls are situated in a south westerly position and get illuminated by the sun from dawn to sunset. The vibrant colours of the setting sun on the waterfalls make it beautiful to behold.

Eco Park : A large "Eco Park" established by the Meghalaya government in the plateau, which hosts several hybrid and indigenous orchids in the Green House donated by Shillong Agri-Horticultural Society. Also the Eco Park offers a breathtaking view of the distant Sylhet Plains of neighbouring Bangladesh.

Thangkharang Park : Managed and well maintained by the State Forest Department, this park on Mawsmai - Shella Road - about 8 kms from Sohra is a popular tourist spot. There are many rare and exotic orchids and some rare species of plants endemic to the area. A panoramic view of the plains of Bangladesh is clearly visible on a clear day from the park.

Thangkarang Park laid on the high rocky cliffs overlooks the plains of Bangladesh. You can spot the imposing Kynrem falls cascading down majestically in three stages. The bird sanctuary at nearby Thangkarang with the awesome view of the imposing waterfalls set against the backdrop of Bangladesh plains is a bonanza for tourists, both foreign and domestic.

Ka Khoh Ramhah : Also known as Motrop, is an imposing single rock formation in the shape of a giant cone. According to folklore, this was the fossilized cone shaped basket of an evil giant. It lies in close proximity to two other very similar rocks standing like a pair of giant sentinels. During the heavy monsoons, water flows between the two rocks and the cascading waterfall presents a breathtaking sight. The place attracts a lot of visitors throughout the year and is an idyllic picnic spot.