Shillong, one of those places that have been in my heart and bucket list for god knows how long. It is known as the “Scotland of the East” and why wouldn’t it be? Trust me, the aura of this city will definitely make you feel like you are somewhere outside India. I wanted to set my base up in the East Khasi Hills itself but sadly, that isn’t possible at the moment. But, that’s what my retirement plan is. Okay, before I get distracted, allow me to take you through my tour of Shillong’s sightseeing places which has caved a special place in my heart.
Note: I was on a 5-day trip to this place so the list of my Shillong sightseeing destinations is in accordance with that.
1. Ward’s Lake
I reached Shillong somewhere at 2 pm. With chilly weather and mild sunshine, the warm woollens serve as the best companion here. Once I settled down, I took my list and there – the first destination – The Ward’s Lake. Known to be one of the most popular local sightseeing spots in Shillong, the beauty of this place is enchanting.
I visited Shillong in November when the Cherry Blossom Festival is held. And luckily the dates accorded with my birthday, so it was a bonus for me. The Ward’s Lake during this time of the year looks effortlessly breathtaking. With bloomed pink cherry trees accompanied by the twinkling fairy lights, the park just looked magical.
2. Lady Hydari Park
Named after the wife of Governor of Assam, Lady Hydari Park is located at the heart of Shillong. It is yet another sightseeing destination in Shillong. This park is a stunning beauty wherein you can go take a stroll and rejuvenate yourself. With a small lake, willow trees, rhododendron plants and beautiful orchids – everything around this place feels inspired by Mother Nature. Not to forget, the park also encompasses a mini zoo which comprises of a variety of flora and fauna.
3. All Saint’s Church
After my visit to the Lady Hydari Park, my next stop in the Shillong sightseeing list was the All Saints Church. Touted to be one of the oldest churches in the city, this beauty is built in the ancient colonial architecture – more like European structure, you see. Because of the serenity, the calmness, and the gorgeous structure; the All Saints Church is a Shillong local sightseeing destination that you cannot miss.
4. Shillong Peak
Next on my list was the Shillong Peak. Located in the Laitkor Peak, this is a famous viewpoint in Shillong which is surrounded by long boulevards and a magnificent vista of the city. It is one of the most-visited sightseeing spots in Shillong by honeymoon couples because of the romantic aura that the place offers. Adding to this, my wish of having a hot cup of special Darjeeling tea and chicken Maggi came true here. Oh, not to forget, the place also houses small hut-type viewpoints from where you can get an even better view of the city.
5. The Eastern Air Command
Okay, now this might be a little out of the box, but the Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force is a worth a visit. For me, it was really a place where I had to go as my grandfather retired from the IAF. Anyway, the EAC falls on the way back from Shillong Peak so it was easy for me to make a stop here. Though I couldn’t go inside the EAC campus, there is a MiG-27 displayed just outside the campus. After clicking a lot of pictures there, since I had some time to kill, I visited the Air Force Museum which falls under the EAC. Though many travellers avoid this place, according to me, this is one of those “hatke” kinds of places to visit in Shillong.
6. Laitlum Canyons
So my day 4 started out a little foggy – which was quite disheartening for me. Why? Because I wanted to visit the Laitlum Canyons and the fog would just kill the view. Nevertheless, after cribbing for an hour or so, the fog started to clear out. And I, being as happy as a kid, started my journey towards this beautiful canyon. Well, the route to Laitlum was a fun-filled one for me. I don’t clearly remember the names but I passed through some small villages, where the ladies in their traditional attire, “Jensum” were plucking flowers from the garden, and so on. Coming to Laitlum, oh god – the view left me wonderstruck. The clouds dancing slowly, the cool breeze accompanying those clouds, and the misty aura – I felt I was dreaming. You simply cannot miss out on this Shillong sightseeing destination.
7. Double Decker Living Root Bridge
After exploring the beautiful Laitlum Canyons, I set out on my journey to witness a wondrous miracle of Mother Nature – the Double Decker Living Root Bridge. This is one of the most famous sightseeing places near Shillong. This is a naturally-made bridge by the locals of the town. They tied up the living roots of the trees for decades which finally started to take the shape of a bridge. How fascinating! This sightseeing spot near Shillong is also a famous “instagrammed” place because of the beauty that it offers. Surrounded by lush green trees, beautiful streams flowing, and mild sunlight brightening up the atmosphere – the Double Decker Living Root Bridge is a living specimen.
8. Police Bazaar
On the last day of my trip, I wanted to spend some time exploring the markets of the city. And what better than commemorating the Shillong sightseeing tour by visiting Police Bazaar? If Delhi has Sarojini Market and Bangalore the Commercial Street, then Shillong has Police Bazaar. I was baffled with the variety of choices but yes, if there is one thing that you must shop from Shillong is footwear, especially Boots. Other than that, you can buy a lot of different types of berries, authentic bamboo artefacts, woollens, and so on. One thing I would like to mention – don’t forget to try the coffee of Regal Restaurant in Police Bazaar. They offer the best one, trust me!
If you have some extra time in your hand, you can make a one-day sightseeing trip to nearby places in Shillong like Umaim Lake, Umroi Cantt, Bara Pani, Cherrapunji, and Dawki. A Shillong sightseeing trip is always cost-effective. Right from the hotels to cabs to shopping, pretty much everything is very affordable. And still, if you want to make your trip more hassle-free, you can always opt for Shillong sightseeing packages which are customizable. My dream of visiting these sightseeing places in Shillong came true; I really couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate my birthday!