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This hilly town is based close to Brahmaputra plains in Meghalaya. It’s the administrative headquarters of Ri-Bhoi district of this state. Surrounded by hilly rivers and plush green trees, this place is ideal for nature enthusiasts and peace seekers!
Surrounded by Assam and Bangladesh, Meghalaya was declared an Indian state in the year 1972. Spread across 22,429 square kilometers of land, Meghalaya is also known as the ‘abode of clouds’! Shillong is the capital of this breathtakingly beautiful state located in extreme north eastern part of India. Prior to 1972, it was a part of Assam.
This beautiful region is famed for its sapphire blue skies, thick pine groves, stunning landscapes and valleys, British style houses along the meandering streets and clouds caressing the hills. A visit to this picturesque land will make any nature lover return to this paradise yearning for more!
If one is truly looking for an exquisite getaway, far from the maddening city crowd, a visit to Meghalaya can be exceptionally rewarding! Cherrapunji and Mawsynram are the wettest regions in the world with an average 12000 mm of rainfall annually. This gives rise to some of the most gorgeous waterfalls on earth. Meghalaya is also world known for its mesmerizing caves, some of which are longest in Asia!
With mainly an agrarian economy, more than 70 percent of Meghalaya is covered by forests. Forestry naturally is the second largest commercial industry. Here people inherit the matrilineal property unlike other states.
People of Meghalaya love rice, spicy meat and dried fish in their regular meals. Being the home to three Mongoloid tribes, Meghalaya shares unique cuisines different from other north eastern states. They relish pork, beef, mutton and chicken. Jadoh is a popular dish of this place. Made of pork and rice, Jadoh is a Khasi delicacy which requires ginger, bay leaves, black pepper and turmeric for garnishing. Besides, Putharo, Pumaloi Tung-rymbai, bamboo shoot pickle and Ki Kpu are the other popular Garo dishes of this place.
The staple food of majority of folks in Meghalaya is rice and kapa. Kapa is an authentic food made of meat, vegetables and karchi. Karchi is prepared from filtered ash water. Garos also love to eat minil, sticky baked rice, sakkin gata and other quintessential steamed cuisines of this region. Nakham Bitchi is another spicy soup recipe made of dried fish and chillies. Most of the food items in Meghalaya are wrapped in bamboo leaves and served to the guests. Meats and fishes are preserved by drying or smoking. Momos, nakam and gran or smoked meats are the common snack items of this place.
Rice beer locally known as kyat is a popular drink of this place. Alcohol is quite common in every menu and special occasions. Chewing betel nut along with tobacco and lime is a common practice among the locals.
Dance holds an important place and way of celebrating an event or festival in this land of clouds. Nongkrem Dance is a prominent Khasi thanksgiving festival which generally takes place in the month of October and November. Unmarried women flaunting expensive costumes and gorgeous jewelries participate in this dance festival along with their male counterparts. A goat is sacrificed to the administrative head of the state during this festival.
Wangala is another significant festival observed for four consecutive days. It takes place in autumn, this harvest festival is a must see for any traveler! Known for its tribal dancing followed by traditional drum recitals, Wangala is a key celebration of the Garo tribes.
Ambubachi mela (mela means fair) is an important celebration that takes place in the Kamakhya Mandir premises with animal sacrifice which marks the end of the goddess’s menstrual cycle.
Behdienkhlam is yet another famous harvest festival followed by the Jaintia of this region. Held in the month of July, this festival is marked by beating the rooftops of the local houses by bamboo poles. Only young men participate in this festival. Women participate by offering sacrificial food to the ancestral spirits of their family.
Meghalaya is the place with multiple and distinct ethnic communities each having unique traditions and customs. Singing and dancing are the heart and soul of these communities thereby living lives with the rhythm of nature. The dance forms depict the history and traditions of each community in their unique ways. Most of these cultural festivals denote balancing between man, eco system and culture and thereby establishing peace and harmony. In the current context, many youngsters have adopted western way of life by biding adieu to their traditional tribal customs and rituals.
Matrilineal system is a significant attribute of Meghalayan culture where property inheritance in traced through women of the community. Garo women are dexterous in weaving. Dakbanda is a special hand woven saree worn by Garo women known for its intricate design. In addition, cane and bamboo work are equally famous art and craft of this place.
Cherrapunji, Shillong, Williamnagar, Tura and Baghmara are the most preferred tourist places in Meghalaya with immense cultural importance. Mawsmai caves, SMIT (cultural center of Khasi Hills), Krem Dam Cave and Krem Kotsati caves are must-see cultural attractions of Meghalaya!
Other than weaving, bamboo and cane works, Meghalaya is renowned for wood carving, cane mat, containers, baskets, bamboo fishing traps, stools, bamboo furniture and other handicrafts. Various ethnic tribes weave striking handicrafts out of wood and bamboo.
Khasis are expert manufacturers striking cane stools and baskets. Jaintias are into making bamboo fishing traps. Garo tribes weave Dakbanda, a special kind of saree worn by women on special occasions. Besides, silk weaving, making ornaments and carpet weaving are the common handicrafts of this region.
Lew Duh market is one of the hotspots for selling these unique shopping items. Starting from fishing traps to Endi silk, this market is a must-visit for any first-timer in Meghalaya and carry back some of the exciting eco-friendly souvenir of Meghalaya home!
Garo, Jaintia and Khasi are the three principal local languages of Meghalaya. Though English is the official language of this state, it comes next to them. Widely spoken by the urban and few rural communities with differing ability, majority of the locals understand English in Meghalaya. Besides, Pnar language is another local language spoken by the residents of Jaintia hills. Biata is also spoken by the locals of Saipung constituency in this state. Many Meghalayan also know Nepali.
By Road: Nongpoh is well connected to Guwahati via NH 40 and 37. There are bus services as well as taxis and cabs to reach this place.
By Train: Guwahati railway station is the nearest rail head to Nongpoh, if one wants to reach by rail. It has connecting trains Kamakhya, Dibrugarh, Rangiya, Mumbai and other cities.
By Air: Guwahati is the nearest international airport well connected to all the main cities within India and abroad.GET DIRECTION
Nongpoh has quite a few hotels and accommodations as this place is a halt place for the tourists traveling to Guwahati from Shillong.
Drive Inn Café, Makhan Bhog, Woodland Café and other restaurants in Nongpoh cater local food like momos as well as south Indian dishes.
Walking is a good way to explore a place. In addition, private cars and pre paid taxis are also available.
From October till April are the best times of the year to explore Nongpoh.
Umiam Lake is the main attraction of this place. Also Lum Nehru Park and Thrills Fun Park are the other attractions of this place!
Cherrapunji – Wettest place on earth, Cherrapunji is famed for its pristine and clean environment!