CHERAPUNJEE – THE LAND OF MIST AND CLOUD
Cherrapunjee or Charrapunji meaning ‘land of oranges’, is a town in East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. Cherrapunjee is also known as the land of clouds and rains. Cherapunjee can be visited from Shillong by the NH 206 and then by Highway 5 connecting Shilong and Cherapunjee. On the way one will get to see numerous peaks full of green shrubs and huge red coloured stones those add to the beauty of the place. On the valleys there are many small villages those adds an extra beauty to land of mystic clouds and rain. Cherapunjee gets the maximum amount of rainfall throughout the year. Cherrapunjee receives close to a whopping 12 m of rain every year. Though the status of the rainiest place on earth has changed from Cherrapunji to Mawsynram (about 16km from Cherrapunji). But on the hills of Meghalaya chances of landslides are very less. Cherapunjee is at a distance of about 60 kilometres from Shillong. From Cherapunjee on can visit to a nearby view point named Mawkdok Dympep Valley View Point. Many tourists on a day tour visit this view point. One needs to climb few stairs to reach the view point. The view point offers stunning views of numerous mountain ranges. From this view point within a distance of about 15 minutes is Cherapunjee. The topography of Cherapunjee is full of natural beauty, package of valleys and waterfalls, caves and canyons, evergreen misty landscapes and heavy rains. Earlier Cherapunjee was known by the name Sohra, but as the British had a problem to pronounce the name and called it “Churra”, hence they named this destination Cherapunjee. From Cherapunjee to the far bottom Sylhet district of Bangladesh is clearly visible. From Cherapunjee within a distance of about 6 km is Nohkalikai Falls. On the way to Nohkalikai falls the numerous small shops of the local people those are on both the sides of the road. In these small shops one will get to numerous items of handicrafts, cloths, bags, umbrella, but among these one item that attracts most of the visitors are bundle of sugarcane. As one reaches near the falls they will get to see long stretches of endless valleys and to the right hand side is the view point. The waterfall is coming straight down by a wall from a height of 340 meters (1115 feet). Nohkalikai falls is the highest waterfall in India. Most time of the year this waterfall remains covered with thick clouds. The water from the fall get gathered a place and formed a lake. The name of Nohkalikai falls originated from the name of a lady Likai. Cherapunjee market is situated within 1 km from the main town. The origin of Cherapunjee dates back to the time of David Scott in the year (1802 – 1831). Cherapunjee is situated at an elevation of about 1484 meters (4869 feet). In the year 1861, July Cherapunjee had it recorded rainfall of 9300 millimetre (370 inch). From Cherapunjee one can visit to the nearest Seven Sister Falls. Seven adjacent waterfalls are coming down from the top of a ridge, the British named these waterfalls as Seven Sister Falls. Again from there within a distance of about 10 to 12 kilometres is Thangkharang Park, on the way to the park several parks and churches are seen of the old architectural style along with an old cemetery where the grave of David Scott (founder of Cherapunjee) is preserved. The premise of the park is full greenery of moss and fern. Though the park remain closed on Wednesday. On return journey from Seven sister falls towards Cherapunjee town there is Mawsmai Caves, the interior of the cave is full of numerous stalactite formations and is located 9 km away close to the Mawsmai falls, but only 150 metres of the caves are lighten up for the tourists. Another waterfall at Cherapunjee which is worth watching is the Dayenthelen Falls, though this waterfall is coming down from a comparatively lower height in comparison to Nohkalikai and Seven Sister falls. Cherapunjee is such a place where clouds and rain play in their own time wrap. From Cherapunjee one can trek to the single and double decker root bridges. The trek from Cherrapunjee to the living root bridges requires a lot of stamina and grit to trek down to these natural wonders of nature.
How to Reach: Several trains are available those reaches to Guwahati from Kolkata and other major cities of India. One can also reach by flight, the nearest Airport is Guwahati. From Guwahati at a distance of about 150 km is Cherapunjee. Other than these from Kolkata Dum Dum Airport flight is available those reaches at Bapani, from there Cherapunjee is within 70 kilometers and from Shillong at a distance of 60 km is Cherapunjee.