OT Travel Itinerary: Your Complete Two-Day Guide to Cherrapunjee

Now known as Sohra, this town in Meghalaya will take your breath away with its natural formations
The Nohsngithiang Falls is a seven-segmented waterfall
The Nohsngithiang Falls is a seven-segmented waterfallNiyor nath/Shutterstock.com

One of the wettest places in India, Cherrapunjee—now known as Sohra—is a land of rivers, waterfalls, caves and mist-shrouded hilltops. It is the cultural capital of the Khasi people and is renowned for its living root bridges, the result of people and the more-than-human world working together. Its terrain comes alive during the monsoon season while the drier months with their blue skies make it an ideal time for scenic hikes.

Here’s your two-day guide to the town. (Note: it’s best to refer to the place as Sohra while you’re there in order to respect the wishes of its residents.)

Day 1


The Umshiang double-decker living root bridge
The Umshiang double-decker living root bridgevector photo gallery/Shutterstock.com

Your first stop should undoubtedly be the Umshiang double-decker living root bridge. You'll have to drive and then hike through dense forests to get there. The natural bridge is 3km long and is a testament to the beauty and bio-engineering of the living world. The roots of rubber trees (ficus elastica) intertwine with one another to create the bridge, which only gets stronger as the years go by. It takes 25 years or so for the living root bridge to become functional. They can bear the weight of up to 50 people at a time.

After gazing at this awe-inspiring sight, head to the nearby Mawsaw steel and root bridge, a 20-30 minute walk away. Its natural swimming pool and waterfall are a splendid sight. Take a refreshing dip in its crystal clear waters.


The Nohkalikai Falls are 340m high
The Nohkalikai Falls are 340m highabdulkayum97/Shutterstock.com

Your next stop should be the Rainbow Falls near Nongriat village. The hike to get there is steep but worth it to see the spray form a rainbow when the sunlight hits it at the base. Soak in the calm and relaxing atmosphere and have lunch beside the waterfall.

Next up is the second most popular tourist attraction of Cherrapunjee: the Nohkalikai Falls. At a height of 340m, water falling into a blue-green plunge pool makes for a riveting spectacle. The falls are fed by rainwater collected on the summit of a small plateau. The legend behind its name is a gruesome tale concerning murder, cannibalism and a mother’s grief. It’s worth hearing the story from your guide.


At the Mawkdok Dympep Valley viewpoint
At the Mawkdok Dympep Valley viewpoint GYAN PRATIM RAICHOUDHURY/Shutterstock.com

Wrap up your day with a visit to the Mawkdok Dympep Valley viewpoint which is 24km by road from the Nohkalikai Falls. Catch the sunset from here and see the last rays of the sun turn the sweeping vistas and lush greenery into a golden delight. You will be treated to views of waterfalls, valleys and winding rivers. Take photos, listen to bird calls, stroll along the trails of the area and eat Khasi delicacies at nearby eateries.

Day 2


Inside Mawsmai Cave
Inside Mawsmai CaveAmitrane/Shutterstock.com

Start bright and early for a trip to Mawsmai Cave. These are a network of 10 caves which were formed by the erosion of limestone and the unrelenting flow of water. There are some places inside the caves where you will have to crawl on all fours. The cave is famous for its fossils, some of which you can spot inside its walls. Many travellers like to relax or take a stroll in the surrounding forest after they have visited the cave.

Next, visit the Mawsmai Nongthymmai Eco Park which has stunning views of the green canyons of Cherrapunjee and views of the distant Sylheti Plains of Bangladesh. Have a picnic in its environs, notice the plant and animal life, and check out its limestone caves. Remember not to litter and take your garbage with you to dispose responsibly at an appropriate site.


Fossils on the limestone walls of the Arwah Cave
Fossils on the limestone walls of the Arwah CaveSurabhiArtss/Shutterstock.com

Head to the Arwah Cave to experience stepping into an Arabian Nights story. The large sunken chamber leads to a complex set of caverns where fossils are displayed in lit-up interiors. Visitors can view crustacean shells and fish bones in the limestone walls. The maze-like nature of the cave means there are many unexpected turns and corners; you could be walking under a high ceiling before sliding through a narrow passageway that leads to other sections within a minute. There are underwater streams here which have continued to flow through these ancient formations for millennia.

Follow this up with a trip to the Nohsngithiang Falls, popularly known as the Seven Sisters Waterfall. This is a 315m high waterfall whose illumination during sunset conjures up vibrant colours. Take in the spectacular views of this seven-segmented waterfall and then proceed to the Khasi Monoliths, standing stones erected in the memory of respected Khasi ancestors. They can be found near the Maswmai Falls.


A flower at Thangkharang Park
A flower at Thangkharang ParkPicPoint Studio/Shutterstock.com

Spend your final evening at Thangkharang Park or at one of the various viewpoints scattered around Cherrapunjee to witness the gloaming and night come on. The park has an assortment of plants and trees, a charming green house, a fountain, and two strategically positioned viewpoints which offer captivating vistas of the Khoh Ramhah rock formation.

Where To Stay

The Polo Orchid Resort and Jiva Resort offer high-end stays in Cherrapunjee. The Coniferous Hotel and La Kupar Inn are budget-friendly accommodations. There are a variety of homestays available in town like the Goshen Homestay and the Aisha Guesthouse.

Getting There

Guwahati’s Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (167km) and Shillong Airport (79km) are closest by air to Cherrapunjee. Guwahati Railway Station is the nearest railhead. Hire a bus or taxi from these places to reach Sohra.

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