Table of Contents
- About Cherrapunji
- Things to do in Cherrapunji
- How to plan a trip to Cherrapunji
- Hotels and Resorts in Cherrapunji
Cherrapunji, locally called Sohra, is a small, subdivisional town in the East Khasi Hills district, in southeastern Meghalaya. Once hailed as the wettest place on Earth, the town is famous for its rich flora and fauna, and other natural wonders that are endemic only to this part of the country. With misty valleys, gushing waterfalls, and a perpetual lush environment, makes Cherrapunji the perfect place to unwind or connect with nature. And if you love long drives and exciting road trips through winding roads with views, then this is the place to be.
With our Cherrapunji travel guide, you can discover the real charm of this exquisite locale in Meghalaya –
The town of Cherrapunji is located in the East Khasi Hills district, on the Shillong Plateau about 54KM from the state capital of Shillong, 15KM from Mawsynram, and 146KM from Guwahati.
Cherrapunji experiences a subtropical highland climate. Summers are warm but wet, while winters are dry and chilly. The weather of Cherrapunji is mostly comfortable throughout the year, with the air always being moisture-heavy. Rainfall is the most prominent feature of the local climate and the town receives excessive rainfall, almost throughout the year. Sometimes, the rainfall in Cherrapunji can cause heavy soil erosion and thus, landslides.
The history of Cherrapunji is connected to the history of the Khasi people, who have been the native inhabitants of the region for centuries. Although very little is known about their origin and history, some records prove that the tribes lived under the rules of their chieftains, or Syiems of Khyriem in the Khasi Hills until the 18th century. In 1827, they had their first contact with the British East India Company, when the company planned to build road systems connecting Bengal to Assam (undivided). After the last Khasi Syiem surrendered in 1883, the region remained under colonial rule, until India’s independence. The original name of the town was Sohra, anglicized by the British as Cherra, which evolved into its modern name, Cherrapunji, meaning “land of oranges.”
Cherrapunji sits on the Shillong Plateau, on the southern part of the Khasi Hills, where the plateau rises about 2100 Ft above the surrounding valleys. The highest elevation of the town is 4690 feet. The valleys of Cherrapunji are covered with lush forests, comprising diverse vegetation, and numerous endemic species of plants, insects, and birds, which make up the entire biosphere of the Meghalaya subtropical forests.
Cherrapunji was once known for having the highest average annual rainfall in the world, with 11,430 mm of rain. Between 1860 and 1861, the town had the greatest recorded single-year rainfall with 26,467mm of rain. But post-1985, Mawsynram holds the title of “the wettest place on Earth” with a record for the most rainfall in a year, crossing 12000mm of rain.
Things to do in Cherrapunji
If you love outdoor adventures or are simply a nature-lover, then Cherrapunji has a lot of activities in store for you –
Offbeat things to do in Cherrapunji
- There are some interesting living root bridges around the villages near Cherrapunji, like the Umshiang root bridge, Mawsaw root bridge, Ritymmen root bridge, and the Double Decker woot bridge at Nongriat village, each of which is a unique thing to see and experience.
- Live in the “cleanest village of Asia” in Mawlynnong which is picture-perfect with endless greenery, sparkling lakes, and fresh, unpolluted air.
Things to do in Cherrapunji at night
Cherrapunji doesn’t have much nightlife. However, there are a few bars and restaurants frequented by tourists. You can also shop for locally handcrafted goods made of cane and bamboo, or buy orange flower honey, spices and Meghalaya tea.
Things to do in Cherrapunji for couples
- Go boating on the Umngot Lake in Dawki.
- Spend a day at the Seven Sister Falls or Mawsmai Falls.
- Take a romantic walk on the Double Decker Root Bridge.
Things to do in Cherrapunji with friends
Try boating, kayaking, canoeing, ziplining, spelunking, and more at the water bodies and ancient caves.
Cherrapunji’s rainfall feeds some of the most striking waterfalls you’ll ever see. The Wakaba Falls, Dainthlen Waterfall, Mawsmai Falls, Nohsngithiang Falls, and the Seven Sister Falls are all surrounded by rugged terrain and offer ample opportunities for treks and hikes.
Places to visit in Cherrapunji
Check out these popular Cherrapunji tourist places for a wholesome trip –
- Umshiang Double Decker Living Root Bridge – The most striking feature of Cherrapunji’s natural landscape, this 3KM long bridge, at 2400 feet is a magnificent mix of nature and ancient engineering. The 200-year-old bridge sits over the Umshiang River and is a popular site for hiking and trekking.
- Entry Fee– Free
- Nonkalikai Falls – Also known as the Seven Sister Falls, this is the most famous Cherrapunji waterfall and features a series of seven falls. The tallest in the country and the fourth-highest in the world, the roaring cascades drop from 1000 feet and create a misty drape on the surface, surrounded by thick blankets of greenery.
- Entry Fee– INR 10
- Mawsmai Caves – This ancient cave system is made of limestones and is a breathtaking maze spanning 150 meters, tucked within the East Khasi Hills. Also visit the gorgeous Mawsmai Falls, about 1KM away.
- Entry Fee- INR 10, INR 15 for camera
- Khasi Monoliths – Located near the Mawsmai Falls, these monoliths portray the Khasi traditions of honouring their ancestors and feature underground mazes and ancient caves.
- Entry Fee – Free
- Mawsynram – Currently the wettest place on Earth, this picturesque town boasts perennial streams and waterfalls, ancient caves, and endless greenery, and is a must-visit place near Cherrapunji.
- Entry Fee– NA
- Mawkdok Dympep Valley View – A viewing point overlooking the steep valleys and mist-laden hills, this site marks the beginning of the Sohra tourism circuit.
- Entry Fee– Free
- Krem Phyllut – A major tourist attraction, these naturally-formed caves feature unique limestone formations and have two rivers flowing through them.
- Entry Fee– Free
- Mawsmai Eco-Park – The state-run park features exotic varieties of orchids, among other plants, and offers panoramic views of the canyons of Cherrapunji as well as the Sylhet plains of Bangladesh. This place is perfect for picnics, nature walks, and photography.
- Entry Fee – NA
Places to visit near Cherrapunji
Apart from your local Cherrapunji sightseeing, you can also visit other places nearby. Check out these equally scenic locales near Cherrapunji –
- Nokrek National Park – Located in Tura, this natural reserve houses many rare and endangered species of plants and animals, including the red panda, Asian elephant, tiger, marbled cat, and pig-tailed macaque.
- Entry Fee– INR 40
- Dawki – A quiet town in southern Meghalaya, Dawki is most famous for the crystal waters of Umngot Lake, where you can do boating, kayaking, or swimming. The bordering Jaintia and Khasi Hills are popular trekking zones.
- Entry Fee– Free
- Mawlynnong – Declared as “Asia’s cleanest village” by Discovery Channel in 2003, Mawlynnong sleepy little village showcases the most picture-perfect landscape and natural beauty with lush valleys, crystal clear rivers, and orchids lining the clean roads.
- Entry Fee– Free
- Shillong – The state capital, Shillong is a hub of art, culture, food, and commercial activities of Meghalaya. You can walk the city’s food trail, and visit the local monuments and museums, lakes, and waterfalls.
- Entry Fee– NA
Places to eat in Cherrapunji
Check out these popular eateries in Cherrapunji to sample the local flavours –
- D Cloud Restaurant
- Golden Spoon Dhaba
- Jiva Grill
- Bynardi Café
- Orange Roots
- Pals & Fam Restaurant
- Rain Café
How to Plan a Trip to Cherrapunji
You can also plan your personalized Cherrapunji trip by selecting the mode of transport, the route, and more. Let us help you with the travel options to Cherrapunji for a better idea –
How to reach
There is no railway station in Cherrapunji town. The nearest railway junction is in Guwahati, about 145KM away. Guwahati is well-connected by trains to major cities and towns across the northeastern states, as well as other metro cities of India.
Cherrapunji is well-connected to the rest of Meghalaya and neighbouring states via NH206 and NH106. There are state-run and private buses from Shillong, Guwahati, Tura, Haflong, etc. But the best way to travel to Cherrapunji is to book an outstation cab from Shillong or Guwahati and enjoy a scenic road trip.
There is no flight service to Cherrapunji. The nearest airport is Shillong Airport in Umroi, about 80KM away. There are flights available from Kolkata, Siliguri, Guwahati, Agartala, Dimapur, and Imphal, as well as all metro cities and major towns across India.
Best time to visit
Since Cherrapunji remains pleasant all year round, you can visit any time. But the best season to visit is winter or early summer, that is, between October to February or latest by April. During the rainy season, the waterfalls assume more scenic views but heavy rainfall can cause landslides and roadblocks, so it’s advisable to avoid peak monsoon.
Hotels and Resorts in Cherrapunji
Here are some of the best-rated places to stay in Cherrapunji –
- Jiva Resort
- Polo Orchid Resort
- Hillscape Guesthouse
- Cherrapunji Holiday Resort
- Smoky Falls Mae Fi Resort
- The Rustic Cottage Homestay
- Kutmadan Resort