Cherrapunji, also known as Sohra, is a small town in Meghalaya, India. Around 450 inches (11,430 mm) of rainfall per year are expected in Cherrapunji, making it one of the world’s rainiest areas. Approximately 450 inches (11,430 mm) of rainfall per year are scheduled in Cherrapunji, making it one of the world’s rainiest areas. Despite the constant rain, it has a diverse and flourishing ecosystem with lush forests, deep gorges, and numerous waterfalls that attract nature lovers. It is located in the Khasi Hills, 56 kilometers southwest of Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong, and experiences a subtropical highland climate.
The natural wonders
Cherrapunji is rich in biodiversity, with endemic plant and animal species like the Fishtail Palm, the Himalayan Flying Squirrel, and the Clouded Leopard. The town is famous for the Living Root Bridges created by training the roots of the Ficus elastica tree to grow over rivers. These bridges take decades to grow and can support the weight of over 50 people at a time. Unique flora and fauna are only found in this area, like the Khadia tree, Orange-bellied Himalayan Squirrel, and Khasi Pine. The town is also known for its colorful and fragrant Rhododendron flowers.
Exploring the caves in Cherrapunji
Cherrapunji is home to fascinating caves, including the well-known Mawsmai Cave and the Arwah, Krem Phyllut, and Krem Mawmluh Caves. Visitors to these caves should take precautions as they can be dark, slippery, and have uneven surfaces. Comfortable shoes with good grip and a flashlight are recommended, along with following the instructions of a tour guide.
Witnessing the waterfalls
Cherrapunji boasts some of India’s most stunning waterfalls, such as the Nohkalikai Falls, Seven Sisters Falls, and Dainthlen Falls. The Nohkalikai Falls is the country’s tallest plunge waterfall, dropping 335 meters. Visitors must exercise caution around the slippery rocks and respect the environment by not littering or causing harm. It’s recommended to wear sturdy shoes, bring snacks and water, and hire a guide for a safe and enjoyable experience.
The cultural significance
Cherrapunji is a diverse land with various traditions, cultures, and communities. The Khasi tribe is the predominant ethnic group in the area, with a unique matrilineal system where family lineage is traced through the mother’s side. Music and dance are significant in the Khasi culture, with the Shad Suk Mynsiem being the most famous dance form. Several festive events are hosted, including Behdienkhlam, Lahoo Dance, Wangala, and Durga Puja festivals, allowing visitors to experience the region’s cultural heritage. The Khasi people are known for their warm hospitality and welcome visitors with open arms.
Tips for planning your visit
Cherrapunji is a popular and stunning destination in India that receives yearly rainfall. The ideal time to visit is between October and May, during which visitors can enjoy the region’s natural beauty. The smart move is to have warm clothing and rain gear with you. Accommodation options range from budget to luxury hotels, and visitors can stay in homestays with local families for an immersive cultural experience. The local Khasi cuisine is a must-try, but Indian and international cuisine is also available. Cherrapunji offers a variety of activities, from living root bridges to waterfalls and caves. Plan, pack accordingly, and enjoy this fantastic destination to the fullest!