Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya, Cherrapunjee Travel Guide, Cherrapunjee Tiurist Attractions, Cherrapunjee Tourist places, Cherrapunjee Tourist Spots, Cherrapunjee Tourist Locations, Cherrapunjee Tours and Travels, Cherrapunjee Tourism

Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya - Cherrapunjee Tourism
Cherrapunjee is locally and officially also known as Sohra. It is situated at a distance of 56 kms from Shillong. It is a “must see” destination for all tourists.

Cherrapunjee receives the highest rainfall in the country. The average rainfall is about 12,000 mm a year and the record for a single day was 2455 mm recorded in 1974 confirming it as the “Wettest place on Earth”. The wet town of Cherrapunji is located 4,500 feet above sea level. This is a place with ever-lasting beauty. The Mawsmai Falls are located very close to Cherrapunji and it is the 4th highest waterfall in India. They are located at a height of 1035 feet.
High above misty valleys and foaming rivers, ensconced in swirling clouds and perched on an escarpment, lies this extraordinary place of breathtaking beauty. A stunning location which earned Cherrapunji coveted entry long ago into the Guinness Book of World Records as the wettest place on earth, the place of heaviest rain where the rainfall can be recorded in feet rather than in millimetres.

Today, climatic changes have edged Cherrapunji out of the topmost ‘wet’ slot, but it still retains its pristine beauty, its unusual facets, the perpetual clouds, the perpetual mists…. Appropriately, Cherrapunji lies in the heart of the State of Meghalaya – the Abode of Clouds.
Today, Cherrapunji is perhaps the only place in India which has just one season: the monsoon – but a hundred moods, a hundred faces. The rainfall varies from heavy to medium to light, but there is no month without rain. And here Cherrapunji has another surprise in store: it rains mostly at night. Day to day activity is not really disrupted by the rain, and this factor, coupled with the altitude (approximately 4500 feet above sea level) and sheer beauty of Cherrapunji probably played a part when the British decided to establish their administrative headquarters at the wettest place on earth.

Spacious and elegant, colonial homes and buildings continue to lend a distinctive touch of nostalgia to Cherrapunji, a reminder of the glorious, golden days full of enterprise, full of fun. In 1874, the headquarters were transferred to Shillong, 58 kilometres from Cherrapunji. And yet today, more than a century later, Cherrapunji with its reputed educational institutions is still a bustling centre for people from each of the states of the North-East.
And as in days gone by, the faces of Cherrapunji change not with the Cherrapunji change not with the seasons, but with the pattern of rainfall. The heaviest downpours span approximately five long months – from May till September. The clouds then are dark and menacing, full blown with rain which descends earthwards with the stinging force of a whiplash.

Throughout these months, Cherrapunji is transformed into a sea of tiny, gushing rivulets when it rains. The raindrops beat incessantly on rooftops and treetops creating a compelling tattoo of awesome sounds which cannot be savoured anywhere else but in the North-Eastern states. These are also the ‘record-making’ months which contribute to records such as the stunning 22987 millimetres of rainfall in 1861. The annual average rainfall of Cherrapunji stands today at 10871 millimetres. Barely 10 kilometres from Cherrapunji stands the village of Mawsynram which has snatched away the heaviest rainfall record, with 12163 millimetres of rainfall.
With the passage of September, the rhythm of the rain – its main force spent – changes to a gentle patter. And the Khasis and other residents of Cherrapunji, the flora and the fauna respond to the change in the Rain God’s mood. Soft pastel shades begin to appear in skies that were grey al day and rainbows that are a photographer’s delight begin to make unexpected guest appearances.

Live living beings, the clouds still hold on to their right of unrestricted entry into homes. At about three in the afternoon, I was startled to find a cloud trying to enter through the closed window. Excited, I flung open the window, and the cloud entered like a wraith, wandered round the room, and then went out through the door to rejoin a sea of clouds billowing in the near distance. As the months move on, the smell of decaying vegetation lessens as the showers become intermittent. New plants spring to life, and people go about their tasks with renewed energy.
Strangely – and this is the first in the series of surprises that Cherrapunji springs – the hills around do not have the lush green vegetation one normally associates with wet places. The vegetative cover in the form of dense woods appear in patches and constitute yet another marvelous surprise: the richness and variety of the flora in these ‘zones’ has to be seen to be believed. An amazing variety of rare orchids, ferns and moss convert each pocket into a botanist’s paradise.

The home of enterprising Khasi clans, Cherrapunji’s place in the Guinness Book of Records is not its only claim to fame. Along with falls lesser in height but no less alluring, the spectacular, cascading 1035 feet high Mawsmai Falls – the fourth highest in India – lie just a few kilometres beyond Cherrapunji.

Close by is situated a fascinating labyrinth of underground passages beneath age old caves – a veritable dream for amateur explorers. Elsewhere around Cherrapunji, Khasi monoliths (stones in memory of there ancestors) lie dotted around – a vague reminder of the forests of Bastar.

Cherrapunji’s link to Central India is actually rooted more in fact rather than imagination. If you consider the oranges of Nagpur in Central India the best in the country, you’ll soon revise your opinion after tasting the oranges of Cherrapunji which are the ancestors of the famous Nagpur oranges. The pineapples of Cherrapunji’s are of as good a quality as its oranges.

Amidst all the surprises of Cherrapunji, perhaps the most abiding is the startling realization that the wettest place on earth where it rains every month also has an amazing amount of warm sunshine. The contrasts are so sharp – and so pleasing. Soft clouds hovering over a stony precipice. When the clouds drift away, there are a series of memorable views, and one can see as far as Bangladesh. Orchids blooming a few feet away form a patch devoid of vegetation. Dense woods interspersed by rocky, cliffs furrowed by erosion. The Khasis moving gingerly towards modernity without relinquishing traditions such as ancestor worship and their skills with the bow and arrows…The vignettes of Cherrapunji go far beyond its fame as the wettest place on earth.


Cherrapunji is 58 kilometres from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. A steep motorable road, almost perpetually bathed in mist as it climbs upwards on the last lap, leads up to Cherrapunji. Buses and taxis ply to Cherrapunji from Shillong.

If you don’t want to make Shillong your base, Cherrapunji has fairly comfortable private hotels. Staying at the Circuit House and the Dak Bungalow require prior permission from the administration.

Tags: Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya, Cherrapunjee Travel Guide, Cherrapunjee Tiurist Attractions, Cherrapunjee Tourist places, Cherrapunjee Tourist Spots, Cherrapunjee Tourist Locations, Cherrapunjee Tours and Travels, Cherrapunjee Tourism

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