Cherrapunji in Meghalaya has several reasons to claim. It is the second wettest place on the planet and the only place in India to receive rain throughout the year. The town of Cherrapunji is nestled in the East Khasi Hills about 50 km southwest of state capital Shillong. The town is also known as Sohra and Churra.
Cherrapunji, which means ‘the land of oranges’, is at an elevation of 4290 ft. One can see the plains of Bangladesh from the cliffs of Cherrapunji. Cherrapunji held the record for the wettest place on earth. However, Mawsynram, also in Meghalaya, holds the distinction of being the wettest place. Cherrapunji receives a staggering 11,777 mm of rainfall annually.
Monsoon clouds which blow inland from the Bay of Bengal are stopped from moving further by the ridges of Cherrapunji. The town receives both south-west and north-east monsoon.
Despite receiving excess rain, the town faces acute water shortage and the locals have to travel great distances to get fresh water. Another fall out of the relentless rain is the soil erosion which has denuded land of Cherrapunji and the surrounding valleys.
Cherrapunji is also famous for its live bridges, a result of bio-engineering practised by the locals. The bridges can bear 50 people at a time and are spectacular to watch.
Besides, enjoying the rains, Cherrapunji is also a good place for trekking. The most popular trekking route is that leads to Double Decker Living Root bridge in Nongriat village. It is advisable to hire a guide on your treks. Other activities to do in Cherrapunji are river canyoning from Nongthymmai to Mynteng steel rope bridge. Rock climbing and camping can also be indulged in Cherrapunji.
In and Around
Double Decker Root Bridge
This bridge is amongst the premier attractions of Cherrapunji. It is situated in the Tyma Village and acts as the pride of successful bio-engineering. Basically, it is a 100 feet long, two-tier living root bridge. It gets across at least 50 people or more at one point of time. For such a bridge to become fully functional, a period of 10 to 15 years is required. The best quality about it is that it gets stronger everyday.
Located at a distance of 5 km from Cherrapunji, they act as perfect picnic spots, furnishing a pleasant drive full with scenic beauty to look around for, in order to reach here. Rangjyrthej is a village that lies near these falls that is worth a visit. There is an interesting legend associated with the falls. It is believed that people killed a huge snake living in the caves nearby this place and the natural rock carving made by the snake can still be seen.
Located in the east Khasi hills district in Cherrapunji, it was established by Meghalaya Government. It offers a breath taking view of Sylhet Plains of neighbouring Bangladesh. You will find several varieties of hybrid and indigenous orchids in the green house in the park.
Krem Phyllut Cave
This 1002 m long cave has 3 entrances and two river passages and is among the major attractions located towards the south of Cherrapunji in Mawsmai village.
Timings: 9 a.m to 4.30 p.m (All days open)
Krem Mawmluh Cave
It is just half a kilometer to west of Cherrapunji and is considered to be India’s forth longest cave located at a height of 4503 m. The main attractions of this cave include a pool formed by five rivers which are entering the cave and the main entrance which is at a height of 10 km above sea level.
Nongsawlia Presbyterian Church
This famous church was established by Rev. Thomas Jones in 1846 who brought Christianity in this region.
Seven Sisters/Nohkalikai Waterfalls
These waterfalls lie at a distance of 5 km from Cherrapunji. They are very popular as they have earned the title of being fourth highest waterfall in the world with a height of 1100 ft. The view of these waterfalls falling off a steep cliff is majestic especially during the monsoons.
It lies at a distance of 12 km from Cherrapunji. This park is directly under the control of the State forest department. This park overlooks the plains of Bangladesh, and provides a beautiful view of them. There is a nominal entry fee too.
Khoh Ramhah or the Basket of the Giant/Pillar rock
If you move a few kilometers ahead from Thangkharang Park, you will spot an enormous stone resembling a Khasi basket. Local people of Cherrapunji believe that a giant used to carry this huge stone and hence its name, Khoh Ramhah or the Basket of the Giant.
These waterfalls can be seen from the Thangkharang Park, as they are placed at an altitude of 1000 feet.
They lie at a distance of few km from Cherrapunji. They reach a height of 1035 feet and are supposed to be fourth highest in India.
The climatic conditions of the town of Cherrapunjee are pleasant and comfortable for most of the year. The place receives rainfall throughout the year and the most amount of rainfall is received during the monsoon season. The best time for visiting Cherrapunji would be from October to May.
How to Reach
Shillong (Umroi) airport is the nearest to Cherrapunji. Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya and is well connected to other major cities of the nation. Indian airlines run a 50 seater ATR German aircraft on this route.
Gopinath Bordoloi Airport in Guwahati is the nearest international airport to Cherrapunji.
There are flights from New Delhi or Kolkata to Guwahati. Flights from Kolkata operate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Guwahati acts as the nearest railhead to Cherrapunji. Although it lies at a distance of 181 km from this region, buss or taxis can be availed from the railway station. Guwahati railway station is well connected to the entire country and regular trains carry passengers to and from.
The state transport bus station lies in Paltan Bazaar, near Guwahati Railway Station. A tourist can catch Assam state and Meghalaya state transport buses to Shillong. Apart from this, there are many private luxury coach operators nearby, who also ply their buses. There is also the tourist taxi stand that provides tourist taxis up to Shillong.
States buses run frequently between Shillong and Cherrapunji. The tickets too are affordable.
The Shared Taxis currently charge Rs.150 per person, and take in 5 persons. Sumo Maxi Cabs charge Rs.90 to Rs.100 per person to Shillong, and take in 10 passengers
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort
Cherrapunjee 793108, India
Polo Orchid Resort
East Khasi Hills District,
Cherrapunjee 793108, India
Where to Eat
Cherrapunji is famous for its oranges. Apart from this, rice is the staple food of this region. Fish and meat are also consumed. Khasis also ferment rice-beer, and make spirit out of rice or millets by distillation. Use of rice-beer is a must for every ceremonial and religious occasion.
Sohra Thangkharang Road,
Saitsohpen Village, Sohra,
Drive in Cafeteria
Mawkdok, Cherrapunjee, India
Nangiai Kyrosi Restaurant
East Khasi Hills District,