I may be falling under a hometown bias here but there is no denying the charms of this small town. Once hailed as the ‘Scotland of the East’ by the British when they touched based upon this settlement, Shillong and all of its residents have long since embraced the inherent beauty.
Cosy, comfortable and quiet, this classic holiday location stands in firm contrast against the hustle and bustle of the some of the bigger cities of the country. So what are the parts that blend to create this wonderful whole?
The Blessings of Nature
Credit where it’s due: without its natural possessions, Shillong would not have one of the best ambiances of the country. With its mild, breezy summers and its deep winters, the area is enveloped by coolness throughout the year.
Furthermore, for those who enjoy activities associated with water, there are multiple destinations for their liking: from the pristine flurry of waterfalls at Elephant Falls, to the camping/fishing ground near Lake Barapani, to the haven of showers called Cherrapunji, Shillong will not let you down in terms of offering the best there is for a true aquatic enthusiast.
There is also a delightful boat ride in the middle of the town itself, at Lake Wards’. If you would like to see the panorama of the whole city, they could easily drive up the hill to the peak of Shillong.
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Dial M for Momos
If you’re a sensible foodie in this country, one can presume that you know all too well about the incomparable virtues of momos. A kind of dumpling native to Nepal, Momos has spread through the country as a reliable urban food. Its popularity is evident in the Shillong cuisine, which borrows elements from both its Bengali and East Asian population.
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Similarly, local Khasi food such as jadoh (rice and pork) and jhur kleh (mixed vegetables), pumaloi are delicacies that one must explore in restaurants such as Café Jadoh and Trattoria. In terms of fine dining, City Hut offers a pleasing environment, through yummy food and its warm décor, and has made its way to become a favourite for the locals.
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Rock Capital of India
Though some metropolitan cities have arguably overtaken Shillong in terms of music grandiosity, Shillong remains to be the birthplace of modern rock in India. From its electrifying array of music festivals, such as the Shillong Autumn Festival and Monolith Festival, to the spate of internationally-renowned bands it has nurtured like Soulmate and Aberrant, the passion for music with which this town is brimming continues to engage individuals of all ages.
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It’s also worth remembering that the nationally-acclaimed Shillong Chamber Choir was also founded in this town and their success affirms the emphasis being put on music in this town. Alongside the music, Shillong has become a landmark for other aspects of youth culture such as football, fine arts and media communications.
Cosiest Town in the Country
If someone was to casually stroll through their neighbourhood, they would at once absorb the cosiness this town exudes. Perhaps due to its chilly weather or the rolling hills with its tiny, adorable colourful houses, the warmth I am referring to can only be felt through essence.
The meandering pathways, the confounding stairwells that bridge the steepness of the hills, the spilling hedgerows and moss shading over many gates and walls, the friendly people who seem to have an answer for all your questions—this essence is perhaps the most irreplaceable element of the town.