Shillong and Cherrapunji are some of the most beautiful hill stations in the world, and since they’re only 53 kilometers away from one another, there is no living tourist headed their way who will explore one without exploring the other. The story of Shillong is the story of Cherrapunji at the same time, but it’s also one of the numerous breathtaking sights scattered in close proximity. Together, they go by the name of Sohra.
The best time to visit, speaking in terms of leisure activities would be sometime between September and May when the weather is steady and pleasant. There might be some occasional rain, but that’s nothing compared to the monsoons season that reigns between June and August.
Wheather in Shillong and Cherrapunji
Sohra already carries the title of the rainiest place on earth, and heavy rainfalls during this monsoon season can make the exploration of touristic attractions a bit inconvenient. On the other hand, when monsoons reach their peak, they can truly bring this scenic paradise to life – waterfalls, ponds, lakes, and breathtaking lush greenery.
Due to their high altitude and numerous hills around, these destinations might seem primarily adventurous. But mysterious fogs and lovely waterfalls during monsoon season also carry a strong sense of romance, while the landscape during winter is the one of peace and tranquility.
This means that every season offers its own wonders to feast your eyes upon, and the term ʽpleasant weatherʼ mainly depends on the character and mood of each individual. So the best time to visit Shillong and Cherrapunji is determined by the type and nature of the experience you’re looking for. That’s why we’ve put together a list of what makes each season special, including best sights and activities so you can achieve the right personal experience when planning a visit.
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The Ideal Time of Year for Visiting Shillong and Cherrapunji
We’ll start our list with a lovely mild summer, which stretches between March and June. With the lowest temperature of 59°F and the highest at 75°F, the weather is quite pleasant for both adventure activities and sightseeing. This fairly cool season can make hill explorations very enjoyable since the ambiance is calming, the air crisp, and there’s a lush green carpet covering the terrain. The possible light rainfalls will only sprinkle your experience with charming delight. If you visit in April, you’ll also have an opportunity to partake in the local Thanksgiving festival called Shad Suk Mynsiem and enjoy the atmosphere of traditional dance and music.
If you want to soak up the exotic beauty at its peak, then the monsoon season is the right choice. Ranging from June to September, this season offers the natural blue and green shades of the lakes and all the waterfalls are giving their roaring best. It is a time of year filled with average to heavy rainfalls, the temperature hovering between 53°F and 60°F. With the annual rainfall of around 3 300 mm, the region shows its beauty through gorgeous rain-washed vistas.
If you’re looking for reasonable hotel prices, then July is the best month to visit since it’s the wettest one and therefore not very popular among the tourists. This month also carries another traditional local festival of the Jainita tribe called Behdienkhlam so it’s also an opportunity to witness offerings and rituals of tribal people as they’re chasing away the Plague.
October is an overture to winter – the weather begins to cool down and rainfalls stop, which makes daytime perfect for hill explorations if you want to stay away from the scorching heat and heavy rains. As the winter starts setting in from November, the temperatures can go as low as 35°F, so you better prepare enough woolens, especially for the evenings. Despite this quite cold weather, the winter scenery is exceptionally beautiful, tranquil and romantic at the same time, making the destinations particularly popular among honeymooners.
Winter is by no means the end of outdoor activities, and the biggest proof is that this season is crawling with local festivals. The Autumn Festival, which takes place in October or November, is a colorful event famous on a global level for its concert activities, cultural programs, and entertainment. Around the same time, there’s also The Nongrem Dance Festival, a celebration of good harvest, peace, and prosperity. February is reserved for the celebration of fertility through the Wangala Festival. There’s no doubt that wintertime is a time to rejoice, full of rituals and colorful traditional accessories and attires.
Best Things to See and Do in Shillong and Cherrapunji
The sights and activities scattered all over the region at any given moment are another proof that there’s no such thing as the best time to visit Shillong and Cherrapunji. With the exception of the above-mentioned festivals which are tied to particular seasons, most of the things to do are available throughout the year. So, no matter what season you prefer, there are plenty of destinations and trip ideas to go around.
When it comes to pure fun without seasonal boundaries, this is definitely a horse-shoe shaped lake called Wards Lake. The place literally breathes with serenity so it’s one of the most popular hangouts that doesn’t have any age boundaries as well. All of its fun activities such as boating and fountain dancing can be indulged at any time of the year.
If you’re looking for perfect ambiance to unwind, the Umiam Lake (meaning the lake of tears) is the spot where the beauty of nature can completely soothe one’s mind. It is a man-made area of 221 square kilometers and it’s been charming the visitors for years on end. Another gift from the locals to travelers who are in pursuit of peace and tranquility is the Mawkdok Dympep Valley. More precisely its view, since it’s a gorgeous viewpoint you can’t miss when traveling from Shillong to Cherrapunji.
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This area is crawling with deep caves and wild waterfalls, so it’s a heaven for adventurers. When it comes to waterfalls, you certainly can’t miss seeing the fourth largest one in India called the Seven Sisters Waterfall (also known as Mawsmai or Nohsngithianf Falls). Mawsmai is also home to the fourth longest cave in the Indian subcontinent. Numerous hiking trails are equally adventurous, especially when you come across the living root bridges that are 150 years old and known in the world as man-made natural wonders.
To experience the full diversity of this region, you should visit the place that reflects its biodiversity – the Lady Hydari Park. It’s designed in Japanese style and its Mini Zoo combines lush green flower gardens and a variety of exotical animals such as Jackalls, Hornbills, and Himalayan Black Bears. If you’re willing to travel 130 kilometers from Cherrapunji, you’ll also be able to see a rare species of Red Panda in the Nokrek National Park.
In the end, the Don Bosco Museum is the best place to put together everything you’ve seen during festivals since its wide collection of artifacts offers an in-depth understanding of tribal heritage and culture.
As you can see, the best time to visit Shillong and Cherrapunji completely depends on your character, current mood, and personal preferences. With every season offering its own unique beauty and an astonishing range of sights and activities, there is room for a variety of different experiences. Like any other natural and somewhat mysterious wonder, this region is best explored by following the concept ʽto each his own adventureʼ.