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Scotland of the East beckons this summer

Moving to a new city is always hard, and with the mercury rising in Mumbai, I really miss the cool climes of my hometown, Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, which means 'Abode of the Clouds' in Hindi and Sanskrit.

The city's cool climate and abundant natural beauty has led to it being dubbed the Scotland of the East. The British as early as 1864 made this charming hill station the summer capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for many years.

The city itself has numerous tourists spots, most of them ideal for picnics, trekking and adventure. This is also one of the few hill stations with motorable roads all around. Shared taxies are easily available in and around town.

Airfare for Rs 100 and less!

Starting off

The fun starts even before you reach Shillong. The two-and-a-half-hour drive from Guwahati (110 kms), the nearest railhead and airport, takes you through scenic views of lush greenery and sparkling brooks.

As you slowly ascend the gentle undulating road, you will see paddy fields, terraced farming and roadside eateries, usually run by the local people.

A brief halt at Nongpoh for snacks and then it's off to Shillong. On the way you will come across the Umiam Lake or Barapani as it is popularly known, spread across many square kilometers. Shillong is about 16 km from here. Just a stone's throw away from the lake is the Nehru Park and an aquatic sports complex. The Orchid Lake Resort is close to the lake for those who want to stop here for the night.

Text: Georgina Umdor | Photographs: E M Jose
Also read: A tourist's Kashmir diary

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