Shillong Throwback – The Land of Lakes and Rock Music
Shillong the state capital of Meghalaya is often described as the land of mesmerizing waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, and lush green mountains. Being in the writing business, places such as these help me unwind and refocus amidst pristine unparalleled natural beauty.
It was an approximately 3 hours long drive (100-120 KM) from Guwahati, Assam to Shillong, with an intermediate stopover of around 20 minutes. The internet has bountiful of information on Shillong and its history. What I intend to present here is a simple picture blog that chronologically highlights our stay at this beautiful hill station. Honestly, I am not a professional photographer. Neither do I own elaborate camera equipment to add that divine X-factor to the shots. So, this blog predominantly is an honest (no filter) version of the city, the key attractions and the hotel where we stayed during our trip 4 years back.
The Habitat (Asian Confluence) @ Laimukhrai
We stayed at The Habitat (Asian Confluence) at Laimukhrai, right next to the famous Shillong Café. We generally choose our hotels with utmost care and considerable research. For obvious reasons though. After a long day, your hotel needs to be safe, clean and cozy serving good affordable food. The Habitat didn’t disappoint us by the slightest margin. With a vibrant colorful décor, antique furniture, an elaborate library, private dining and a quaint outdoor campus (garden), this hotel oozes out warmth. Look at the impeccably arranged corridors and lobby areas.
Let’s Call It the Library Hotel
The library definitely deserves a very special mention. Honestly, I have never witnessed such a well-stocked library in upper-mid-range hotels such as this. In fact, not too many hotels have a library at all. Look at the pictures below. The semi-lit corners, the calmness, and everything so neatly organized.
An Antique Charm All Around – Modernity Meets Elegance
The rooms were moderately spacious, with sufficient storage compartments and loads of complimentary snacks and toiletries. The bed, closets and other furniture had an antique charm. The wooden flooring and a tiny fireplace just add to the experience. Here are a few pictures.
The City Goes into a Slumber by 9 PM Max
Similar to most hill stations, dinner orders at the hotel closed at 8 PM. The city goes into a slumber by 9 PM max. So, people like myself who are comfortably acquainted with late-night metro life would find a disproportionate amount of ample free time post-dinner. On a regular day, I usually return back from work at 10 PM and have dinner at 11:30 PM.
Anyways, this was one vacation where I hadn’t carried my laptop. The broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity wasn’t particularly stable either. So, for a change, I watched television for 3 hours straight. That’s like my yearly quota of television time.
Christmas Festivities in Full Swing @ Police Bazaar
We visited Shillong during the Christmas week and the city was glittering in festivities. Police Bazaar happens to be the central market area in Shillong. The area seemed bustling with shops and hawkers selling woolens, socks and fancy shoes in particular. Shillong is particularly famous for its woolen garments. Thankfully, the Laimukhrai area, where we were staying was tucked away at a quieter corner of the city. Shared Taxis are the most prevalent and pocket-friendly way to move around the city. Though, I wouldn’t personally recommend opting for such shared arrangements to tourists. Rather, hire the taxi for yourself.
Hire a Local Taxi for The Usual and Regular Sightseeing @ Shillong
You can also hire these local taxis for sight-seeing trips in and around Shillong such as the Elephant Falls, Wards Lake, Shillong Peak, Don Bosco Museum, etc. The usual and regular spots. The Shillong Church, in particular, was breathtaking. The eerie silence, majestic campus, and soul-numbing serenity make this place truly magical.
Shillong offers an ample choice of great restaurants, bars, bakeries, cafes and street music. No doubt, the place is often hailed as the Rock Capital of India. The overall style quotient and fashion awareness are impressive here. From a cultural perspective, a strong western influence is evident here.
You could plan some great day trips centering around Shillong. The popular ones being Cherrapunjee, Mawsynram, Umiam Lake (Barapani Lake) etc. We didn’t quite manage to visit them all mostly owing to time constraints. We are covering these in separate blogs. Here are a few more pictures to keep you hooked.