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SOHRA
Beginning | Position | Route | Excursions | Delicacies | Stay


The Beginning

Cherrapunjee or Sohra, as it is known locally is a town in East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. It is credited as being the wettest place on earth. It is the traditional capital of a hima (Khasi tribal chieftainship constituting a petty state) known as Sohra or Chur()ra.

The old Sohra became Cherrapunji in the early 19th century when the British rulers entered Northeast India via Sylhet plains in the then East Bengal. They set up their first headquarters in north east India at Sohra as it was well connected with Sylhet plains.  The word 'punjee;, a Bengali term to refer to cluster of villages in the area was later suffixed to Cherra (as pronounced by the British) by the people coming from plains. The local tribal population, however, continued to call it Sohra.

Cherrapunji , the pristine land with ever-lasting beauty, is perhaps the only place in India, which has just one season - the monsoon. The rainfall varies from heavy to medium to light, but there is no month without rain. Another surprising fact about Cherrapunji Meghalaya is that, it rains mostly at night. Day-to-day activity does not really get disrupted by the rain.

 

 

The Position

High above the hazy valleys and foaming rivers, hidden in the rolling clouds and perched on an headland, lies Cherrapunji, 4,500 ft above the sea level. Cherrapunji in the north eastern state of Meghalaya is a spectacular location with the year-round rain.


Route to Reach

The most convenient railhead and airport for most travellers would be Guwahati, in the state of Assam, where many trains and flights are bound from Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore.

Pawan Hans has provided a Dauphin helicopter to Govt. of Meghalaya for running regular passenger services on Guwahati- Shillong - Tura sector. After reaching Shillong, you can take a bus or taxi to Cherrapunji.

By Road :
Cherrapunji is 60 km from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. A steep motorable road, are available, which leads up to Cherrapunji. Buses and taxis ply to Cherrapunji from Shillong.

 



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The original name for this town was Sohra, pronounced as "Churra" by the British before morphing intoCherrapunji.Now the Meghalaya State government has renamed Cherrapunjee to its local name "Sohra".

Rainfall in Sohra

It holds two Guinness world records:

For receiving the maximum amount of rainfall in a single year: 22,987 mm (904.9 inches) of rainfall between August 1860 and July 1861.

For receiving the maximum amount of rainfall in a single month: 9299.96 mm (366.14 inches) in July 1861.

Cause of high Rainfall

Cherrapunji receives both the Southwest and Northeast monsoon showers which give it a single monsoon season. The major part of the rainfall at Cherrapunjee can be attributed to the orographic features. When the clouds are blown over the hills from the south, they are funneled through the valley. The clouds strike Cherrapunjee in a perpendicular direction and the low flying clouds are pushed up the steep slopes. It is not surprising to find that the heaviest rainfalls occur when the winds blow directly on the Khasi Hills.

Excursions in Sohra

Mawsmai Falls: The alluring, the spectacular, cascading 1,035-ft-high Mawsmai Falls - the 4th highest in India, lie just a few kilometers beyond Cherrapunji.

Khasi monoliths: Close by is located a beautiful labyrinth of underground passages beneath age-old caves. This the must visit place for amateur and experienced explorers. Elsewhere around Cherrapunji, Khasi monoliths (stones in memory of their ancestors) lie scattered around.

Noh Kalikai Falls: Noh Kalikai Falls is located few kilometers to the west of Sohra (Cherrapunji).It is a clear bubbling stream emerges from its steep mountain bed to hurl down a rocky precipice into a deep gorge creating a captivating view of breathtaking beauty. The cascading waterfall compares favourably with the well known Job Falls of South India.One of the most striking waterfalls and undoubtedly the highest in Meghalaya.

Krem mawmluh: The krem mawmluh cave is located about half a km west of Cherrapunji adjacent to the small hamlet of Mawmluh. The cave interestingly has a five-river way with impressive proportions. With a length of 4503 m, this cave is at present and it is the 4th longest cave in the Indian sub continent.

Mawsmai Cave: It is Situated in village Mawsmai to the south of Cherrapunjee.This cave has a large section of fossil passage, two stream ways and three entrances. The length of the cave is 1003 m.The illuminated cave provide tourist an experience of caving.

Mawsynarm: 56kms from Shillong it is known for the giant stalagmite formation shaped into a Shivallinga called locally as Mawlymbun.

Dawki: 96 kms from Shillong is a border town, where one can have a glimpse of the neighbouring country of Bangladesh. The colorful annual boat race during spring at the Umgot river is an added attraction. An eye catching motorable suspension bridge spans the Dawkiriver connecting Khasi and Jaintia Hills.

Dain-Thlen Falls: Just before reaching Cherrapunjee a road to the right leads one to the falls which is 5 kms. away. Daiñ Thlen means cutting of the Thlen (a serpent monster).

Thangkharang Park: It offers a panoramic view of the sleep cliffs and the Kynrem falls.

Khoh Ramhah: The “Giants Basket” also known as “Motrop” is an imposing single formation in a shape of a giant cone.

Living root Bridge: Located at the Laitkynsew and Nongriat villages.

Some Amazing Views and Specialities
There are a series of memorable views, and one can see as far as Bangladesh. Orchids blooming a few feet away form a belt lacking of vegetation. The place exhibits a dense woods interspersed by rocky, cliffs broken by erosion.The heavy rainfall has sculptured many rock formations, imposing cliffs and waterfalls all over the southern slopes.

An amazing variety of rare orchids, ferns, and moss convert each sector into a botanist's paradise. Cherrapunji produces the best quality of oranges as well as pineapples.

Where to Stay

Cherrapunji has several comfortable private hotels. Staying at the Circuit House and the Dak Bungalow require prior permission from the administration.

Conclusion

Cherrapunjee, locally and officially known as Sohra, is a “must see” destination for all tourists. 56 kms form Shillong, situated in one of the rainiest rain-belts in the world, 1,300 meters above sea level. A pleasant drive to see roaring waterfall leaping into deep gorges, including the famed Nohsngthiang falls.The lovely town is also famous for its limestone caves and orange honey.Centre of Khasi culture and literature, it also has the oldest Presbyterian Church and also an establishment of the Ramkrishna Mission.

 
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