The term Meghalaya translates to the ‘dwelling of the mist,’ as this state is abundantly blessed with awe-inspiring clouds and other gifts of nature, such as enchanting waterfalls and picturesque mountains. Alongside these wonders, Meghalaya is also home to some remarkable National Parks.
Meghalaya boasts numerous sanctuaries and top-tier National Parks that not only preserve nature but also offer an exhilarating experience to visitors. These Meghalaya National Parks are renowned worldwide for showcasing a diverse range of rare flora and fauna, as well as a variety of orchids, exotic fruits, and vegetables, along with medicinal plants.
Due to its status as the region with the highest amount of rainfall in the entire country, Meghalaya enjoys a rich, green environment and stunning waterfalls. The state’s top attractions include magnificent waterfalls, scenic hills, captivating caves, and wildlife sanctuaries.
5 Exceptional National Parks in Meghalaya
If you have a deep passion for wildlife and nature, these National Parks in Meghalaya should be at the top of your must-visit list. Offering breathtaking hills, caves, waterfalls, and more, these parks promise an unforgettable experience.
1. Nokrek National Park
Located approximately 45 kilometers away from the city of Tura in the Garo hills, Nokrek National Park is famous for being home to the rare Hollock Gibbons species. The park also boasts a significant population of wild elephants and is known as the habitat of the ‘ape-man,’ who frequently visits the area. Besides its impressive fauna, the park features a rich variety of useful plants indigenous to the region. Visitors can explore well-maintained forest tracks and discover beautiful ancient limestone caves within the park.
Entry fee: The entry fee is Rs. 40 per person.Location: West Garo hills district, Meghalaya, IndiaBest time to visit: October to May. The park is open throughout the year.Top attractions near the park: Simsang waterfalls, Wachi Falls, Nokrek Maidan, The Garo Hills, Limestone Siju Caves, Rongbang Dare Waterfalls
2. Balpakram National Park
Balpakram National Park is renowned for its significant archaeological and geological value. This park serves as the breeding ground for leopards, langurs, boars, and the rare golden cat. Additionally, it is known for being home to the unique red panda. The term ‘balpakram’ translates to ‘a place where perpetual winds blow,’ emphasizing the unique weather conditions in this area. The park is located approximately 167 kilometers from Tura.
Entry fee: There is no entry fee.Location: Tura, Meghalaya, IndiaTiming: Open from 7 AM to 6 PMBest time to visit: Between October to March
3. Siju Bird Sanctuary
Located in Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, the mesmerizing Siju Bird Sanctuary lies adjacent to the Simsang river. This sanctuary offers a captivating sight of various rare and endangered bird species, such as the Siberian ducks. It is truly a one-of-a-kind sanctuary dedicated solely to the conservation of these majestic creatures. Moreover, the sanctuary is home to other remarkable birds like the grey hornbill and peacock pheasant.
When it comes to visiting the Siju Bird Sanctuary, the entry fee varies based on nationality. Located in the South Garo hills district of Meghalaya, India, this sanctuary is best explored during the onset of winter. Additionally, the park’s top attractions include the Garo Hills, Nokrek Biosphere Reserve, and Balpakram National Park.
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Now, let’s move on to the Nongkhyllem Sanctuary, which spans approximately 29 square kilometers in the Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya. This sanctuary serves as a breeding ground for various rare species of reptiles, animals, birds, and other fauna. Bengal tigers, black bears, leopards, and fascinating birds such as the necked hornbill and brown hornbill can be seen here, creating an enriching experience.
If you’re into bird watching, the Nongkhyllem Sanctuary is an ideal destination. It is situated in the West Garo hills district of Meghalaya, India, and the best time to visit is in March or April. Don’t miss the chance to explore the nearby Umiam Lake as well!
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Moving forward, the Baghmara Reserve Forest awaits your visit. Situated in the South Garo Hills, near the town of Baghmara, this forest boasts a rich variety of flora and fauna. Here, you can witness magnificent wild elephants, langurs, unique pitcher plants, and vibrant wild flowers. Moreover, you’ll have the opportunity to observe the Garo community and their distinctive way of life.
The Baghmara Reserve Forest is open from sunrise to sunset, and it’s located in the South Garo hills district of Meghalaya, India. The best time to experience the forest’s wonders is during the winter months. Don’t forget to explore nearby attractions such as the Dombeware Lake, Imilchang Dare, and Nengkong.
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Lastly, we present our top recommendations for the best places to visit in Meghalaya:
1. Nohkalikai Waterfalls: This magnificent waterfall is located in Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya, and it’s a sight to behold.
2. Mawlynnong Village: Known as the cleanest village in Asia, it offers a unique cultural and natural experience.
3. Living Root Bridges: These natural wonders are a testament to the ingenuity of the local people.
4. Dawki: Famous for the crystal-clear Umngot River, it’s a paradise for nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts.
5. Double Decker Living Root Bridge: This spectacular bridge is a true marvel of architecture and nature’s creation.
These are just a few of the many incredible places to explore in Meghalaya. Enjoy your adventure and embrace the beauty of this enchanting state!
Indulging beneath the loftiest cascade in India, the Nohkalikai Waterfalls, promises an abundance of joy and amusement. This awe-inspiring waterfall stands at an impressive height of 1115 feet and is conveniently located near the town of Cherrapunji. Interestingly, this place is steeped in fascinating stories, adding to its allure. However, it is advisable to avoid visiting during the monsoon season.
Entrance Fee: Rs. 10 per personLocation: East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya
2. Majestic Double Decker Living Root Bridge
This renowned double-decker living root bridge stretches an astonishing distance of 3 kilometers and stands at a height of approximately 2400 feet. Undoubtedly, it is hailed as one of the top destinations in Meghalaya. To reach this marvel, one must embark on a 7-hour trek through the rainforest of Cherrapunji. Walking on this famous bridge is an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your memory and is worth sharing with others.
Location: Nongriat Village, Sohra.
3. Tranquil Umiam Lake
Umiam Lake sprawls across a vast area of 221 square kilometers. It is an ideal retreat for those seeking tranquility amidst natural surroundings. The lake offers a picturesque setting, particularly during sunset when the view exudes an enigmatic charm. Bounded by scenic hills and lush greenery, the lake transports you to a different realm. Additionally, you can partake in a plethora of thrilling water activities such as boating and skiing.
Timings: Activities – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.Location: North of Shillong
4. Enchanting Mawlynnong Village
Mawlynnong Village, also known as the “God’s own Garden,” earned the prestigious title of being one of the cleanest villages in Asia in 2003. This village is teeming with lush greenery that has a calming effect on the soul. Moreover, you can discover the famous Mawlynnong Waterfall, an idyllic spot for a romantic rendezvous. This village is considered one of the top attractions in Meghalaya and offers the rare sight of living root bridges. Exploring the village and visiting the “Sky View Point” will enrich your experience as you delve further into the breathtaking landscape, even glimpsing into Bangladesh.
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Geographical Location: The district of East Khasi Hills is where you will find this destination.
Tips for Exploring the National Parks in Meghalaya
● Familiarize yourself with the prevailing temperature conditions prior to your visit to this region.● When booking a boathouse, be sure to inquire about the comprehensive itinerary.● Obtain necessary permits from the forest department well in advance.● It is advisable to avoid visiting the national parks during the monsoon season.
● Always ensure you have warm clothing in your possession.