There is nothing like walking your way through a beautiful hill station. Shillong, the Scotland of the East, can be best seen on foot. Whether it is during the peak of summer or the chilly winter morning, walking in Shillong can be rejuvenating as the weather is lovely coupled with good roads. Let’s explore this beautiful city all in a day’s walk.
After a hot cup of tea and a plate of chhole bathure for breakfast at Palace in Police Bazaar, we are well-equipped for the walk. The Ward’s Lake in the morning hours with the sun’s rays flickering through the trees is dreamlike. As you enter you will see the ornate bridge over the lake, the gaggles of geese and the flowers of different hues in full bloom. Would you like to sit by the lake or feed the fish from the bridge or walk around the beautiful surroundings? The choice is yours. I do all three whenever I visit this colonial-era lake. Fully recharged for the next stop, we head northeast of the lake to the sprawling Golf Link.
The emerald green rolling meadows house the 18-hole Shillong Golf Course and a quaint clubhouse. Located amidst the thick pine groves and rhododendron trees, there are several streams that interweave the paths across the course making it one of the most challenging courses for golfers. The beautiful meadow surrounding the golf course is a popular picnic spot for locals, especially over the weekends. It is virtually a mini fair with vendors selling balloons and flowers and not to mention the vendors selling momos and other snacks. In the morning, it is quiet and peaceful and you will love the serenity of the place.
If you are still game for walking, then head to Lachumiere, about 2.9 km away. The walk might take you around 40 minutes, but if you want to take a cab, you can just hail a taxi, which is a common mode of transport in Shillong, and reach your destination. A taxi ride in Shillong, irrespective of the distance will cost you just between Rs 10 and Rs 20. As you reach Lachumiere, stop by at the All Saints’ Cathedral, which is celebrating its centenary year. The old colonial church is not open for public, but if you are visiting it on a Sunday, you can attend the service and have a quiet time.
From here, as you head straight to Laitumkrah to the Cathedral Church of Mary Help of Christians, popularly known as the Cathedral Church, the walk is a little uphill. Nevertheless, you will enjoy it as you pass through the Meghalaya Secretariat and beautiful bungalows adorned with flowers. The Cathedral built in 1913 has a striking architecture. It is open for public and you can visit it any time of the day. Walk down to local restaurant a little ahead in Don Bosco Square and have jadoh (special rice made from pork blood) with doh kylla (usually a chicken, pork or beef curry). There are several small joints that will offer you authentic Khasi cuisine.
After a relaxed lunch, you can head back to Police Bazaar and spend an ideal afternoon shopping either at the Glory’s Plaza, where you will find trendy clothes, bags and shoes. If you love handicrafts, the marketplace has a few shops that sell beautiful jute and cane products. Post-shopping, if you want to unwind after the day’s walk, head south-west to Pinewood hotel, one of the oldest in the city, and enjoy a sumptuous dinner. It is about eight minutes walk from Police Bazaar to the hotel.
Getting to Shillong, Meghalaya
You will easily get a bus to Shillong from Guwahati, which is about 100 km away. You will have to travel for three hours on long winding roads that are not only scenic but also refreshing. The rolling hills and flowing streams make the journey breathtaking.