Appearing in record books for receiving the highest rainfall on the planet, the Mawsynram region is much more than just a piece of trivia. Caves, waterfalls and magical flora abound here, as one reaches the edge of Meghalaya’s lofty heights. Attractions in the Mawsynram region are not restricted to one spot. here are some of the best places in Mawsynram where you can have the time of your life.
Reportedly the wettest place in the world, Mawsynram has displaced its neighbour, Sohra, to occupy the top spot in the Guinness World Records. With an average rainfall of 467 inches every year, this lovely hamlet conjures up an image of misty mountaintops, a verdant landscape, crisp air, waterfalls and plenty of mouth-watering Khasi food. once relatively unknown outside of the state, Mawsynram shot to fame after its unique weather pattern piqued the interest of meteorologists. Following the international recognition it has received since then, the laidback village is gradually transforming into a tourist hotspot, with discerning travellers making an almost obligatory stopover here.
Situated at an elevation of 1,400m, Mawsynram sits atop a ridge on the southern slopes of the east khasi hills. the route to the village offers scenic views of waterfalls and rain-washed countryside. As you head a few kilometres out of Shillong, the highway, a dense cover of mist begins to close in, rapidly reducing visibility – at times to barely 10 metres. the road then zigzags along a steep mountain- side to lead you to a signpost that says ‘Mawsynram Division’, a short distance beyond which you are greeted with light showers or a heavy downpour, depending on the season.
While travelling through the region, you will notice farmers wearing the traditional rain shield, known as knups, while tending to their fields. Made from bamboo and banana leaf, these turtle shell-shaped shields not only provide full-bodied protection but are also able to withstand heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds, characteristic of the region.
A semi-urban sprawl, Mawsynram does not immediately make an impression, as tourist taxis inch along the streets of its chaotic market area. however, as the road begins to climb uphill to the village proper, the area’s old-fashioned charm becomes apparent from its winding paths, flanked by weather-worn but pretty houses – often fronted by gardens – and gorgeous views of hills all around. the eastern edge of the village offers some of the most picturesque vistas, with the cliff dropping almost vertically into the valley below. sunny days are usually rare here – especially during wet season – but when they do come, it’s a time of celebration across the village. Even schools remain closed to make the most of the dry spell!
Mawsynram can be covered as a day trip from Shillong. however, it is recommended that you spend at least a night or two here, in order to experience and enjoy the local culture and the ambience. besides the weather phenomenon, Mawsynram has a lot more to offer. Made up of 100-odd households, the tiny village itself calls for a day’s worth of exploration. A leisurely stroll around the area is the best way to get a glimpse of local life. A little off the village centre stands the elegant façade of the Church of God, near which lies a football ground. evenings in Mawsynram are usually a fun affair with the residents of the village gathering at the ground to watch football matches, irrespective of the weather! A short distance from the ground lies the Presbyterian Church, which has an austere yet stately exterior. Market days are not to be missed here, for they offer a sensory experience, with rows of roadside stalls selling heaps of fruit and vegetables, fresh meat, exotic flowers and spices. while here, don’t forget to try pusaw (steamed rice cake flavoured with orange rind), a typical khasi snack accompanied by sha saw (red tea).