Cheerapunji (lately more used the historical name Sohra, also spelled as Cherrapunjee and Charrapunji), is a town in East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. It is credited as being the wettest place on Earth. However, nearby Mawsynram has more rainfall nowadays, and both are surpassed by Lloró, Colombia.
It is the traditional capital of a hima (Khasi tribal chieftainship constituting a petty state) known as Sohra or Churra.
The original name for this town was Sohra, pronounced as "Churra" by the British before morphing into the present one. Despite perennial rain, Cherrapunji faces an acute water shortage and the inhabitants often have to trek for miles to obtain potable water. Irrigation is also hampered due to excessive rain washing away the topsoil as a result of human encroachment into the forests. Now the Meghalaya State government has decided to rename Cherrapunjee to its local name "Sochra". There is a monument to David Scott (British Administrator in NE India, 1802–31) in Cherrapunji cemetery.
Cherrapunji is located at 25.30°N 91.70°E. It has an average elevation of 1,484 metres (4,869 ft) sits on a plateau in the southern part of the Khasi Hills, facing the plains of Bangladesh. The plateau rises 600 meters above the surrounding valleys. Valleys around Cherrapunji are covered with lush and very diverse vegetation, containing numerous endemic species of plants, including Meghalaya subtropical forests.
The cliffs of Cherrapunji receive heavy rainfall due to monsoon winds blowing from the Bay of Bengal. Thus, the region is home to extremely wet weather.
Cherrapunji's yearly rainfall average stands at 11,777 millimetres (463.7 in). Cherrapunji receives both the Southwest and Northeast monsoon showers which give it a single monsoon season. It lies in the windward side of the Khasi Hills. In the winter months it receives the northeast monsoon showers which travel down the Brahmaputra valley.
Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is also the nearest airport to Cherrapunji. You can take a direct flight from Kolkata to Shillong. From the airport take a taxi to Mawlong Haat, Barabazar in Shillong, this is where you can get the Shared Sumos to 'Sohra'-the name Cherrapunjee goes by locally & officially. Splurge travelers can directly take a taxi from Shillong airport to Cherrapunjee. Another option is to get to Guwahati and take a shared sumo from there to Shillong Barabazar.
Living Root Bridges, The Living root Bridges created by people of Khasi tribe is one of the most amazing examples of bio engineering. Created over years by carefully guiding the roots of Ficus benghalensis these bridges can last upto 500 years. The most famous Living Root Bridges are in the village of Nongriat and Mawlynnong.
Trekking, Multiple treks exist in and around Cherrapunji. One of the most popular one is to the "Double Decker Living Root" bridge in Nongriat village starting from Tyrna. It is definitely wise to avail the services of guide for the Living Root Bridge trek. Guides are arranged by India Beacons Sojourn (+91 9903295920)
Serenity Homestay, Nongriat (From Cherapunji you go to Tyrna (15km) by taxi 400 (shared taxi 40), from there it is 3000 steps so bags can be left at By The Way), ☎ Bookings can be done through Heprit @ By The Way guesthouse. This is a Homestay run by Byron and you get treated to family life in this tiny village. Food is homemade and organic, prepared daily (the banana flower salad is a delicious). Less than a minute from the double decker bridge, Byron has a great awareness of when you want to be left alone so you never feel crowded but have every opportunity to get involved. Plenty of root bridges, natural swimming pools and waterfalls. So nice I left and then went back. Personal advice: the effort to get there is well worth it as you are in a real special place. Pack a minimal amount and leave the rest in Cherapunji, price for stay250 per person. edit
Saimika Park, sohra/cherrapunjee (3 kms before reaching the marketplace, there is a divertion to the right. drive for 1/2 km to reach saimika park), ☎ +919863020718, . Saimika park is a 65 acre plot of land with a restaurant, 7 guest rooms, two of which are made in traditional design using locally available construction material,a dormitory is available for backpackers. A conference hall is also available. Some of the amenities include a plunging pool, a basketball court,tennis court, fishing pond and trekking guides to take you to visit community forests and enjoy natural sohra. When you're not up to the outdoors there are indoor board games available.400-2500. (25° 18' 0 N,91° 42' 0 E)edit
Nongriat Guest house, Nongriat (In front of Double Decker Root bridge.), ☎ Tony 08575287156. The guesthouse is very basic but reasonably priced. Also, the manager, Tony, is the nicest person you are likely to meet at Meghalaya. Recommended for people who can tolerate little discomfort to enjoy pleasures like taking bath in natural swimming pool and spot beautiful butterflies. 400rs for two people. edit
By The Way, Dukan Road. Lower Cherrapunjee (On the main road, just before the gas station (Indian Oil), on the right when you're coming from Shillong.), ☎ Heprit 09856630274. provides Lodging for 'BACKPACKERS' Has 3 rooms- 2 dorm rooms with 3 beds each and a shared bathroom and another room with double bedroom. The rooms are basic but clean and the Host (Heprit) is very nice.250 INR per person. edit