Located on National Highway 40, Nongpoh lies at a distance of 52 km from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. It is also the administrative headquarters of the district of Ri – Bhoi. Nongpoh is a beautiful place surrounded by natural beauty all around with serene hills and rivers. Some of the main attractions at Nongpoh are:
1. Umiam Lake
Umiam lake is a picturesque location and looks as if it has just come out of a beautiful painting. It is actually a reservoir of a dam that is also the first hydro-electric plant in the north-east. The area of the reservoir is around 220 sq km. Just looking at the lake leaves you spellbound. There is also a water sports complex on its banks and another attraction is the Orchid lake resort, run by state tourism department. Several water sports can be undertaken here.
2. Lum Sohpetbneng
It is a sacred place for the locals and has great significance. Lum Sohpetbneng means ‘the navel of the earth’. There are many legends associated with the place. It is believed that the golden vine bridge is situated at the peak of the mountain, and it is the bridge that connects earth and heaven. It is also believed that the ‘seven huts’ or Ki Hynniewtrep, which belonged the seven tribes in the Khasi community were the first ones to be settled on the earth. The Seng Khasi tribes revere the place and they hold an annual pilgrimage at Lum Sohpetbneng in February. Tourist vehicles or cab service are available from Shillong to the place.
3. Lum Nehru Park
If you wish to relax in the company of nature, then Lum Nehru park is where you should be. There are gardens, vast lawns, aviaries and also spectacular orchids which lend an unparalleled beauty to the place. It is one of the most popular spots in Nongpoh.
4. Nongkhyllem Sanctuary
A distinguishing feature of Nongkhyllem sanctuary is the presence of a variety of migratory birds and hence is a bird watcher’s dream destination. Exotic migratory birds such as Rufous Necked Hornbill, Brown Hornbill and more can be spotted here. It is spread across 29 sq km and is home to a wide variety of animals and birds. Of course, the different flora species are another attraction. In addition to many wildlife including Himalayan Black Bear, Royal Bengal Tiger, Clouded Leopard and more, it also houses a great variety of reptiles. The best time to visit Nongkhyllem Sanctuary is during March and April. Also, the sanctuary is not open to visitors all through the year.
5. Dwar Ksuid
Though the words ‘Dwar Ksuid’ means ‘Devil’s doorway’, it is actually a beautiful pool which is located in Khapmara on the Umroi – Bhoilymbong road. One of the attractions here are the rock formations which resemble lotus, and there are also several sand boulders that give a unique beauty to the place. It is called as the devil’s doorway because it is believed that devils assemble here.
A visit to Nongpoh is an experience that you will not forget. With its variety in locations, Nongpoh is a nature lover’s paradise and also because it is quite serene and peaceful, a visit to Nongpoh is also very refreshing. It can be visited any time of the year, but it is best to check if the different spots have any particular time for visiting. There is no near railway station or airport and the nearest one is situated in Guwahati in Assam. It is well connected by road and several transport facilities are available to travel to and within Nongpoh.
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