No worries, it makes sense that no other names than Mumbai (or Bombay) and New Delhi hit your head as you think of an Indian summer. Tags of this ancient Asian country may include Bollywood, Slumdog Millionaire and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, but it's time to add Northeast India to its portfolio, more particularly Shillong, the education centre of Northeast India.
Flip through a Lonely Planet and you can just find a short paragraph about Shillong, and this hilly city is just famed among local Indians. But a trip there will definitely leave you in awe, for it is so not Indian and so not Bollywood.
Shillong is hidden by mountains in Northeast India, far away from the vast country’s urban cities, and builds its fame as the capital of rual Meghalaya, one of the smallest Indian states. This small city is home for a good mix of tribes, including Khasis and Bengali whose people are more Korean and Chinese looking. Years ago the influx of refugees made it a new home for Nepali and some Arabians too. Here you hardly see Hindu billboards, for English is the official language as the result of its history as a destination for Christian missionaries and colonial itme. So it’s exotic but also interesting to see schools named after the Saints.
Shillong offers amazing mountain views that you don’t see in central India. Spend some time at Shillong Peak and enjoy the awe of this big, big world. There are an eye-dazzling mix of museums to visit besides scenery. But the best reason to visit Shillong is its music. Known for its legendary Bob Dylan and Bob Marley Festivals, respectively organised by Shillong’s legend rock figure Lou Majaw, and founder of Springboard Surprises, Keith Wallang, who has a great portfolio of indie bands under his belt, including the national famous Soulmate formed by his brother Rudy Wallang. The festivals are where you get yourself lost amidst funky, great music played by the many music talents in the city. I met a few young bands there formed by hipsters at teens or in their twenties, and they just rock. The best souvenir I got home with is the very Shillong’s attitude to music, which means life to everyone there.
How to get-in: The best way is to take domestic flights from Mumbai or New Delhi to Guwahati, where you hire a cab driver for a four-hour ride through the mountains. (Trust me the beautiful scenery along the way will just keep you amused through the whole, long journey). There are also helicopter services available at the airport, and the journey will just take 20 minutes.