The living root bridges in the Mawlynnong & Nongriat areas are unique attractions that most tourists haven't heard about yet near Shnongpdeng. This is because the villages in these regions have only started opening up their tourism scene recently, so if you're lucky enough to visit Shnongpdeng or Mawlynnong now, then do consider yourself fortunate.
Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya also has some beautiful waterfalls to boast about - they are located deep within jungles and are hard to reach for the average tourist. One such waterfall is Tiew Khang Waterfall which is around half an hour drive from Shillong (it's a beautiful waterfall with a natural surrounding - you'll love it.
Shnongpdeng Tiew Khang is accessible via hiking trails, Nongriat, Lahsang and Laitkynsew. The easiest to reach and most frequently visited waterfall is probably the Nongriat Waterfall which lies just off the main road between Shillong & Cherrapunjee. This site also features an 'adventure park' that contains a couple of rustic activities for children.
Living Root Bridges
Tourist attractions in Shnongpdeng are the living root bridges which are constructed in the same fashion as hanging footbridges used for logging. Some of these are accessible via hiking trails that start at Nongpdeng Bazar, but the longest & most popular one is located near Khliehriat, south of Shnongpdeng Bazar. This famous bridge can be reached by following a jeep track from Mawlynnong all the way to the village of Kwtalam Nganba - it's close to this village where you have to leave your vehicle because this particular bridge lies deep in the jungle and may not be accessible via any other type of transportation except for trekking on foot or pushing a mountain bike through muddy slopes.
The short & sturdy living root bridges are made entirely using the roots of rubber trees. Amazingly, they can carry up to 50 people at a time. It takes around ten years for the roots of these trees to become this strong. So even though these bridges look super fragile, one should definitely visit them.
There are quite a few of these living root bridgeslocated in different parts of Shnongpdeng, but we found one that was just outside the Nature Park, which is closed by 7 pm so do plan out in advance so that you could have enough time to explore all these bridges before it gets dark. Should you want to learn more about these bridges, there's a small stall located at the foot of one of them where you can speak to a local and gather some good information.
Naohkseh War Memorial
This memorial is dedicated to the matryrs of World War-I. A large number of people from this area had served as soldiers and were deployed in foreign lands during that period. It was built by the Government of India on 26th January in the year 1936 in remembrance of all the gallant soldiers who lost their lives in that war. Shnongpdeng was chosen for this memorial because it is believed that many soldiers originated from here.
Naohkseh Museum is located inside Naohkseh War Memorial and houses a collection of historical objects dating back to the British Raj. You can find different kinds of old battle tanks & guns here and some other weapons used by soldiers during wars back in those days.
Nohkalikai Falls near Shnongpdeng
This waterfall drops off from a height of more than 1000, making it one of the highest waterfalls in Meghalaya. There are quite a few other famous waterfalls around Shnongpdeng, but we found Nohkalikai falls to be the most beautiful among them all. The waterfall is just outside the Nature Park, which closes by 7 pm, so you can spend more time here before heading back for your overnight stay place.
Kamala Kumar Bhattacharya Museum
This museum is located inside Kamala Kumar Bhattacharya's house, which happens to be one of the greatest musicians Meghalaya has ever produced! He was born in Shillong & spent his childhood years here, later migrating to Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) to explore his musical career. He's credited for having brought many instruments to the world of Indian music & is also popularly known as 'Sur Samrat' of North East India. The museum houses some old musical instruments that he used while performing and other memorabilia related to him. There are two pianos, a harmonium, drums, violins, guitars, among other things on display here. Even though they are quite old, but are still in good condition.
They are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Shnongpdeng and happen to be one of our favourite picks for you to visit as well! These caves are located on top of a hill which can either be reached by climbing up 300 odd steps or via a short drive through an electric cart. You can opt for the latter.
Once you reach near them, there are small-ticket counters at different places where you have to buy tickets for this place. The ticket cost is approx. R. 100 per head (could be more now) and is valid for the entire day. There are two options by which these caves can be explored - an electrically lit path or a cave trail that takes you through dark, dingy passages filled with bats. Do carry a torch just in case you are stuck with the former option (which means no lights apart from your torchlight.) Elephants had also stayed here at some point in time, and their footprints could still be seen on some of the rocks.
Chandan Thong Rocks
These are huge rocks that have been placed at some point in time in a scattered manner across an elevated land looking like a road. It's believed that these rocks were used as ballast to brace boats, also serving as landmarks for tour guides and traders plying the Umngot River (Dawki) who could identify their exact location and distance from Shillong. There is a gate erected here, which marks the border between Bangladesh and India. There is no entry fee or ticket cost, making it easy on your pockets.
Slum Sherpa Rock Carvings near Shnongpdeng
These rock carvings can be found inside a protected forest around Shnongpdeng, Meghalaya. We were lucky to spot a few monkeys playing inside this forest, but these carvings can be seen only during winters as the water level rises during monsoons, covering them with water. The best time to visit these rock carvings is between December and March, when the water level recedes back completely!