Laitlum Canyon is one of the must-visit places when you come to Shillong. Located in the East Khasi Hills of Shillong, Laitlum Canyon is a little-explored haunt of the mountainous state of Meghalaya. Laitlum translates to ‘end of hills’ and this sublimely beautiful hilltop appears to be true to its name.
At Laitlum, from all one can see the breathtaking gorges and steep winding stairways that snake their way down to the lush valley. The Laitlum Canyons in one such spot from where the vast, verdant and fascinating panorama of Meghalaya could be viewed and admired. The whole panoramic view makes you feel good to yourself and enjoy every bit of the moment there.
1. Bird’s eye view of the valley
2. Food with the view
– What else do you need, if you have good friends around you, a valley in front of you and a cup of tea in your hand? I don’t think anything better term other than that. It’s absolutely my what your eyes can behold.
3. Living on the edge
– The Laitlum Canyon Ridge is one of the oldest station to follow the pulley system where people transfer the commodity through basket attached with a pulley. On top of Laitlum Canyon, one can see Rasong, a small hamlet nestled deep in the lush green ridges of the Laitlum gorge where these baskets go.
4. Explore around the canyon
– Explore the different angles of the canyon from a long stretch walk towards the whole area around. You will see the panoramic view of the valley which will prove why Meghalaya is called the abode of clouds.
5. Stairway to heaven
– A long steep stairway, trek out of the mountain and lined with fern-covered rocks, winds its way down the verdant slopes to the tiny hamlet of Raslong. This stairway, which passes through sprawling bamboo plantations and colourful bursts of orchids, is the only route between the village and the nearest market, and has 3000 steps!
6. Locals of Khasi
– On days when the rusty old pulley is out of order, the sight of locals carrying traditional bamboo baskets (filled with all sorts of stuff) as they climb up the steep mountainside, is very common in Laitlum. The main cash crop of Rasong is the broom plant, which the locals use to make traditional brooms sold in the markets of Shillong. You can meet them on one such day.
7. Visit the king’s den
– The village of Smit in Laitlum is the traditional seat of power of the Hima Khyrim, a sub-tribe of the Khasis. The village also has a traditional house, the Iing Shad, that belongs to the King of the Khyrim and is believed to be more than 100 years old. In autumn, the striking Nongkrem dance is performed outside this royal residence.
8. Solitude place
– The flat grassy hilltop overlooking the silent and peaceful valley is the perfect place to bask in some glorious mountain sunshine. For those who forgot to pack their lunch, a lone shop provides snacks in the form of steaming hot chai at the entrance to the vast meadow. Something to eat is made as per the shop owner’s choice. You’ll get something hot and fresh be sure of that.
9. Stream from your dream
– The gurgling Laitlum stream and its quaint wooden bridge invite travellers to just stand and stare at the magical landscape surrounding them. Get a traditional Khasi lunch packed at a local eatery for a picnic at this exquisitely beautiful 270-degree viewpoint that provides a glimpse of four waterfalls!
10. Unparalleled experience
– Most people would be happy to just visit the cliff and enjoy the silence and the scenery surrounding them. This in itself is an unparalleled experience, but for a true explorer, a trek down to the Raslong village is a must. The only connectivity to this village is a very steep, narrow, stone laden path. The trip up and down the gorge, which we call a trek, is a daily routine for the villagers down below. During the early morning hours, one can see the local Khasi men, women and little children climbing up the trail to catch the bus.
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