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Friday, April 6, 2012

Tourism in Cherrapunji

10:46 AM



The home of enterprising Khasi clans, Cherrapunji's place in the Guinness Book of Records is not its only claim to fame. Along with falls lesser in height but no less alluring, the spectacular, cascading 1,035-ft-high Mawsmai Falls-the fourth highest in India-lie just a few kilometers beyond Cherrapunji.

Close by is situated a fascinating labyrinth of underground passages beneath age-old caves-a veritable dream for amateur explorers. Elsewhere around Cherrapunji, Khasi monoliths (stones in memory of their ancestors) lie dotted around-a vague reminder of the forests of Bastar.

Amidst all the surprises of Cherrapunji, perhaps the most abiding is the startling realization that the wettest place on earth where it rains every month also has an amazing amount of warm sunshine. When the clouds drift away, there are a series of memorable views, and one can see as far as Bangladesh. Orchids blooming a few feet away form a patch devoid of vegetation. Dense woods interspersed by rocky, cliffs furrowed by erosion.


As the months move on, the smell of decaying vegetation lessens as the showers become intermittent. New plants spring to life, and people go about their tasks with renewed energy.

The hills around Cherrapunji do not have the lush green vegetation one normally associates with wet places. The vegetative cover in the form of dense woods appears in patches and constitute yet another marvelous surprise: the richness and variety of the flora in these 'zones' has to be seen to be believed. An amazing variety of rare orchids, ferns, and moss convert each pocket into a botanist's paradise. Cherrapunji produces the best quality of oranges as well as pineapples. In fact, Cherrapunji oranges are the ancestors of the famous Nagpuri oranges in the Central India.
 
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