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February 23, 2024

Best Time to Visit Meghalaya: Weather, Climate and Festivals

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Best Time to Visit Meghalaya: Weather, Climate and Festivals
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Best Time to Go to Meghalaya

Nestled amidst the verdant hills of Northeast India, Meghalaya, meaning “the abode of clouds,” beckons travellers with its captivating beauty and serene atmosphere. From cascading waterfalls and lush green valleys to its vibrant tribal culture and living root bridges, Meghalaya offers an enchanting escape into a world of tranquillity and natural splendour.

Deciphering the Best Time to Visit Meghalaya

Meghalaya’s allure extends throughout the year, with each season painting the landscape with its unique charm. However, the best time to visit Meghalaya depends on your preferences and the experiences you seek.

Summer (April to June)

The summer months, from April to June, are the best time to visit Meghalaya, as the weather is pleasant and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 16°C to 31°C. This makes it ideal for exploring the state’s outdoor attractions.

Weather:

  • Pleasant temperatures: The average daytime temperature during summer in Meghalaya is around 25°C, while nighttime temperatures drop to around 15°C. This makes it a comfortable time to be outdoors, without the oppressive heat of other parts of India.
  • Sunshine and clear skies: Summer in Meghalaya is characterized by sunshine and clear skies. This makes it a great time to enjoy the state’s natural beauty and stunning views.
  • Occasional showers: While the weather is generally dry during summer, there can be occasional showers. These showers are usually brief and refreshing, and they help to keep the landscape lush and green.

Events:

  • Wangala Festival (April): This festival celebrates the harvest season and features traditional dances, music, and games. 
  • Cherry Blossom Festival (November): This festival takes place in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, when the cherry trees bloom in full splendor. 
  • Nongkrem Dance Festival (December): This grand celebration of the harvest and the new year showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Khasi tribe. 

Why you should visit now:

  • Ideal weather for outdoor activities: The pleasant weather and sunny days make it perfect for hiking, trekking, camping, and exploring the state’s many waterfalls and natural attractions. 
  • Less crowded: Summer is still considered shoulder season in Meghalaya, so you’ll find that the crowds are smaller than they are in the peak season of October to November.
  • Thriving landscape: The summer showers bring life to the landscape, making the waterfalls swell and the valleys teem with greenery.

Things to know before the visit:

  • Pack for the weather: Be sure to pack light clothing, sunscreen, and a raincoat or poncho for occasional showers.
  • Plan your transportation: Some of Meghalaya’s roads can be difficult to navigate, especially during the monsoon season. If you’re planning on doing a lot of driving, it’s best to visit during the dry season.

Hire a local guide: A local guide can help you navigate Meghalaya’s terrain and hidden gems and provide valuable insights into the local culture and traditions

Monsoon (July to September)

Meghalaya transforms into a lush paradise during the monsoon season, from July to September. The torrential rains bring life to the landscape, making the waterfalls swell and the valleys teem with greenery. While the heavy rainfall can disrupt travel plans and make trekking challenging, the monsoon season offers a unique and enchanting experience for those who embrace its charm.

Weather:

  • Abundant Rainfall: The monsoon season in Meghalaya is characterized by heavy rainfall, with average monthly rainfall ranging from 250mm to 900mm. This brings the landscape to life, making the waterfalls cascade and the valleys lush and verdant.
  • Pleasant Temperatures: Despite the heavy rainfall, the temperatures during the monsoon season remain relatively mild, with average daytime temperatures around 22°C and nighttime temperatures around 15°C.
  • Humidity and Fog: The humidity levels are high during the monsoon season, and fog can sometimes obscure the views, especially in the higher altitudes.

Events:

  • Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem (July): A festival celebrating the harvest season and the spirit of togetherness among the Khasi people.
  • Sacred Groves Festival (August): A unique festival honouring the sacred groves, considered homes to nature’s spirits.
  • Rhino Festival (October): A celebration of the one-horned rhinoceros, an endangered species in Kaziranga National Park.

Why you should visit now:

  • Lush Green Landscape: The monsoon rains transform Meghalaya into a verdant paradise, with waterfalls cascading down hillsides and valleys brimming with greenery.
  • Waterfalls at Their Peak: The monsoon season is the best time to experience Meghalaya’s waterfalls, as they are at their most powerful and impressive.
  • Serene and Tranquil Atmosphere: The monsoon brings Meghalaya peace and tranquillity as the crowds thin out and the natural beauty takes center stage.

Things to know before the visit: 

  • Pack for Rain: Be sure to pack rain gear, including a raincoat, umbrella, and waterproof shoes.
  • Plan Your Transportation: Heavy rainfall can make some roads impassable, so it’s important to check road conditions before travelling and be prepared for delays.
  • Consider Trekking Alternatives: Trekking can be challenging during the monsoon season due to slippery trails and potential landslides. Consider alternative activities like sightseeing, boat rides, or visiting local villages.
  • Embark on Short Hikes: If you decide to trek, opt for shorter hikes with easy trails and avoid venturing into high-altitude areas.

Autumn (October to November)

As the summer monsoon showers subside, Meghalaya welcomes the gentle embrace of autumn, spanning from October to November. This tranquil season paints the landscape in hues of gold and crimson, offering a refreshing respite from the lush greenery of the monsoon. The weather cools, the skies clear, and the air crisp, creating an ideal time to explore the state’s natural beauty and immerse oneself in the vibrant local culture.

Weather:

  • Pleasant Temperatures: Autumn in Meghalaya is characterized by pleasant temperatures, with average daytime highs around 22°C and nighttime lows around 10°C. This makes it a comfortable time to be outdoors, without the oppressive heat of the summer or the chill of the winter.
  • Clear Skies and Sunshine: The autumn season brings clear skies and abundant sunshine, making it an ideal time for sightseeing, trekking, and exploring the state’s many natural attractions.
  • Occasional Drizzle: While the weather is generally dry during autumn, there can be occasional drizzle or light showers. This adds to the season’s charm and keeps the landscape fresh and verdant.

Events:

  • Meghalaya Autumn Festival (October-November): A vibrant celebration of the season, featuring food and wine festivals, beauty pageants, kite flying competitions, fishing competitions, and musical performances. 
  • Cherry Blossom Festival (November): A visual feast for the eyes, showcasing the blooming cherry trees in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. 
  • Living Root Bridge Festival (December): A unique celebration of the state’s iconic living root bridges, highlighting their cultural and ecological significance. 

Why you should visit now:

  • Ideal Weather for Outdoor Activities: The pleasant temperatures and clear skies make it perfect for outdoor adventures, including hiking, trekking, camping, and exploring the state’s natural wonders.
  • Serene Atmosphere: The crowds thin out during autumn, creating a more tranquil and peaceful atmosphere, allowing for a more immersive connection with nature.
  • Stunning Autumn Foliage: The landscape transforms into a tapestry of golden and crimson hues, offering breathtaking views and picturesque landscapes.

Things to know before the visit:

  • Pack for the Weather: Be sure to pack light jackets or sweaters for the cooler evenings.
  • Plan Your Transportation: Some of Meghalaya’s roads can be challenging, especially in the higher altitudes. Plan your transportation carefully and allow ample time for travel.
  • Embrace the Local Culture: Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Meghalaya by visiting local villages, attending traditional festivals, and sampling the local cuisine.
  • Respect the Environment: Be mindful of the delicate ecosystem and leave no trace of your visit. Dispose of waste responsibly and avoid damaging the natural surroundings.

Winter (December to March)

Meghalaya takes on a magical charm during the winter months, from December to March. The temperatures drop, the air becomes crisp and refreshing, and the landscape transforms into a wonderland of frosty peaks and snow-kissed valleys. While the winter weather can be challenging, it also offers a unique and enchanting experience for those seeking adventure and tranquility.

Weather:

  • Chilly Temperatures: Winter in Meghalaya brings a touch of chill, with average daytime temperatures around 15°C and nighttime temperatures dropping below 5°C. In the higher altitudes, snowfall is not uncommon, creating a picturesque winter wonderland.
  • Clear Skies and Sunshine: The winter season is characterized by clear skies and abundant sunshine, making it a great time to enjoy the views of snow-capped mountains and the crisp, invigorating air.
  • Occasional Fog: Fog can sometimes descend upon the valleys, adding a touch of mystery and enchantment to the landscape.

Events:

  • Tura Winter Festival (December: A vibrant celebration of the winter season, featuring cultural performances, local cuisine, traditional games, and sports events. 
  • Wangala Dance Festival (March-April: A grand celebration of the harvest season and the spirit of togetherness among the Khasi people. 
  • Living Root Bridge Festival (December-March) A unique celebration of the state’s iconic living root bridges, highlighting their cultural and ecological significance.

Why you should visit now:

  • Enchanting Winter Wonderland: The winter landscape transforms into a magical wonderland, with snow-capped peaks, frosted valleys, and a serene atmosphere.
  • Unique Adventure Activities: Winter offers opportunities for unique adventure activities, such as snow trekking, skiing, and snow sledding.
  • Cozy Retreats and Bonfires: Enjoy cozy evenings by the fireplace, indulge in warm beverages, and gather around bonfires for a truly wintery experience.

Things to know before the visit:

  • Pack for the Cold: Be sure to pack warm clothing, including jackets, sweaters, gloves, and a hat.
  • Plan Your Transportation: Roads in the higher altitudes may be closed due to snow or ice. Check road conditions carefully and allow ample time for travel.
  • Be Mindful of Altitude Sickness: If you’re traveling to high-altitude regions, be mindful of altitude sickness and take necessary precautions.
  • Enjoy Local Winter Delicacies: Sample the local winter delicacies, such as hot soups, stews, and traditional warm beverages.

Festivals: A Cultural Tapestry of Meghalaya

Meghalaya’s cultural tapestry is woven with vibrant festivals that add colour and vibrancy to the state’s calendar. Here are a few of the most notable festivals:

  • Wangala Festival (April): A celebration of the harvest season, the Wangala Festival features traditional dances, music, and games.
  • Nongkrem Dance Festival (December): A grand celebration of the harvest and the new year, the Nongkrem Dance Festival showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Khasi tribe.
  • Cherry Blossom Festival (November): A visual feast for the eyes, the Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, when the cherry trees bloom in full splendour.

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