Cheerapunji also called Sohra, Cherrapunjee and Charrapunji, is a town in East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. It is credited as being the wettest place on Earth. However, nearby Mawsynram has more rainfall nowadays, and both are surpassed by Lloró, Colombia. Today, climatic changes have edged Cherrapunji out of the topmost ‘wet’ slot, but it still retains its pristine beauty, its unusual facets, the perpetual clouds, and the perpetual mists. Appropriately, Cherrapunji lies in the heart of the State of Meghalaya-the abode of clouds. It is the traditional capital of a hima which is a Khasi tribal chieftainship constituting a petty state known as Sohra or Churra. High above misty valleys and foaming rivers, ensconced in swirling clouds and perched on an escarpment, lies Cherrapunji (4,500 feet).
Cherrapunji receives rains from the Bay of Bengal arm of the Indian summer monsoon. The monsoon clouds fly unhindered over the plains of Bangladesh for about 400 km. Thereafter, they hit the Khasi Hills which rise abruptly from the plains to a height of about 1370 m above mean sea level within 2 to 5 km. The winds push the rain clouds through these gorges and up the steep slopes. The rapid ascent of the clouds into the upper atmosphere hastens the cooling and helps vapours to condense. Most of Cherrapunji’s rain is the result of air being lifted as a large body of water vapour. The extreme amount of rainfall at Cherrapunji is perhaps the best-known feature of orographic rain in northeast India.
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. Cherrapunji has several comfortable private hotels. Staying at the Circuit House and the Dak Bungalow require prior permission from the administration. Cherrapunji is 58 km from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. A steep motorable road, almost perpetually bathed in mist as it climbs upwards on the last lap, leads up to Cherrapunji. Buses and taxis ply to Cherrapunji from Shillong.
Source: wikipedia.org & http://www.tourism-of-india.com
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