Located at a distance of just 5 km from the main town, Nohkalikai waterfalls is one of the highest waterfalls in India. Gushing down from a height of 1100 feet, this waterfall is one of the most popular tourist attraction of Cherrapunji. Drive through a high tableland, hike for a small distance and you arrive at the viewpoint from where you can have a panoramic view of the Nohkalikai waterfall, cascading down into a pool-like formation. Monsoon season is the best time to visit Nohkalikai when the falls are in their full form. From the viewing gallery, tourists can not only enjoy a panoramic view of the waterfalls but also the lush surroundings. A fleet of stairs take you to other viewpoints.
Origin of the name
There is a depressing story behind the naming of this waterfall. Noh Ka Likai, in local Khasi tribe’s language means ‘the leap of Likai’. It is believed that a woman named Ka Likai was a widow and had a daughter from this marriage. She remarried so that her daughter can have the love of a father, on the contrary, her new husband hated the daughter as Ka Likai gave all her time to her little one. Once when she was away for work, he killed the little girl and cooked her flesh as meal. When Ka Likai was back from work, she was astonished not see her daughter around but was happy that her husband had cooked a meal for her. Satisfied that her daughter would be out playing, she enjoyed the food. Later, as she picked up the betel nut basket she found her daughter’s fingers in it. Filled with remorse, sadness and grief, she rushed to the cliff and threw herself down. And, so the fall was named after her Nohkalikai waterfalls.
The gruesome story aside, the waterfall is a delight for adventure lovers. There are many things to do when visiting the falls like trekking, camping, bird watching, landscape photography, swimming and angling. A minimal amount is charged as entrance fee and for carrying a camera. Steps lead part of the way to the base of the waterfall but end midway. A trekking trail takes you rest of the way. Catching a glimpse of the Nohkalikai Waterfall during the monsoon season is tricky due to the thick cloud cover. The best time to visit the Nohkalikai Falls is in the months of September and October when the skies are relatively clear.
How to reach
The nearest airport is the Umroi airport which is situated about 35 km away from the falls. For travelers flying in from other parts of the country, Guwahati airport would be the nearest. It is situated about a 100 km from Shillong. Cabs and buses are available from there to Shillong. The nearest railhead is Guwahati too. The falls are situated specifically at Cherrapunji, which is 53 km away from the city of Shillong.