Nohkalikai Falls: One of Cherrapunji’s majestic waterfalls

The famous Cherrapunji is the wettest place on earth but it has many more interesting things in store just like the Nohkalikai Falls. The Nohkalikai plunge Water Fall is a famous attraction and has always mystified its visitors. The Falls are a sight which can stupefy anybody and has an interesting but  tragic tale behind it.

Cherrapunji - Meghalaya
Cherrapunji
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The Nohkalikai Falls

A nature lover’s paradise, the Nohkalikai Falls are the 5th highest beautiful scenic waterfall in India. The name itself has an uncanny meaning. Nohkalikai can be divided as ‘Noh’ ‘Ka’ ‘Likai’ . In the Khasi language, ‘Noh’ means to jump, ‘Ka’ is a prefix used for women and ‘Likai’i is a name. Therefore the meaning is ‘Jump of KaLikai’.

The water roaring, gushing down from a height of 1115 ft, the falls are a majestic sight. North East is yet unexplored and like a clean slate to start your travel stories. Nohkalikai Falls is one such place to start writing your travel story.

Nohkalikai Falls in Meghalaya
Nokhalikai Falls
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The drive to Nohkalikai falls is through an elevated plateau which ultimately leads to the cliff and to the majestic sight of the waterfall. Monsoons are an ideal time to visit this waterfall and so Nohkalikai is our destination for this month. The viewing gallery gives you the view of the beautiful waterfall, which when falls makes a small pool at the bottom.

To watch these falls you need to be extremely lucky with the mist. Its absence will make you see the waterfall but if the mist or fog persists then there is a chance you might not get a good view of the waterfall.

The Story of Nohkalikai Falls

Not every beautiful place has a good story and the spine chilling legend of the falls too has a very weird and jaw-dropping turn of events.. The legend of Nohkalikai involves a Khasi woman called Ka Likai. Ka Likai was from a village called Rangjyrteh which is now a deserted village in Cherrapunji.

Women of Khasi Tribe
Women of the Khasi Tribe
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Ka Likai was a wife of a porter who used to carry iron from the ore to the villages. On one such iron carrying trip the husband died and left Ka Likai to fend for herself and her daughter on her own.

Ka Likai later remarries. With her daughter being an infant and no source of income to fend for herself and her daughter, Ka Likai herself became a porter. The new husband does not like the daughter as she takes all of Ka Likai’s  time when she is back home from work. He is so jealous of the daughter to an extent that he starts hating her.

Here comes the gory part…

The husband overcome by sheer jealousy kills the child and serves her as food to Ka Likai. Ka Likai is not surprised to see the child not inside the home thinking she must be with some neighbour as usual and heartily devours the food.

When Ka Likai realised what she had unknowingly done, she went into a fit of rage, sadness and desperation. With a hatchet in her hand to scare off anybody who came in her way, Ka Likai ran to the cliff  of the waterfall and jumped to her death, thus the name, Nohkalikai – jump of Ka Likai.

The waterhole at the bottom of the falls turns green in summer, blue in winter and brown when in monsoons.

The blue color water pool at the bottom of the waterfall
Blue color of the water pool.
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Brown color water pool at the bottom of the waterfall
Brown color water pool
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Best Time to Visit Nohkalikai

As we said earlier you have to be lucky with the mist and fog to get a clear view of the falls. September and October are the months when the skies are clear and you also might get lucky to have a glimpse of the rainbow.

Other Things to Do and See

You are charged a minimum amount of entry fee to the waterfalls and for carrying your camera. There are many other activities one can do there such as trekking, camping, photography, bird-watching, angling, swimming etc. If you want to reach at the bottom of the waterfall there are steps which lead the way, but they disappear midway and then you have to trek your way to the bottom. The Nohkalikai Falls trek is the most scenic trek you can go on to.

You can also visit the Mawsmai Cave and give yourself some thrilling experience of Caving.

Mawsmai Caves
Mawsmai Caves
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Another waterfall you can have a look at is the Dainthlen Falls which is also located at 5kms from Cherrapunji. Then there are the Seven Sisters waterfall also known as the Nohsngithiang Falls. The speciality of the waterfall is that seven streams flow down the cliff hence it is named the Seven Sisters.

Dainthlen Falls
Dainthlen Falls
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Seven Sisters Falls - Nohsngithiang falls
Seven Sisters Fall
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From the Thangkharang Park you get the 180 degree view of the Bangladeshi Mountains.

Living Root Bridges of Cherrapunji are the most talked about phenomenon. The bridges are the arduous work of the Khasi tribe. They are the rubber fig-tree roots which the indigenous Khasi tribes have trained across to make natural pathways. You can see a double decker root bridge too. Some of these bridges can also be found in the Nongriat area.

Living Root Bridges at Cherrapunji
The Living Root Bridges
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The Living Root Bridges at Cherrapunji
Double Deck Root Bridge
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Stay and Food

As far as in terms of Stay, Cherrapunji has many options from hotels to homestays to guest houses which offer you all the basic amenities.

In terms of food you can try the local Khasi food. The food is fresh, zesty and tempting. Pork rice or Jadoh and Momos, are a Khasi specialty one must surely indulge in. The Jadoh is a mixture of rice with pork which is also sometimes cooked with chicken or fish. It has got many spices like garlic, turmeric, black pepper etc, but the amount of spices in the dish is comparatively less and hence it’s less spicy.  

Jadoh Thali PC: tripadvisor.com
Jadoh Thali
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Other than this, the Sohra Pulao is also a delicacy made with only vegetables and oil and has no spices to it. Also, who would want to miss the classic Rice Beer?

How To Reach Nohkalikai Falls

Air

Umroi Airport (91 km) near Shillong is the nearest airport. Other than this Guwahati airport (181 kms) is also an option. You can take taxis which are pre paid from the airport or you can hire them from the Paltan Bazaar Bus Stand

Train

Nearest rail station is Guwahati (145 km). The station is well connected to all the major cities of India. Direct transportation is available from Guwahati station to Cherrapunji.

Road

There are many government buses which ply to Cherrapunji. You can also hail the AC Buses. State buses are frequent from Shillong’s MTC Bus Station to Cherrapunji. There are share taxis available from Guwahati which charge around Rs 500 per person and Sumos which charge around Rs 200 per person and ferry 10 passengers at a time.

Have you visited the Nohkalikai falls? If yes, do share your photos, videos and experiences with us in the comments section.

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Sweta K Bhanushali

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