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Nohakalikai Falls, Meghalaya : The Tallest Plunge Waterfall in India

Cherrapunji is credited with the highest rainfall or wettest area of the country and known the world over as one of the rainiest areas but the city is also known for the tallest plunge waterfall of India, named as Nohakalikai. It is located at five kilometers away from the city. You can’t make a spontaneous visit to the bottom of the falls either. It involves an arduous trek over several days through the forest. The weather adds to the drama, making it almost impossible to see the falls without a layer of fog clinging to the cliff or floating protectively around the drop. Even though one cannot go near to the falls, the view from the viewpoint is just amazing.

Nohakalikai Falls : The 1115 feet Tall Plunge Waterfall in Cherrapunji

Let us know about the history behind this amazing waterfall of North-East India.

Story of NohaKalikai

There is a history attached to the waterfall which has to do something with a woman who jumped off the cliff from where the water originates but nothing other than that. The story behind this name is quite fascinating. “noh” means suicide and “Kalikai” is the name of woman who committed suicide. If you are fond of photography maybe you will like the opportunity it presents. Cheerapunji is one of the few places in India where the places are still untapped and nature’s beauty is pristine.

Nohkalikai Falls, Cherrapunji
By Kunal Dalui (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
It’s only when you hear the legend that you appreciate how accurate that first impression was. According to locals, the story starts with KaLikai (“ka” is a local prefix for women) who lived in Rangjyrteh, a village in Sohra (popularly known as Cherrapunjee). Today a ghost town of sorts, the people of Rangjyrteh used to be the most significant manufacturers of iron. Evidence of that is still seen strewn around as abandoned basins and tools. KaLikai lost her husband almost immediately after giving birth to their first child, and was forced to start work ferrying iron between villages to support her daughter. She remarried later, and this is where the tale takes an ugly turn.

Read : The Incredible Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya 

Her new husband was overcome with jealousy at the attention KaLikai showered on her daughter. In a fit of rage, when the mother was away at work, he killed the little girl, and cooked her for dinner. KaLikai, exhausted after a long day, unwittingly ate the child.When she realised what she had done, KaLikai couldn’t cope with the horror, and jumped off a cliff to her death. The cliff and its falls came to be known as Nohkalikai, literally translated as “jump of KaLikai”.

Nohkalikai Falls

The way to the view point is so beautiful that one cannot imagine unless they experience it themselves. The way is surrounded by small grass and shrubs and no tall trees. The Mother Nature has poured in so much color that one could feel heavenly. The falls– falls into a green pool that is an attraction to the visitors. The hills are mesmerizing. Overall, don’t miss it if you are in Cherapunjee. Locals can be found selling cinnamon stick, pepper, honey and bay leaves at rock bottom prices there.

When to Visit

Nohkalikai Falls is located near Cherrapunji at a height of 340 meters or 1115 feet. To experience Nohkalikai Falls in its best form you must visit it during Monsoon. It’s green, pretty and amazing all year round but the falls come alive at its best during Monsoon and if you are lucky, there will be a rainbow! So, even if you have visited Cherrapunji but not during Monsoons, it is suggested you really come back at the right season. Experience the wettest place in its true glory, else you might be disappointed. The glorious waterfall and the small blue colored pond at the bottom makes the Nohakalikai Falls a spectacular one. 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.

Nohkalikai Falls, Meghalaya

The force of water has carved a waterhole which remains blue in the winter and turns green in the summer months. The flow of water is profuse in summer while the flow recedes in the winter to a small stream giving the impression of a white rope against the green forest.

Entry Fee

The waterfall is a perfect destination for adventure lovers. They can enjoy activities 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.

The nearest accommodation option is in Cherrapunji which offers a wide variety to suit every budget. From guest houses with basic amenities, resorts, cottages to homestays, you will be spoilt for choice.

Food & Accommodation

It is advisable to carry food and water when visiting the falls for extended periods of time. In Cherrapunji, you can enjoy Khasi cuisine like pork rice. Eateries that sell pork and other red meat abound in the town. Sohra Pulao which is rice cooked with oil and vegetables without spices should not be missed.You can also get Indian Chinese, Punjabi and Bengali cuisines in Cherrapunji. However, what you get here is the Khasi version of the cuisines.

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