Cherapunji is the land of eternal rains in India
Cherapunji is one of the wettest places on the planet. Here rainfall is measured in meters, not millimeters. It is perhaps the only place in India where there is only one season, the rainy season. The amount of rainfall varies from average to high. And there is not a single month without rain.
An interesting fact is that in Cherapunji, it rains mostly at night. That is, they almost do not interfere with daily activities
Where is it
Cherapunji is a small town in the state of Meghalaya in Northeast India. It is located about 54 km southwest of Shillong, the state capital.
An interesting fact is that the name of the state “Meghalaya” means “abode of clouds”. As you can see, it is not difficult to guess why.
Geographical coordinates (25.27057, 91.73259)
The city sits high on the Shillong Plateau in the hills of East Khasi. This plateau averages 1,480 meters above sea level and 1,000 meters above the bottom of the surrounding valleys. The city itself is 1,260 meters above sea level.
So how much rain does it rain in Cherapunji?
The Guinness Book of Records recognized Cherapunji as the wettest place on Earth.
It is worth noting that there is a village Mausinram just 15 km to the west where it rains even more than in Cherapunji. The average annual rainfall in Mawsinram is just under 12,000 mm. (and that’s almost 12 meters!).
Nevertheless, Cherapunji has several other records for rainfall. For example, the record for the highest annual rainfall, when in 1861 an incredible 26,470 mm of rain fell. (over 26 mm). It also holds the record for the most rainfall in two days, when 2,493 mm of rain fell between June 15 and 16, 1995.
Interesting fact – Agriculture here is virtually undeveloped because of the humid climate, so all produce is brought in from less humid places
To work outdoors in the rainy climate of Cherapunji, people wear funny umbrellas called knaps. Such umbrellas allow for maximum protection from constant downpours
Where does so much rain come from?
Most of the rain in Cherapunji is monsoonal and orographic in nature. Wet southwesterly winds from the Bay of Bengal blow across the plains of Bangladesh. They then ascend the windward side of the Khasi hills. The vapor-saturated air cools and condenses to form rain clouds.
What’s the current rainfall in Cherapunji
Remarkably, despite all the downpours, the city has ironically been experiencing a water shortage in recent years. Residents now have to travel long distances for drinking water. They have also learned to collect and store rainwater.
With climate change and human influence, total rainfall has decreased in recent decades. Cherrapunji now receives, on average, about one-third of the annual rainfall that was recorded back in the 1970s.
Cherrapunji is gradually being displaced from the upper “wet” zone.
Note another extremely wet place, the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian archipelago. It has been called the rainiest place on earth.
Attractions of Cherrapunji
In addition to being considered one of the wettest places on earth, Cherapunji has many tourist attractions.
It is the highest waterfall in India. It is also one of the most beautiful in the country. Nohkalikai is an impressive cascade that descends 340 meters from a lush forest plateau down to a rocky basin. The best way to look at this waterfall is from the Nohkalikatay observation deck, which is located 4 km from the town of Cherapunji.
Nohsngitian – the waterfall of seven sisters
At 70 meters wide, this waterfall is perhaps the most iconic waterfall in Cherapunji. It consists of seven main segments and falls from a height of about 315 meters. Each segment becomes wider at the bottom. And during heavy rains, they almost merge to form a continuous water curtain.
It is an impressive three level waterfall of 305 meters high. It is located about 18 km from the town of Cherapunji. Kinrem is the seventh highest waterfall in India. It is located in Thangkarang Park, another popular tourist spot in the area, which is famous for its rare orchids.
This is a small limestone cave about 150 meters long. You will find it 6.2 km away from the town of Cherrapunji.
Maussmay are the only caves in the state that are well lit, and you won’t need a guide to explore them
Interesting fact – Of the 10 longest caves in India, 9 are in the state of Meghalaya. It also has the longest cave in all of India, known as Krem Liat Prah. It is more than 31 km long (and that’s just the explored caves)
It is the fourth longest cave with a basin inside formed by five different rivers. The length of the cave exceeds 4.5 km.
An interesting fact is that there are more than 1,500 caves in the state of Meghalaya. Of these, only about 980 have been explored, with many only partially
The park is located on the edge of a steep cliff and overlooks Kinrem Falls. Thangkharang lies 12 kilometers from Cherapunji. It is one of the most popular tourist spots in the city.
Living bridges made of roots
In the area of Cherapunji you will find the famous living root bridges.
For those visiting Cherapunji, the most accessible root bridges are in the small villages of Nongriat and Nongtimmai.
These bridges are very strong. Many of them are built to withstand the weight of more than 50 people.
There are even two-tier root bridges.
These bridges are so strong that they are far superior to steel rope suspension bridges and bamboo bridges, which deteriorate over time in this humid environment and are unlikely to last more than 50 years.
Living root bridges are virtually indestructible from rust, insects and mold. They will last for centuries and become stronger and more reliable over time. Such natural bridges are virtually maintenance-free and mechanical breakdowns are extremely rare. Perhaps this is the engineering model that mankind will strive for in the future.
What are living bridges and how are they constructed?
All elements of such a design are a fully integrated part of the forest. There is no sense of incongruity between the bridge and its surroundings, as with a conventional artificial bridge. There is almost nothing about them that seems to have been created by human hands.
You would never guess that such bridges are built with the help of man.
Root bridges are made from the Indian rubber fig (Ficus elastica). This species was chosen because of its interesting feature of forming secondary roots from the upper trunk, which tend to establish themselves on a neighboring object.
The process of creating root bridges involves directing young secondary roots into a hollowed out areca tree (Areca catechu) that is stacked across the river on supportive bamboo poles. The roots sprout through this tunnel and attach to the other side of the river. In fact, the roots are “helped” across the river.
It is said that there are about a hundred such bridges in the vicinity.
Later, more roots are woven into the structure. It becomes stronger. Handrails are added for convenience. The spaces between the roots are filled with soil, stones and sticks. The bamboo supports deteriorate over time. But the bridge continues to grow in strength and thickness.
It usually takes 10 to 15 years to create a functional living root bridge. Of course, this period is quite long, but local residents believe that the wait is worth it.
Despite their appearance, such bridges are quite strong and reliable
How to get to Cherapunji
Most travelers arrive in Cherapunji from Shillong. The best way is to take a peculiar shuttle at the Bara Bazaar area in Shillong. On Google maps it is marked as Lewduh Bus station. There is no departure schedule as the cars leave as people fill up.
Cherapunji is the wettest place on Earth. India
If you’re not excited about the arrival of fall because of the months of rain and slush ahead, don’t rush to be sad. Compared to some places on our planet, the city of St. Petersburg could be famous for being dry and sunny. Today we want to tell you about the rainiest corners of our planet, which became special just because of the unbridled nature!
1. Mausinram, India
The rainiest country in the world is India because the top two places in the rainfall ranking are India’s cities. The small mountain village of Mausinram tops the list. According to the Guinness Book of Records, 11,871 mm of precipitation falls there in a year, which is almost completely flooded five floors. Of course, they don’t all happen at once, but by comparison, the rainiest city in Russia, Severo-Kurilsk, has 10 times less per year. It is worth going to Mausinram to feel the special mysticism of the fog-shrouded streets, where strange fish seem to swim. That’s how the locals look in special woven hats, saving from the rain: traditional for Asia cone-shaped hat is woven in such a way that one side of it covers the head, and the other – the back, and the shape resembles half a pistachio shell.
2. Cherapunji, India
Cherapunji is situated 10 km away from the world record holder. Rainfall there is only a little less, 11,777 mm per year. The symbol and the main attraction of the city is an unusual invention of the locals – the living bridges. The point is that conventional bamboo bridges in such a humid climate quickly become unserviceable, so the Indians invented to throw the roots of a rubber tree over the rivers and ravines. Or rather, they first build a bamboo bridge, on which they then let the young adventitious roots flow. After the roots “reach” the opposite bank, they grow into the ground. By the time the bamboo gets completely soaked and unusable, the living crossbars form a solid structure. Such a bridge “grows” about ten years, but then serves a hundred years.
3. tutunendo, Colombia
The third rainiest place is the village of Tutunendo, located in the west of Colombia in the highlands of Choco. This small village receives an average of 11,770 mm of water annually, and in 1974 the absolute record for our planet was recorded – 26,303 mm. Nevertheless, the weather does not scare away, but on the contrary, attracts tourists. The fact is that it rains mostly at night, and during the day you can walk endlessly in the mountains immersed in the green, rafting on the rivers and swimming in waterfalls. Air humidity in the region tends to 100%, so the nearby town of Kuibdo holds the title of the wettest city in the world.
4. Cropp River, New Zealand
The next rainiest place on earth is in the highlands of the South Island of New Zealand. The nearest town is Hokitika, located on the coast, from which you can take a tour to the nine-kilometer stretch of the Cropp River. The high ranking of this place brought 11,516 mm of rainfall per year. In December 1995, a New Zealand record was recorded here – 1,049 mm of rain fell in 48 hours. It’s worth coming here for nature’s sake. The region’s full-flowing rivers wind through scenic canyons where the clear blue waters are lit up by white cliffs and reflect overhanging trees.
5. Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea
The title of the wettest place in Africa goes to the region, which is actually separated from the continent by a fairly wide strait. Bioko Island receives 10,450 mm of rainfall per year, which makes its nature incredibly rich and diverse. This small volcanic island boasts stunningly beautiful black sand beaches and equally beautiful golden coves with coral reefs. There are jungles and waterfalls, high rocky cliffs and a huge lake in the crater of the volcano.
6. Debundsha, Cameroon
In Africa itself there is a rainy place. The sixth place is the village Debundsha in Cameroon. We used to associate Africa with deserts and arid savannahs, but not far from the equator in this continent it rains most of the year with a total rainfall of 10,299 mm. Again, the high mountains that trap the clouds are to blame. There is a beautiful volcanic lake not far from the village. Another place of interest is the cape with the same name, where there is a lighthouse, erected by German colonists in 1904.
7. Big God, Hawaii
The next rainiest place on earth is the high peat bog on the Hawaiian island of Maui, located on the border of Haleakala National Park. It receives 10,272 mm of rainfall per year. Rainwater is evenly distributed across the mountainside, forming a web of thin waterfalls that tourists come to admire.
8. Waialeale, Hawaii
The neighboring island of Kuai is home to an extinct volcano, which is only slightly inferior to the previous ranking in terms of rainfall – 9,763 mm per year. The peculiarity of this high-mountain plateau is that the rains there are not downpours, but fine drizzle, due to which the top of the volcano is often shrouded in fog. But when the clouds part, the brightest rainbows in the sky light up, which have become a symbol of Hawaii and adorn the license plates of the Aloha State.
9. Kukui, Hawaii
Hawaii appears in the top 10 rainiest places on the planet three times, with Mount Kukui on the island of Maui in ninth place. 9,293 mm of precipitation a year makes the soils swampy, so there are special wooden paths elevated above the ground for trekking. The scenic route winds along ridges, through meadows, and through moss-covered forest.
10. emeishan, China
Rounding out the top ten rainiest places is the “abode of clouds” in Sichuan province. Mount Emeishan is the highest of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China. It is also the wettest region in the country, receiving 8,169 mm of rainfall annually. The magnificent temple and golden statue of Buddha sitting on elephants seem to float above the clouds, and lush green forests stretch down the slope. The locals call it the most tranquil place on earth, and the frequent sound of rain only accentuates the tranquil atmosphere.
All these territories, though located far apart, on different continents, in fact, geographically have a lot in common. They are high mountains in close proximity to the ocean and the equator. The hot tropical sun evaporates moisture from the surface of the ocean, and the mountains inhibit the movement of humid air masses, causing them to gather in abundant clouds and rain on the slopes. The warm climate and abundance of greenery break the stereotype that rain is depressing. On the contrary, here it vividly shows that nature is beautiful in all its manifestations.