The gory tale behind the famed Nohkalikai falls in Meghalaya

Have you ever heard of the Nohkalikai Falls, the tallest waterfall in India? The water plunges from a height of 340m in this spectacular waterfall, which is located near Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth, in Meghalaya. The gushing waterfall is one of the sought-after tourist destinations in Meghalaya. 

The greenish pool, which is formed from the frothy waters at the base of the falls, is a mesmerizing sight. The visitors will be transfixed by the beauty of this rain-fed waterfall amid verdant forest and all-enveloping mist in the backdrop of dense dark clouds. 

The Nohkalikai folklore 

The breathtaking waterfall has a story to tell. A young mother by the name of Likai lived in Rangjyrteh, a village near the huge cascade. Likai, who was a daily wager, remarried after the death of her husband. The new husband was jealous of the care and affection showered by the woman on her daughter. In a ghastly act, the new husband, driven by jealousy, killed Likai’s daughter and cooked a meal with the child’s flesh. When Likai returned home after work, she didn’t find her daughter and thought that she might have gone outside to play with her friends. Meanwhile, Likai was surprised and happy to know that her husband had cooked meal for her. Feigning love, the husband served the whole meal to Likai. 

Likai had the habit of chewing betel leaf along with areca nut after a meal and when she was making the paan, she found a severed small finger. Then she realized what had happened to her daughter in her absence. It is believed that a hysteric and grief-stricken Likai took her life by jumping into the falls. And the legend goes that the waterfall was named Nohkalikai in memory of Likai. Nohkalikai in Khasi language means the ‘jump of Likai’. 

How to reach

The nearest railway station is in Guwahati, which is 140km away, and the Guwahati airport is 166km away from the majestic waterfalls. A four to five-hour drive from Guwahati can take you to Cherrapunji, and from Cherrapunji it’s a 10-minute drive to the Nohkalikai falls. One can hail taxis or cabs to reach the waterfalls from the Guwahati airport. 

When to visit 

The monsoon months from June to September are the best time to visit the falls. During this period, the swollen rain-fed waterfall will be at its best. The water flow will dip drastically between December and February as the rains are few and far between during these months. 

Nearby tourist centres 

En route to the Nohkalikai waterfalls, one can also visit the Mawsmai cave, Nohsngithiang falls, Dainthlen waterfalls and the living root bridge. 

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