It was those days of the year that I enjoyed most. I remember leaving home in the morning just to reach our classrooms almost entirely drenched. It’s not like we can’t help it; our umbrellas and raincoats just can’t withstand the incessant rains that lash the region, at times for 15-21 days.
I am a native of the place that is famous all over the world as being the wettest place on earth. It may be known throughout the world as Cherrapunjee but we called it Sohra. I was lucky to have been born during the period where Sohra recorded the Highest amount of Rainfall. A year after my birth, i.e In 1974 it rained 24,555.3 mm (i.e. 80.56 feet – i.e. 966.74 inches). The rainfall in 1974 at Cherrapunjee was the highest recorded annual rainfall in any one place in any one year in the whole world. On my 22nd Birthday, i.e on 16th June 1995, it rained 1,563 mm in 24 hours (i.e. 5.12 feet – i.e. 61.53 inches). Sohra on this day recorded the highest rainfall in one day. This might be the reason that till date even after Shifting to the state Capital, Shillong, if I hear raindrops over my roof, it makes me nostalgic . It was great to have lived in Sohra during those days where it rains continuously for half a month and every local will know about “Slap Khatar Sngi Khatar Miet” (Raining for 12 days and Twelve Night) without seeing the Sun. So for us the locals, getting wet is just a part of life from May to October.
Let me tell you more about my place Sohra, or Cherrapunjee. It lies 65km southwest of Shillong, at the altitude of 4500 feet above the sea level. Sohra (Cherrrapunjee) lies in the north eastern part of India and it has earned the lots of titles in Guiness Book of World Record as the wettest place on earth.
Stories about how long it can set in for here verge on the apocryphal, with figures ranging from two weeks to 40 days. It rained so much before Independence that even the British — famed for their love of inclement weather — abandoned the town as a base and moved operations to Shillong in 1866. There had been one too many suicides amongst their administrators.
The lovely town which Is also the centre of khasi culture is also famous for orange, honey, and extensive limestone caves with a large number of stalagmites and stalactites inside. The are numerous cascading waterfalls in and around Cherrapunjee and best time to see them is during the Monsoon season.
Although sone say that Mawsynram, a village of 8 kms Ariel distance now earns the title of being the wettest place on earth, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)data suggests that this traditional capital of a Khasi tribal chieftain received more rainfall than that of Mawsynram over the last few years.
Alan West Kharkongor