The Tragic Tale behind the Famed Nohkalikai falls

When you search for Meghalaya on the internet, you will almost always see images of the iconic Nohkalikai waterfall in Cherrapunjee. The waterfall is ranked as the fourth highest in the world. The fall is one of the most famous attractions in Cherrapunjee, and the water flows from 1,100 feet tall. Because Nohkalikai Falls is a rain-fed waterfall, you can see its true beauty and feel the force of the waterfall even from a distance during the monsoon season. The route to the falls takes you through an elevated plateau that leads to the rock face and provides views of the ultramarine pool. The journey to the falls is through an elevated plateau that leads to the rock face and witnesses the viewpoint of the ultramarine pool. Nohkalikai Falls plays a role in a dramatic legend with a truly heartbreaking and terrible story that led to its christening. 

The Tragic Tale Behind the Waterfalls

Nohkalikai falls

Noh Ka Likai means “the leap of Likai” in the local Khasi tribe’s language. It is believed that a widow named Ka Likai had a daughter from this marriage. She was in a deep financial crisis with her infant daughter and had no source of income. She then resolved to work as a porter herself. When she had to leave her daughter unattended for long periods for work, but when she was at home, she spent most of her time with her daughter taking care of her. Therefore, when she married a second time, she couldn’t pay much attention to her second husband. Ultimately, her husband did the unthinkable because he could not stand her ignorance and felt envious of the baby.

The woman was shocked to find her husband cooking when she got home from work. She enquired about her daughter’s whereabouts after being unable to locate her. He replies that he hasn’t but asks Ka Likai to finish her lunch before heading outside to search. Though she didn’t show any suspicion while eating the meal, she found her daughter’s fingers in a basket. She understood that her husband had killed their daughter out of pure jealousy, cooked her up, and fed her. Horrified and distraught, he jumped off the cliff next to the falls. Since then, the incident has been referred to as “the fall of Ka Likai” or Nohkalikai.

Ka Likai generally had a betel leaf after her meals, but she found a detached finger near where she usually cut betel nuts and betel leaves. She immediately realized what had happened in her absence and went furious and got mad with anger and grief. Then, she ran off the plateau’s edge, and the waterfall she jumped from was named Nohkalikai Falls after her.

The Nohkalikai Falls, despite the tragic history of the falls, are a paradise for those who enjoy strenuous hikes. Additionally, it offers photographers a stunning, fantastical backdrop to showcase their talents. The strangely calming and inviting shade of green stands out in the desolate mountainous landscape.

How can you visit Nohkalikai falls?

Nohkalikai falls

If you’re wondering how to get to the Nohkalikai Falls in Meghalaya, we want to reassure you that it’s one of the most straightforward trips you can take without encountering too many complications. If you are planning to travel to Cherrapunji from Guwahati, click here to read a comprehensive guide. The Nohkalikai Falls are 35–37 kilometres from the well-known Umroi Airport. You can easily book a cab from Umroi Airport to comfortably travel to the falls. 

Things to do in Nohkalikai Falls

The waterfall is a delight for nature lovers and adventure buffs. Some popular activities that you can engage in here include:

  1. Trekking: Adventurers will enjoy a trek here through dense forests, lush grassland, clear streams, and a river bed with huge boulders. The Nohkalikai Falls trek may take about 4-5 hours, depending on your speed and the weather.
  2. Birdwatching: You can spend some time spotting different types of birds here.
  3. Photography: If you are into nature or landscape photography, you can capture some scenic panoramas here.
  4. Shopping: The locals sell home-grown cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and other products near Nohkalikai Waterfall at reasonable prices. Traditional handicrafts and souvenirs are also available at the shops in the vicinity.

Pro tip: You can enjoy picturesque views of the cascade and the deep plunge pool from a viewing gallery at the top of the waterfall. The pool’s lagoon-like appearance changes from aqua to blue to green, depending on the season.

It’s safe to say that visiting Nohkalikai is essential for anyone travelling to the Northeast. Other stunning rivers that have been seen leaping down cliffs or other steep slopes cannot compare to Nohkalikai Falls in beauty. Don’t worry about how to head back to the Umroi airport or railway station after your trip. The easiest way is to download a safe and trusted car booking app so that on your way back, the only thing on your mind is all the memories you’re going to carry throughout your life!

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Swati Deol

About the author

Shabari, a modern-day wanderer, seeks out the hidden stories within the world's serene landscapes and vibrant cultures. She views each person as a living, breathing tale, a unique signature in the grand narrative of existence. With an insatiable curiosity for local customs and traditions, Shabari explores the rich drapery of humanity wherever her journey leads. Her passion is to unravel the secrets of tranquil temples, scale majestic mountains, and share the ancient wisdom they hold. Join Shabari on her quest for solace amidst the world's quiet corners and let her writing transport you to the heart of these captivating adventures.

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