The wettest place on earth: where we get to Cherrapunjee and find no rain

30 09 2015

April's stone

Crossing the bleak, foreboding moors we arrive at the small town, village really, of Cherrapunjee. Unremarkable in almost every way, save possibly for a strange giant football shaped building, it has one thing that makes it unique: it is the wettest place on earth.

The recorded annual rainfall is the highest in any one place, averaging 11,859.4mm (1973-2012). London has an average of 615mm so perhaps it is time for the English to stop complaining.

A giant ball

Once you know about the meteorological significance of the town in is no surprise that the football shaped building is a weather station: the Meteorological Office of the Min of Earth Sciences.

The fame of the location inspired the journalist Binoo K. John to to travel here and record his journey, and what he found, in Under a Cloud. The sometimes fascinating book has many statistics and small everyday details of the area, people and food, told in a typically Indian style.

under a cloud

We continued on from the town to the less than inspiringly named ‘Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort’ Fortunately for us this had nothing that we associate with ‘resort’ but is rather a lovely, family-run, country hotel with simple but excellent food. At the heart of things was an octagonal dining hall with huge refectory tables. At the head of the dining room was the entrance to the kitchen, opposite the door outside. There were rooms behind each of the other walls, but we were staying in a newer block, detached from the main building. Some reviews deplore the new, less traditional building, but the whole thing remains small and our rooms were lovely and well-furnished.

The hotel website has lots of information about the hotel, area, the weather and the near-by living root bridges (which we were to visit the next day).

Although the hotel has a ‘no alcohol’ policy this only applies inside so we finished the day with a beer on the terrace and, finally, a view; a village below, and on the left, the plains of Bangladesh

Cherrapunjee sunset

Finally, a view

…and no rain all day.

— words by Paul
— pictures by Elizabeth & Paul
— more pictures in Assam & Nagaland album and Cherrapunjee album.




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