Meghalaya, Meghalaya Tours, Meghalaya Tourism
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About Meghalaya

Meghalaya literally means abode of the Clouds. Meghalaya is a small state in north-eastern India. It is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long and 100 km wide. It is bounded in the south and southwest by Bangladesh and other sides by Assam. The state has seven administrative districts - the East and West Garo Hills, the East and West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Ri-Bhoi and the South Garo Hills. Meghalaya is one of the most picturesque states of India, and the ideal retreat for people in search of beauty and solitude. It is a happy land of breathtaking beauty, undulating hills, rolling grasslands, cascading waterfalls, snaking rivers, terraced slopes and thrilling wildlife. Shillong, the hill town is the capital and the headquarter of the central district of Meghalaya. This beautiful hill station is also known as the “Scotland of East” for its undiluted beauty and considered as one of the most charming places of the entire North East. Khasi, Garo and English are the main languages which are spoken by the people in Meghalaya. The climate of Meghalaya is moderate but humid. Meghalaya is among the wettest places on earth. Cherrapunji receives annual average rainfall of 450 inches, the highest ever recorded in Asia and the second highest in the world. While the village of Mawsynram, holds the distinction of seeing the heaviest yearly rains. 

History of Meghalaya

The Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia tribes had their own kingdoms until the British captured them in the 19th century to build a road through the region. The British incorporated Meghalaya into Assam in 1835. After the India's independence in 1947, Meghalaya was given an autonomous status within Assam. However the Meghalayans were not complacent with the arrangement and launched a peaceful and constitutional struggle for greater independence. The turning point in their struggle came when Assam introduced Assamese as the state language, a language alien to the tribes of Meghalaya. The Centre recognized their plight and their right for a state of their own. On 21st January 1972, Meghalaya became a full-fledged state. Meghalaya has a single-chamber Legislative Assembly of 60 seats. The state sends three members to the Indian national parliament, one to the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and two to the Lok Sabha (lower house).

Geography of Meghalaya

About one third of the state is covered by forests. The ranges of the Garo Hills in the west, Khasi Hills, and Jaintia Hills in the east are not especially high, with Shillong Peak the highest point at 1,965 m. Today, there are many caves that have unique limestone structures and form curious stalactites and stalagmites. The Meghalaya subtropical forests encompasses the state and its montane forests are distinct from the lowland tropical forests to the north and south. The forests of Meghalaya are known for their biodiversity of mammals, birds, and plants. Numerous rivers flow through Meghalaya, although none of them are navigable, due to rocky beds and strong currents.

People of Meghalaya

The Khasis, Jaintias and Garos tribes were the original inhabitants of this state. Tribals constitute about 85 percent of Meghalaya's population. About fifteen percent of the population is defined as non-tribal which include 54,000 Bengalis and 49,000 Shaikhs. These tribes follow the matriarchal law of inheritance by which, custody to property and succession of family position runs passes from the mother to the youngest daughter. The Khasis and Jaintias belongs to the Mongolian race, while the Garos belong to the Tibeto-Burman race. Their cultural traits and ethnic origins remain distinctive, mainly due to their geographical isolation. The tribal people of Meghalaya are very short, muscular, robust, social, cheerful, hardworking and great lovers of music and beauty. A unique characteristic is their habit of chewing unripe betel nut with dried tobacco, betel leaves and lime. The traditional costume of these tribes are the 'Jainsem' and the 'Dhara',though the younger

Meghalaya People, People of Meghalaya

generation has now taken to western clothes. Animism, Hinduism, and Christianity are the main religions. There is also a small minority of Muslims and even smaller groups of Buddhists and Sikhs. The majority of the population here has converted to Christianity, while non-Christians continue to worship, and practice old cultural beliefs. 


Festivals of Meghalaya

The festivals and dances of the tribes in Meghalaya vary according to the region and tribe. These festivals are held annually, when the ancestral spirits are appeased, following sowing and harvesting. Ka Pomblang Nongkrem or the Nongkrem dance, is one of the most important festival of the Khasis. It is held as a thanksgiving ceremony to God, for the harvest and as a prayer for peace and prosperity. Shad Sukmynsiem is another important festival of the Khasis. Behdiengkhlam, the most significant festival of the Jaintias is celebrated annually at Jowai in Jaintia Hills, during the month of July. Wangala, is the main festival of the Garos. This festival is celebrated to honour and offer sacrifices to the Sun God. The various dances are an important part of the festivals.

Places in Meghalaya

There are various tourist spots in Meghalaya, where nature unveils herself in all her glory. The tourist spots can be seen in the three different areas in Meghalaya, namely the Khasi hills, Jaintia hills and Garo Hills. Shillong, the capital city is located in the Khasi hills. Shillong has a number of beautiful sites like the Uniam Lake, Kyllang Rock, Nartiang, Ward's lake, Lady Hydari park, Polo ground, Mini zoo, Elephant falls, Shillong peak, overlooking the city and the golf course, one of the best in the country. 

Places in Meghalaya

Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, also known as the wettest place of the world are located in Meghalaya. Cherrapunji is known for the famous Nohsngithiang falls, limestone caves and some natural stone formations. The Garo Hills form the western part of Meghalaya, and are paradise for naturalists. The place offers a panoramic view of the sweeping curves of Bhramhaputra and the low lying plains. The sunset from Tura peak, the highest point of the place at about 1400 m is a wonderful experience.

How to reach Meghalaya

By Air:
The nearest major airport is located in Guwahati, about 128 kms. Guwahati is well connected by air with New Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai and Chennai. 

By Train:
The nearest railway station is located at Guwahati, which is well connected to the rest of the country. There are train services from Calcutta, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Cochin and Trivandrum.

By Road:
Meghalaya is accessible by road from Assam at various points on the border between these two states. The National Highway 40 connects New Delhi and other major cities in India to Meghalaya. 

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