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Meghalaya Information

Meghalaya lies in the South of Assam which is the abode of clouds.  It is full of scenic beauty and has a lot of vegetation.  There are springs, waterfalls, lakes and flora and fauna in abundance.  It is a favorable place for tourists.  Cherrapunjee is about 53 km from Shillong.  It records abnormal rainfall.  The average rainfall is about 10871m.m.  The heaviest rainfall in the world is recorded in Mawsynram in a nearby village.  Its annual average is 12163m.m.

Location

This abode of clouds is surrounded in the north by Gopalpara, Kamrup and Karbi-Auglong districts of Assam state and in the east by Cochar and north Cachar Hills and in the south and west by Bangladesh.

Roads

The state had more than 6500km of road in 1996-97.  Three national highways pass through the state, covering 457km distance.

Airports

Umaroi is the only airport in the state.  It is nearly 35km away from the state.

Area

The area of this land is about 22429sq.km.

Density

The density of this land is 103per sq.km. 

Literacy

65% people of this state are highly educated.

Principal languages

The language spoken by the people are Khasi, Garo and English.

History

Meghalaya became an autonomous state on April 2, 1970 within the state of Assam.  It formed as a fully fledged state on January 12, 1972.  It consists of the former GaroHills district and united Khasi and Janitia Hill districts of Assam.  The Khasis, the Janintas and the Garos have very different ethnic origins.

The whole state is located on the hill region with altitudes ranging from 1200 to 1963 meter.  When the British arrived, the Garos got united and left for Garo Hills.Khasis came here from south China.  They have Mangolian origin.  The tribals have a matrilineal and matrilocal family system.  The majority of the population is Christian as the British missionaries were very active in the area after its annexation and greatly succeeded in their conversion plans.  The people of this state are gay, love, dance and music.

The Indian plain’s link with Meghalaya hills is through Guwahati in Assam.  Though inner state hilly highway is being developed, the link between Garo hills and Shillong is still via Guwahati\Goalpara of Assam.

State’s Economy

The total cultivated land is under irrigation which is about 27 percent.  Agriculture is the main occupation of the 80% of the population.  The main crops of this state are sugar cane, oilseeds, cotton, jute, mesta, potato and Tezpata.  High yielding varieties of paddy, wheat and maize are also grown with the fruits and vegetables.  Horticulture has made much progressed in the state.  Pineapples, oranges and bananas are important products of the state.

This state earns a lot from the forests and its products.

Among the minerals, coal, sillimanite, dolomite, limestone, fireclay, quartz and glass sand are found in the hill districts.  95% of the total country’s Sillimanite is produced in the state.  The state has deposits of coal, limestyone, fireclay and sandstone.  There is a cement factory at Cherrapunjee in the public sector.

Shillong

Shillong is the capital of this state.  It is situated in the centre of a high plateau within Khasi hills.  It was  called the Scotland of the South by the Britishers because of its elevation. It is about 1496 meter above the sea level. It is one of the best hill towns in India, shaded by pine and fir trees.  The highest peak in the state is the Shillong peak 1965m.  Nokrek in the Garo hill district is the next peak.  It derives its name from the deity Shillong whose dwelling place is said to be on the Shyllong peak over the township.  Its area is 6436 Sq.km.

It has a moderate climate.  There is no snowfall in winter.

How to reach

Airway

The nearest airport is Guwahati.  It is about 104 km.

Railway

The nearest railhead is Guwahati.

Road way

Regular bus services are available to Guwahati and Shiollong in every hour.

Tourist taxis with the capacity of five passengers ply daily from Guwahati to Shillong.

Meghalaya Tourism

What to see

Ward’s Lake

It is located in the heart of the city Shillong, near Raj Bhavan.  It is a 100 years old man made serpentine lake.  Boating facilities are available.  There is an island approachable with a wooden bridge.

 Lady Hydari park

It is a colorful park with nurseries and horticultural wealth.  Crinoline waterfalls are very nearby.  The place also has a swimming pool

Five water falls  

 There are a number of fall like sweet, Beedon, Bishop, Elephant, Crinoline and Gunnur.

State and Tribal Museum

It brings light to the art and culture of the tribes of Meghalaya

Saint Paul’s Cathedral

It is one of the oldest places of Christian worship.

18 Hole Golf course

 It is a Lush green Golf course amidst beautifully landscaped gardens, it is the second largest one in Asia.

Botanical Garden

It is a Scheduled but captivating spot with a large variety of indigenous and exotic plants.

 Shillong Peak

This is about 10km. It is an ideal picnic park, in the abode of the Gods.  It is situated at 1960metres above the sea level.  This offers a panoramic view of the scenic country side and of Himalayas on a sunny day.

Sohpetbneng Peak

This place is regarded as a sacred by the people.  It is situated at 1343meters above the sea level.  This is a ‘Navel of Heaven’.  Hindu mythology tells us this is a heavenly peak which fills the spiritual void and gives solace and peace of mind.

Meghalaya Festivals

Ka Pamblang Nongkrem

Nongkrem dance is one of the most important festivals of the Khasis.  It is a five day religious festivalheld annually.  The festival is celebrated for thanks giving ceremony to God almighty for the harvest and to pray for peace and prosperity.

Shad Sukmynsieum

This is also a thanks giving dance.  It is celebrated for three days.  Maidens dressed in traditional fineries and men folk in colorful costumes.  They participate in the dance to the accompaniment of drums and flute.

Behdiengkhlam

This is the most important festival 9of the Jaintias.  It is celebrated annually at Jowai in Jaintia hills during the month of July.

Wangala

It is one of the most important festivals of the Garos is held during October- November and lasts for a week.  This festival is observed to honour and sacrifices to their greatest God called Saljong.