Meghalaya

Travelling to the abode of clouds is a fascinating experience. That is the beauty of Meghalaya, which hides itself in the layers of clouds. This is a north-eastern state of India and is one of the seven north-east sister states. Amidst the lush green cover, hills, forest, lakes, waterfalls and other scenic beauty, this beautiful state is worth visiting. Shillong is the capital of this state and a major tourist attraction for being one of the popular hill stations of India. Cherapunji is a world famous place, which receives the highest and heaviest rainfall in the world.

Meghalaya is bordered by Assam in the north and our neighbouring country Bangladesh in the south. It has 11 districts in all divided in different regions of Jaintia hills, Khasi hills and Garo hills. The population of this state is low as compared to other states of India. You will get to see thousands of visitors in the state all throughout the year, which keep the city crowded and lively. Most part of the state is covered by forests (almost one-third). Apart from being an agricultural land, the state has a rich base of minerals like granite, coal, limestone, kaolin, etc. Tourism has proved to be a major economy booster for this land. The government is constantly working hard to make this place a more developed place for the benefits of travellers.

Characteristics of Inhabitants

The people of Meghalaya are very simple and hard working. Tribal people dominate the state. Khasis and Gharos are the largest group here residing in the Khasi hills and Garo hills respectively. The culture followed is extremely unique in accordance to each community. The matrilineal system (mother's side family linage) actually creates a strong bond between all these groups. Some other groups are Boro, Hajong, Dimasa, Kuki, Koch, Mikir, Nepali, Rabha, etc. A large part of the society follows Christianity, followed by Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. The official language of the state of Meghalaya is English, while the local and main languages spoken by the people are Khasi, Garo, Pnar and Hindi.

Environmental Conditions

The environment of Meghalaya is green all over. Most of the times, the hills are covered by the clouds and fog. The climate here is temperate. The south-west monsoon and north-east winter winds hit the state maintaining the temperature to be pleasant all throughout the year. There is no summer as such and is substituted by the monsoons from the month of May to September. The southern slope of the Khasi hills receives the maximum rainfall. Winter seasons predominate the month of December to February. Spring and autumn come play a short stint.

Traveller's Attraction

Shillong is the main attraction of Meghalaya. This hill station is the 'abode of Gods' with mountains, valleys, waterfalls, pine grooves and park. The major spots to visit here are the Lady Hydari Park, Shillong peak the highest peak of north-east), Entomology museum, Ward's Lake, Golf course, etc. Camping and trekking activities can also be enjoyed here.

Cherapunji is situated 56 km ahead of Shillong. This is the place with the highest rainfall, which occurs almost all the year through with major downpour between May to mid-October. Nohsngithiang Falls is a 'Seven Sister Waterfall' that you can view on your way to Cherapunjee.

Some villages in Meghalaya have become tourist spots for their interesting natural blessings. Mawlynnong village is famous for its root bridge, located near the Bangladesh and India border. It has also been rated as the most cleanest village in Asia. Mawsmai village can also be visited to explore the village life and food. Dawki, is a place from where you can view the wide range of mountains of Meghalaya and the land of Bangladesh. Mawsynram or Mawjymbuin is an interesting place where you will find the stalagmite formation in the shape of a Shivalinga. It is also a wonderful spot to view the scenic beauty in a pleasant climate.

There are two national parks (Balpakram and Nokrek) and three wild life sanctuaries in Meghalaya amidst the cover of sub- tropical forest with the spread of myriad types of flora and fauna.

This state is popular for the longest and deepest caves it possesses. Krem Liat Prah and Synrang Pamiang are the longest and deepest caves respectively in the Jaintia Hills.

Some other sight-seeing spots in Meghalaya are the Umium Lake, Elephant falls, Bishop falls, Langshiang falls, Sweet falls, hot spring at Jakrem, Nongkhnum River Island, Mawphlang sacred grove, Kyllang rock, etc.

Meghalaya is thus, a widely travelled state in India. It is easily connected through roadways via bus or taxi service. There are no railway stations here and the nearest one is in Guwahati, from where you can avail a bus or taxi service to reach there. Umroi is the only airport in Meghalaya, which is small and only connects the city of Kolkata and Agartala. The interesting thing is that, you have the option to travel by helicopter from Guwahati and Tura to Shillong.