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location_onSTATES AND CITIES

meghalaya

Meghalaya is one of the 7 North-east Indian states (or Seven sister states located in the north east of the Indian sub-continent). Shillong is the capital city of Meghalaya state.

History

The Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya had their own kingdoms until they came under British administration in the mid-19th century, after which the land of Meghalaya was incorporated into Assam province (in 1835). Though it was made a part of East Bengal and Assam province in 1905 (after the partition of Bengal), this was reversed in 1912 and Meghalaya again became a part of Assam.

Post-independence from the British, a movement for a separate Hill State began in 1960 and in 1968 the Indian Government constituted an autonomous state within the state of Assam comprising certain areas (which come under Meghalaya today).  

Meghalaya state was formed by takin in two districts from the state of Assam: the Khasi Hills, (that included Jaintia Hills too), and the Garo Hills, and Meghalaya finally became an independent Indian state in 1970.

Cities

Meghalaya state consists of around 120 cities and towns which are divided into 11 districts.

Some popular cities, towns and villages of Meghalaya include: Shillong, Cherrapunjee, Jowai, Tura, Nongstoin, East Garo Hills, West Garo hills, Mawlynnong, Williamnagar.

Mawlynnong – a village in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya is often classified as the cleanest village in Asia.

People

There are about 38 lakhs (3.8 million) people in Meghalaya. Of these 75% follow Christianity, 12% Hinduism, 4.5% Islam and more than 8% follow religions of the regional tribal groups.

The people of Meghalaya are known for their hospitality and friendliness.

Culture

The people of Meghalaya are known for their hospitality and friendliness.

The state is full of diverse tribes, communities and cultural groups and each of these has its customs and cultural traditions.

The main tribes that are predominant in the state, i.e., the Khasis, the Garos (of Tibeto-Burman origin) and the Jaintias are said have migrated here from South East Asia. 

Among religions – people following Buddhism and Christianity are the highest, followed by Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam. The state is highly secular, with churches, temples, monasteries, gurudwaras and mosques.

Some popular festivals celebrated in Meghalaya are:

  • Behdeinkhlam Festival, Shad Shukra Festival (celebrated by Jaintia tribe people)
  • Shad Suk Mynsiem and Nongkrem Festival (celebrated by people of the Khasi tribe)
  • Wangala festival (celebrated by people of Garo tribe)

Language

The Khasi and Garo tribes are predominant in Meghalaya, so the languages spoken by these tribes (Khasi and Garo languages) are the most prevalent in the state, followed by Bengali, Nepali, Waar, Hindi, Hajong and Assamese (1.34%).

Food

The staple food in Meghalaya is rice with different variety of meats (of goat, pigs, chicken, ducks, cows, etc) and fish cooked in flavourful spices, and sometimes with a side of pickled bamboo shoots.

Some popular dishes from Meghalayan cuisine include:

  • Nakham Bitchi – A soup made of dry fish and vegetables .
  • Jadoh Rice – A spicy rice dish mixed with pork, vegetables and garnished with fried fish or eggs (belongs to the Khasi tribe) .
  • Momos – Steamed dumplings filled with vegetables or some kind of meat, famous throughout North-east India.
  • Pumaloi – A kind of powdered steamed rice, usually had with a side of some spicy vegetable, pickle or stew.

Travel/Transportation

The major modes of inter-city transportation within Meghalaya are trains and buses and for inter-state travel, the state has airports connecting to cities in other states. For travel within cities, there are many other modes such as taxi/cabs, buses, and private vehicles like 2-wheelers and cars, or even walking and cycling.

Airports – Meghalaya has 2 domestic airports, with flights connecting to cities in other states in the country –

  • Shillong Airport, Shillong
  • Baljek Airport, Tura

Meghalaya has 2 main train terminals or stations from where trains to various cities, towns and villages within the state or surrounding states can be boarded.

  • Mendipathar Train station
  • Nalbari Train station

Meghalaya has many inter-city and inter-state buses that provide the connection between different cities and towns; these can be boarded at MTC (Meghalaya Transport Corporation) terminals, and the tickets for these can also be booked through MTC. These include luxury as well as semi-luxury buses.

Attractions

Meghalaya comprises of many incredible and unique places that people can experience, being close to nature, such as:

  • Cherrapunjee – known to be the wettest place on earth, as it receives the highest amount of rainfall throughout the year. Also famous for its naturally formed living root bridges.
  • Elephant falls – a scenic waterfall in the midst of green forests, with elephant legs-like stone at its bottom.
  • Shillong – the capital city is a beautiful hill station with lots of greenery.
  • Mawlynnong village – A pretty green village, known for its cleanliness and peaceful vibe. (Cleanest village is Asia).
  • Nohkalikai falls – One of the tallest and most majestic falls in India as well as in the world – considered as Meghalaya’s pride.

WEEKEND GETAWAYS

These are some places in Meghalaya which are great for a short getaway during weekends or small holidays, to spend some peaceful time and do fun and interesting things, such as –

  • Mawlynnong village – A pretty green village, known for its cleanliness and peaceful vibe. (Cleanest village is Asia).
  • Cherrapunjee – known to be the wettest place on earth, as it receives the highest amount of rainfall throughout the year. Also famous for its naturally formed living root bridges.
  • Khasi Heritage Village – A cultural traditional village sprawling over an area of 8 acres, housing Meghalaya’s Khasi tribe people, and museums and monuments depicting their heritage.

ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES

Meghalaya also offers some activities and experiences for the adventure lovers. These include the following –

  • Trekking – (the state being covered with lush greenery and mountains, provides amazing trekking and hiking opportunities)
  • Kayaking
  • Caving
  • Mountain Biking
  • River Canyoning
  • Waterfall Rappelling (at Elephant falls)

HISTORICAL PLACES

Following are some major places of historical significance in Meghalaya, that will interest History buffs and archaeology and architecture enthusiasts –

  • Megalithic Bridge on the Um-Nyankanah (in Jaintia hills)
  • Nartiang Monoliths in Jaintia Hills district (among the tallest monoliths in the world; these huge monoliths were erected to honor the erstwhile Jaintia Kings).
  • Kiang Nongbah Monument (a memorial for Jaintia king U Kiang Nangbah)
  • Thul-Um-Wi – a megalithic bridge
  • David Scott’s Memorial (memorial of an employee of the East India company who later became an agent of Governor-General on the North-East Frontiers of Bengal; built in 1831)