Meghalaya – The Abode of Clouds

Meghalaya is a beautiful northeastern state of India which is soaked in rains all throughout the year. This gives the scenic beauty an upraise and one can spot greenery all over the place, both of which are among the major reasons for the blooming tourism in Meghalaya. The capital of Meghalaya is Shillong, which in itself is a major tourist attraction. Surprisingly, during the British rule, Shillong was termed as the Scotland of India by them. The population of the state is 3,211,000 (2016 Census) and it is among the least populated states of India. For all the travelers, tourists or people who want to know about Meghalaya in depth, this guide will serve them good.Meghalaya Political Map

History of Meghalaya: The Formation

Meghalaya is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the abode of clouds’ and once you visit the place, you would know how truly the name resembles the environment. The people who have interest in archaeology will find the state extremely interesting because of its historical roots. The state has played a huge role in the human history by domestication of rice which was a turning point in history. Humans have been residing in the area since ancient times. Meghalaya history is rich and diverse. The people looking to explore it would be delighted by their findings.

Geography of Meghalaya

The state of Meghalaya is highly mountainous and the most rain-soaked state in the country. It is abundant in geology and has many stretches of plateaus and valleys. Meghalaya also has a lot of Archean rock formations which contain essential minerals such as coal, limestone, sillimanite and Uranium. Meghalaya is surrounded by Bangladesh and Assam on both all its sides. When it comes to area, it spans around 22,249 km2 of India and ranks 23rd in the country. It also has various rivers but most of them are seasonal and are fed on rain.

Biodiversity of Meghalaya

The state is covered with 70% of forests which also gives a huge boost making it rich in biodiversity. Most of the forests are subtropical ones. Also, the forests in the state are considered as the richest botanical habitats in the whole Asia. It has abundance of flora and fauna comprising of many species. Some parts of the forests are also preserved by the locals because of religious beliefs and they are not harmed or exploited in any manner.

Climatic Conditions of Meghalaya

Since the state receives massive amounts of rainfall, the climate is cool throughout the year. The temperatures never go beyond 28 Degree Celsius. Shillong, the Meghalaya capital experiences very low temperatures throughout the year owing to its high elevation. The best time to visit Meghalaya is in the months of October to April, when the climate is ideal and favors sightseeing.

Meghalaya Culture

There are various tribes in Meghalaya including the major ones such as Khasis, Garos, and Jaintas. They differentiate from each other through their culture, rituals, traditions, languages as well as dressing styles. The state follows a matrilineal culture and it is the world’s largest such surviving culture. Liwa-Tana, Chorkhila, Gupini Gahen, Gitlu Gahen are some of the popular forms of folk dance as well as music in the state.

Interesting Facts about Meghalaya

  • It is the wettest place on Earth.
  • It is a major logistical hub for all the trade that happens with Bangladesh.
  • It is a part of the seven sister states of northeast India.
  • Shillong Peak is the highest peak in the state.
  • State Animal of Meghalaya is Clouded Leopard.
  • The Nohkaliaki Falls is the highest plunge type waterfall in India.

Meghalaya Tourism: Best Tourist Attractions

Travelers who wish to visit the northeastern part of India should definitely visit the beautiful mountainous state of Meghalaya. This is a perfect place for relaxation and an amazing get away from your stressful life in a city. Apart from the breathtaking views, you can also visit the lovely tourist places that the state comprises of. It is rightly considered among the best holiday destinations of India and you need to visit the place to witness it for real.

  • Temples and Monuments: Temples and monuments are one of the famous tourist attractions of our country and the same stands true for Meghalaya. They reflect the culture and tradition of the beautiful state. The temples form a large part of the popular Meghalaya tourist places. The religion which is followed majorly in Meghalaya is Christianity but people of other religions live here too. There are various holy pilgrims in Meghalaya. If you visit the state, do stop over at Nartiang Durga Temple, it’s a 500 years old ancient Durga Temple.
  • Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks: Visiting Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks is always a fun past time. The greenery is worth witnessing and you can enjoy the natural beauty of the state. Nokrek National Park, Balpakram National Park, Siju Bird Sanctuary and some more are worth exploring. You will find many different types of rare birds and animals which you must not have seen before. These hubs filled with an abundance of flora and fauna are among the best vacation spots in the state.
  • Museums: While traveling to this place, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity of visiting the museums. Museums in Meghalaya gain a lot of tourists. They have many antiques stored since the pre-independence era. Do grab the opportunity of visiting the museums like Air Force Museum, Don Bosco Museum, and Butterfly Museum. These are some of the museums worth exploring and are enjoyed both by people of all ages.
  • Natural beauty: Meghalaya has a mesmerizing scenic beauty. The state is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, rivers, and lakes all throughout. Although it lacks beaches, other natural elements make up for it. Even while you are walking on the road, you can see the clouds moving downwards and covering the city, it’s a surreal experience. The locations are very picturesque and one would cherish it for lifetime.

These are definitely the most beautiful places to visit in Meghalaya and you must not miss out on them. There are numerous trekking places for enthusiasts in the state. If you explore in depth, you will also come across many haunted places in various regions. Meghalaya is also quite famous for honeymoons as there are various romantic places here. You would easily find hotels and resorts in Meghalaya for your holidays.

People of Meghalaya

Most of the people living in the state villages belong to a particular tribe. They are extremely cordial and tourist friendly as they interact with a lot of tourists on a daily basis. The literacy rate of the state is 75.84% which is pretty low and is around the same as that of the country average 74.03%. There are three official languages of the state which includes English, Khasi and Garo. The latter two are also the regional languages which aren’t spoken elsewhere.

Meghalaya Cuisines

The cuisines of Meghalaya majorly comprises of rice, fish and meat, all of which are abundantly available in the state. Jadoh is one of the most loved food items in the state, which is formed with pork and rice. The locals make use of spices as the predominant element in most of the food items. Rice beer, a popular drink in Meghalaya is consumed in many religious occasions and celebrations held in the state.

Major Festivals in Meghalaya

As there are three major tribes in Meghalaya, the festivals differ as per their traditions. The major festivals for the tribe of Khasis include Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Ka-Bam Khana Shnong, and Shad Beh Sier among others. The Jaintias celebrate festivals such as Behdienkhlam, Laho dance and also the sowing ritual ceremony annually. Some prime festivals by the Garos community include Sa Sat Ra Chaka, Ajeaor Ahaoea, and A Se Mania among various others.

Clothing Trends in Meghalaya

Although modern clothes are worn by people in the cities, the traditional clothes still hold a lot of significance. The traditional dresses for women in Meghalaya look adorable. The most popular female costume is known as Jainsen, which is an unstitched cloth wrapped around the body. The clothes which men of different tribes wear include Loincloth as well as garments which resemble dhotis.

Present Scenario

The state’s economy thrives upon the various commercial forestry industries located here. It is also known as an agrarian economy due to its primary dependence on agriculture. The major crops here include potatoes, rice, maize, pineapples, etc. Due to the rapid development and progress of tourist spots, tourism is becoming a major source of income and jobs for people here. Even educational institutions are starting to develop which is a good sign for the future of Meghalaya.

Tourists interested in exploring the northeastern part of India must definitely give a visit to Meghalaya. Foreign tourists are starting to love the state and it is providing an impetus to Indian tourism in the best possible way. The phrase Incredible India stands true for a state like Meghalaya which is a beautiful amalgamation of all that the country stands for.

Districts of Meghalaya
S No. District
1 East Garo Hills
2 West Garo Hills
3 North Garo Hills
4 South Garo Hills
5 South West Garo Hills
6 East Jaintia Hills
7 West Jaintia Hills
8 East Khasi Hills
9 South West Khasi Hills
10 West Khasi Hills
11

Ri-Bhoi

 

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