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MEGHALAYA

Area 22429 sq km.
Capital SHILLONG
Languages Khasi, Garo, English
Population (1991) 17,74,778
Male 9,07,687
Female 8,67,091
Sex Ratio (1991) 947 females per 1000 males
Density 79 persons per sq km.
Literacy (1991) 49.10%
Male 51.57%
Female 44.78%
Number of Districts 7
Principal Cities/ Towns Shillong, Jowai, Nongstoin, Tura, Cherra-punjee,Williamnagar, Nongpohl.
Per Capita Income (1995-1996) Rs. 6,136
Villages 5,629

 

 

Meghalaya, Literally "the abode of clouds" was made an autonomous state on 2nd April'1970 and full fledged state on 21st January'1972. It is a mountainous region having Garo, Khasi and Jaintia hills. Shillong is situated in the Centre of a high plateau and is called "the Scotland of the East". The highest peak is Shillong peak 1965 metres high.

The Khasi, Jaintia, Bhoi, War collectively known as the Hynniewtrep people live in east Meghalaya, while Garos live in the western part. Garos belong to the Bodo family and said to have migrated from Tibet. They call themselves as Achiks and the area they inhavit as Achikland.

PLACES OF TOURIST INTEREST

KHASI HILLS
Shillong derives its name from its creator called Shulong, born to a peasant girl, king of the princely state of Shyllong. The city has a good climate and the places worth visiting area are:
  • Wards Lake : In the heart of the city, good for boating.
  • Umiam Lake (17Km) : offers water sports - sailing, water skiing, water scooter, etc. Lum Nehru Park is ideal for holidaying.
  • Shillong Peak : The highest poing gives a panoramic view of the scenic countryside. In the night, the city lights below appear like a star-studded abyss.
  • Sophetbneng Peak (20Km): is regarded sacred by the Hynniew trep people. This "Navel of Heaven" as per Khasi mythology is a heavenly peak.
  • Botanical Garden has plethora of indigenous and exotic plants and is located near Ward's Lake.
  • Lady Hydari Park a charming tourist draw also has a mini zoo.
  • Golf Course, Third oldest in India, termed as the "Glen eagle of the East".
  • State Museum in the Central Library complex gives a glimpse of the heritage of people.
  • Bishop & Beadon Falls are cascades in a deep valley.
  • Elephant Falls is on the outskirts of the city.
  • Spread Eagle Falls is a treat to the eyes.
  • Crinoline Falls are near Lady Hyndari Park.
  • Sweet Falls near Happy Valley, is a picnic spot.
  • Cherrapunje (56 Km) is the rainiest place in the world. One can see many waterfalls on the way including Nohsngithiang falls. Place is known for limestone caves and orange honey.
  • Mawsynram (56 Km) is known for giant stalagmite formation shaped into a shi-linga.

JAINTIA HILLS
Jowai, is situated 64 Km away from Shillong along the Shillong-Silchar National Highway. A picturesque town circled by majestic Myntdu river.

  • Thadiaskein Lake was dug with the ends of bows by members of 290 clans to commemorate their settlement in this region.
  • Nartiang was the summer capital of Jaintia kings of Sutnga state. Temples and monoliths are main attractions.
  • Syndal Village is dotted with a number of caves used as hide-outs during war times.

GARO HILLS

  • Tura : The area is known for its abundance of wildlife. It has a picturesque landscape of hills against a back drop of lowlying plains. Sun-set view is good from Tura peak, which can be reached by a 5 Km trek.
  • Balpakram (167 Km from Tura) is a National Wildlife Park, also known as the "abode of perpetual winds".
  • Naphak Lake (112 Km from Tura) is ideal for fishing and bird watching.
  • Siju Caves are famous limestone caves, located near Naphak Lake and the Simsang game reserve. The formation of stalagmites and stalactites resemble those of the Blue Grotto in the isle of Capri.

FESTIVALS

Nongkrem Dance, Celebrated in Khasi Hills during autumn season.

Shad Suk Mynsiem, Celebrated in Khasi Hills during the spring time, is a thanks giving festival.

Behdienkhlam, Celebrated in Jaintia Hills during monsoons. It is invoke the blessings of the Creator.

Wangala, a major festival of Garos, celebrated during autumn after the harvest season, linked with warrior's dance of Hundred Drums.