Enveloped in a blanket of cloud lies one of the Seven Sister States, Meghalaya. Due to this feature, the state got its name from Sanskrit – “Megha” means Clouds and “Alaya” means Abode.
The state was formed by uniting the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills from Assam in 1972. Surrounded by Bangladesh from west and south and by Assam from north and east, Meghalaya is the wettest state of India making the abundant growth of diverse species of flora and fauna possible.
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It is home to three major ethnic tribes – Khasis, Jaintias and Garos, along with the Hajongs and Biates. Different dance forms these tribes perform as their cultural ritual. 80% of the population’s main occupation is Agriculture as the state is gifted with heavy rains and fertile land.
English is the official language whereas the most common languages spoken in the state are Khasi, Garo, Pnar, Bengali, Nepali, War, Hindi, Hajong and Assamese.
DID YOU KNOW?
70% of Meghalaya comes under the Meghalaya Subtropical Forest Ecoregion that is home to various endemic species of flora and fauna. One of the famous flowers found here is Orchids.
The capital of Meghalaya, Shillong, is exuberantly rich in biodiversity. Many waterfalls are found on this hill station, like Elephant Falls. Situated in the north of Shillong, UmiamLake looks like a painting drawn by the nature.
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Shillong Peak, the highest point of the city, gives a birds-eye view of the surrounding. Shillong Golf Course is one of the natural golf courses in Asia.
The Britisher had nicknamed Shillong the “Scotland of the East” because the dense vegetation-covered mountains and forests give it a scenic view like Scotland.
The Britishers spelt Sohra as ‘Cherra’. Due to this, the town was temporarily called Cherrapunji. This town is well known for its Double Decker Living Root Bridges that are naturally grown with the roots by the locals, that can last for more than 500yrs.
The town holds two Guinness Book of Records for receiving the highest rainfall quantity in the years 1860 and 1861.
Based on Jaintia Hills, Dawki is a charming town. The most famous tourist place is the River Umngot. The crystal clear water of this river often makes the boat look as if they are floating. Recently in November 2021, in his Mann Ki Baat, PM Narendra Modi spoke on conserving such natural resources.
Being the World’s Wettest Place, Mawsynram near Cherrapunji receives the maximum rainfall throughout the year. “Maw” in Khasi language means Stone, and the town got this name as many megalithic stones are found here.
The huge stalagmites in the form of ‘Shivling’ can be found here.
Nohkalikai Falls is the tallest waterfall in India. The waterfall is named after a woman Ka Likai and her tragic story. Likai committed suicide by jumping from the fall when she came to know that she was fed her infant daughter’s flesh by her evil second husband, who had killed that child. Such a breathtaking sight with a heart-wrenching story!
Krem Liat Prah Cave
Deep inside the East Jaintia Hils is Krem Liat Prah Cave, a set of 150 caves, which is the longest cave of Asia made of limestone and sandstone. As sunlight enters the cave from a top opening, the cave is lit with golden light, making it mesmerizing.
Nohsngithiang Falls, also known as Mawsmai Falls, resides close to Cheerapunji. The fall is divided into seven parts giving it another name, Seven Sisters Falls. This gushing glistening fall can only be seen during the monsoon.
Meghalaya follows the Matrilineal system, where the youngest daughter inherits her parent’s property and looks after her parents. Also, children take the surname of their mother side, and the groom goes to his bride’s home after marriage.
Asia’s Cleanest Village
Mawlynnong is referred to as the cleanest village in Asia. It is also called God’s Own Garden.
Balpakram National Park
Balpakram means ‘Land of Eternal Wind’ according to the Garo people’s legends. Being a part of UNESCO’s tentative lists, this park is home to Barking deer, Asian Golden Cat, Bengal Tiger, Marbled Cat, Wild Water Buffalo, Red Panda and Indian Elephant. It is often compared with the Grand Canyon of the USA.
DO YOU KNOW:
It is also called ‘Land of the Spirits’ as it is believed spirits live here before they walk towards heaven. Also, U Ba-sa Ryngkew is the God of the land of Meghalaya and people still fear breaking the rules of the land.
Visit this beauty of India during the monsoon to witness its serene beauty.
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