Meghalaya

Meghalaya is a state in northeastern India, which means 'the abode of clouds' in Sanskrit.

Updated: June 21, 2020

Meghalaya is a state in northeastern India, which means 'the abode of clouds' in Sanskrit. The state is bounded to the south by the Bangladeshi divisions of Mymensingh and Sylhet, to the west by the Bangladeshi division of Rangpur, and to the north and east by India's State of Assam. The capital of Meghalaya is Shillong. 

It was named as 'Scotland of the East' during the British rule of India.  English is the official language of Meghalaya. The other principal languages spoken include Khasi, Garo, Pnar, Biate Hajong, Assamese and Bengali. It  is one of the most beautiful states in the North-East India offering a variety of sights, activities, food and festivals to the tourists.

Well known for Cherapunjji, the place which receives one of the maximum rainfall in the world. The state is the wettest region of India, recording an average of 12,000 mm (470 in) of rain a year. The city abounds in waterfalls, the most important ones Nohkalikai and Seven Sister Falls. The living root double-decker bridge is a famous attraction in Cherrapunji, where trekking and hiking activities are offered for tourists.

Many other root bridges can be found nearby, in the villages of Nongthymmai, Mynteng, and Tynrong. Other areas with root bridges include Riwai village, near the tourist village of Mawlynnong, Pynursla, especially the villages of Rangthyllaing and Mawkyrnot, and the area around Dawki, in the West Jaintia Hills district, where there are many living root bridges scattered throughout the nearby villages.

Meghalaya has many hills, valleys, lakes, caves and waterfalls which give it a beautiful look when covered with beautiful clouds. About 70 percent of the state is forested. The forests are notable for their biodiversity of mammals, birds, and plants.

Meghalaya has predominantly an agrarian economy with a significant commercial forestry industry. The important crops are potatoes, rice, maize, pineapples, bananas, papayas, spices, etc. Elephant Falls, Shadthum Falls, Weinia falls, Bishop Falls, Nohkalikai Falls, Langshiang Falls and Sweet Falls are some of the popular waterfalls in the state. The hot springs at Jakrem near Mawsynram are believed to have curative and medicinal properties. 

Nongkhnum Island located in the West Khasi Hills district is the biggest river island in Meghalaya and the second biggest in Asia. It is 14 kilometres from Nongstoin. The island is formed by the bifurcation of Kynshi River into the Phanliang River and the Namliang River. The Phanliang River forms a very beautiful lake adjacent to the sandy beach. The river then moves along and before reaching a deep gorge, forms a pretty waterfall about 60 meters high called Shadthum Fall. 

Meghalaya has an estimated 500 natural limestone and sandstone caves spread over the entire state including most of the longest and deepest caves in the sub-continent. Krem Liat Prah is the longest cave, and Synrang Pamiang is the deepest cave, both of which are located in the Jaintia Hills.

The Umiam Lake, also known as the Barapani Lake is one of the primary reasons why Shillong is compared to Scotland. This lake with rocky hills in the backdrop is reminiscent of Scotland's Loch Lake. Umiam Lake offers various water sports activities for tourists. Other important tourist attractions in Shillong include Elephant Falls, Shillong Peak and Lady Hydari Park.

Mawlynnong is an amazingly clean village in Meghalaya that lies on the border separating India from Bangladesh. In this village every street corner has a bamboo dustbin to ensure nature-friendly disposal of trash. The focal point of attraction of this village is the Sky Watch, which is a bamboo structure that offers sweeping views of the Bangladeshi plains from the top.

Meghalaya has a history of rich craftsmanship. Wood-carving and artistic weaving are important crafts here, especially in the Jaintia and Khasi districts. You can shop for cane and bamboo handicrafts, wood carvings, jewellery as well as dolls, clay toys, and tiny musical instruments from the little souvenir shops in and around the state. 

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