Meghalaya : The Abode of Clouds
Meghalaya in Northeast India is divided into 11 administrative districts. The capital of Meghalaya is Shillong popularly known as the "Scotland of the East". During the rule of the British, this city used to serve as a great holiday destination for British civilians for escaping the scorching heat of the plains. The state is bounded by Assam in the north and east, and the plains of Bangladesh in the south and west. The state covers an area of 22,429 sq. kms with a population density of 78.5 per sq. km.
Meghalaya was formed as a state in 1972 from the Khasi, Jayantia and Garo districts of Assam. English is the official language of Meghalaya. The other principal languages spoken include Khasi, Pnar and Garo. The Khasi, Garo and Jaintya tribes were the first dwellers of Meghalaya. They had their own kingdoms before the British conquered Meghalaya. By nature, the people of Meghalaya are cheerful, hospitable, peaceful and fun-loving people. Dance, music and sports run in the blood of the people here.
Endowed with incredible natural beauty, Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful states in Northeast India. Meghalaya has great tourism potential, which is still untapped and unexplored. Meghalaya is a region of great scenic beauty; a panorama of lush, undulating hills, fertile valleys, 250 species of orchids, meandering rivers, waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams and lakes. The Meghalaya attractions include mainly the innumerable tourist places that form the backbone of Meghalaya tourism. Meghalaya tourism is also emphasizing on adventure tourism that includes trekking, caving and water sports.
Arts & Handicrafts
Meghalaya is endowed with a rich tradition of art and handicrafts. The people of Meghalaya have long perfected the art of weaving, be it cane or cloth. The markets of the state can be browsed for such amazing handicrafts. The most prominent art here is woodcarving and cane and bamboo work as the state produces abundant wood material. The craftsmen weave amazing cane mats, winnowing fans,caps, umbrellas, stools and baskets. The special kind of cane mat weaved by the Khasis is known as 'Tlieng' which is highly durable. They are also known for making domestic knives, utensils and even guns. The Garo weave the material used for their dresses called 'Dakmanda'. They also weave shirts, bed covers, bed-sheets and tablecloths
Dance & Music
No celebration in Meghalaya is complete without the involvement of dance and music. The dance forms in the state are dedicated to various events such as social, religious, agricultural and recreational. Beautiful dance forms coupled with melodious music is very soothing to soul. Open areas are generally the venues for the dance and music performances in Meghalaya. The land comes alive with wonderful dance performances and great songs accompanied by the sound of traditional instruments.Famous Traditional Dances of Meghalaya are: Nongkrem Dance,Shad Suk Mynsiem, Bahdienkhlam, Lahoo Dance, Dorsegata Dance.
The folk songs sung by the Garo tribe are dedicated to festivals, marriages, love and bravery accompanied by drums and flutes. The songs sung by the Khasis and Jaintias are generally in the praise of Mother nature. They sing songs in the praise of hills, lakes, waterfalls and rivers expressing appreciation for their land. Musical instruments used by them are drums, duitara and instruments similar to guitar, flutes, pipes and cymbals.
Fairs & Festivals
The celebration of life by the people of Meghalaya can be clearly seen in their festivals. Dedicated to different themes, the festivals are celebrated through out the year. The enthusiasm and joy with which the people celebrated their festivals is truly commendable. All the three tribes of Meghalaya celebrate their own festivals with joy. There are numerous festivals but the following are the most important ones: Nongkrem Dance Festival, Behdienkhlam Festival, Wangala Festival, Shad Suk Mynsiem Festival.
Meat, especially pork occupies the most important place in the cuisine of Meghalaya. Try out its famous dish 'Jadoh' , a spicy culinary delight of rice and pork. Chinese food is also a big hit with people here. 'Kyat' is the local brew is served in celebrations.
Travel Guide & Info
HOW TO REACH:
Air: The nearest airport is at Guwahati, 128 km. Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are well connected to Guwahati by air.
Rail: Guwahati is the nearest railway station. It is well connected to all he major cities of India.
Road: Meghalaya is easily accessible from Assam and other cities of the country by road.
Despite being a small state Meghalaya has no dearth of accommodation options. Being the capital city of Meghalaya, Shillong has the maximum number of hotels in the state. You have enough choices when it comes to hotels. From Luxury hotels to budget hotels, all are available here. Hotel Polo Towers, Hotel central Point, Hotel Tripura Castle and hotel Pegasus Crown are a few to name. Meghalaya enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year.