Meghalaya Tourism

Meghalaya is a small state in north-eastern India. The word "Meghalaya" literally means "The Abode of Clouds" in Hindi and Sanskrit. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long and 100 km wide. About one third state of Meghalya is forested. The forests of Meghalaya are notable for their biodiversity of mammals, birds, and plants.

History - Meghalaya was formed by carving out the two districts of the state of Assam : the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972. Prior to attaining full statehood, Meghalaya was given a semi-autonomous status in 1970. In 1971, the Parliament passed the North-Eastern Areas which conferred full statehood on the Autonomous State of Meghalaya. Meghalaya attained statehood on 21 January 1972, with a Legislative Assembly of its own.

Culture - The main tribes in Meghalaya are the Jaintias, the Khasis and the Garos. One of the unique features of the State is that a majority of the tribal population in Meghalaya follows a matrilineal system where lineage and inheritance are traced through women. The tribal people of Meghalaya are therefore a part of what may be the world's largest surviving matrilineal culture. According to India's National Family Health Survey, Meghalaya is the state where parents have shown the least interest to have a male child - 73% less than the national average.

Geography - The State of Meghalaya is also known as the "Meghalaya Plateau". It consists mainly of archean rock formations. These rock formations contain rich deposits of valuable minerals like coal, limestone, uranium, silimanite etc. Meghalaya has many rivers. Most of these are rainfed and are therefore seasonal. The important rivers in the Garo Hills Region are Daring, Sanda, Bandra, Bhogai, Dareng and Simsang, Nitai and the Bhupai. In the central and eastern section of the plateau the important rivers are Umkhri, Digaru, Umiam, Kynchiang , Mawpa, Umiew or Barapani, Myngot and Myntdu. In the southern Khasi Hills Region, these rivers have created deep gorges and some of the most beautiful waterfalls.

Climate - The climate of Meghalaya is moderate but humid. With average annual rainfall as high as 1200 cm in some areas. Meghalaya is the wettest state of India . Best time to visit Meghalaya is during the months of March to July. Originally the British and Assam Tea Estate owners would shift here during the summer months to escape the heat of the Indian Plains.

Economy - Meghalaya is predominantly an agrarian economy. Agriculture and allied activities engage nearly two-thirds of the total work force in Meghalaya. Agriculture in the state is characterized by low productivity and unsustainable farm practices giving rise to a high incidence of rural poverty. As a result despite the large percentage of population engaged in agriculture. The state is still dependent upon imports from other states for most food items such as meat, eggs, food grains etc.

Transport - Meghalaya is a land locked state with a large number of small settlements in remote areas. Road is the only means of transport within the state. Most of the arrivals into the Meghalaya take place through Guwahati in neighboring Assam , which is nearly 103 km away. Assam has a major railhead as well as an airport with regular train and air services to the rest of the country. The State still has a large number of old timber bridges. Meghalaya does not have any railhead. It has a small airport at Umroi, about 40 km from Shillong on the Guwahati-Shillong highway.

Tourism - Meghalaya has some of the thickest surviving forests in the country and therefore constitutes one of the most important ecotourism circuits in the country today. The Meghalayan subtropical forests support a vast variety of flora and fauna. Meghalaya has 2 National Parks and 3 Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Meghalaya also offers many adventure tourism opportunities in the form of mountaineering, rock climbing, trekking and hiking, water sports etc. The Umiam lake has a water sports complex with facilities such as rowboats, paddleboats, sailing boats, cruise-boats, water-scooters and speedboats.

Meghalaya has an estimated 500 natural limestone and sandstone caves spread over the entire state including five of longest and deepest caves in the sub-continent. Some of these caves also have water channels running through them. Cavers from United Kingdom , Germany and US have been visiting Meghalaya for exploring these caves.

What to See
Cherrapunji Shillong

Cherrapunji is a town in Meghalaya, India which is credited as being one of the world's wettest places. It holds two Guinness world records :- For receiving the maximum amount of rainfall in a single year :- 22,987 mm (904.9,973 inches) of rainfall between August 1860 and July 1861. For receiving the maximum amount of rainfall in a single month :- 9299.96 mm (366.14 in) in July 1861.

Cherrapunji's yearly rainfall average stands at 11,430 mm (450 in). Cherrapunji receives both the Southwest and Northeast monsoon showers which give it a single monsoon season. Cherrapunji lies at an elevation of 1,370 m (4,500 feet) in the Khasi Hills. It lies in the windward side of these hills to the Bay of Bengal branch of the SW monsoons which enters India through the Ganga delta. Due to orographic rainfall, the rain-bearing clouds are forced to deposit much of their moisture and rain on these hills from June to September. In the winter months it receives the northeast monsoon showers which travel down the Brahmaputra valley.

Specialty - Cherrapunji is a series of memorable views and one can see as far as Bangladesh. Orchids blooming a few feet away form a belt lacking of vegetation. The place exhibits a dense woods interspersed by rocky, cliffs broken by erosion. An amazing variety of rare orchids, ferns, and moss convert each sector into a botanist's paradise.

Cherrapunji produces the best quality of oranges as well as pineapples. In fact, Cherrapunji oranges are the forefathers of the famous Nagpuri oranges in the Central India.

Location - Cherrapunji is just 60 km from Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya.


By Air - Pawan Hans has provided a Dauphin helicopter to Govt. of Meghalaya for running regular passenger services on Guwahati- Shillong - Tura sector. After reaching Shillong, you can take a bus or taxi to Cherrapunji.

By Road - Cherrapunji is 60 km from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. A steep motorable road are available which leads up to Cherrapunji. Buses and taxis ply to Cherrapunji from Shillong.


Cherrapunji is the only place in India which has just one season: the monsoon. there is no month without rain. Another surprising fact about Cherrapunji is that it rains mostly at night. Day-to-day activity is not really disrupted by the rain.


Mawsmai Falls - Mawsmai Falls is the fourth highest falls in India . It is the alluring, the spectacular, cascading 1,035-ft-high fall lie just a few kilometers beyond Cherrapunji.

Khasi monoliths - It is located near Mawsmai Falls which is a beautiful labyrinth of underground passages beneath age-old caves. The must visit place for amateur and experienced explorers. Elsewhere around Cherrapunji, Khasi monoliths (stones in memory of their ancestors) lie scattered around.

Noh Kalikai Falls - Noh Kalikai Falls is located few kilometers to the west of Sohra (Cherrapunji).It is a clear bubbling stream emerges from its steep mountain bed to hurl down a rocky precipice into a deep gorge creating a captivating view of breathtaking beauty. The cascading waterfall compares favourably with the well known Job Falls of South India.

Krem Mawmluh - The krem mawmluh cave is located about half a km west of Cherrapunji adjacent to the small hamlet of Mawmluh. The cave interestingly has a five-river way with impressive proportions. With a length of 4503 m, this cave is at present and it is the 4th longest cave in the Indian sub continent.

Krem Phyllut - It is Situated in village Mawsmai to the south of Cherrapunjee.This cave has a large section of fossil passage, two stream ways and three entrances. The length of the cave is 1003 m.


You can try the special restaurants at the luxury hotels.


The romantic city of Shillong has been one of the important tourist destinations in the northeast. It is often referred to as the " Scotland of the East" due to its striking similarity with the Scottish highlands. The city derives its name from "Leishyllong"-the Superpower or God who is believed to reside on the Shillong peak overlooking the city.

Shillong is lying in the cradle of the tall pine conifers and pineapple shrubs. Shillong's undulating terrain is a constant source of attraction for tourists from both home and abroad. The Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes add color to this hilly city.

History - Shillong was a small village until 1864, when it became the new civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia hills. It remained the summer capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for many years. In 1874, on the formation of Assam as a Chief Commissioner's Province, it was chosen as the capital of the new administration. An earthquake destroyed the city in 1897, necessitating its complete rebuilding. In January 1972, Shillong became the capital of the newly formed state of Meghalaya.

Climate - Shillong is subject to vagaries of the monsoon. The monsoons arrive in June and it rains almost until the end of August. The climate is hot and humid during summers but quite cold during winters. October-November and March-April are the best months to visit Shillong.

Events and Festivals - The festivals vary according to the tribes. Christmas, Easter, Good Friday and the New Year Day celebrations are the most important. Ka Pomblang Nongkrem, or the Nongkrem dance is one of the most important Khasi festivals. Shad Sukmynsiem is another important festival of the Khasis. Behdiengkhlam, the festival of the Jaintias is celebrated in July. Wangala is the festival of the Garos and is dedicated to the Sun God.

Location - Shillong lies on the eastern part of the state. Perched at an altitude of 1,520 meters above sea level. The city stretches for about 6 km on an elevated tract. It is situated on a plateau bound on the north by the Umiam gorge.


By Air - Guwahati is the nearest airport from where Shillong can be reached by bus or car. Daily buses also connect Shillong with Guwahati airport. Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd, under the aegis of the Government of Meghalaya, has commenced regular helicopter flights connecting Shillong and Tura to Guwahati.

By Rail - Shillong is connected by rail with the rest of the country through the railhead of Guwahati at a distance of 103 kilometers from Shillong.

By Road - National Highway number 40 an all-weather road connects Shillong with Guwahati. The State Transport buses and the private transport operators operate and offer services to the various places in Meghalaya and the neighboring states from Shillong. The bus stand is located in the heart of Shillong.


Best Time to visit shillong is April to May And September to November.


Shillong Peak - It is an ideal picnic spot, 10 km. from the city, 1965 m above sea level offers a panoramic view of the scenic country side and is also the highest point in the State. In the evening the city lights below appear like a star-studded abyss.

Cherrapunjee (Sohra) - It is located 56 km from Shillong, situated in one of the rainiest rain-belt in the world, 1,300 m above sea level. A pleasant drive to see roaring water falls leaping into deep gorges including the famed Nohsngithiang falls.

Ward's Lake - It is located in the heart of the city, popular for short garden walks and boating. The lake was built by Chief Commissioner William Ward in 1893-94 is a picture book lake complete with a white wooden Japanese like bridge and fishes that throng to feed on Channa.

Umiam Lake - Umiam Khwan (Barapani) is 17 km from Shillong offers water sports facilities including sailing, water skiing, water scooter.

Lady Hydari Park - There is a mini zoo and Butterfly museum with colourful species preserved for sale and posterity in lady hydari park. There is also the perfectly landscaped Lady Hydari Park ablaze with roses and flowers of almost every variety even as weeping willows bend into water bodies.

Botanical Garden - Botanical Garden is a secluded but captivating spot with plethora of indigenous and exotic plants and is located just below the Ward's Lake.


You can try the special restaurants at the luxury hotels.


Hotel Polo Towers - Shillong Meghalaya India

Hotel Centre Point - Shillong Meghalaya India

Hotel Alpine Continental - Shillong Meghalaya India

Hotel Pegasus Crown - Shillong Meghalaya India

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