Meghalaya

MEGHALAYA

Created in 1972, Meghalaya ( The abode of clouds) is the home of the Khasi, Jantia and Garo tribes. Khasi and Jantia tribes are closely related and are thought to have originally emigrated from South-East Asia. The Garo came from Tibet.

Warring chiefs ruled the area before the arrival of the British, who established control in 1820 by exploiting inter tribe rivalries.

Meghalaya is a land of rolling lush green hills, at an average altitude of 1500 meters. Pine forested hills, terraced fields, serene river vales, lovely waterfalls, and incredible range of flora, exotic plants, and a warm and friendly people makes Meghalaya a wonderful holiday destination. This “land of the rain clouds” has the wettest place on earth. The climate is pleasant all year around with cold winters in Dec – Jan.

The Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia tribes of Meghalaya were animists, who practiced human sacrifice. British missionaries converted them to Christianity; which is now the dominant religion of the three tribes. An interesting feature is that the society is matrilineal, and is believed to have originated from the mythological “mother of the root”. Women therefore dominate the society. Children take the mother’s name. The high lights are:-

The main highlights of a visit to Arunachal Pradesh

SHILLONGCHERRAPUNJEESMIT, NOGKHNRIH AND MAWLYNNNONG

Shillong the capital city of Meghalaya is surrounded by lovely mountain scenery, exotic flora, waterfalls and caves. It is an ideal base for exploring nature and the lifestyles of the tribal people. Interesting sights are: –

  • “Tir”: Shillong’s unique institution – the archery stakes it the form of tribal archers shooting repeatedly a set amount of arrows, in four-minute bursts, at a cylindrical bamboo target. The gamblers set their stakes, to predicting, the last two digest of the number of arrows that stick to the target – this being a matter of luck.
  • Waterfalls & gardens: Elephant Falls, set amidst fern covered rocks, Crinoline falls, which holds bonsai and orchids and Lady Hydari Park modeled an Japanese garden, with a forestry museum and a mini zoo on the premises.
  • Shillong peak, for a good view.
  • The sacred groove of Mawphlang: a part of Khasi tribal legend has rare orchids, plants and monoliths, untouched through centuries.
  • “Iewduh”: The quaint market place, where only ladies conduct all business.
  • Uniam Lake: is a water sports complex.
  • The Don Bosco Centre. is arguably Asia’s largest Museum of Indigenous Cultures. It provides an overvierw of the North East region. The display is a feast of knowledge spread over seven stories with 17 galleries.

Cherrapunjee is located 56 kms from Shillong, it was at one time, the wettest place on earth (the tittle is now held by Mawsynram, just 12 Kms away as the crow flies). 104 cms rainfall was recorded here in a 24-hour spell in 1876. The local market is famous for its honey and tribal jewelry.

The Nahkalilkai and the Mesmai water falls and caves are worth exploring. Trekking excursion to Living root bridges and nature pools can be an add-on to a visit to Cherrapunjee.

Visit to the countryside includes Smit – the traditional seat of power of the Kingdom of Khyrim, the village of Nogkhnrih dedicated to preserving workshops in the art of making traditional bows and arrows, and Mawlynnnong- is a model village with a community home stay in a traditional tribal house. The close by living root suspension bridge, over an idyllic stream is indeed a unique sight.

Shillong is reached via Guwahati by a 3 hrs hill journey A helicopter service also operates between Guwahati and Shillong.