The state of Meghalaya is somewhat a hidden gem among all the states in India. Situated in north eastern part of India, Meghalaya is filled with gorgeous natural beauty of hills, mountains, and valleys.
Why Is Meghalaya Known As Abode of Clouds?
The name Meghalaya means abode of clouds which accounts to it's heavy rainfall through the year. Meghalaya is the wettest state in India with an average 12,000 mm (470 in) of rain a year.
Why Is Shillong Called Scotland of the East?
The city capital of Meghalaya is Shillong which is also known as Scotland of the East due to its similarity with Scotland's landscape, meandering roads, rich culture, roaring waterfalls, stunning lakes, huge tourist attraction, and amazing music festivals.
Umiam Lake in Meghalaya is the state's source of hydroelectric power generation
Guwahati-Shillong highway road
Tribes and Languages in Meghalaya
There are three main tribes in Meghalaya, namely the Khasi, Jaintia, and Garo.
Garo are believed to be the descendants of Tibeto-Burmar race who came down all the way from Tibet to the north eastern states while the Khasi and Jaintia are the descendants of Proto Austroloid Monkhmer race. (Source)
While English is the official language of the state. The most spoken languages in Meghalaya are Khasi (33.82%) and Garo (31.60%) followed by Pnar (10.69%), Bengali (6.44%), Nepali (1.85%), War (1.73%), Hindi (1.62%), Hajong(1.40%) and Assamese (1.34%). (Source)
Climate in Meghalaya
Meghalaya is said to be the wettest state on Earth due to two of its places Mawsynram and Cherrapunji having the highest annual rainfall per year.
In summer, temperature ranges from 15°C to 25°C. January is the coldest month, with temperatures averaging 10°C.
How Natural Is Meghalaya?
Meghalaya is prominently known for its natural beauty. 70% of the state is forested, of which 9,496 km2 is dense primary subtropical forest.
DOUBLE DECKER LIVING ROOT BRIDGE IS ONE OF MEGHALAYA'S BIGGEST TOURIST ATTRACTION
The Meghalayan forests are considered to be among the richest botanical habitats of Asia. These forests receive abundant rainfall and support a vast variety of floral and faunal biodiversity. A small portion of the forest area in Meghalaya is under what are known as "sacred groves" (see Sacred groves of India). These are small pockets of ancient forest that have been preserved by the communities for hundreds of years due to religious and cultural beliefs. These forests are reserved for religious rituals and generally remain protected from any exploitation. These sacred groves harbour many rare plant and animal species. (Source)
What Does Meghalaya Has to Offer?
One can argue that Meghalaya is by far the best tourist destination in all of North East India.
Top 4 Places to Visit in Meghalaya
1. Visit Iewduh Market and Police Bazar
Fish market in Iewduh Bazar (Image Source: davidsbeenhere.com)
Iewduh Market also known as Bara Bazar (Big Market), is one of the oldest market in Meghalaya. The market is divided into smaller markets like fruit market, fish market, beef market, pork market, vegetable market and so on.
Police Bazar (Image Source: davidsbeenhere.com)
If you're looking to buy clothes, shoes, street foods, household essentials then you should definitely visit Police Bazar, the commercial hub center of Shillong.
Almost every local and tourist shops here.
2. Eat A Traditional Khasi Food
A Traditional Khasi Dish (Image Source: davidsbeenhere.com)
A typical Khasi dish is filled with rice (fried or plain), vegetables (fresh or fried), chutneys (fish or bamboo) and meat (fatty pork, beef intestines, pork intestines, pork salad, beef salad).
3. Visit Elephant Falls and Laitlum Canyon
Beautiful Elephants Falls (Image Source: davidsbeenhere.com)
Elephant Falls is located 12 km away from the main city of Shillong and remains one of the most popular destinations in the state.
Laitlum Canyon (Image Source: davidsbeenhere.com)
Laitlum Canyon is a open area of mountains, hills, valleys, and villages. There are about 5 villages at the bottom of the canyon.
4. Visit Shnongpdeng in Jaintia Hills
Boat ride in Shnongpdeng (Image Source: davidsbeenhere.com)
Shnongpdeng is located in Jaintia Hills outside of Shillong. It is one of the most visited places in Meghalaya for both locals and tourists.
Hidden Gems of Meghalaya
1. Eri Silk
Eri silk is also known as peace silk which is predominantly found in Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya and the state of Assam.
Eri silkmoth and Eri cocoons
Our Eri silk weavers and spinners
Read more about Eri silk here.
2. Black Pottery
Visit the 2 villages, Lyrnai and Tyrchiang, are popular for their terracotta pottery.
Find out the unique ways of Making Black Pottery by The Women Folk of Meghalaya (Read more)
Black clay rounded bowls
Black clay cups
Discover the black clay potteries in Jaintia Hills (Read more)