Meghalaya is a state in Northeast India. The name means "the abode of clouds" in Sanskrit. The population of Meghalaya as of 2016 is estimated to be Meghalaya covers an area of approximately 22,430 square kilometers.
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. During the British rule of India, the British imperial authorities nicknamed it the "Scotland of the East". Meghalaya was previously part of Assam, but on 21 January 1972, the districts of Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills became the new state of Meghalaya. English is the official language of Meghalaya. The other principal languages spoken include Khasi, Pnar, Hajong, Tiwa (lalung), Rabha, Garo and Biate. Unlike many Indian states, Meghalaya has historically followed a matrilineal system where the lineage and inheritance are traced through women; the youngest daughter inherits all wealth and she also takes care of her parents.
The state is the wettest region of India, recording an average of 12,000 mm of rain a year. About 70% of the state is forested. The Meghalaya subtropical forests ecoregion encompasses the state; its mountain forests are distinct from the lowland tropical forests to the north and south. The forests are notable for their biodiversity of mammals, birds, and plants.
Meghalaya was formed by carving out two districts from the state of Assam: the United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972. Before attaining full statehood, Meghalaya was given semi-autonomous status in 1970.
The Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia tribes had their own kingdoms until they came under British administration in the 19th century. Later, the British incorporated Meghalaya into Assam in 1835. The region enjoyed semi-independent status by virtue of a treaty relationship with the British Crown. When Bengal was partitioned on 16 October 1905 by Lord Curzon, Meghalaya became a part of the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. However, when the partition was reversed in 1912, Meghalaya became a part of the province of Assam. On 3 January 1921 in pursuance of Section 52A of the Government of India Act of 1919, the governor-general-in-council declared the areas now in Meghalaya, other than the Khasi states, as "backward tracts." Subsequently, the British administration enacted the Government of India Act of 1935, which regrouped the backward tracts into two categories: "excluded" and "partially excluded" areas.
At the time of Indian independence in 1947, present day Meghalaya constituted two districts of Assam and enjoyed limited autonomy within the state of Assam. A movement for a separate Hill State began in 1960. The Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969 accorded an autonomous status to the state of Meghalaya. The Act came into effect on 2 April 1970, and an autonomous state of Meghalaya was born out of Assam. The autonomous state had a 37-member legislature in accordance with the Sixth schedule to the Indian constitution.
In 1971, the Parliament passed the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganization) Act, 1971, which conferred full statehood on the autonomous state of Meghalaya. Meghalaya attained statehood on 21 January 1972, with a Legislative Assembly of its own.
Language And Culture
English is the official and widely spoken language of the state. The other principal languages in Meghalaya are Khasi and Garo.Several other languages are spoken in Meghalaya. For example, Pnar language is spoken by many people of the Jaintia Hills. The language is related to the Khasi language. The Pnar, or Jaintia, language is spoken, along with Khasi, by the Khynriam, Bhoi, Pnar and War tribal groups. Tiwa language spoken by Tiwa peoples of Ri-Bhoi district. Another example is the Biate language spoken by a large number of people inhabiting the south-eastern part of Meghalaya bordering Assam.
The main tribes in Meghalaya are the Khasis, the Garos, and the Jaintias. Each tribe has its own culture.
Khasis:dance is central to the culture of Khasi life, and a part of the rites of passage. Dances are performed in Shnong (village), a Raid (group of villages), and a Hima (conglomeration of Raids). Some festivals includes Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Ka Pom-Blang Nongkrem, Ka-Shad Shyngwiang-Thangiap, Ka-Shad-Kynjoh Khaskain, Ka Bam Khana Shnong, Umsan Nongkharai, Shad Beh Sier.
Jaintias:Festivals of the Jaintia Hills, like others, is integral to the culture of people of Jaintia Hills. It celebrates nature, balance and solidarity among its people. Festivals of Jaintias includes Behdienkhlam, Laho Dance, Sowing Ritual Ceremony.
Garos:For Garos, festivals sustain their cultural heritage. They were often dedicated to religious events, nature and seasons as well as community events such as stages of jhum cultivation. The main festivals of Garos are Den Bilsia, Wangala, Rongchu gala, Mi Amua, Mangona, Grengdik BaA, Jamang Sia, Ja Megapa, Sa Sat Ra Chaka, Ajeaor Ahaoea, Dore Rata Dance, Chambil Mesara, Do'KruSua, Saram Cha'A, A Se Mania or Tata which celebrated.
State animal: Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)
State bird: Hill myna (Gracula religiosa)
State flower: Lady?s Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum insigne)
State tree: Gamhar (Gmelina arborea)
Living Root Bridge
How to Reach
State capital Shillong has an airport at Umroi 30 kilometres from Shillong on the Guwahati-Shillong highway. Air India Regional operates flights to Kolkata from this airport. There is also a helicopter service connecting Shillong to Guwahati and Tura. Baljek Airport near Tura became operational in 2008.Other nearby airports are in Assam, with Borjhar, Guwahati airport about 124 kilometres from Shillong.
Nearest railway station from Meghalaya is located in Guwahati (Assam), at a distance of 180 km. Guwahati Junction is connected to New Delhi, Amritsar, Jammu and Kashmir and Bangalore. To reach Meghalaya from Guwahati you can opt for buses or can hire a cab.
Meghalaya is also connected to Silchar in Assam, Aizawl in Mizoram, and Agartala in Tripura through national highways. Many private buses and taxi operators carry passengers from Guwahati to Shillong. The journey takes from 3 to 4 hours. Day and night bus services are available from Shillong to all major towns of Meghalaya and also other capitals and important towns of Assam and the northeastern states.