Location : On the North-East part of India
Area : 22,429 sq. km.
Attractions : Shillong, Elephant falls, Tura.
Temperature : Average 18° -20° C.
Best time to Visit : April to May and September to November.
Meghalaya (Abode of Clouds)
Meghalaya was carved out of Assam and got its statehood on 21st January 1972 . Naturally blessed with tumbling waterfalls, beautiful lakes, high plateaus, misty heights, luxurious vegetation, virgin forests and abundant rainfalls, Maghalaya is undoubtedly called 'Abode of Clouds'. The state is broadly divided into Khasi hills, Jaintia hills and Garo Hills.
Shillong - The Capital City
The capital has a lot to offer to the people for enjoying the peaceful and scenic beauty of a place. The city has a plethora of waterfalls, excellent excursions and cool-lush green peaks. Its lake known as Ward's Lake is a beautiful place to unwind and also to stroll away for a long walk. Occupation by the British had also resulted in the scatter of various churches and cathedrals in Shillong. For the northeastern people, it served as a prime center for education with its various good colleges and schools.
Places To See
The state has innumerable number of travel attractions but mention can be made of the state capital, Shillong, Elephant Falls, Ward's Lake and Tura. With the constant rainfall, the state seems to be always sparkling and very clean. The swirling road on the face of the hills and the beautiful greenery along are picturesque and serene.
There are three types of tribes namely Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes. The common feature of all these tribes is the matriarchal law of inheritance in which the custody to property and succession of family position runs through the female line. The tribes had kingdom of each own until the British annexed them in the 19th century to build a road through the region.
Fairs and Festivals
Due to the existence of three tribes, each tribe has a number of tribes. Some of the few popular festivals are Wangala, Nongkrem dance and Behdienkhlam. These festivals are celebrated by the people of Meghalaya without the bounds of any religious faiths. The ancestral spirits are appeased during the festivals following the sowing and harvesting.
Pork, vegetables and rice are mainly Khasi food. A good restaurant by the name of Khew Ja, run by an Englishman and his Khasi wife is a nice way to taste the regional cuisine.
Mounted butterflies, handwoven shawls, orange honey, black mushrooms, Khasi dresses for woman, pineapple, orange and other fruit product are the best buy here. Bara bazar is a must-visit for shoppers. Local handicraft can be bought at Meghalaya Handloom and Crafts, Purbashree, Manipur Emporium, Tantuja, Assam Emporium and Nagaland Handloom and Handicrafts. Mounted butterflies are sold at Butterfly Museum at Mawkhar.
Cherrapunji termed as the wettest place on Earth, is a tourist spot at a distance of 56 kms away from Shillong. It is situated at an altitude of 1,300 meters above sea level. At this steep waterfalls, the water cascades over to the deep gorges with a roar and one can always see a rainbow near the waterfall when there is enough light to break through. These waterfalls found here make an excellent place for picnicking.
Noh Kalikai Falls
Kalikai Falls are few kilometers to the west of Sohra(Cherrapunnji) is a breath-taking waterfall.
Jakrem Hot Springs
Jakrem Hot Springs situated at an approximate distance of 39 kms, can be reached from Shillong by car or bus.
A town by the name of Dawki lies 96 kms away from Shillong and here one can catch a glimpse of the neighbouring country, Bangladesh. The Annual Boat Race held at Umngot is also a must-visit.
Sightseeing tours by coach of Shillong and Cherrapunji are organised daily by Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).
Meghalaya Transport Corporation has helicopter service that operate from Guwahati till Shillong taking only 30 minutes. These helicopters land on ALG in the Upper Shillong and at Umroi Airport, 35 kms from downtown. It also arranges transfers from/to the helipad. Helicopter tour: MTDC at Jail Road organises services of helicopter for 25 minutes each Saturday.
Accessibility to Meghalaya
The nearest airport is at Borjhar (Guwahati) in Assam which is 124 kms from Shillong. Indian airlines and several private airlines operate between the main cities of India like Delhi and Kolkata with Guwahati on a daily basis. Tourists can take private tourist bus or hire taxis that operate from the airport till Shillong.
The nearest railway station is Guwahati and there are many trains that link the city to many major cities of India . Then the rail passengers can avail the services of buses of Meghalaya Transport Corporation and private tourist buses and taxis to Shillong from Palton Bazar which is near the station. The taxi services can be avail from Palton Bazar.
There is a National highway-40 which connects Guwahati with Shillong and it takes only 3 hours to reach Shillong. Another Highway-44 also connects Shillong to Silchar in Assam , Aizawl in Mizoram and Agartala in Tripura.
Negotiable taxi services which are un-metered are available at Taxi Stand, Center Point.