The State of Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as an autonomous State in April 1970 and was declared a full-fledged State in January 1972. Meghalaya, situated in the north eastern region of India is a narrow stretch of land, running between Bangladesh on the South and West and Assam on the North and East, Meghalaya lies between 240 58’ N to 260 07’N latitudes and 890 48’E to 920 51’ E longitudes. It covers an area of 22,429 sq. km. The capital of Meghalaya is Shillong. The State has most of its land covered by hills interspersed with gorges and small valleys. Endowed with dense forests and rivers cascading down undulating terrain, this region is one of the most scenic of the North Eastern States.
It is bounded by the Brahmaputra valley of Assam in the North and Northwest and Cachar area of Assam in the East; the Surma valley (Bangladesh) borders in the South and partly in the Southwest. Meghalaya has about 443 Kms. of international border with Bangladesh. The capital of Meghalaya, Shillong was also undivided Assam’s capital from 1874 till January 1972. Shillong is located at an altitude of 1496 metres above mean sea level.
Historical Places : Meghalaya is dotted with several heritage sites and structures is relatively lesser known aspect of tourism in this state. Some historical places of Meghalaya are-
Megalithic Bridge on the Um-Nyankanah.
Megalithic Bridge on the Um-Kumbeh.
Kiang Nongbah Monument.
Megalithic Bridge Known as Thul-Um-Wi.
Stone Memorial of U-Maw Thodur-Briew, Nartiang.
Stone Memorial of U-Mawthoh-Dur, Bhoi Area.
Manipur Memorial, Shillong.
Culture:- The main ethnic communities of Meghalaya include Khasis, Garo, and Jaintia. It is believed that people from these communities came to Meghalaya from South East Asia. The people of Meghalaya are known for their cheerful nature and adaptability. Each community has its customs and cultural traditions the Khasis (of Mon-Khmer ancestry), the Garos (of Tibeto-Burman origin) and the Jaintias said to be from South East Asia. The common trait binding all three communities is its matrilineal system in which the family linage is taken from the mother’s side.
While many people from the Khasi, Jaintia, and Garo communities have converted to Christianity hence we can easily see many churches, temples, mosques, gurudwaras, and monasteries in Meghalaya.
The region is rich in tribal culture and folk tradition. Dance and drinking along with the sound of buffalo horns, flutes and mridangas form an integral part of the social ceremonies and religious ceremonies. Marriage relationships are outside their clan.
Language : English is the most spoken and official language of the state. The other main languages of the state include Khasi and Garo. Many other languages are also used in Meghalaya. For example, Panar, Tiwa, Baite, Nepali language is used in almost all parts of Meghalaya state.
Major City / Towns : Shillong is the capital and hill station of Meghalaya, also known as 'The Abode of Clouds', one of the smallest states in India. The other major cities or towns of Meghalaya are- Cherra punji, Dawki, Laitumkhrah, Baghmara, Mawsynrum, Nongthymmai, Tura, Nongstoin, Jowai, Williamnagar etc.
Attractive Places :
Meghalaya is one vacation destination that is ideal for everyone who wants to be close to nature. There are a lot of great places to visit in Meghalaya and a ton of waterfalls that are simply stunning. Shillong , Cherrapunji, Elephant falls, Double decker living root bridge, Kyllang rock, Mawlynnong village, Baghmara, Nohkalikai falls, Mawsmai cave, Umiam lake, Tura, Jowai, Nongpoh, Dawki, Williamnagar, Don Bosco museum, Seven sisters falls etc.
Communication : Rail - Guwahati (103 km from Shillong) is the nearest railway station connecting the Northeast region with the rest of the country through a broad gauge track network. There is a plan for extending the rail link from Guwahati to Byrnihat (20 km From Guwahati) within Meghalaya.
Road - The road length at the time of creation of Meghalaya in 1970 was only 2786.68 km which has gone up to 7633.00 Km by 31st March 2003, out of which 3691 km is black topped and remaining 3942 km is graveled. The road density has increased from 12.35 km per 100 square kilometer to 34.03 km per 100 square.
Aviation - Umroi (35 km from Shillong) is the only airport in Meghalaya having landing facility for smaller aircrafts and is having flight connected with Kolkata, Aizawl and Silchar
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