MEGHALAYA

 

Meghalaya is characterised by extensive forests and awe-inspiring hills. It shares its borders with Bangladesh and Assam and its capital city is Shillong. Its lush vegetation and dense forests are home to an array of animals and plants, making this small state particularly inviting for those who take delight in nature. However, many of the forests are protected from tourists, used mainly for religious rituals.

Meghalaya was occupied by the smaller tribes of Khasi, Garo and Jaintia. Then, during the 1800’s, the British Crown took over the rulership of the entire area (as well as many other regions of India). It was only after the Second World War that India was declared independent. The state of Meghalaya is a relatively new one, formed in 1972 as a result of being split from the present-day state of Assam.

Today, most of Meghalaya’s population comprises tribal groups, of which the Khasis and Garos are the first and second largest respectively. This in one of only three Indian states in which Christians make up the religious majority. In fact, over 70% of this population follows Christian teachings and doctrines. Hinduism is followed by under 20%, while the rest tend to follow religions created by their own tribe. Although the official language of Meghalaya is English, most of the locals speak Khasi or Garo. Women are given a unique sense of priority in this state. In fact, a person’s lineage is traced through the mother’s genetic line, and inheritances are according to the matriarchal structure. In this culture, the youngest daughter inherits all of the property and it is her responsibility to look after her parents and family when they are old. For this reason, having a baby girl is deemed worthy of celebration, while sons are not as esteemed. This is very different to many other areas of the world.

The Meghalaya landscape is made up of beautiful rock formations and many rivers. Some of these include spectacular waterfalls that thunder down with humbling power. This state experiences frequent and heavy rainfall, making it lush and fertile with full rivers. The daytime temperatures are a comfortable average of about 25 degrees Celsius during summer, while winters can become very cold.

Meghalaya’s economy is supported largely by farming. However, the farms in this state do not produce as much as they should to be able to sustain the community comfortably. So, many food items are imported from other parts of India and the world. Common crops grown here include sesame seeds, castor seeds, mustard seeds, food grains (rice, pulses, maize etc...), cotton, pineapples, tea, bananas, papayas, coffee, cashew nuts, mandarin oranges, cauliflowers, cabbages and radishes. Meghalaya also boasts a rich mineral content in its many rocky structures. Minerals such as limestone, coal and granite are just some of the abundant materials.

The fauna of Meghalaya includes rare bat species as well as wild buffalo, Asian Elephants, civets, bears, wild boars and a plethora of snakes, insects and birds.

Tourists visiting this small Indian retreat should visit:

• Shillong Peak
• Ward's Lake
• Nartiang (steeped in history and culture)
• Spread Eagle Falls, Elephant Falls, and Dain Thlen Falls
• Mawsmai Cave, the Cave of Eocene Age, Krem Kotsati and Siju-Dobkhako

Here is tourism web site: http://megtourism.gov.in/

and

Here is goverment web site: http://meghalaya.gov.in/


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