Meghalaya

30°C / Clouds

Meghalaya, as the name suggests, means the abode of clouds. Nevertheless, it holds the majority of hills in the geographic borders. Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya that is the most urbanized city of the state and is also known as the Scotland of East. It is the only hill station in the country which is accessible from all the sides. With a plethora of natural splendours, this scenic state is a surreal and dreamy tourist destination that lies in northeast India. From the wettest city of the world to enchanting landscapes, Meghalaya is the mesmerizing place in India where the tourists can get the opportunity to maneuver between the clouds. 

 History of Meghalaya

Meghalayan's believe in different legends about their tribes like the Khasis, Jaintias and Garos. The Khasis were the earliest immigrants to enter the state from northern Myanmar to East Assam. Most traditional beliefs locate Tibet as the home of their forefathers from where they had actually emerged. The Garo tribes' great king Nokma Abong is supposed to have yielded many different tribes under one land. Moreover, the Jaintias inhabitants believe their roots to be in Tibet-China, who migrated in search of food and shelter. Britishers annexed the prairies of Jaintias which resulted in a prolonged fight until 1972 when Meghalaya was declared an autonomous council under the three tribal councils. 

Culture of Meghalaya

The state is a constituent of three major tribes. They believe their forefathers belong to Tibet, hence their nuances are a blend of Tibet and Northeastern culture. Nonetheless, they all have a distinct culture that is amazingly vibrant and unique. A tradition that binds all three tribes together is the matrilineal system. A matrilineal system is where the family lineage is from the maternal side. The Khasi’s regard religion as God and they entrust their life to being God's greatest gift to humans, they preach love for life. It also accounts for the afterlife. The Jaintias, on the other side, are influenced by Hinduism. The Garos give credence to Rabuga, the creator and sustainer of all humankind. Rather than worship, the Garos are appeased by sacrifices. However, these tribes have converted to other religious beliefs. 

Agriculture plays a dominant role in the economy, because of which they are driven to live in a rural setting. The largest town is Shillong. The main crops grown are potatoes, pepper, chillies, millet and vegetables. Their lifestyle is dependent on farming as most of the population dwell in rural areas. Tourism holds a share in the economic growth of Meghalaya and they are taking great initiatives to transform the state as one of the finest tourist destinations not only in India but the world. Due to its geographical positioning, this mesmerizing state of India is not just dominated by alluring hills, scenic vistas, vibrant culture and rich agriculture, but also the well-preserved heritage that offers a great experience for tourists. Besides this, the land is rich in mineral deposits like coal, mica, and magnesium that makes it garner a position in natural reserves.

Food of Meghalaya

We often fail to account for the Northeastern food of India. The tribal culture influences the cuisine here and that is what makes the food of Meghalaya distinct and delectable. A tourist destination is often searched for adventure and without any doubts, the tour to Meghalaya will offer you adventure through food. These savoury dishes should not be left untouched when visiting this hilly state of India. The tourists must appease their taste buds on this culinary journey. Jadoh, a famous dish of the Khasi tribe is made with rice as the main ingredient that is served with chicken, fish, or pork according to the requirement of consumers. 

Embarking on healthy eating habits is quite a fantasy, but this is not true in Meghalaya. You can cure your healthy craving with Doh-Khlieh, a dish with some Mexican touch - a salad made from onions, beans, carrots, lemon, chillies and minced pork. Sometimes it is also served with pig brains and bread. This dish is for someone who would love to explore the unique variety of cuisine tasting. Nakham Bitchi is a special soup consumed before meals. It is a thick soup made with sun-dried fish simmered in boiling water which is then flavoured with chilli and pepper to add extra taste to it. Moreover, one thing that should not be missed is the staple food of any state you visit. The first thing that tourists ask for when they visit a restaurant or food bar is the staple food of the town. Meghalaya's staple food is Pumaloi. It also acts as an accompaniment to many dishes. A unique kind of pot used to cook the rice called Khiew Ranei commonly served during Meghalayan festivals. 

Art and Craft of Meghalaya

The art and craft of Meghalaya are renowned all over India. The city of Shillong is dotted with scouring markets for bamboo products that are amazing. You can find Tibetian carpets, shawls, first honey, bamboo shoot pickle, accessories made of bamboo, all inspired by their tribal artwork, and more. The Khasi tribes weave cane mats called Tieng that are popular for its durability. You can see some of the most amazing art and craft products made by the tribal people in this state. The Jantia tribe makes a special type of fishing traps made out of bamboo sticks. The Garo tribe also has its own speciality in making artefacts. They weave Dakamanda, used for shirts, bed covers and more. 

Baskets of Meghalaya are unique as Megham Khots of the state are renowned in weaving the most beautiful baskets. The crafts of Meghalaya have the scent of woods and feel of the forest. You get a chance to plant the nature of the city in your house. The artefacts are supported by few, but loved by many. It is the best tourist attraction. 

Things to do in Meghalaya

Meghalaya is an ideal place in India to find different cultures, festivals, tribes, food, flora & fauna, and adventure. There are many things that you can explore on your tours to India, but Meghalaya offers you the incessant opportunity to delve deeper into nature.

  • Wards Lake is an artificial lake named after the chief commissioner of Assam, William Wards. It is right in the heart of Shillong.  
  • Nartiang is the hub for monoliths. It is only about 65 km from Shillong and 24 km from Jowai. 
  • Hide-outs used during war times are located in Jowai called Syndai Caves.
  • Cherrapunji is famous for receiving the heaviest rains. It is the highest point of Meghalaya.
  • River Canyoning is a demanding trek in Cherrapunji also known as Sohra.
  • Golding and Archery can also be explored in the city area of Shillong.
  • Umiam Lake is a famous spot for adventure activities such as boating, kayaking, etc.
  • Trekking is a must-do activity in Meghalaya. It is the best tourist attraction that drives people to this state of India.  
  • In Cherrapunji you can visit Dainthlen Falls, Krem Phylutt, Mardok Dympep Valley and Mawsmai Caves. 
  • Sightseeing of hills, caves, and nature's most enthralling caves is a great experience as Mawsmai cave is the fourth largest cave in the Indian Subcontinent. 

  • Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya are spell-binding and a must-see. Learn the mystery behind it.
  • Hiking helps you explore the rich geography, history and culture of the hills with nature ahead of you. 
  • Elephant Falls also called Three steps waterfalls. The fall was named by the Britishers as there was a rock resembling an elephant which was destroyed in an earthquake back in 1897. 
  • Jowai located in the Jaintia hills can be visited to view the Myntdu river.
  • Tyrshi Falls, the market of La Musiang and the oldest Jowai Presbyterian Church are some of the best tourist attractions of Meghalaya in the city of Shillong. 
  • Festivals are in the heart of the tribes. You should experience the four-day festival called Behdienkhlam which happens in the monsoon month of July. 
  • Laitlum Canyons is a perfect place for a picturesque view. It has a 3,000 steps long stairway on the side. The name Laitlum Canyon literally means the end of hills. The terrain is tough and the best trekking place for advanced level trekkers.  
  • You can experience boat rides in Dawki, situated near the Umngot river in the city of Shillong.
  • Umlawan caves - 60 km east from Jowai, one of the longest caves in the Indian subcontinent. The entrance to the cave gets submerged under the water during monsoon, so one has to swim to get to the entrance. 

The lush green forest surrounds the northeastern side of India. States situated on this side of the country are popularly known as seven sisters. Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura are known as seven sisters of India. And to tell you, all these places have their own charm that can bind into the most memorable trip. 

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