Meghalaya state is located at Northeastern part of India which is surrounded
by hills. In Sanskrit, Meghalaya means “the abode of clouds”. The state is formed in 21
January 1972 with approximately 22,430sq kilometers area. It includes 11 districts.
Capital and largest city of Meghalaya is Shillong, located in east-central Meghalaya.
Basically Meghalaya located in Northeast part of the country. To the North and Northeast it’s bounded by Assam. To the South and Southeast bounded by Bangladesh
The Khasis are the only people in India who speak a Mon-Khmer language. Khasi and Garo along with Jaintia and English are the state’s official language. Other languages spoken by the peoples are Pnar-Synteng, Nepali, Haijong, Bengali, Assamese, and Hindi.
Population of Meghalaya according to census2016 is 3,211,474. Most of the inhabitants of Meghalaya are Tibeto-Burman (Garos) or Mon-Khmer(Khasi)in origin. Hinduism is the major religion among the people. Some notable figures from Meghalaya are-
- Prof. David Reid Syiemlieh (An educationist, and Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
- Urmitapa Dutta (Assistant professor of Psychology at University of Massachusetts of Lowell. She is awarded ‘Dr. Martin Luthar King, Jr, Distinguished Service Award’.)
- Mark Laitflang Stone (An award winning youth entrepreneur)
- AG West Kharkongor (First Khasi officer of Meghalaya who got position in board level of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited(NEEPCO)
- Nicholas Kharkongor (Film director. His movie ‘Mantra’ achieved Best Feature Film Award at the South Asian International Film Festival 2016, held in New York)
- Ruth West Kharkongor (First Khasi lady pilot of Meghalaya)
- Eugeneson Lyngdoh (Footballer)
Besides them, there are also many public figures who have been making their position using their talent.
Cultures and Traditions
Marriage system of Meghalaya peoples has lots of diversity. A boy and girl of the same clan are not permitted to marry. They have followed two rules namely Exogamy and Akim. In another community, If a man and woman who has once contracted marriage will never be free to remarry a person of another clan. But they can marry a person from the same clan in case of the death of the spouse.
Their religion is traditionally mixed with pantheism and Hinduism. Garos believed in the ‘supreme God’.
Garo women wear ‘dakmanda’ cloth which is hand woven cotton fabric. They also wear cotton shawls. Some senior women wear a strip of woolen cloth called ‘Jainkup’. The women folk of Jaintia during their harvest work cover their head by ‘Kyrshah’. The men mostly wear dhoti.
Most importantly the society or community of Meghalaya people’s follow women controlled rules.
A five day long religious festival of Khasis, ‘KaPemblangNongrem’ dance, popularly known as ‘Nonkrem dance’. ‘Shad Suk Mynsiem’, another festival of Khasis. Jaitias most important and colourful festival is ‘Behdienkhlam’. ‘Wangala’ festival is celebrated to worship saljong(sun-god) by Garos.
History of Meghalaya
- In the early 19th century, the British desire to build a road to connect Bengal and Assam led to an agreement(1827)with the ruler(syiem) of the Khasi principality of Nongkhlaw.
- In 1829, opponents of the agreement persuaded to repudiate the agreement and the attack on British led them to take a military operation against the Khasis.
- By the mid 1830s, most of the local rulers had submitted to the British.
- In 1947 the rulers of the region conquered the newly independent country of India.
- After independence India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, evolved a policy to protect and preserve the way of life of the tribal peoples.
- Meghalaya was created as an autonomous state within Assam in 1970 and achieved full statehood on january21, 1972.
Some traditional food names of Meghalaya are given below which you must try :
- Pumaloi (made of powdered rice, after steaming it)
- Doh-Neiiong (pork curry dish)
- Tungrymbai (a everyday meal, made of soya beans, boiled and chopped pork with spices)
- Jadoh (made of red rice, cooked with pork meat and some spices)
- Nakham Bitchi (nakham, a special kind of fish which is sun or fire dried. It’s a fish soup)
- Pukhlein (made of powdered rice. A kind of cookie)
- Mini Songa (Sticky rice item)
- Kyat (rice bear)
- Pudoh (made of powdered rice adding up some pork pieces into it)
How to Reach
By Air: Shillong does not have an airport within the city. The nearest airport to the hill station is the ‘Umroi Airport’ near Barapani, which is about 25 kilometers away. The nearest major airport that is well connected with multiple cities across India is in Guwahati, which is about 125 kilometers away. You can take a taxi from Guwahati to Shillong.
By Train: The closest railway station from Shillong is in Guwahati. The Guwahati railway station is connected toNew Delhi and other major cities across the country.
By Bus: private buses and Government buses are available in Meghalaya.