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State of India - Meghalaya
 
QUICK FACTS Climate (Degree C.): Summer - Max: 25, Min: 15, Winter - Max: 16, Min: 4 | Best Season: September - April | Languages Spoken: English, Khasi and Garo | Capital:Shillong

Overview:
Welcome to the 'Abode of the Clouds', Meghalaya. The wettest place on earth, the name describes the climatic phenomenon that brings torrents of rain to this region. Meghalaya is a region of great scenic beauty; a panorama of lush, undulating hills, fertile valleys, exotic flora and fauna, meandering rivers, waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams and lakes. The state is home to a number of tribes like the Khasis, Jhantias and Garos. The people here are simple and jovial with strong traditional values. Sports, dance and music being an important part of their lives.

Geography of Meghalaya:
Meghalaya one of the seven sister states of India was carved out of Assam and got its statehood on 21st January 1972. Meghalaya is landlocked state, bounded on the north and east by Assam, and the south and west by Bangladesh. It is divided into three hilly regions - the Garo Hills (Western Meghalaya), the Khasi Hills (Central Meghalaya) and the Jaintia Hills (Eastern Meghalaya).

History of Meghalaya:
Little is known about the history of Meghalaya, except for the account of the Khasis Kingdoms. It is believed the Khasis were the earliest immigrants of the northern Myanmar who then reached and settled in East Assam. There are a number of myths and findings surrounding the existence of the three major tribes i.e. the Khasis, Jaintias and Garos. The Garos are habited in the western Meghalaya, the Khasis in central Meghalaya, and the Jaintias in eastern Meghalaya. Each of the three tribes had their individual kingdoms, until the rule of the British in the 19th century. In 1935 the British incorporated Meghalaya into Assam. However, after India's Independence in 1947, Meghalaya was given autonomous status within Assam. But this was not enough for Meghalaya, and finally after a peaceful and long struggle, Meghalaya became a full-fledged state in the year 1972.

Tourist Places of Meghalaya:
Located between the Bangladesh and Assam, Meghalaya is one of the most picturesque states in India. Cherrapunjee and Shillong, the most famous destinations in Meghalaya are frequented by a number of visitors every year. Cherrapunjee the wettest place in the world is known for highest amount of rainfall. It rains throughout the year in Cherrapunjee. In Shillong some worth visiting places include the Shillong Peak, Sohpetbneng Peak, Ward's Lake, Shillong Cathedral, and Nartiang - famous for its 500 year old Durga Temple.

Fairs & Festivals of Meghalaya:
The fairs and festivals of Meghalaya are categorized as per the three distinct tribes existing in Meghalaya. The main festivals in the Khasi Hills are the Nongkrem Dance and Shad Suk Mynsiem which is celebrated as a gesture of thanks to the God. There are a number of festivals celebrated by the Garos. Few worth mentioning are Denbilsia, Wangala, Rongchugala, Mi Amua, Mangona, GrendikBa, Dore Rata Dance and Chambil Mesara. Wangala is the most important, as is considered to be 'the post-harvest festival of the Garos'. The Behdienkhlam festival of the Jaintias is based on the socio-economic life of the tribe and is a prayer for prosperity and good health. Another festival celebrated in the Jaintia Hills is Laho Dance, in which two men dressed in traditional costumes; dance on either sides of a woman holding arms together. There is a third man there churning out couplets for the dance keeping the audience entertained.

Cuisine in Meghalaya:
The state of Meghalaya has its own unique cuisine. Pork is the staple food in Meghalaya, and not surprisingly most of the dishes are non vegetarian. The common food of the people is rice with meat and fish preparations. A typical meal would consist of rice, one or two meat/fish dishes and of course the delicious dry fish soup. Apart from rice, millet and maize with a number of vegetables and roots is also eaten. Like the general practise of the tribes in the north-east, the people here ferment rice beer known at vat, which is a must in all the religious rites and ceremonial occasions. Jadoh consisting of rice and pork is one of the most common dishes and is quite spicy. Shillong is considered to be the Mecca of authentic Chinese food. Some of the other popular dishes here are Jadoh, Ki Kpu, Tung-toh, and pickled bamboo shoots

Shopping in Meghalaya:
Bara Bazar, in Shillong is the hottest place for exploring for souvenirs. Good buys include mounted butterflies, handwoven shawls, orange honey, black mushrooms, Khasi dresses for women, pineapple, orange and other fruit products. The market is not just a shopping place is also a tourist attraction. Mounted butterflies are available at the Butterfly Museum at Mawkhar. Other places for shopping are GS Road, Police Bazar and Jail Road.