Meghalaya is a state in north-east India. The name means “the abode of clouds” in Sanskrit. The population of Meghalaya as of 2014 is estimated to be 3,211,474.Meghalaya covers an area of approximately 22,430 square kilometers, with a length to breadth ratio of about 3:1.
There is not much information on the history of Meghalaya apart from accounts of the more important Khasi kingdoms in the chronicles of the neighboring Ahoms and Kacharis.The first written history of the state came into existence only after the British tried to construct a rail line through this area to connect Bengal and Assam that ultimately led to a treaty with the Khasi principality of Nonkhlaw. However, with the treaty came opposition, which forced the ruler to repudiate the treaty in 1829. This led to direct confrontation between Khasis and the British and by 1830s, the local rulers had submitted to the latter. The tribes continued their practices in seclusion until rulers of the region acceded to the newly independent country of India.The region was included in the united province of Assam for administrative reason, which led to the agitation by the local population. The region was accorded full statehood on January 21, 1972.
The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a wild cat found from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China, and has been classified as Vulnerable in 2008 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its total population size is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend, and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults.
Common hill myna
The common hill myna (Gracula religiosa), sometimes spelled “mynah” and formerly simply known as hill myna, is the myna most commonly seen in aviculture, where it is often simply referred to by the latter two names. It is a member of the starling family (Sturnidae), resident in hill regions of South Asia and Southeast Asia. The Sri Lanka hill myna, a former subspecies of G. religiosa, is now generally accepted as a separate species G. ptilogenys. The Enggano hill myna (G. enganensis) and Nias hill myna (G. robusta) are also widely accepted as specifically distinct, and many authors favor treating the Southern hill myna (G. indica) from the Nilgiris and elsewhere in the Western Ghats of India as a separate species.
Gmelina arborea, (in English beechwood, gmelina, goomar teak, Kashmir tree, Malay beechwood, white teak, yemane ), locally known as gamhar, is a fast-growing deciduous tree, occurring naturally throughout greater part of India at altitudes up to 1,500 meters. It also occurs naturally in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and in southern provinces of China, and has been planted extensively in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Malaysia, and on experimental basis in other countries as well. It is also planted in gardens and avenues.
Lady slipper orchid
Lady’s slipper orchids (also known as lady slipper orchids or slipper orchids) are orchids in the subfamily Cypripedioideae, which comprises the genera Cypripedium, Mexipedium, Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium and Selenipedium.They are characterised by the slipper-shaped pouches (modified labellums) of the flowers – the pouch traps insects so they are forced to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia, thus fertilizing the flower.
Meghalaya has a road network of around 7,633 km, out of which 3,691 km is black topped and remaining 3942 km is gravelled. Meghalaya is also connected to Silchar in Assam, Aizawl in Mizoram and Agartala in Tripura through National Highways. There are many private buses and taxi operators who carry passengers from Guwahati to Shillong. The journey takes around 3–4 hours. Day and night bus services are available from Shillong to all major towns of Meghalaya and also other capitals and important towns of Assam and north-eastern States.
Meghalaya has a railhead at Mendipathar and regular train service connecting Mendipathar in Meghalaya and Guwahati in Assam, has started on November 30, 2014.The Cherra Companyganj State Railways was a former mountain railway through the state.Guwahati (103 km from Shillong) is the nearest major railway station connecting the north-east 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 and further extending it up to state capital Shillong.State capital Shillong has an airport at Umroi 30 km from Shillong on the Guwahati-Shillong highway. A new terminal building was built at a cost of Rs.30 crore and inaugurated in June 2011.Air India Regional operates flights to Kolkata from this airport. There is also a helicopter service connecting Shillong to Guwahati and Tura. Baljek Airport near Tura became operational in 2008.The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is developing the airport for operation of ATR 42/ATR 72 type of aircraft.Other nearby airports are in Assam, with Borjhar, Guwahati airport (IATA: GAU), about 124 km from Shillong.
Meghalayan cuisine is the local cuisine of the Indian state of Meghalaya. Meghalaya is home to three Mongoloid tribes; it has a unique cuisine, different from the other Seven Sister States of northeast India. The staple food of the people is rice with spicy meat and fish preparations. They rear goats, pigs, fowl, ducks and cows and relish their meat.
Dance and Music
Meghalaya is the home of music and dances. The dances are associated with their festivals or seasons and hence are to be enjoyed through out the year. The tribal dances are social, religious, agricultural, funeral and recreational. The land echoes the sound of perfect tempo, beautiful songs and traditional instruments. The dances of Meghalaya are generally held under the open sky.
Art and Crafts
Weaving is an ancient craft of the tribals of Meghalaya – be it weaving of cane or cloth. The Khasis are famous for weaving cane mat, stools and baskets. They make a special kind of cane mat called ‘Tlieng’, which guarantees a good utility of around 20-30 years. The Garos weave the material used for their costumes called the ‘Dakmanda’. Khasis and Jaintias also weave cloth. The Khasis have also been involved in extracting iron ore and then manufacture domestic knives, utensils and even guns and other warfare weapons using it.