Population: 2964007 (2011)

Language: Khasi, Pnar, Garo, Hindi, English

Capital: Shillong


Meghalaya is an Indian state situated in the north eastern part of India. The capital of Meghalaya is Shillong. The name Meghalaya means the Abode of Clouds in Sanskrit. About one third of the total area of the state is covered by forests. The state was formerly a part of Assam and the new state of Meghalaya was created on 21st January 1972.


History of Meghalaya


The kingdoms of Khasi, Garo and Jaintia which form the present day Meghalaya came under the control of British in 19th century and in 1835 they were merged with the state of Assam. On 3rd January 1921, these areas were declared as backward tracts. In 1947, after the independence of India, Meghalaya was a part of Assam and as per the Assam Reorganization Act of 1969 autonomous state was given to Meghalaya. In 1971, it was conferred full statehood and on 21st January 1972, it became an Indian state.


Geography and Climate of Meghalaya


Meghalaya spreads over an area of 22,720 square kilometers. It has Assam in the north and Bangladesh in the south. Meghalaya is mainly made up of Archean rocks which contain rich mineral deposits such as coal, limestone, sillimanite and uranium. There are many rivers in Meghalaya namely Daring, Sanda, Bhogai, Dareng, Bandra, Simsang, Nitai, Digaru, Umiam, Mawpa, Barapani and Bhupai. Shillong peak with an altitude of 1961 meters is the highest peak of Meghalaya.


Meghalaya has an average annual rainfall of 12000 mm and is considered to be the wettest place on earth. The maximum temperature is 28 degree Celsius and the temperature goes below freezing point in winter. It is here the town of Cherrapunji is located which holds the world record for maximum rainfall. The best time to visit Meghalaya is from March to July.


Natural Resources of Meghalaya


About 42.34% of total area or 9496 square kilometers of Meghalaya is covered by forests. The region is therefore rich in flora and fauna. The sal tree and teak tree are the important varieties of trees found here. Together with them, there are plenty of fruit trees, vegetable plants, spices and medicinal plants. There are 325 varieties of orchards here.


Some of the animals found in the forests of Meghalaya are elephants, bear, civet cats, rodents, wild buffalo, deer and bats. Some of the birds are magpie-robin, bulbuls, hill myna, peacock pheasant, common green pigeon and blue jay. Some of the reptiles found in Meghalaya are lizards, crocodiles, python, king cobra, tortoises and vipers.


Meghalaya State Map With Districts


There are 7 districts in Meghalaya as of June 2012. Given below is the Meghalaya state map with all 7 districts marked.



List of Districts of Meghalaya






East Garo Hills


Jaintia Hills


South Garo Hills




East Khasi Hills


West Garo Hills


West Khasi Hills





People and Culture of Meghalaya


As of 2011 census, the total population of Meghalaya is 2,964,007 with a density of 130 people per square kilometer. The sex ratio was 985 females for 1000 males in urban areas and 972 males for 1000 females in rural areas. The population comprises of many tribal groups namely Khasis, Garos, Jaintias, Rabha, Nepali, Kuki, Hmar, Dimasa, Boro, Hajong, etc. Christians are the majority here with 70.3% of them following Christianity and 13.3% of people are Hindus and 4.3% of them are Muslims.


The important languages spoken here are Khasi, Pnar, Garo and English. English is the official language of the state. There exists a matrilineal system here among Garo tribes in which the youngest daughter becomes the caretaker of the family and inherits the family property.


Economy of Meghalaya



The economy of Meghalaya is based on agriculture and allied activities. However the primitive methods of cultivation give very low productivity and had led to the increase in rural poverty level. For basic needs as food grains, meat and eggs, Meghalaya depends upon other states. However it has a good reserve of natural resources such as coal, limestone, kaolin and granite. But the facilities to exploit them to contribute to the economy of Meghalaya are not up to the level. Illegal mining is done in many places and this has poisoned the rivers. The GSDP of the state in 2004 was $1.6 billion.


Education in Meghalaya


The literacy rate of Meghalaya is 72.1% as of 2011. There are many schools and colleges in Shillong in Meghalaya. The IIM has opened its institute in Shillong named Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management in 2008. The National Institute of Fashion Technology is another prominent institution in Shillong.


Meghalaya Transportation


The roads of Meghalaya are relatively poor due to rugged terrain. Shillong to Jowai, Shillong to Tura and Shillong to Sohra are some of the well developed roads. The internal road structure needs maintenance. The Siliguri Corridor connects Meghalaya with West Bengal. There is no prominent rail route or air route to the state and it depends upon Guwahati in Assam for the same. Guwahati is located 103 kilomters away from Meghalaya and has an airport which serves both states. There is a small airport in Umroi and only small aircrafts reach there from Kolkata and Agartala. The mountain railway of Cherra Companyganj State Railways runs through the state.


Meghalaya Tourism


Special permits were needed to enter the state but these restrictions were removed in 1955. The thickest natural vegetation and wildlife are the attracting features here. Meghalaya has two National Parks and 3 Wildlife Sanctuaries. Those who love adventure tourism can enjoy many features available here such as mountaineering, trekking and hiking. The water sports such as boating are available in Umian Lake.


The hot springs at Jakrem near Mawsynram and waterfalls namely Elephant Falls, Bishop Falls, Nohkalikai Falls, Weinia Falls, Shadthum Falls, Sweet Falls and Langshiang Falls are situated in the state. Mawlynnong Village was ranked by Discover India magazine as the cleanest in Asia in the year 2003 and the cleanest in India in the year 2005.


There are many parks and lakes in Meghalaya and some of the parks are Thangkharang Park, Eco Park, Botanical Garden, Lady Hydari Park, Balpakram National Park and Nokrek National Park. These unexplored beauties are real thrills to the travel aficionados. 


Travel Destinations in Meghalaya