Discover India - Meghalaya

The word 'Meghalaya' literally means "The Abode of Clouds", derived from "Abode" (alaya) of the "Clouds" (megha). The state is bounded on the north by Assam and by People's Republic of Bangladesh on the south. Meghalaya was inaugurated as an autonomous state on 2 April 1970. It was carved out of Assam and obtained statehood on 21 January 1972. It is blessed with tumbling waterfalls, beautiful lakes, high plateaus, misty heights, luxurious vegetation, forests and abundant rainfall. 

Important Tourist Spots

Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya and is a popular hill station. It is generally called the "The Scotland of the East" due to its striking similarity with the Scottish highlands. The city derives its name from "Leishyllong"-the Superpower or God who is believed to reside on the Shillong peak, overlooking the city. Mawsynram, credited as the wettest place on earth, is an important tourist destination in Meghalaya.

Meghalaya Tribes

Meghalaya is dominated by three principal groups of people namely Khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes. A common cultural tradition of all the tribes of Meghalaya is the matriarchal law of inheritance by which, custody to property and succession of family position runs through the female line, passing from the mother to the youngest daughter, instead of the male line as is common elsewhere in the country. According to legend, from the 13th century, a Shivalinga (called "Hatakeswarat") has existed in the Jaintia Hills under the reign of Ranee Singa. Jaintia tribe participates in the Shivratri festival.

Important Festivals

IIM - Shillong

The people of Meghalaya observe some important festivals throughout the year. These celebrations usually take the form of dances when people can forget the drudgery of life.

Wangala, also called the 100 drums festival, is a harvest festival held in honour of Saljong, the Sun God of Fertility. This marks the end of a period of toil, which brings good yield of the fields. It is the time to relax and for days the hills and valleys resound with the distinctive beat of drums. The dance itself has certain subtle variations, the main motif being a queue of two parallel lines - one of men and other of women clad in their festive ceremonial dress.

Another important festival is the Shad Nongkrem or Nongkrem Dance Festival. An important part of this festival is decapitation of goats, at which goats are sacrificed and offerings are made. Religious part of the festival precedes dances, in which unmarried girls in all their finery participate. The dance of the men is naturally more vigorous and energetic. They hold a sword in their right hand and usually a white Yak hair whisk in their left hand, keeping time to the changing beats of drums and playing of the tangmuri or pipes.

Go back