One of the North Eastern states of India, Meghalaya is a sylvan
beauty of breathtaking beauty. Meghalaya literally means "Abode
(alaya) of the Clouds (megha)". The name describes the climatic
phenomenon that brings torrents of rain in this region . Meghalaya
is a region of great scenic beauty : a panorama of lush, undulating
hills, fertile valleys, waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams and
lakes. It was declared the 21st State of India on 21st
January , 1972. it united the areas of the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo
Hills. With an approximate area of 22, 429 square kilometers Meghalaya
is bounded by Assam in the North and the East, and the plains of
Bangladesh in the South and West. The capital is the hill town of
Shillong. The State is divided into three hilly regions---the Garo
Hills (Western Meghalaya), the Khasi Hills (Central Meghalaya),
and the Jaintia Hills (Eastern Meghalaya).
The State of Meghalaya is directly influenced by the southwestern
monsoon that originates in the Bay of Bengal. The monsoon begins
in May and continues until October. Mawsynram in East Khasi Hills
district has one of the heaviest rainfalls in the world with a July
average of 959 cms.
Meghalaya occupies a mountainous plateau of great scenic beauty
where the average elevation is just under 2000 m (6500 ft). One
of the wettest regions on earth, Cherrapunji lies 56 km from Shillong;
it has mind-boggling annual rainfall average of 450 inches (11,430
mm) over a 74-year period, the highest ever recorded in Asia and
the second highest in the world. The climate of Meghalaya is generally
mild. In August the mean temperature at Shillong (in the Khasi Hills)
is 70º F (21º C); it falls to 49º F (9.5º C) in January. Annual
rainfall in Shillong, only 50 miles from Cherrapunji, is 92 inches.
Meghalaya has a single-chamber Legislative Assembly of 60 seats.
The state sends three members to the Indian national parliament:
one to the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and two to the Lok Sabha (lower
house). The state has seven administrative districts--the East and
West Garo Hills, the East and West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Ri-Bhoi
and the South Garo Hills.