North-East Guide -> Meghalaya                                                              General Information | History | Society & Culture | Distribution of Languages | Map

meghalaya_logo.gif (3081 bytes)

Meghalaya

       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_loc.gif (12177 bytes)

        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 70 F (21 C); it falls to 49 F (9.5 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.