About Tourism in Meghalaya:
Lush green forests… stunning waterfalls… mind-boggling natural wonders and simple hill folk – the abode of the clouds or Meghalaya is a mix of all these and much more. Set amongst the Seven Sisters North East States of India, Meghalaya offers holidaymakers and stressed-out professionals the ideal getaway to enjoy a break – a place where you can easily plan your escape – to rejuvenate… revel in nature’s lap… trek… explore India’s many treasures… and get in touch with your inner child.
Straddling the Jaintia, Garo and Khasi Hills, the magnificent hill state of Meghalaya is a nature-lovers’ haven and more. For it is a destination, where you can trek down the forest trails and spend your evenings listening to the foot-tapping rock music of Shillong or the soul-stirring folk music of the tribes, dance along with them and simply revel in the scenic beauty of the state’s virgin forests, waterfalls and lakes.
Most travellers, especially first-timers, prefer to begin their holiday in Meghalaya with a stint in Shillong, the state capital, where the locals have maintained a fine balance between retaining the pristine beauty of nature’s treasures and the presence of city-specific attractions such as museums, churches, movie halls, golf courses and vibrant nightclubs.
Visit museums such as the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures and the Captain Williamson Sangma State Museum for an insight into the local tribes; enjoy boating and a picnic amid the scenic surroundings of the Ward’s Lake, a man-made lake of exceptional beauty; and tee off at the local golf course. Whenever the mood strikes for a day out in nature, head straight to the beautific setting of the Elephant Falls; trek up to the Shillong Peak for a panoramic view of Shillong and beyond; or enjoy excursions to one of the many waterfalls in the vicinity (for example, the Spread Eagle Falls).
Seasoned visitors to Meghalaya often make Shillong their base and travel on to off-the-beaten-path destinations such as Cherrapunjee, where naturally occurring marvels such as the Living Root Bridges, stunning waterfalls and naturally-formed caves and canyons offer myriad opportunities for exploration and adventure. The very presence and warm hospitality of the local tribes living in the forests add to the uniqueness of their holiday experiences.
More adventurous and nature-loving visitors will find the Balpakram National Park in Western Meghalaya, the answer to their dreams. Pristine and hardly visited by tourists, the national park offers a wonderful experience of the deep woods, which is renowned for its insect-eating carnivorous plants, huge flocks of elephants and canyons carved by a gushing river.
To know more about holidays in Meghalaya and to book one of the Meghalaya holiday packages, contact Jetways India holiday planners at +91-011-44112230/33/36. Alternatively, send an e-mail to email@example.com
Capital of Meghalaya
History of Meghalaya
Historically speaking, Meghalaya has impressed visitors since time immemorial, so much so, that many of them sought to make the hilly tracts their permanent home. We are referring to the hill tribes of Meghalaya, the Jaintia, Khasi and Garo tribes, each of whom have migrated to Meghalaya from as afar as Mongolia and Tibet, and have made their home in the pristine forests of Meghalaya.
The Khasi , Jaintia, Bhois, Wars, collectively known as the Hynniewtrep people, are descendants of the Austro Monkhmer race. They migrated to the hills of Meghalaya from north Asia and are believed to be the earliest settlers in the Indian sub-continent. The Garo, on the other hand, are descendants of the Tibeto-Burman race and have arrived from Tibet and/or the Cooch-Bihar region (reports are divided).
Having made it their home, these tribes went on to protect the natural bounties from exploitation and lived in small clans. However, like most of India, they could not succeed in protecting their homes from the invasion by the British. The British made their headquarters in Cherrapunjee but the wet climate did not suit them, which led to the capital being shifted to Shillong.
Meghalaya was under the British rule, a part of Assam, and it was 1970 before it became an autonomous state and 1972 before it achieved full statehood.
People of Meghalaya
Visitors to Meghalaya will find the locals warm and hospitable, simple and full of life. A love and passion for music, dance and sports is ingrained in their very souls, with the tribal areas resonating with the joyous sounds of music and dancing, at every opportunity. In the urbanized areas, especially Shillong, jazz and rock music are very popular, which is perhaps why the city is famous as the Rock Capital of India. Even choir music has its own sect of popular following here.
Archery and golf are favourite sports, with the state having one of the oldest golf courses in India. Archery, as one of the traditional hunting and defence methods of the tribal folk, is also quite popular and the state holds regular archery competitions, with the locals indulging in archery gambling to predicting the scores of the winning participants.
Culturally speaking, the people of Meghalaya are quite apart from the rest of the Indians. This is mainly so because of their matriarchal set-up, in which it is the man who moves in with his wife and her family, after marriage; it is the woman who inherits the family property; and performs all important functions. All the three tribes follow this set-up with minor differences. Men do not have much say in the running of the household, except as maternal uncles, who oversee the actual management of the property.
Meghalaya has the distinction of being the wettest place on earth, on account of receiving the maximum rainfall. The top two slots on the Guinness World Records Rankings for the highest amount of average annual rainfall received are taken by Mawsynram (11,873mm) and Cherrapunjee (11,430 mm), both of which are in Meghalaya. The majority of this rainfall occurs in the months of June to September, the Monsoon Season.
Cool weather with temperatures rarely bypassing 28° Celsius make Meghalaya a wonderful holiday destination, especially in the peak summer months. In the winters, temperatures often dip below Zero, but the months of October and November, and February offer many wonderful experiences, especially in Shillong. Read on to find out more.
Fairs & Festivals:
Holidaymakers can make the most of their holiday in Meghalaya by planning their holidays to coincide with the colourful fairs and festivals of Meghalaya. While the tribal folk celebrate many festivals, including harvest festivals and festivals to celebrate the advent of spring, it is the Autumn Festival that garners the most attention from tourists visiting Meghalaya.
Held annually, in the month of October, the Annual Autumn Festival transforms Shillong into a sophisticated getaway with events such as fashion shows, food and wine festivals, kite flying competitions, music concerts and much more being conducted against the backdrop of scenic vistas.
Another festival popular with locals and visiting holidaymakers alike is the Strawberry Festival, which is held on Valentines Day, i.e. 14 February in the Sohliya Village. Located about 40 kilometres away from Shillong, in the district Ri-Bhoi, the Sohliya Village is one of the major producers of strawberries, with almost all households involved in the farming of the fruit. On Valentines Day, the Strawberry Festival, celebrates the fruits and its many products with stalls selling the fruit in boxes and baskets, cases of strawberry wine, jars of strawberry jam and jellies and much more. Music lovers join the strawberry lovers, cupid-stricken couples and foodies, as major bands join the strawberry frenzy. Holidaymakers can also enjoy guided tours of the strawberry farms and enjoy watching the many species of birds that come to relish the fruits at the farms.
Many visitors enjoying a holiday in Meghalaya often add the Ranikor Beach Festival and the Shillong Fruit Wine Festival to their tour itineraries. The Shillong Wine Festival, held annually in November, is a recently established event and provides visitors with the rare opportunity to taste the incredibly delicious Fruit Wine made by the few private brewers of Shillong. The wine is otherwise unavailable for sale.
Ranikor Beach Festival is held in Ranikor, a small town located about 5 hours away from Shillong, on the Indo-Bangladesh border. Surrounded by mountains and boasting its very own pristine, sun-kissed beach fronting a vast lake, the town of Ranikor is popular with holidaymakers of all ilk, and especially with avid bird watchers, anglers and beach lovers.
The Ranikor Beach Festival is testimony to the region’s popularity, as the two-day festival is heavily attended by locals and tourists alike. Enjoy tribal dance and music, beach sports such as beach volleyball, camping on the beach, archery competitions, boat rides, angling and fishing, disco on the beach and dance parties, music concerts and even a trek to the border with the assistance of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF).
Experience all these and more with a wonderful Meghalaya holiday package from Jetways India. Call our holiday planners at at +91-011-44112230/33/36. Alternatively, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org