The glue that holds this diverse society together is its profound respect for nature; that's what defines Meghalaya, a natural gem nestled in the Northeastern part of India.
Meghalaya is wedged between Bangladesh to the south and the valleys of Assam to the north and northeast. This hilly region is one of the seven sisters that make up the northeast, with rolling hills, lush valleys, roaring waterfalls, miles of grasslands and pristine forests.
Meghalaya is an ethnically diverse state, with the indigenous people of the Khasis, Jaintias, and Garos, each having their own distinct dialect, language and culture. However, the thread that binds this diverse society is its profound respect for nature, as is demonstrated in the state's numerous festivals celebrating the power and beauty of nature, as well as the old folklore that frequently extols nature as a holy being.
"Meghalaya" was derived from "Megh" and "Alay" Sanskrit words that translate to "The Abode of Clouds." The region is made up of a mountainous plateau with elevations ranging from 150m to 1,961m.
The Khasi hills form the plateau's centre, with the highest point, Shillong Peak, being 1,961 meters high in the province of Meghalaya. Lording over Shillong City is Shillong Peak, which rises to a height of 1,961 meters.
The Garo Hills lay elevated, above the Brahmaputra River Valley, at a height of approximately 1,500 meters in the western sector and then merge with the Khasi and Jaintia hills to the east.
This isolated plateau in the southern end of the state is a stunning place. It has dramatic cliffs, vertiginous drops to the valleys below, and views over Bangladesh's floodplains. The eastern and southern regions are dominated by a mountain range, which extends for nearly 2,000 kilometres.
The rivers that crisscross this massive plateau include the Umiam, Kynshi, Umngot, Khri, Myntdu and Mawpa in the central and eastern areas. These streams and rivers are mostly rainfed; thus they form deep gorges, broad valleys and spectacular waterfalls that are a must-visit.
Meghalaya experiences an average annual rainfall of 12,000mm, making it one of India's wettest regions. In fact, Sohra and Mawsynram (wettest place on the Planet) are two of the world's wettest locations. They receive an annual rainfall of 11,430mm and 17,800mm, respectively.
The northern reaches are covered by temperate forests, while the southern regions are dominated by lowland tropical forests. The terrain, greenery, climate, and natural offerings make this state an ideal home for wildlife, as well as for flora and fauna to thrive. The state has a pleasant year-round climate and a wide range of vegetation, making this state one of the most sought-after tourist destinations.
The main city of Shillong, which straddles the line between the contemporary and the traditional, attracts tourists with its unique museums, grand British-era structures, trendy cafés, and stunning natural sites.
Beyond the capital city of the state, there are lovely hamlets and villages, as well as a wide range of mountain peaks, lakes, sacred woodlands, and meandering waterways. A trip to Meghalaya is a wonderful combination of natural features and fascinating civilizations that generates an exciting experience.
The sacred groves are a distinctive feature of the state: pockets of ancient forests safeguarded and preserved by indigenous peoples for hundreds of years owing to their religious convictions. The forestlands are home to a large variety of plant species, including a much smaller variety of trees, epiphyte forms, and succulents.
The wildlife reserves of Meghalaya are home to a wide range of species, including civets, leopards, red pandas, elephants, wild buffalos, and hoolock gibbons; as well as parakeets, hornbills, and blue jays.
The rural environment likewise has lovely bucolic views of neatly fenced potato, cauliflower, and rice and maize crops framed against green hills. Dense and thick groves of bamboo, areca nut trees, broom grass, bay leaf, and banana plants that run along the roads in the southern part of the state are rather typical.
Over the last few years, due to the increase in tourism, several villages throughout the state, notably Mawlynngbna and Mawlynnong hamlets, have implemented a variety of green-tourism projects to preserve the region's ecosystems.