Your handy, user-friendly guide to Meghalaya's stunning topography inspiring local traditions and unique living root bridges
Mawlynnong a Mawsynram
Discover spectacular waterfalls, fascinating cave systems and the forested hills of the state
Tourist attractions — their location, entry timings, ticket costs, contact details and other details
Information on hotels — including telephone numbers, tariff range and facilities (supplemented by a hotel listings section)
Recommendations on where to eat Relevant STD codes, distances, tourist offices and more
Spread over an area of 22,429sq km, Meghalaya lies sandwiched between the valleys of Assam to the north and the northeast, and the low-lands of Bangladesh to the south. One amongst the Seven Sisters comprising the Northeast, this hill state is a land of great geo-graphical diversity, with rolling hills, verdant valleys, roaring waterfalls, miles of grasslands and pristine forests. Ethnically, Meghalaya is dominated by the indigenous communities of Khasis, Garos and Jaintias, each of which has its own distinct language and way of life. However, the element that binds this multi-cultural society is its deep reverence for nature, as is manifest in the state's colourful state is spread over a mountain-ous plateau, with an altitude ranging from 150m to 1,961m. At the heart of the plateau are the Khasi Hills, with the highest elevation, followed by the Jaintia Hills, which forms the eastern and southeastern part of the state.
Lording over the capital city, Shillong Peak is the highest point in Meghalaya, soaring to a height of 1,961 m. The Garo Hills rise from the Brahmaputra River Valley to a maximum elevation of around 1,500m in the western part, and then merge with the Oriental pied hornbill Khasi and Jaintia hills to the east. Overlooking the flood plains of Bangladesh, the southern part of the plateau features a steep cliff face and vertiginous drops to the valleys below. A number of rivers crisscross the vast table-land, notable among which are Umiam, Kynshi, Khri, Umngot, Myntdu and Mawpa rivers in the central and eastern region, and Simsang, Ganol, Daring, Sanda and Bugai in the western part. Largely rain-fed, the rivers create deep gorge, steep valleys and spectacular waterfalls.
Meghalaya records an over-age rainfall of 12,000mm every year, making it one of the wettest regions in India. In fact, two of the world's wettest places, Sohra and Mawsynram, are located here. They receive an average annual rainfall of 11,430mm and 17,800mm, respectively. Blessed with a mild climate for most part of the year, the state provides an ideal habitat to a rich variety of flora and fauna. As much as 70 per cent of the land area is for-ested, with temperate forests blanketing the northern reaches, and lowland tropical forests cov-ering much of the southern parts. A unique feature of the state are the sacred groves: pockets of One of the many majestic waterfalls around Mawlynnong ancient forests protected and pre-served by the ethnic communities for hundreds of years, owing to :heir traditional beliefs. These oiodiversity hotspots harbour a diversity of plant species, including many varieties of epiphytic '.cra, succulents and shrubs.
The [ate reserves of Meghalaya e home to a large variety of dlimal and bird species, includ--; leopards, elephants, red pans. civets, Hoolock gibbons, wild ‘tloes, as well as hornbills, _c-akeets and blue jays. Not much is known about Meghalaya from the ancient times, besides the references found in the accounts of the neighbouring Ahom and Kachari kingdoms.
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