Meghalaya is a small state in north-eastern India. The word "Meghalaya" literally means The Abode of Clouds in Sanskrit and other Indic languages. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long (east-west) and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 8,700 sq mi (22,720 km²). The population numbered 2,175,000 in 2000. The state is bounded on the north by Meghalaya and by Bangladesh on the south. The capital is Shillong also known as the Scotland of the East, which has a population of 260,000.
Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya, one of the smallest states in India. It is also the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district and is situated at an average altitude of 4,908 feet (1,496 m) above sea level, with the highest point being Lum Shyllong at 6,447 feet (1,965 m). The city had a population of 260,520 according to the 2001 census. It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland. Hence, Shillong is also known as Scotland of the East. Shillong has steadily grown in size and significance since it was made the civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills in 1864 by the British. In 1874, on the formation of Meghalaya as a Chief Commissioner's Province, it was chosen as the headquarters of the new administration because of its convenient location between the Brahmaputra and Surma valleys and more so because the climate of Shillong was much cooler than tropical India. Shillong remained the capital of undivided Meghalaya until the creation of the new state of Meghalaya on January 21, 1972, when Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya and Meghalaya moved its capital to Dispur in Guwahati.
Jaintia Hills is an administrative district in the state of Meghalaya in India. The present district was created in 22 February 1972 and occupies an area of 3819 km². It has a population of 295,692 (as of 2001), of which a vast majority is rural. The district headquarters are located at Jowai. The district is part of the Meghalaya subtropical forests ecoregion.For the tribal division into twelve elaka (provinces), each under a dolloi, tributary to the Raja of Jaintiapur. Agriculture and mining are the dominant economic activities. The district has large reserves of coal and is the largest producer of coal within Meghalaya.
Cherrapunji (lately more used the historical name Sohra, also spelled as Cherrapunjee and Charrapunji), is a town in East Khasi Hills district in the Indian state of Meghalaya. It is credited as being the wettest place on Earth. However, nearby Mawsynram has more rainfall nowadays, and both are surpassed by Lloró, Colombia.It is the traditional capital of a hima (Khasi tribal chieftainship constituting a petty state) known as Sohra or Churra.
About one third of the state is forested. The Meghalaya subtropical forests ecoregion encompasses the state; its mountain forests are distinct from the lowland tropical forests to the north and south. The forests of Meghalaya are notable for their biodiversity of mammals, birds, and plants. Meghalaya, a hilly strip in eastern India, covers a total area of just 22,429 km2. It was previously part of Meghalaya, but on 21 January 1972, the districts of Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills became the new state of Meghalaya.
Meghalaya is predominantly an agrarian economy. The important crops of the state are potato, rice, maize, pineapple, banana etc. The service sector is made up of real estate and insurance companies. Meghalaya's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $1.6 billion in current prices.
Shillong, the capital of the state, is a popular hill station. There are several falls in and around Shillong. The Shillong peak is highest in the state and is good for trekking. It is also known as the "abode of the gods" and has excellent views. If one is not in a mood for camping, the state also offers many good hotels and lodging facilities.
Meghalaya was formed by carving out two districts from the state of Meghalaya: the United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972. Prior to attaining full statehood, Meghalaya was given a semi-autonomous status in 1970.
The Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia tribes each had their own kingdoms until they came under the British administration in the 19th century. Later, the British incorporated Meghalaya into Meghalaya in 1835. The region enjoyed semi-independent status by virtue of a treaty relationship with the British Crown.
When Bengal was partitioned on 16 October 1905 by Lord Curzon, Meghalaya became a part of the new province of "Eastern Bengal and Meghalaya." However, when the partition was reversed in 1912, Meghalaya became a part of the province of Meghalaya.
On 3 January 1921 in pursuance of Section 52A of the Government of India Act of 1919, the Governor-General-in-Council declared the areas now in Meghalaya, other than the Khasi States, as "backward tracts." Subsequently however, the Government of India Act of 1935 regrouped the backward tracts into two categories, namely, "excluded" and "partially excluded" areas in place of backward tracts.
At the time of Independence of the country in 1947, the present day Meghalaya constituted two districts of Meghalaya and enjoyed limited autonomy within the state of Meghalaya.
The Meghalaya Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act, 1969 accorded an autonomous status to the state of Meghalaya. The Act came into effect on 2 April 1970, and an Autonomous State of Meghalaya was created within the State of Meghalaya. The Autonomous state had a Legislature in accordance with the Sixth schedule to the Constitution. The Legislature had 37 members.
In 1971, the Parliament passed the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganization) Act, 1971, which conferred full statehood on the Autonomous State of Meghalaya. Meghalaya attained statehood on 21 January 1972, with a Legislative Assembly of its own.
The principal languages in Meghalaya are Khasi and Garo with English as the official language of the State.
Khasi is one of the chief languages of Meghalaya. Khasi, which is also spelled Khasia, Khassee, Cossyah and Kyi, is a branch of the Mon-Khmer family of the Austroasiatic stock; and is spoken by about 900,000 people residing in Meghalaya. Many words in the Khasi language are supposed to have been borrowed from Indo-Aryan languages such as Nepali, Bengali and Assamese. Moreover, the Khasi language had no script of its own in its onset. The Khasi language is believed to be one of the very few surviving dialects of the Mon-khmer family of languages in India today.
Nepali is a major language in the Noth East India Region (Meghalaya, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh), written in Devnagari Script. In Meghalaya, there are around 70 jr. basic schools and 15 jr. high schools in Nepali medium. Meghalaya Board of School Education and North- East Hill University included Nepali Language in their curriculum. It is taught in many high schools and colleges as well. Being a large number of educated Nepalese in Shillong, many literary organisations are established, one of such organisation Nepali Sahitya Parished is active since 1971.
Garo language has a close affinity with the koch and Bodo language. Garo, spoken by the majority of the population, is spoken in many dialects such as Abeng or Ambeng, Atong, Akawe (or Awe), Matchi Dual, Chibok, Chisak Megam or Lyngngam, Ruga, Gara-Ganching and Matabeng. Another language of Meghalaya is the language spoken by the people of the Jaintia hills. This language, as matter of fact, is a variation of the standard Khasi language. The Jaintia language is spoken, along with the Khasi language, by the tribal groups, viz. Khynriam, Bhoi, Pnar and War.
The State of Meghalaya is also known as the "Meghalaya Plateau". It consists mainly of archean rock formations. These rock formations contain rich deposits of valuable minerals like coal, limestone, uranium and sillimanite. Meghalaya has many rivers. Most of these are rainfed and are therefore seasonal. The important rivers in the Garo Hills Region are Daring, Sanda, Bandra, Bhogai, Dareng, Simsang, Nitai and the Bhupai. In the central and eastern section of the plateau, the important rivers are Umkhri, Digaru, Umiam, Kynchiang (Jadukata), Mawpa, Umiew or Barapani, Myngot and Myntdu. In the southern Khasi Hills Region, these rivers have created deep gorges and several beautiful waterfalls.
The elevation of the plateau ranges between 150 m to 1961 m. The central part of the plateau comprising the Khasi Hills has the highest elevations, followed by the eastern section comprising the Jaintia Hills Region. The highest point in Meghalaya is Shillong Peak, which is also a prominent IAF station in the Khasi Hills overlooking the city of Shillong. It has an altitude of 1961 m. The Garo Hills Region in the western section of the plateau is nearly plain. The highest point in the Garo hills is the Nokrek Peak with an altitude of 1515 m.
There are lots of good schools and colleges in Shillong. As part of developmental program in north eastern states, ministry of human resource development opened the seventh Indian Institute of Management in Shillong which is named as Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management. This institute started admissions from the academic year 2008. Recently National Institute of Fashion Technology Shillong and NEIGRIHMS opened in Shillong. Shillong is fast turning up as the center of learning in the North Eastern region.Apart from Shillong, Good school and colleges are available in Jowai and Tura