MEGHALAYA

• Location- Meghalaya lies between 85°49′ and 92’52’ East Longitude and between 20°1′ and 26°5′ North Latitude. It is bounded_on the east, north and north-west by Bangladesh.

• Boundaries- A land locked territory of lovely hills with abounding sylvan beauty, Meghalaya (Meaning the Abode of Clouds’) is bounded on the north by Goalpara, Kamrup and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam state, and on the east by the districts of Cachar and North-Cachar Hills, also of the state of Assam. On the south and west is Bangladesh.

Some Basic Data : Meghalaya-

Date of Formation -: 2 April 1970 State within Assam; 21 January 1972 separate state

Area -: 22,429 sq km

Capital -: SHILLONG

Population (2011)- : 29,66,889

 Male-: 14,91,832  

Female : 14,75,057

Density (2011). : 132 persons per sq km

Sex Ratio (2011) : 989 females per 1000 males

Literacy (2011) : 7443%

 Male : 75.95%

Female 71.88%

 No. of Districts : 11

Languages : Khasi, Garo, English

 Per Capita Income : Rs. 23,420 (at current prices, 2005- 06)

Villages : 5,782

Towns- 16

 Principal Cities/Towns : Shillong, Jowai, Nongstoin, Tura, Cherrapunjee, Williamnagar, Nongpoh

State Symbols

State Bird: Hill Myna

 State Flower : Lady’s Slipper

State Animal : Clouded Leopard

State Tree: White teak

Members of Legislative Assembly . 60

Members of Lok Sabha : 2

Members of Rajya Sabha : 1

• Physiography The exclusive tribal State of the Khasis, the Jaintias and the Garos is a mountain region. Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is situated in the centre of a high plateau. It has been called ‘the Scotland of the East’. The highest peak in the state is the Shillong Peak. It is 1965 m in height. Nokrek in the Garo Hills district is the next highest peak. The Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills which form the central and eastern parts of Meghalaya is in imposing plateau with rolling grassland, hills and river valleys. The southern face of this plateau is marked by deep gorges and abrupt slopes, at the foot of which, a narrow strip of plain land runs along the international border with Bangladesh. A number of rivers, none of them navigable, drain the mountainous State.

• Climate Considering the temperature, pressure and humidity conditions in their temporal distribution, the climatic condition of Meghalaya in a year can be divided into the following four seasons : (i) Winter season (November-February) (ii) Pre-monsoon season (February-May) (iii) Monsoon season (June-September) (iv) The season of retreating monsoon (September-October).

Meghalaya’s charms are made doubly attractive by its climate; on the whole cool and temperately right round the year. Its climate makes Meghalaya that a hill-resort of the country that is a pleasure to visit round the year, even at the dead of winter.

• Rainfall True to its name, Meghalaya (abode of the clouds), for half the year, from late April to September, rain-bearing clouds envelop the land. Meghalaya receives one of the highest average annual rainfalls in the world. Mowsynram and Cherrapunjee of Meghalaya receives an average annual rainfall of 1240 cm and 1080 cm respectively, Which is.the heaviest in the world. The excessive rainfall is due to situation on an. amphitheatre relief and on the windward side of the monsoon. • Rivers The rivers Manda, Dam ring, janjiram, Ringee, Gonal, Bugi and Sii-nsang flow -through the Garo Hills district. Kynshi, Khri, Urntrew, Umngot, Umnain, Mawphlang and Umiam Khwan flow through Khasi Hills district and Kupli, Myntdu and Myntang flow through Jaintia Hill district.

 • History The State was created under the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya)Act, 1969 and inaugurated on April 2, 1970. Its status

was that of a State within the State of Assam until January 21, 1972 when’it became a full-fledged State of the Union. It consists of the former Garo Hills district and United Khasi and Jaintia Hills district of Assam.

• Agriculture & Economy Meghalaya is basically an agricultural State. 83% of the total population depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood. But the potential for agricultural expansion is very limited in Meghalaya due to the terrain. Jhumrning or shifting cultivation, practised in the State on a large scale, is one of the biggest problems to be tackled in Meghalaya. The State government has made a modest beginning with a scheme to help the farmers to settle on lands which are suitable for steady cultivation. Pineapple is a chief horticultural crop. Oranges and Bananas are the important produces. Rice and Maize are the major food crops. Potato, Jute, Mesta, Cotton, Mustard, Ginger, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Tezpatta etc. are some of the important crops. Apart from the above crops, the State has achieved success in cultivation of tea, mushroom and tomato.

• Forest & Wildlife- Area under forest is 9,50,000 hectares. The principal timber species are Teak, Titachapa, Gomari, Bola, Pine, Birch and Makrisal. Principal forest products include, timber, bamboo, reed, cane, ipecac, medicinal herbs and plants, cinnamon and thatch grass. Meghalaya is endowed with a rich variety of beauty in nature. Of the 17,000 species of Orchids in the world, about 1,250 exist in. India, of which nearly 300 are found in Meghalaya. Pitcher plant, the insect-eating plant of botanical wonder, is found in plenty in the South Garo Hills and West Khasi Hills -districts and it is said that such a plant is found nowhere else in the world. Many rare and interesting plants are also found endemic to the State,like wild citrus and pygmy lily.

Districts of Meghalaya-

District, Area (sq km), Population (2011 census), Headquarters -East Garo Hills,1,490, 1,32,257,Williarmagar. East Jaintia Hills, 2,115,1,22,436 ,Khliehriat .East Khasi Hills,2,748 ,8,24,059 Shillong.North Garo Hills,1,113 ,1,18,325, Resubelpara.Ri-Bhoi, 2.378 ,2,58,840,Nogpoh.South Garo Hill, 1,887 ,1,42,574, Baghmara. South West Garo Hills ,Ampat,South West Khasi Hills ,1,341,1,10,152 Mawkyrwat.West Garo Hills -3,714, 5,18,390 ,Tura.West Jaintia Hills,1,693,2,70,352,Jowai .West Khasi Hills,5,247 ,2,94,115,Nongstion.

Meghalaya is also rich in wildlife. There are elephants, tigers, bears, wild boars, leopards, golden cats, leopard cats and jungle cats, deer of various kinds, bintorongs, slow loris, monkeys of different types including capped langurs, golden langurs and hoolocks, flying squirrels and giant squirrels. There are also many interesting and rare birds including the hornbills, patridges, pheasants, teals, snipes, geese, ducks and quails. All these are protected by law. The State has two national parks, viz. the Nokrek National Park and the Balpakram National Park and two wildlife sanctuaries, namely the Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary and Siju Wildlife Sanctuary.

• industry 1 he State is not so for industrially developed. However, new industrial units are fast corning up. There is a public sector cement factory at Cherrapunjee. It has been re-activated to rise the production to 1,65,000 MT per annum. The tantalum capacitor unit of the Meghalaya Electronics Development Corporation at Umiam-Khwan is in production. The mini cementplant, one at Damas in East Garo Hills district and the other at Sutnga in Jaintia Hills district have also gone into production. The number of small scale industrial units covering service industry, bakeries, furniture making, iron and steel fabrication, type retreading, spice etc., is increasing and the Oovernment is giving greater thrust on entrepreneurship development. The Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) is assisting the industrial units by way of term loans and also by participating in equity capital.

• Irrigation & Power The estimated irrigation potential of the State both from surface and ground water is about 2.13 lakh hectare, the potential created so far is 55,182 hectare. The State has power potential for nearly 1,200 MW. It is a power surplus State. About 36 percent of electricity generated in the State is supplied to the neighbouring States. 2,407 villages had been electrified so far. e People The people of Meghalaya belong to some of the earliest communities on the Indian sub-continent with their own tradition and customs. The Garos, the Khasi and the Jaintias, are among the few communities in the world that observe the matrilineal line of descent in the family, in which lineage and ancestral property passes down from mother to daughter. The people of Meghalaya are both hardworking and fun-loving, fond of music as well colourful ritual, respectful to tradition yet open to new ideas. The Garo Hills is predominantly inhabited by the Garos, belonging to the Bodo family of the Tibeto-Burman race, said to have  Nongkrem Dance migrated from Tibet. The Garos prefer to call themselves as Achiks and the land they inhabit, as the Achik-land. * Festival .Nongkrem Dance : Ka Pomb-lang Nongkrem popularly known as Nongkrem dance is one of the most important festivals of the Khasi. It is a five-day religious festival held annually at Smit about 11 km from Shillong, the headquarters of the chief (Syiem) of Khyrim. The festival is celebrated as a thanks giving to God for the good harvest and pray for peace and prosperity. Shed Sukmynsiem : One of the most important festivals of the Khasis is ‘Ka Shade Suk Mynsiem’ (Dance of the joyful heart). It is a thanks giving dance. Maidens dressed in traditional fineries and menfolk in colourful costumes participate in the dance to the accompaniment of drums and the flute. It is held in Shillong in April every year. The festival lasts for three days. Beh Deinkhlam : This is the most important festival of the Jaintias and is celebrated after the sowing is over. Khlarn means ‘Plague’ or ‘Pestilence’ and Behdein means to drive away with sticks. It is a very popular and colourful festival of the Jaintias where men only, young and old take part in the dancing to the tune of drums and flute. Women do not take part in the dancing, but have an important role to play at home in offering sacrificial food to the spirits of the ancestors. Wangela Dance : This is the biggest of all the festivals of the Garos performed in connection with the Awn cultivation, It is usually held in October and so sometimes synchronises with the Durga Puja, but each village sets its own time and so there are two or three weeks during which Wangela is celebrated in one or two villages. The occasion is initiated right in the field after the harvest by a simple but impressive ceremony known as ‘Rugala’ which is followed by the ceremony of incense known as Chachat-Soa which is performed inside the house of the chief of the village.

• Tourist Centres Meghalaya is a ‘dream-come-true’ for the tourist. It is a happy land of magnificent beauty, undulating hills, rolling grasslands, cascading water-falls, snaking rivers, terraced slopes and thrilling wildlife. Shillong, th.e capital city has a number of beautiful spots. They are : Ward’s Lake, Lady HydariPark, Polo Ground, Mini Zoo, Elephanta Falls and Shillong peak overlooking the city and the golf course which is one of the best in the country. Cherrapunjee the place is famous for its rainfall. It is 1,300m above see level. Movvsynram, Ranikor, Dawki, Mairang, Nartiang, Nokreh, Balpakram, Williamnagar  these are Aizawl most attractive tourist centres.

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