Meghalaya Profile

Meghalaya is a state in North Eastern India. It is a hilly strip in the north-eastern part of the country. The state is adorned with beautiful blue hills and roaring waterfalls. There are also beautiful valleys with towns and villages dwelling in them. Shillong, the capital of the state, is a beautiful town with many exotic tourist places in it.

Profile of Meghalaya

History of Meghalaya

The history of Meghalaya is associated with the three predominant tribes inhabiting the state since centuries. The Khasis, Jaintias and the Garos are the chief inhabitants of the state of Meghalaya. According to legends the Khasis were the earliest immigrants of the state. The Khasis made their way across northern Myanmar to Assam. The Khasis symbolize the Mon-Khmer language of south-East Asia. The Khasis, Jaintias and the Garos had their own kingdom then. The kingdom of Khasis, Jaintias and Garos came under the British administration in 19th century. In 1765 the British came to Sylhet (now in Bangladesh). Khasis used to visit Pandua, the border of Sylhet, for trade purposes. Bengal used to import limestone from the Khasi Hills. Eventually the British started trading in limestone and developed contact with the Khasis.

In 1824 the Burmese invaded Cachar and the Jaintia Hills. In the same year a friendship treaty was signed between the Jaintia Rajah and the British for accepting the protection of the British. The Khasi chiefs allowed the passage of the British through their territories. After the Burmese invasion was over the British demanded a corridor through the Khasi and the Jaintia Hills to connect the Assam valley with Surma Valley.

When Meghalaya was added to Assam an uprising was started by the people for the attainment of independence from the state of Assam. Freedom fighter Tirot Singh started an uprising but his uprising was suppressed. Several treaties were signed with Khasi chiefs.

In 1862 the Jaintias revolted under U Kiang Nongbah. The British eventually took control of the resources of the Khasi Hills. They suppressed the chiefs and took control of the judiciary.Meghalaya became as an independent state on 21 January 1972, when it was carved out from two districts of the state of Assam - the United Khasi, Jaintia and Garo hills. Before attaining the full statehood, Meghalaya was given a semi- autonomous status in 1970.

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.

When Bengal was partitioned on 16 October, 1905 by Lord Curzon, Meghalaya became a part of the new province of 'Eastern Bengal and Assam'. However, when the partition was reversed in 1912, Meghalaya became a part of the province of Assam.

Important events in the history of Meghalaya

  • 1815 - The Khasi states came under British rule.
  • 1835 - The British incorporated Meghalaya into Assam 
  • 1873 - The British annexed the Garo Hills 
  • 1874 - The Assam province constituted, Shillong made the capital
  • 1905 - Partition of Bengal and Meghalaya became a part of Eastern Bengal and Assam
  • 1909 - Municipality constituted under Bengal Municipality Act
  • 1912- Meghalaya became a part of the province of Assam.
  • 1947 – India attained independence
  • 1960 - Movement for a separate Hill State began 
  • 1972 - Meghalaya attained statehood 
  • 2013 - The High Court of Meghalaya was established
Also Read: History of Shillong

Economy of Meghalaya

Agriculture is the predominant occupation of Meghalaya. Being an agrarian economy, majority of population is engaged in agriculture and allied activities. However, even after that, due to low productivity and unsustainable farm practices, Meghalaya has to depend on imports of food items. Meghalaya has a vast source of natural resources like limestone, coal, Kaolin and granite. Meghalaya is mainly an agriculture-based economy. Nearly two-thirds of the total people of Meghalaya earn their livelihood through this. But still the contribution of agricultural sector is only one third to the state’s Net State Domestic Product (NSDP).

Agriculture in Meghalaya

Economy of Meghalaya

Majority of the population of Meghalaya depends upon agriculture for their livelihood. Because of the presence of the pleasant climatic conditions various kinds of vegetables and fruits can be found in Meghalaya. About 81% of the people of Meghalaya depends on agriculture.The farmers in Meghalaya are practicing modern and improved methods of Agriculture. Using of Plant protection measures, Chemical fertilizers and introduction of High Yielding Variety (HYV) seeds of Wheat, Maize, Paddy, etc has contributed to the increase in production of food grains. Mechanisation of Agriculture has raised to some extent.

Crops in Meghalaya

There are also various types of Crops grown in Meghalaya which includes:

Food Grains

Food-grains constitute the main food items of the entire population of Meghalaya. Food Grains include Rice, Maize, Wheat, Pulses.

Oil Seeds

Rapeseed and Mustard are the most important oilseed crops grown in Meghalaya. Other oilseed crops include Soyabean, Groundnut, Sesamum, Linseed,Castor and Sunflower. Fibre Crops important fibre crops grown in the State are Cotton, Mesta and Jute. These crops have been also the traditional cash crops of the Garo Hills.

Horticulture Crops

The Horticulture crops of Meghalaya Includes: Fruits, Vegetables, Tuber Crops, Plantation Crops, Spices Potatoes, Ornamental Plants, Medicinal Plants, Indigenous Plants, Mushrooms.

Various Agricultural Schemes

The government of Meghalaya has taken up various schemes to develop the agricultural structure of the state. The various schemes include: Various Agricultural Scheme
  • Bio Control Laboratory
  • Seed Farming and production of Pulses, Cereals and Oilseeds etc
  • Soil Survey of the State
  • Integrated Farming in Micro Watershed
  • Training of Rural Educated Youth for Self Employment in Farm Based Activities.(TREYSEFA)
  • Winter Cropping and Development of Cultivable Land
  • Agriculture Academic Studies
  • Fertilizer Distribution
  • Soil Testing Lab
  • Seed Testing Lab and Seed Certification
  • Special Development Programme for Areas Bordering Assam
  • Maize Development through Cluster Approach
  • Plant Protection including IPM
  • Farmers Training Institute
  • Agriculture Information Unit
  • State Rice Mission
  • Basic Agriculture Training Centre
  • Jute Technology Mission
  • Agriculture Engineering (Mechanical)

Industries in Meghalaya

Economy of Meghalaya

The level of industrialization in Meghalaya is low. But Meghalaya has a rich base of minerals like coal, limestone, silimanite and granite, which could be really helpful in increasing the trade and industries of the state. People are also engaged in small scale industries and making of handicrafts and other household products. There are limestone and cement factories in Meghalaya. Meghalaya is also a hub of horticulture and flori-culture industries where most people are engaged.

Also Read: Economy of Shillong

Geography of Meghalaya

Geography of Meghalaya

The state of Meghalaya is situated in the north-eastern part of India. The state capital is Shillong which is located at an altitude of 1496 mts. above sea level. Meghalaya is located between Latitude 20° 1' N & 26° 5' N and Longitude 85° 49' E & 92° 52' E. The State is bounded on the North by Goalpara, Kamrup and Nowgong districts of Assam, on the East by Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills Districts of Assam, and on the South and West by Bangladesh. The total area covered by the state is 22,429 Sq. Km and the total forest area is 8510 sq. km. The highest point is the Shillong peak which is at a height of 1965 m above seas level.

Distance from Shillong to Major Cities and Towns

  • Kolkata: 1166 kms
  • Pune: 2705 kms
  • Bangaluru: 3015 kms
  • Chennai: 2730 kms
  • Delhi:  2044 kms
  • Guwahati: 98 kms
  • Mumbai: 2815 kms
  • Tura: 305 kms
  • Cherrapunjee: 51 kms
  • Nongstoin: 94 kms

Distance from Cherrapunjee to Major Cities and Towns

  • Kolkata: 816 kms
  • Pune: 2802 kms
  • Bangaluru: 2710 kms
  • Chennai: 2507 kms
  • Delhi: 2102 kms
  • Guwahati: 148 kms
  • Mumbai: 2746 kms
  • Tura: 329 kms
  • Shillong: 53 kms
  • East Khasi Hills: 14 kms
  • Nongstoin: 123 kms

Distance from Nongstoin to Major Cities and Towns

  • Kolkata: 743 kms
  • Pune: 2703 kms
  • Bangalore:  2637 kms
  • Chennai: 2434 kms
  • Delhi: 1984 kms
  • Guwahati: 162 kms
  • Mumbai: 2810 kms
  • Tura: 215 kms
  • Cherrapunji: 115kms
  • East Khasi Hills: 100 kms
  • Shillong: 94 kms

Distance from Tura to Major Cities and Towns

  • Kolkata: 536 kms
  • Pune: 2394 kms
  • Bangalore: 2430 kms
  • Chennai: 2227 kms
  • Delhi: 1891 kms
  • Guwahati: 223 kms
  • Mumbai: 2497 kms
  • Shillong: 305 kms
  • Cherrapunji:  437 kms
  • East Khasi Hills: 315 kms
  • Nongstoin: 215 kms

Meghalaya is covered mostly in forested terrain with one third of the state covered with forests. The state has an eco-region and sub tropical forests with mountainous forests and lowland tropical forests. The forests are a home to large variety of mammals, birds and plants.  Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is a popular hill station of the north east. Meghalaya covers a total area of 22, 429 sq kms and is spread across about 300 km long (east-west) and 100 km wide.

Meghalaya state is also known as Meghalaya plateau. The elevation of the plateau ranges from 150 m to 1961 m. The central part of the plateau has the Khasi hills and the eastern section is bounded by Jaintia hills. The highest point in the state is the Shillong Peak with an altitude of 1961 meters. The Garo Hills bound the western section of the plateau. Meghalaya has mostly rain fed seasonal rivers which create beautiful waterfalls and deep gorges in this beautiful valley. 

Quick Facts of Meghalaya

  • Year of formation -1972
  • Latitude -20° 1' N & 26° 5' N
  • Longitude-85° 49' E & 92° 52' E
  • Area -22,429 Sq. Km
  • Population -29,64,007 persons
  • Male population -14, 92,668
  • Female population -14,71,339
  • Capital     Shillong
  • Districts-7
  • Literacy-75.48% (2011 census)
  • Forest Area -9, 496 Sq. Km
  • Average Rainfall -1200 cm per annum
  • Temperature Average -18-20° C
  • Highest Point - Shillong Peak (1965 m)
  • Principal Languages -Khasi, Garo and English
  • Time zone - IST (UTC+5:30)

Climate of Meghalaya

The climate of Meghalaya is moderate but humid. The average annual rainfall in Meghalaya is 1200 in some areas. The best time to visit Meghalaya is from the month of February to the month of October.

Resources in Meghalaya

The state of Meghalaya is very rich in natural resources. Meghalaya is also blessed with rich flora nad fauna. The state also contains areas covered with evergreen forests. Meghalaya is a storehouse of vast natural resources and natural beauty. With high hills and beautiful valleys adorning the state, caves and waterfalls, these places have deposits of minerals, valuable forests, exquisite flora and fauna species.

Mineral Resource in Meghalaya

Natural resources in MeghalayaMeghalaya is a safe deposit of minerals. The major minerals that are present in the state are Coal, Limestone, Clay and Sillimanite. Other minerals include Phospherite, Glass-Sand, Granite, Quartz & Feldspar, Gypsum, Base Metal, Gold, Uranium and Iron-Ores. Coal and Limestone are also exported to Bangladesh, earning a good amount of foreign exchange.

Forest Resources in Meghalaya

The total estimated forest area in the state is 8510 sq. km. The State contains areas of very beautiful scenery with evergreen forests. The forests of Meghalaya can broadly be grouped under the tropical type and the temperate type, mainly based on the altitude, rainfall and dominant species. The various types of forests found in Meghalaya are Tropical moist and dry deciduous forests, Tropical Forests, Tropical evergreen forests, Tropical semi-evergreen forests, Grass and Savannas, Temperate Forests and Sacred Groves.

Types of Forest in Meghalaya

Meghalaya Forests Source:

  • Alluvial Sal
  • Foothill and Plateau Sal
  • Very Moist Sal Bearing Forests
  • Mixed Deciduous Forests
  • Evergreen Forests
  • Bamboo Forests
  • Grasslands
  • Assam Sub-Tropical Pine Forests

Quick Facts of Forests of Meghalaya

  • Reserved Forest: 713.12 km2
  • Protected Forest: 12.39 km2
  • National Parks (including proposed)-267.48 km2
  • Wild life Sanctuaries- 34.20 km2
  • Dense Forest-5,681.00 km2
  • Open Forest-9,903.00 km2
  • Scrub-259.00 km2
  • Non Forest-6,586.00 km2
  • Total forest cover-5,584 sq km km2
  • 69.5 % of the total geographical area of Meghalaya

Flora in Meghalaya

Meghalaya is blessed with a rich, varied, dense, widespread, exotic and cultivated flora. Nature, in its generous abundance, had given Meghalaya a unique type of vegetation, ranging from tropical and sub-tropical to temperate or near temperate. Both tropical and temperate vegetation is done in Meghalaya. The famous plants of Meghalaya are its Botanical Wonder, Orchids, Decor Plants, Money Spinning Plants, Lac and Gum plants. Meghalaya is also famous for its honey production. Floriculture, or flower farming is one of the prime occupations of the people here as the weather supports growth of beautiful flower species and plants. There are also many orchid types which grow in Meghalaya.

Fauna in Meghalaya

Meghalaya has a rich and interesting plethora of fauna. It is said that about 50% of the total number of mammals found in the entire Indian sub-continent can also be found in Meghalaya and its adjoining states in the North-East. The mammals, such as Tupaia, Rhizomys, Cannomys, Chiropodomys, Micromys etc occur only in Meghalaya and its adjacent areas.Some of the most interesting animals found in Meghalaya are the Hoolock - the only tailless ape in India, Golden Cat, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Large Indian Civet, Binturong or Bear Cat Himalayan, Black Bear, Barking Deer and Pangolin.

natural resources in Meghalaya

In the forests of Meghalaya, especially in lower altitudes, multifarious species of birds can be seen in abundance. Some of the common birds are: Hoopoe, Long tailed Broadbill, Scarlet Minivet, Burmese Roller, Blue-throated Barbet, Red-vented Bulbul, Himalayan Black Bulbul, Himalayan Whistling Thrush, Spotted Forktail, Black-breasted Kalij Pheasant, Red Jungle Fowl, and Mynas like Jungle Mynas, Hill Mynas etc and Turtle-dove. Meghalaya's butterflies are famous all over the world for their beauty, among which are Blue Peacock, the Karserhed, the Orange Oak Leaf, the Dipper, and the Bhutan Glory.

Reptile population in Meghalaya includes lizards and snakes, poisonous and non-poisonous. Important ones are: Indian Cobra, King cobra, Coral Snake, Vipers, Python, Blind Snake, Copperhead, Red-necked Kulback and Green Tree Racer. Besides mammals, birds and reptiles, Meghalaya has a number of amphibians and fishes and insects. Amphibians like frogs, toads etc. and fishes like rohu, mrigal, kalibaus, puti and many more of hill stream adaptation are found abundantly in Meghalaya. Among the insect population, ants, flies, bees, beetles are common.

Also Read: Geography of Shillong

Rivers of Meghalaya

Rivers in Meghalaya

In the Garo hills of Meghalaya, the most important rivers of the northern system from west to east are the Ringgi,  Kalu, Chagua, Didram, Ajagar, Dudnai and Krishnai. Among these rivers only the Kalu and Krishnai are navigable. Other main  rivers of the southern system are Sanda, Daring, Bandra, Dareng, Simsang and Bhogai. Simsang River is the largest river in the Garo hills district of Meghalaya and navigable only for about 30 Km . Other navigable rivers in Meghalaya are Bhupai.and Nitai. In the central and eastern part of the plateau the other important northward flowing rivers include Digaru, Umkhri and Umiam and the south-flowing rivers include  Mawpa, Kynchiang (Jadukata),Umiew or Barapani , Myntdu and Myngot. The gap between Raj Mahal hills , Chhota Nagpur and the Shillong Plateau is known as the Malda gap.

Culture of Meghalaya

The Meghalaya society is the only matrilineal society in northeast India. In this society type, the women lead the society and has more status than men in the society.  The  society within Meghalaya does not allow dowry for marriage. Meghalaya is a land of diverse tribes and races of people living in harmony. The art and craft of Meghalaya is very unique. The three tribes of Meghalaya the Khasis, the Garos and the Jaintias are apt in making different kinds of cane and bamboo items. Meghalaya is also very popular for its various dishes like Jadoh and Tung Rymbai, Ki Kpu and pickled bamboo shoots. The state of Meghalaya is also very fond dance and music. The people of Meghalaya celebrate many festivals. Apart from Christmas, New Year, Diwali, Independence Day, Durga Puja tribal festivals are celebrated across the state with much Fun and fervor. The festivals celebrated in Meghalaya are mostly for celebrating harvest and sowing period of farming. Some of the important festival celebrated by the different tribes of Meghalaya include Shad Suk Mynsiem, Wangala and Behdienkhlam.

Also Read: Culture of Shillong

People and Festivals of Meghalaya

People of Meghalaya

Different communities dwell in Meghalaya in harmony. Khasis, Jaintias, Garo, Hajong and Tiwa are some of the major tribes dwelling in Assam. Most of the native populations of Meghalaya are Christians. These different communities and tribes of Meghalaya have their own fairs and festivals, dance and music, languages, arts and crafts and delicacies. The people also have their distinguished religion, culture, age old traditions, rituals and celebrations.

Festivals of Meghalaya

The Khasi people form the majority of the population of the eastern part of Meghalaya. They are also known for their simplicity. The Garo people are the second largest tribe in Meghalaya and comprise about a third of the local population. The Hajong is a tribal ethnic group of Meghalaya and is the fourth major tribe in Meghalaya. The Hajongs are primarily rice farmers and spend their livelihood through that occupation.

NGOs in Meghalaya

NGOs in Meghalaya

A non-governmental organization is created by natural or legal persons. An NGO maintains its non-governmental status. Their fund come from private donation or fundraising work. They help people or the environment. There are different NGO's like general NGos who work for the development of society, environmental NGOs who work for the development of the environment, animal NGOs who work for the care and development as well protection of animals. Some of the NGos located across important towns and cities of Meghalaya are:

All Community Transformation Society
Address: Charisma Cottage. Spring Side
Shillong - 793 014
Phone: +91-9863083872

Impulse NGO Network
Address: Lower Lachumiere,
Shillong 793001
Phone: +91-9436702626

Meghalaya Women’s Alliance
Address: Jaiaw Langsning, Block I
Shillong - 793002
Phone: 0364-2242185

North East India Committee on Relief & Development
Address: Homeleigh, Laitumkhrah
Shillong - 793003

Voluntary Health Association of Meghalaya
Address: Near Eden Bless School,
Phone: 0364-2220834,2228844

Also Read: NGOs in Shillong

Ka Lamphang Society for Sustainable Development
Address: Sohsarat, Sohra,
East Khasi Hills
Laitkynsew - 793108
Phone: +91-9856469841

Address: Bakdil, Lower Chandmari,
Tura:794002, West Garo Hills
Phone: +91-9436313194 

St. Xavier Society of Christ Jesus
Address: Lower Mawprem

Protection And Conservation Of Environment
Address:New Tura, Matchakolgre,
P.O.Araimile, West Garo Hills,
Meghalaya 794101
Phone: 03651-223720, 9436112592

Cheramo Chedil Socio Cultural Club
Address:C/o shri Asish R Marak,
Cherangre tura, Near Baptish Church
p/o chandmari, west garo hills
Meghalaya- 794002
Phone: 09856-091545,09862-080101, 09856058793

United Sonamati Youth Social Caltural Association
Address:sonamati, P.O garobadha,
West Garo Hills,Meghalaya-794105
Phone: 03651-223122

An amalgamation of natural beauty, different tradition and its people make Meghalaya, the hill state of the north-east an incredible place. With its rich history and geography, having different culture with its  beautiful dance and music, authentic food, unique art and craft and colourful festival; Meghalaya owns a profile unique in its own sense.

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