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Meghalaya

Particulars Description
Area 22,429 sq. km
Population 29,64,007 *
Capital Shillong
Principal Languages Khasi, Garo and English

History and Geography


Cheerapunji

Meghalaya was created as an autonomous state within the state of Assam on 2 April, 1970. The full-fledged State of Meghalaya came into existence on 21 January, 1972. It is bound on the north and east by Assam, and on the south and west by Bangladesh. Meghalaya, literally meaning the abode of clouds, is essentially a hilly state. It is predominantly inhabited by the Khasis, the Jaintias, and the Garo tribal communities. The Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, which form the central and eastern part of Meghalaya, is an imposing plateau with rolling grasslands, hills and river valleys. The southern face of the 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.

Agriculture and Irrigation

Meghalaya is basically an agrarian state, in which about 80 per cent of the population depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood. The State has a vast potential for developing horticulture due to agro-climatic variations, which offer much scope for cultivation of temperate, sub-tropical and tropical fruits and vegetables.

Besides the major food crop of rice and maize, Meghalaya is renowned for its oranges (Khasi Mandarian), pineapple, banana, jackfruits, temperate fruits like plum, pears and peaches, etc. Cash crops, popularly and traditionally cultivated include potato, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, arecanut, betelvine, tapioca, short staple cotton, jute and roselle, mustard and rapeseed. Special emphasis is presently laid on the non-traditional crops, like oilseeds (groundnut, soyabean and sunflower), cashewnut, tea and coffee mushroom, medicinal plants, orchids and commercial flowers.

Industries

The Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation Limited, as the Industrial and Financial Institution of the State, has been rendering financial assistance to the local entrepreneurs. District Industries Centres have been working in the field for the promotion and development of small-scale, village, tiny and cottage industries. A number of industrial projects have been set up for the manufacture of iron and steel materials, cement and other industrial products.

Festivals


Wanggala Festival, Meghalaya

A five-day long religious festival of the Khasis, Ka Pamblang Nongkrem, popularly known as Nongkrem dance is held annually at village Smit, 11 km from Shillong Shad Suk Mynsiem another important festival of the Khasis, is held at Shillong, during the second week of April. Behdeinkhlam, the most important and colourful festival of the Jaintias is celebrated annually at Jowai in Jaintia Hills in July. Wangala festival is observed for a week to honour Saljong (Sun God) of the Garos during October-November.

Transport

Roads: Six national highways pass through Meghalaya. The State has 7,977.98 km of both surfaced and unsurfaced roads.

Aviation: The only airport in the State at Umroi, is 35 km from Shillong.

Tourist Centres

Meghalaya is dotted with a number of lovely tourist spots, where nature unveils herself in all her glory. Shillong, the capital city, has a number of beautiful spots. They are Ward's Lake, Lady Hydari Park, Bishop Beadon Falls, Elephant Falls, Umiam Lake, Mini Zoo and Shillong Peak overlooking the city and the Shillong Golf Course, which is one of the best in the country.

* As per 2011 Census (Provisional Data)

Source: India 2010 - A Reference Annual