The word “Meghalaya” literally means “The Abode of Clouds”. Meghalaya is bounded on the north by Assam and Bangladesh in the south. The state “Meghalaya” formed as a separate state from Assam on January 1972. Area of the state is approx.22429 Sq Kms. The original inhabitants of Meghalaya are Khasi, Garo and Jayantia tribes. Nearly one- third of the state is forested and is notable for their biodiversity of flora and fauna.
The state has three Wildlife sanctuaries Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, Siju Sanctuary and Bhagmara Sanctuary, and a National wildlife park known as Balpakram. Meghalaya has a large variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. The important mammal species include elephants, bear, civets, mongooses, weasels, rodents, gaur, wild buffalo, deer, wild boar and a number of primates. Meghalaya also has a large variety of bats. The limestone caves in Meghalaya, such as the Siju cave are home to some of the rarest bat species.
Places of Interest in Meghalaya
Situated at the height of 1496 m above the Sea level on the East Khasi Hills, Shillong the capital of Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful hill stations in the North Eastern part of India. For its similarity with the Scottish highland it is called as the “Scotland of the East India “The city derives its name from “Lei shyllong” the Super power or God who is believed to reside on the Shillong peak, overlooking the city.
At an altitude of 1300 meter above sea level and about 56 km from Shillong in East Khasi hills district is Cherrapunjee village, now it is called Sohra. Cherrapunjee is the highly wettest place as it receives the second highest rainfall in the world. Cherrapunjee is a centre of Khasi Culture and Literature with having the oldest Presbyterian Church and an establishment of Ramakrishna Mission and famous for its Limestone Caves and Orange and Pineapple groves.
Nohkalikai Fall is fourth highest waterfall in the world. The Waterfall is 5 Km west of Cherrapunjee and towers to a height of 1100 ft. Locally Nohkalikai Fall is called “Fall of Ka Likai”. Nohkalikai Waterfalls is high on beauty quotient and is often compared with the famous Jog Falls of South India.
Caving is an art which can be best experienced in the mystic Mawsmai Caves of Meghalaya. With a length of 4503 m, this cave is at present, the 4th longest in the Indian sub continent. The other name for this attraction of Mawsmai at Meghalaya is Krem Phyllut. It is located close to the Nohsngithiang Falls. The entry point of Mawsmai Cave is located in the village of Mawsmai. The caves are located near Cherrapunjee and are made of limestone.
Situated at an altitude of 1960 Meter and in a distance of 10 Kms from Shillong .The peak has a legend that “U Lei Shyllong”-the Superpower or God who is believed to reside on the Shillong peak, overlooking the city. The name of the town shillong also derived from his name. it is a beautiful place as a view point .the peak offers a magnificent bird’s eye view of entire Shillong township and the idyllic surroundings.