Carved from the erstwhile State of Assam, Meghalaya became a full fledged State on January 21,1972. Bounded on the North and East by Assam and on the South and West by Bangladesh, Meghalaya is spread over an area of 22, 429 square kilometres, and lies between 20.1° N and 26.5° N latitude and 85.49 °E and 92.52 °E longitude. The State enjoys a temperate climate. It is directly influenced by the South-West Monsoon and the northeast winter wind. The four seasons of Meghalaya are: Spring - March and April, Summer (Monsoon) - May to September, Autumn -October and November and Winter - December to February. Meghalaya's main ethnic communities, each having its own distinctive customs and cultural traditions are the Khasis (of Mon-Khmer ancestry), the Garos (of Tibeto-Burman origin) and the Jaintias said to be from South East Asia.
How to reach
There is a small airport at Umroi, about 35 km from Shillong. At present, Air India operates with ATR42 type of aircraft on this route. Buses / Taxis are available from Shillong to Umroi and back.
M.T.C. Bus Service from Shillong to Umroi Airport
Departure time from Shillong : 11.00 hrs Departure time from Umroi : On Arrival of flight from Kolkata Embarking and Disembarking point : M.T.C. Station, Police Bazar Type of Bus : 28 seater Starbus Fare : Rs.100/- per passenger Schedule days : Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
Another convenient airport, the Gopinath Bordoloi Airport in Guwahati (128 km from Shillong) is connected to rest of India with regular flights. Shared cabs (typically small cars from the airport, and larger Tata Sumos from Guwahati town center) are available from outside airport connecting to Shillong. The rate is Rs. 300 per passenger from Guwahati Airport to Shillong. The cab drops you off at Police Bazaar from where you can get a ride to almost any part of Shillong. En route from Guwahati to Shillong, you'll probably stop mid way at Nongpoh to freshen up and get some refreshments.
MTDC Airport Transfer services from Shillong to Guwahati Airport
Departure time from Shillong : 6.30 a.m & 9.00 a.m Departure time from Guwahati Airport : 2.00 p.m & 4.00 p.m Fare : Rs.250/- Tickets will be available at Tourist Information Centre, Police Bazaar and Meghalaya Tourism Information Centre, Guwahati Airport.
Helicopter is available from Guwahati to Tura and Tura to Shillong on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday and from Guwahati to Shillong and Shillong to Guwahati daily except on Sunday. It takes 20 mins. to reach Shillong from Guwahati and one hour from Guwahati to Tura. This means of transportation is very economical and convenient.
There are no rail lines in Meghalaya. The nearest railway station is Guwahati. It is 104 km from Shillong and very well connected with all major cities of India. Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC) has bus services coordinated with train arrivals at Guwahati. The buses leave Guwahati beginning 6 am till 5 pm (three and a half hrs). Reciprocal services from Shillong also leave at the same time. Taxis are available at Guwahati Railway Station.
National Highway 40, an all-weather road, connects Shillong with Guwahati. State's Transport Corporation and private transport operators have services to various places in Meghalaya and to neighbouring states. Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC) and Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) operates bus services from Shillong to Guwahati and Guwahati to Shillong from 0600 hours to 1700 hours daily. Tourist Taxis, Tata Sumo Taxis, Tourist coaches are also available for travel between Shillong to Guwahati and vice-versa. Shillong is well connected by a net work of roads with all important cities in the neighbouring states and major cities in the country.
In Guwahati, the State's Transport Corporation buses leave from the Inter State Bus Terminus, Beltola, while the Private run buses, Sumos and Taxis leave from Paltan Bazar. In Shillong, the bus stand is located in Police Bazar for Government buses and for private buses it is located in Polo Grounds. The Sumos and Taxis leave from Police Bazar in Shillong. Buses usually take around 4 hours with a mid-way stop at Nongpoh. Sumos and Taxis take around 3 hours to reach Shillong from Guwahati.
Best Time to Visit
Meghalaya is an all-year-round tourist destination, where even the monsoon provides the exhilaration and experience of being on the wettest place on the planet.
In summer, ranges from 15°C to 25°C; in winter, it is much colder, with temperature ranging between 4°C and 16°C. The hills are also often covered by fog during this season.
Points Of Interest
A hauntingly beautiful waterfall, cascading down from the top of the gorge to the mystic deep green pool below, reminding one of the tragic legend associated with it, of a grief stricken mother who plunged to her death, unable to overcome her sorrow over the murder of her daughter by her husband.
Just before reaching Sohra, a road to the right, leads one to the falls which is 5 kms away. The waterfall derives its name from a Thlen or a snake of gigantic size which dwelt in a cave. Legend has it that the people destroyed the snake in order to rid themselves of its reign of terror. Adjacent to the very spot where the Thlen was slaughtered lies the Dain-thlen Waterfalls.
also known as Mawsmai falls, is 1 km south of Mawsmai village and derives its name due to the fact that the waterfalls are situated in a south westerly position and get illuminated by the sun from dawn to sunset. The vibrant colours of the setting sun on the waterfalls make it beautiful to behold.
Krem Mawkhyrdop or Krem Mawmluh
The main entrance of this famous cave is located at the bottom of the western flank of Lum Lawbah. The entrance is easily found by following the river behind the cement works of the Mawmluh Cherra Cements Limited, downstream for about 200 metres to a point where the river disappears underground.
The impressive entrance of Krem Dam, measuring some 30 m across, lies at the foot of a large blind valley approximately 1 km to the east of Mawsynram village. A sizeable stream running down the valley enters the cave. The cave is formed in a coarse grained facies of limestone which almost looks like sandstone. The cave consists mainly of one very large river passage ending in a roof collapse where daylight can be seen.
The cave lies about 6 km. from the village of Nongjri. The inconspicuous entrance hidden in the jungle covered boulders reveals itself by the cool air it blows. It is another beautiful and rather easy cave for any tourist. From the small entrance hole, the main trunk passage runs for about 1 km with inclined walls and ceiling towards west into a passage known as ‘Way to Heaven,” which is a very loose and slippery climb
6 kms from the Sohra market to the south lies the village of Mawsmai in the direction of Bangladesh border. At the village crossing, one passes grasslands surrounded by forests, ending in a clearing. From this clearing, a concrete pathway through the jungle leads up to the main cave entrance. This cave is the only cave that is fully lighted.
Balpakram National Park
Balpakram has been declared a National Park some years ago. This place is about 220 sq kms in area and is 167 kms from Tura. This place is not only of mythological importance but also the natural habitant of many rare and exotic animals and plant life. It is also believed to be the original home of the rare citrus plant Me-mang Narang.
Nokrek hill is the home of a very rare species of citrus locally known as Memang Narang orange of the spirits. This Memang Narang is considered to be the most primitive and progenitor of all other varieties of citrus plants in the world with a view to preserve this rare species of citrus indica the first gene sanctuary of the world has been established here.
Mawphlang Sacred Grove
Mawphlang, just 26 km from Shillong a traditionally preserved forest grove known as Law Kyntang is another tourist attraction. Trees and plants in this Sacred Forest are grown with no human interference. The sacred-groves which have been preserved since time immemorial, are in sharp contrast to their surrounding grasslands.