Meghalaya was formed on 21 January 1972.The Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia tribes each had their own kingdoms. The Britisher incorporated these regions in the state of Assam. Again these two districts of the state of Assam i.e. the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills was declared an independent state of Meghalaya in India. The word "Meghalaya" literally means "The Abode of Clouds". Popularly known as Meghalaya Plateau, it has an altitude ranging between 150 meters to 1961 meters and is bounded on the north by Assam and Bangladesh in the south. Nearly a third of the state is forested and are notable for their biodiversity of flora and fauna. Tribal make up the majority of the population. Khasis is the largest, followed by the Garos. Other major tribes include Jaintias, Mikir, Rabha, Koch, Hmar, Hajong, Dimasa, Kuki, Lakhar, etc.
Major places of interest in Meghalaya
The state has three Wildlife sanctuaries Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, Siju Sanctuary and Bhagmara Sanctuary, home to insect eating pitcher plant Nepenthes khasiana a National wildlife park known as Balpakram, It has over 300 varieties of Orchids concentrated in forest of Mawsmai, Mawmluh and Sohrarim in the Khasi hills. Wildlife include elephants, bear, civets, slow loris, deer, bear mongooses, weasels, rodents, gaur, wild buffalo, deer, wild boar and a number of primates, including Mande Burung. Meghalaya also has a large and rarest variety of bats.
There is nearly 500 natural caves including most of the longest and deepest caves in the sub –continent, visited by cavers from United Kingdom, Ireland, France, USA, Austria and Germany. Krem Liat Prah is the longest cave and Synrang Pamiang is the deepest cave, both located in the Jaintia Hills. Meghalaya offers adventure tourism like mountaineering, rock climbing, trekking, hiking, water sports etc. Six major festivals are Nongkrem Dance, Behdienkhlam, Pilgrimage to Lumsohpetbneng, Cave festival, winter festival and Wangala Dance
Connectivity / Communication
Airways – The biggest airport is Guwahati Airport available flight from Kolkata, Delhi, Bagdogra and Bangkok. A taxi can be hired from Guwahati Airport in Assam to Shillong. The nearest airport is Air Umroi and one can have direct flights available from Kolkata only. One can drive from Umroi to Shillong is about 30 minutes. Information and tickets on helicopter service from Guwahati Airport to Shillong is available at the Airport.
Railways – One has to travel to Guwahati to avail railway link. Guwahati Railway Station is linked up with most of the major cities of India. The nearest Railway station is the Guwahati Railway Station approximately 103 kilometers from Shillong and well connected by road.
Roadways – The roads are quite good except in monsoon. Private vehicles as well as government transport system arte available. Meghalaya Transport Corporation and Assam State Transport Corporation buses are available, frequently plying from Guwahati to Shillong. Assam is also well connected by road to the rest of India.