The first written history of Meghalaya came into existence only after the British took up the construction of the rail line that connects Bengal and Assam. The word "Meghalaya" literally means "The Abode of Clouds" in Hindi and Sanskrit. The region was formed by carving out two districts of Assam- the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills- and accorded full statehood on January 21, 1972.
Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long (east-west) and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 22,429 sqkm. About one third of the state is forested and the region is known for its biodiversity of mammals, birds, and plants. Interestingly, the, insect eating Pitcher plant, which is considered a botanical wonder, is found in the districts of Jaintia Hills, West Khasi Hills and South Garo Hills of Meghalaya.Nestled away in the hills of eastern sub-Himalayas, Meghalaya is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful states in the country although tourism seems to have been limited to areas in and around the capital city of Shillong situated in the Khasi Hills.
Shillong is a happening place with plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, recreation, shopping or simply taking a break from the familiar bustle of city life. It is a wonderful experience to just walk the hilly streets of Shillong on one's own and let the mysteries unfurl from behind the clouds. Cherrapunji, which is another attraction of Meghalaya, is about 58 km from Shillong and a two hours drive. It used to be noted as the place receiving the highest rainfall in the world until this unusual honour was usurped by Mausynram, a little distance away. The area is lush green with waterfalls and an extensive underground cave network.
Mawjinbuim Cave (55 km off Shillong) is popular picnic spot and so are Nawphlang and Ranigodam. Jowai, the second biggest town in Meghalaya, is situated in the district of the Jaintias and serves as the entry point to Nartiang, a delightful village further north with a bizarre collection of druid stones. Another popular attraction is Jakrem (66 km from Shillong), which is famous for its hot springs.
Where to Stay
Accommodation to suit all budgets are available in Meghalaya. Shillong has no dearth of hotels and the tourist can take a pick after some study. It is better to make accommodation arrangements prior to arriving. The best time to visit Meghalaya is from October to March though it doesn't really make too much of a difference from the rest of the year in terms of climate.
How to Reach
By Air - Guwahati (100 km from Shillong) is the nearest airport connecting Meghalaya to the world.
BY Rail - The nearest railway station is Guwahati, which is well connected to the rest of the country.
By Road - From Shillong there are state transport buses from the Police Bazaar stand every half hour to Guwahati and Silchar. Private coaches are also available. Private vehicles may also be hired.