Tourism in Meghalaya
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.
Area: 22,429 Sq.Km
Districts: East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Ri Bhoi District, East Garo Hills, West Garo Hills and South Garo Hills
People, Culture & Religion
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)
- The Jaintias said to be from South East Asia
Several places in Meghalaya resonate with the sound of thundering waterfalls that cascade down hill slope, spraying its surroundings with a delicate mist of water. In and around Shillong there are numerous waterfalls: Bishop Falls, Elephant Falls, Spread Eagle Falls, Sweet Falls, Crinoline Falls and Beadon Falls are the best known.
Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra Just before reaching Sohra, a road to the right, leads one to the falls which is 5 km 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. Natural rock carvings of the episode draw visitors to see the image of the Thlen, the symbol of greed, corruption and evil.
Location: East Khasi Hills District, Sohra 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.
Location: East Khasi Hills District, Upper Shillong 12 km on the outskirts of Shillong, the mountain stream descends through two successive falls set in dells of fern-covered rocks.
Spread Eagle Falls
Location: East Khasi Hills District, Shillong Located within the Shillong Cantonment, on the outskirts of the city, lies a sparkling waterfall which looks like an eagle with wings spread. Hence the name Spread Eagle Falls. The falls is locally known asUmkaliar or the falls into which Ka Liar slipped. A soothing setting amidst the calmness of nature – a treat to the eyes.
Caves Khasi Hills
The major caves in the Khasi Hills are located in the areas of Cherrapunjee, Shella, Pynursla, Nongjri, Mawsynram and Langrin.
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 main sink entrance requires wading through water, which in the dry season turns into a deadly black quicksand from the effluents of the cements works. The best option to enter the cave would be through a high level bypass entrance which runs parallel to the main passage.
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 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. To the side of the main passage, a complex maze of side passages and oxbows exist. The cave has no significant calcite formations.
Krem Liat Prah
It is the longest natural cave in India. Liat Prah is one of approximately 150 known caves in the Shnongrim Ridge of the Jaintia Hills district in the state of Meghalaya, northeast India. Explored and surveyed as part of the ongoing Abode of the Clouds Expedition project, its current length of about 25 kilometres will likely be increased as nearby caves continue to be connected. Liat Prah’s dominant feature is its enormous trunk passage, the Aircraft Hangar.
The cave entrance is situated north of the track from Chiehruphi village, on NH 44, to Musianglamare. With 14,157 m of surveyed passage, it is currently India’s 3rd longest cave. The wet crawl entrance passage leads to about 500 m of very awkward boulder strewn passage which is followed by one of the world’s finest cave passages. This 7.63kmlong meandering stream-way (Wah Lariang), is probably one of the world’s longest single cave passages. The cave is very rich in formations coloured in orange, red, black, grey, blue, green and white. ‘Titanic Hall’ chamber would rank as one of the most beautifully decorated chambers anywhere in the world.
132 km from Tura, Siju is famous for Dobakkol or the bat cave with impressive stalagmites and stalagtites. It is one of the longest caves in the Indian Sub-continent and contains some of the finest river passages to be found anywhere in the world. There are magnificent limestone rock formations inside, especially named princes, Di’s chamber by the excavators will fill any visitor with awe.
Nokrek National Park
Location: West Garo Hills District
The Nokrek National Park and Biosphere Reserve is about 45 kms from Tura. Nokrek is the highest peak in Garo Hills and home to different species of wild animals including Elephants and Hoolock Gibbons. The Nokrek National Park has been established at Nokrek and it abounds in various wildlife including herds of wild elephants, rare varieties of birds and pheasants, besides rare orchids.
The park is also home to a very rare species of citrus-indica endemic to this place which the locals call memang narang (‘orange of the spirits’). Nokrek is also believed to be the home of Mande Burung (jungle man or ape-man) and reported cases of sightings abound in and around the villages of Nokrek
Selbagre Hoolock Gibbon Reserve
Location: West Garo Hills District
This small area protected by the community is home to the Hoolock Gibbons, the only ape species found in India. The sacred grove in the reserve is the pride of the village and the community. The Garos never kill or hunt the Hoolock Gibbon as it is a traditional belief among them that if a Hoolock Gibbon is killed, a famine or a curse would befall the entire village.
Balpakram National Park
Location: South Garo Hills District
It is a national wild life park, about 167 kms from Tura. It is home to one of the rarest animals in the world – the Lesser Panda or the Red Panda as it is commonly known.
Balpakram (a place of perpetual winds) covering an area of about 220 sq km with a variety of wildlife including tigers, elephants, bison, black bear, leopards, sambar deer, situated near Baghmara in south Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. The western part of the park adjoins with Siju bird sanctuary along the banks of Simsang river.