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Lesser Known Facts About Meghalaya
11 Interesting Things to Know About Meghalaya (and Facts)
Meghalaya, one of the seven states in Northeast India, is a rising tourist attraction. With mesmerising scenery and deep traditions, the state boasts a stunning combination of wonders.
Read on to learn about some intriguing facts about Meghalaya that will add dimension to your experience as you prepare to visit this enchanting country. You will also uncover some of Meghalaya's hidden treasures — ensuring that your journey becomes a continuous cascade of everlasting memories.
70% of Meghalaya is Forested
In addition to holding the title of the wettest region in India, Meghalaya stands proud with its extensive forested expanses. Renowned as some of Asia's most biodiverse botanical habitats, these forests are havens for many plants, birds, and mammals. Among their unique features are sacred groves—ancient woodlands meticulously preserved by local communities for centuries, rooted in religious and cultural beliefs.
Where to visit -
Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in West Garo Hills
Balphakram National Park in South Garo Hills
Both these attractions in Meghalaya showcase the state’s commitment to conserving its ecological treasures.
Shillong is Known as Scotland of East
Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, has another name "Scotland of the East," thanks to its similarities with the captivating landscapes of Scotland. The rolling green hills, serene lakes reflecting the blue sky, and misty meadows create a peaceful atmosphere.
The pleasant weather, winding roads, and overall tranquillity make Shillong a reminiscent counterpart to the Scottish countryside. The colonial architecture, rich local culture, and the soothing sounds of traditional music add to the charm.
Meghalaya is the Only Indian State with a Matrilineal Society
Here’s an interesting fact about Meghalaya. Several tribes in the state practice matrilineality. In this unique system, family lineage and inheritance follow the female line, emphasizing the crucial role of women in society.
Meghalaya is the only Indian state where this cultural peculiarity thrives. The key aspects of this matrilineal society include:
Matrilineal Inheritance: The youngest daughter, the Ka Khadduh, inherits all ancestral property.
Matrilocality in Marriage: Husbands move and reside in their mothers-in-law's homes upon marriage.
Surname and Identity: Children adopt the surname of their mother, shaping familial identity.
Celebration of Girl Births: The birth of girls is joyously celebrated, emphasizing their significance.
Adoption and Property: In the absence of biological daughters, couples adopt a daughter and pass property rights to her.
Acceptance and Security: The "Khasi Social Custom Lineage Act" ensures that women who remarry or give birth outside of marriage face no social stigma.
Did You Know About the Meghalayan Age?
Did you know there's a geological age named after Meghalaya? The Meghalayan Age, part of the Holocene epoch, started 4,200 years ago during a severe 200-year-long global megadrought.
This distinct geological era was identified in 2018 using a cave stalagmite in Meghalaya. It stands out as the first formal time interval in Earth's history linked to a significant climate-driven cultural event, highlighting the interconnectedness of geological and climatic processes.
English is the Official Language of Meghalaya
In Meghalaya, English is the go-to language for official communication, making it convenient for travellers. You'll also hear Khasi, and sometimes Asamiya or Garo. Khasi is frequently used in folklore and folktales, as well as the names of hills, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, birds, flowers, and animals.
It's important to remember that language is important as locals value it, which makes a quick conversation more fun.
India’s Longest Cave is in Meghalaya
Meghalaya is a haven for cave enthusiasts, boasting 1,580 identified caves, with 980 already explored. Spread across the Jaintia, Khasi Hills, and Garo Hills districts, these caves rank among the longest globally.
Nine out of India's top ten caves are in Meghalaya, with Krem Liat Prah in the Jaintia Hills being the longest at 30,957 metres. In the local Khasi language, "Krem" means "cave."
India’s Highest Plunge Waterfall in India is in Meghalaya
Just like many caves, Meghalaya also boasts about 16 waterfalls, each contributing to the state's scenic beauty. Among these, Nohkalikai stands out as India's highest plunge waterfall, dropping dramatically from a height of 1115 feet.
The waterfall creates a mesmerizing pool that transitions through various hues, making it not only a breathtaking sight but also a captivating natural wonder. The legend of 'Ka Likai’s Leap' adds a touch of mystique to this enchanting landscape, making Nohkalikai a must-visit attraction in Meghalaya.
75% population in Meghalaya is Christian
In Meghalaya, about 75% of the population follows Christianity, making it the dominant religion. Christians have significantly influenced the state's culture and social life. Churches are vital community centres and Christian festivals are widely celebrated, shaping the local lifestyle.
Before Christianity, indigenous communities followed animistic beliefs tied to nature. A minority of people practise Hinduism, which adds to the state's religious diversity. This peaceful coexistence enriches Meghalaya's cultural landscape, which is a fusion of customs and faiths.
Rice is the Essential Food
Here’s another interesting thing to know about Meghalaya. In the state, rice paired with spicy meat is an indispensable food item. Rice forms the core of most meals, and it's accompanied by flavorful and spicy meat dishes.
This simple yet delicious combination showcases the traditional culinary style of the region, highlighting the use of local ingredients and aromatic spices. The essence of Meghalaya's food culture is captured in this satisfying and diverse meal.
Living Root Bridges - Wonders of Meghalaya
If you visit Meghalaya, you cannot miss the spectacular live root bridges, which distinguish the region. These bridges, which have been crafted for generations by the skilled Khasi and Jaintia tribes, are a combination of sustainable engineering and ancient ecological understanding.
These structures, which are strategically placed spanning rivers and streams, are formed of living tree roots that have been masterfully moulded to make durable and long-lasting bridges. Witnessing these bridges is like walking inside a testimony to the Khasi and Jaintia tribes' extraordinary creativity and resourcefulness passed down through generations.
Where to visit - The village of Nongriat in Cherrapunjee
Take Only Memories from Mawphlang Sacred Forest
One of the popular tourist attractions in Meghalaya is the captivating Mawphlang Sacred Forest nestled in the East Khasi Hills. Covering 192 acres, it holds deep connections to age-old cultural beliefs. Witness unique monoliths where animal sacrifices occur for wish fulfilment.
Here's a fascinating fact about Megalaya’s sacred forest. You cannot take away anything, not even a stone or leaf from the forest, as it's considered disrespectful to Labasa, the guardian deity. Violating this rule may invite illness as punishment. Remember this while exploring this beautiful Meghalayan treasure.
Meghalaya isn't just a place on the map; it's a journey into the heart of nature and tradition. So it is always a good idea to discover some intriguing facts and things about Meghalaya before embarking on your vacation. This will help you to better explore the state.
Want to make a hassle-free journey of memories? Book a Meghalaya tour package with experts and leave your footprints across the marvellous land.