ABOUT MEGHALAYA

Meghalaya is literally the "Abode of Clouds". The name describes the climatic phenomenon that brings torrents of rain to its mountainous terrain. Meghalaya is a region of great scenic beauty. Often likened to Scotland for its topography, scenic beauty and vegetation it presents a panorama of lush undulating hills, pine covered slopes, fertile valleys, 250 species of orchids, meandering rivers, waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams, emerald green lakes, gorges & precipitous ravines.

Its climate makes Meghalaya that rare hill-resort country, that is a pleasure to visit all year round, even in the dead of winter.

It is inhabited by three ancient tribes, the Khasis, the Garos, and the Jaintias. They are among the few communities in the world that observe the matrilineal line of descent, in which lineage and ancestral property passes down from mother to daughter.

Meghalaya is also rich in wild life. It is the home of a variety of animals and birds, the best known of them being elephants, tigers, golden cats, slow loris, monkeys of different types and many birds including horn bills, partridges, teals, snipes & quails.

The state has two national parks - The Nokrek National Park and The Balpakram National Park, & two wildlife sanctuaries, the Nongkhyllem wildlife sanctuary and Siju wildlife sanctuary.

SIGHTSEEING:

Shillong

Shillong has always been the meeting point of traditional cultures and cosmopolitan styles. Termed as "Scotland of the East" it is the capital of Meghalaya. Located at an altitude of 1,496 mts. above sea level, this beautiful hill station has been one of India's best known hill resorts for many decades. This hill resort is unique in its scenic beauty and culture.

Places to visit in and around Shillong

Ward's lake :

Located in the heart of Shillong, the lake with gradually undulating grounds, surrounded by a garden of flowers and pine trees, offers a charming winding walk-a-way in the midst of rolling flower beds and fairyland lighting.

The lake has a strikingly beautiful arched bridge. Boats of all sizes and shapes are available while the cafeteria provides you with refreshments.

Shillong Peak :

At 10 Km from Shillong it is the highest point in Meghalaya and offers a panoramic view of the scenic countryside. In the evening the city appears like a star studded abyss.

Elephant Falls :

12 Km away on the outskirts of the city, the mountain stream descends through two successive falls set in dells of fern-covered rocks.

Cherrapunjee

Situated at 1,300 mt. above sea level, Cherrapunjee is noted for having the heaviest rainfall in the world. A pleasant drive of about 56 Km from Shillong with a view of the mist covered ravines will take you to the famous Nohsngithiang falls, Nohkalikai falls, Mawsmai Cave and Thangkharang Park.

Barapani

17 Km from Shillong is the beautiful artificial Barapani lake. The Orchid lake resort provides water sports facilities which include sailing, water skiing etc. The Lum Nehru Park lies adjacent to the resort.

Nokrek National Park

Nokrek National Park ((2520'-2529'N 9013'-9035'E) is just two kilometers away from the Tura peak and is located in the Garo Hills of Meghalaya, spread over parts of three districts, namely, West Garo Hills, East Garo Hills and South Garo Hills.

It is one of the biggest biosphere reserves of India. This national park is home to various species of reptiles and invertebrates. The Nokrek national park is also famous for the natural limestone caves. Smoky Leopard, Tiger, Wild Buffaloes, elephants, hoolock gibbon and different species of Wild cats dominate the Park. Nokrek was declared as a national park in 1997, covering an area of 47.48 sq km. The park area acts as the core area of Nokrek Biosphere Reserve covering a total area of 820 sq km.

Teeming with wild life, Nokrek hill is the home to 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.

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.

Birdlist:

Black stork, Ashy minivet, Crested Serpent Eagle, Wreathed hornbill, Great Hornbill, Grey-chinned Minivet, Blu-naped Pitta, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Tree Sparrow, Bronzed Drongo, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Mountain Bulbul, Brown Wood- Owl, Spotted Forktail, Olive-backed Tree Pipit, White-throated Bulbul, Coral billed Scimitar Babbler, Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Black-capped Kingfisher, Ruddy Kingfisher, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Black Bulbul, Ashy Wood Swallow, Brown-throated Tree Creeper, Black Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Bar-tailed Cuckoo-Dove, Crested Honey Buzzard, Oriental Hobby, White-rumped Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Indian Lorikeet, Chestnut vented Nuthatch, Barn Owl, Bay Owl, Crested Finch-bill Bulbul, Black-crested Yellow Bulbul , Golden backed Woodpecker, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Red-eared Bay Woodpecker, Brown Fish Owl, Chestnut Tailed Starling, Great Eared Nightjar etc.

Balpakram National Park

The Balpakram National Park is located to the extreme South Garo Hills of Meghalaya at a distance of 167 km away from Tura, the district headquarter of west Garo Hills district and 90 km from Baghmara, the district headquarters of South Garo Hills. This pocket of pristine beauty named Balpakram National Park is also close to the international boundary of Bangladesh.

Balpakram, which was declared a National Park in 1987, is the land of scenic beauty, lying at an altitude of nearly 3000 ft above sea level covering an area of 220 sq km. It is a vast tableland of dense forest, teeming with wild life, undoubtedly one of the richest spot in biodiversity in the country. It has varied types of floral and faunal compositions. Elephants and Tigers are the flagship of the park. It is home to one of the rarest animals in the world - the Lesser Panda or the Red Panda as it is commonly known. Hoolock Gibbons, the only ape species found in India can be seen here. Other animals found in the park are black bear, sambar, barking deer, serow, gaur, wild buffalo, leopard, clouded leopard, golden cat, malay bear, binturang, slow loris, wild dog, flying squirrel, wild pig, hedgehog etc. Among the plants very rare species like the Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes Khasiana), orchids and Drosera flourish abundantly which often attract wildlife biologists and researchers.

The western part of the park adjoins with Siju bird sanctuary along the banks of Simsang river. The literal meaning of Balpakram is the "land of perpetual winds". There is a great precipice or deep gorge in Balpakram and is popularly compared to the Grand Canyon of U.S.A. It is believed that here, the spirits of the dead dwell temporarily before embarking on the final journey. Balpakram is sacred to the local Garo tribe as the abode of the dead spirits. The Garos are deeply spiritual and believe in myths as interesting and awe-some as the Greek mythologies. In support of their beliefs, Balpakram has many mysterious and unnatural phenomena that cannot be satisfactorily explained by modern science and logic. Some of these mysterious sites are Boldak matchu karam, Chidimak, Matchru, Areng patal, Goncho Dare, Dikkini ring, Rongsaljong Agal, Rongsobok Rongkol.rie Balpakram is also an Important Bird Area. Over 270 bird species have been recorded in the area.

Birdlist:

Grey Peacock Pheasant, Blyth's Kingfisher, Bay Woodpecker ,Black & Jerdon's Baza, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Mountain Bamboo & White-Cheeked Partridge, Dusky & Eastern-Crowned Warbler, Olive Bulbul, Eye-Browed Wren-Babbler, Crested Finchbill, White-winged Duck, Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler, Tawny-breasted Wren-babbler (Spelaeornis longicaudatus-rare & endemic), Flavescent Bulbul, Collared Pigmy Owlet, Baya Weaver, Brown Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill , Wreathed Hornbill, Grey-chinned Minivet, Blu-naped Pitta, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Tree Sparrow, Bronzed Drongo, Striped Laughingthrush, Greater necklaced Laughingthrush, Common Iora, Lesser necklaced Laughingthrush, Striated Laughingthrush, White crested Laughingthrush ,Oriental Turtle Dove, White bellied Yuhina, etc.

 
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