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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
((25°20'-25°29'N 90°13'-90°35'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
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
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
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.
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.