Meghalaya used to be part of Assam. Known as the
Abode of the Clouds, it's one of the wettest places on earth. So, do choose the time when you visit wisely! Capital Shillong was a popular hill station during
colonial times, with leftover features being a championship golf course and polo ground, Victorian bungalows, and churches. Concrete buildings have sprouted
since then, but the charm hasn't been completely lost. The abundant natural attractions in Meghalaya include peaks, caves, waterfalls, lakes, and ancient
living root bridges. The state receives heavy rainfall and so is very rich in exotic flora and fauna. English is the official language of Meghalaya. The other
principal languages spoken include Khasi, Pnar and Garo. Tribals make up the majority of state's population. Khasis are the largest group, followed by the
Garos then The Jaintias. Other groups include the Koch, the Biates of Saipung Constuency and Jowai, the related Rajbongshi, the Boro, Hajong, Dimasa, Hmar,
Paite, Kuki, Lakhar, Karbi, Rabha and Nepali.
Meghalayan forests support a vast floral diversity, including a large variety of parasites, epiphytes, succulent plants and shrubs. The state also has a large variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. The important rivers are Daring, Sanda, Bandra, Bhogai, Dareng, Simsang, Nitai, Umkhri, Digaru, Umiam, Kynchiang (Jadukata), Mawpa, Umiam or Barapani, Myngot and Myntdu. Nokrek Biosphere Reserve in the West Garo Hills and the Balaphakram National Park in the South Garo Hills are considered to be the most biodiversity. Three sanctuaries in the state are Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, Siju Sanctuary and Bhagmara Sanctuary. These woods are a home to many exotic and rare species of animals and plants, Parasites and Epiphytes, Succulent plants and Shrubs. Fauna includes mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. Wildlife safari tours Civets, elephants, mongooses, weasels, rodents, gaur, bear, wild boar, deer and buffalo are in abundance among the mammal world in the state. Hoolock (the only tailless ape in India), Golden Cat, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Large Indian Civet, Bear Cat, Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Dear and Pangolin can easily be spotted during safari. Birds like Magpie-Robin, Red-vented Bulbul, Large Pied Hornbill, Peacock Pheasant, Large Indian Parakeet, Blue Jay, Great Indian hornbill, florican, owl, black drongo, Hoopoe, Long tailed Broadbill, Scarlet Minivet, Burmese Roller, Blue-throated Barbet, Himalayan Whistling Thrush, Spotted Forktail, Black-breasted Kalij Pheasant, Red Jungle Fowl and Turtle-dove.
Meghalaya tourism offers a number of options for adventure holiday tours for the adventurers and explorers. The bountiful nature has bestowed the state with tremendous potential for adventure sports. Treks are very charming in the hill slopes, taking you through the villages, brooks and hills. Some important trekking routes are Weiloi to Umngi, Mawlyngot, Smit and Pynursla. Caving is also possiblein Siju, Syndai, Mawsynram, Mawsmai are mainly made of stalagmites and stalactites. It is golfer's delight. Cherrapunji in the Khasi Hills south of capital Shillong holds the world record for most rain in a calendar month, While the village of Mawsynram, near Cherrapunji, holds the record for the most rain in a year.
Airways - Shillong has an airport at Umroi 30 kilometers from Shillong on the Guwahati - Shillong highway. Air
India Regional operates flights to Kolkata from this airport. There is also a helicopter service connecting Shillong to Guwahati and Tura. Baljek Airport near
Tura became operational. Other nearby airports are in Assam, with Borjhar, Guwahati airport (GAU), about 124 kilometers from Shillong. Indian Airlines, Jet
Airlines, Indigo connect Guwahati to Delhi and Calcutta. Air India has flights connecting Guwahati – Bangkok.
Railways - Meghalaya has a railhead at Mendipathar and regular train service connecting Mendipathar in Meghalaya and Guwahati in Assam, has started recently. There is a plan for extending the rail link from Guwahati to Byrnihat i.e. 20 kilometers from Guwahati, within Meghalaya and further extending it up to state capital Shillong. Guwahati is the closest railway station. Shillong is 3 Hours drive from Guwahati Railway Station and is 103 kilometers only.
Roadways – The state has a good Road Network which encompasses the state conveniently. NH 40 connects the state with Guwahati and other cities of the country. Most of the arrivals into the Meghalaya take place through Guwahati in neighboring Assam, which is nearly 103 kilometers away. Meghalaya is also connected to Silchar in Assam, Aizawl in Mizoram and Agartala in Tripura through National Highways. Regular bus services are available from Shillong to all major towns of Meghalaya and also other capitals and important towns of Assam and north-eastern States.
Foreign tourists need a valid visa which can be further extended and Indian tourists need not obtain any permit for entry.