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Meghalaya

Meghalaya is a state/Union Territory of India.

Meghalaya is a state in north-eastern India. It is about 300 km long (East-West) and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 22,429 sq km. The population was 2,175,000 in 2001. The state is bounded on the north by Assam, with the Brahmaputra River as the border between them, and on the south by Bangladesh. The capital is Shillong. Meghalaya was originally part of Assam, and became a separate state on 21 January, 1972.

The climate of Meghalaya is moderate but humid, the average annual rainfall going as high as 1200 cm in some areas, making it the wettest state of India. The town of Cherrapunjee, south of capital Shillong holds the world record for most rain in a calendar month while the village of Mawsynram, near town of Cherrapunjee holds the distinction of seeing the heaviest yearly rains. About one third of the state is forested. The ranges of the Garo Hills in the west, Khasi Hills, and Jaintia Hills in the east are not especially high, with Shillong Peak the highest point at 1,965 m. Many caves are known to exist with unique limestone structures forming curious stalactites and stalagmites. In summer temperature ranges from 15°C-25°C. In winter it is much colder with temperature ranging from 4°C-16°C

Tribal peoples make up about 85 percent of Meghalaya's population. The largest group, comprising almost fifty percent of the population, are the Khasis (who call themselves Hynniewtreps or belonging to seven celestial families, in their local language), followed by the Garos (who call themselves Achik in local language), which were among those known to the British as "hill tribes". Garos comprise about a third of the population. Other groups include the Jaintias and the Hajong (40,000). About fifteen percent of the population is defined as non-tribal; these include about 54,000 Bengalis and 49,000 Shaikhs. Meghalaya is one of three states in India to have a Christian majority; the other two (Nagaland and Mizoram) are also in the north-east of India. Most Khasis are Presbyterian or Roman Catholic, while the majority of the Garos are Baptist.

Umroi, 35 Kms from Shillong is the nearest Airport. Another convenient Airport is Guwahati, 128 Kms from Shillong. A helicopter service operates between Guwahati-Shillong. Guwahati is the nearest Railhead. NH 40 connects Shillong to Guwahati. Helicopter is available from Guwahati to Tura and Tura to Shillong on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday and from Guwahati to Shillong and Shillong to Guwahati daily except on Sunday. It takes 20 mins. to reach Shillong from Guwahati and one hour from Guwahati to Tura. This means of transportation is very economical and convenient. There are no rail lines in Meghalaya. The nearest railway station is Guwahati. It is 104 km from Shillong and very well connected with all major cities of India. National Highway 40, an all-weather road, connects Shillong with Guwahati. State's Transport Corporation and private transport operators have services to various places in Meghalaya and to neighbouring states. Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC) and Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) operates bus services from Shillong to Guwahati and Guwahati to Shillong from 0600 hours to 1700 hours daily. Tourist Taxis, Tata Sumo Taxis, Tourist coaches are also available for travel between Shillong to Guwahati and vice-versa. Shillong is well connected by a net work of roads with all important cities in the neighbouring states and major cities in the country.