Things to know and facts about Meghalaya

20 Things I Wish I Knew Before Visiting Meghalaya (+ Facts)

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Meghalaya is one of the seven states in Northeast India. As one of the seven sisters, the state is known for its stunning natural beauty, rich culture and heritage, and ethnic traditions. Since the place and the atmosphere will feel new to you, there are a few things you, as tourists and explorers, must know to have an incredible experience there. This blog will discuss things you must know about Meghalaya before planning your trip. We’ll take you through the place’s cultural norms and customs and tips and tricks for you to make the most of your trip. Consider this a beginner’s guide to planning a trip to Meghalaya. Let’s get started. 

20 Facts & Things To Know About Meghalaya

Umgot River, Dawki, Meghalaya
Umgot River, Dawki, Meghalaya
  1. “Meghalaya” translates to “the abode of clouds,” reflecting the perennial mist that sweeps over the state’s lush green terrain. The place is famous for its traditional handicrafts, including bamboo and cane products. Interestingly, 70% of the state is forested, so as an explorer, you can get a chance to be devoured by nature. 
  2. Shillong, Meghalaya’s capital city, is known as the “Scotland of the East” due to its beautiful landscapes and architecture.
  3. Meghalaya is home to the Khasi, Garo, and Jaintia tribes, with unique cultures and traditions that are practiced even today.
  4. The Khasis are a matrilineal society. Matrilineal means that the children take the name of the mother’s clan. Meghalaya is the only state in India with a Matrilineal society. 
  5. The people of Meghalaya chew pan, a kind of mouth freshener, all the time. However, unlike the common presumption, they do not spit it in a public place but dispose of them properly. 
  6. The average height of the people in Meghalaya is 5 Feet.
  7. The state has a high literacy rate, with over 75% of the population being literate.
  8. Cherrapunjee, located in Meghalaya, is one of the wettest places on earth, receiving an average annual rainfall of over 400 inches.
  9. Timezones differ according to the season. The state follows UTC +6:30, unlike the other parts of India that follow UTC +5:30. From November to February, the sun sets at around 4 PM; from March to October, the sun sets at around 6 PM.
  10. While traveling to the famous Dawki River, the road conditions are bad. In fact, there are parts of national highways that have no streetlights. However, other parts of the state seem well-maintained.
  11. The signal strength in main tourist attractions is excellent and reliable. But the farther you move from the urban areas, the weaker the signal reception.
  12. There is little to no bus connectivity between rural locations, but shared taxi services are a common mode of transportation across all areas of Meghalaya.
  13. Backpacking is slightly challenging as finding accommodations is difficult. Many hotels are not listed on online aggregator websites, and several hotels and stays do not have proper name boards. Thus, you need to look for places in advance and book them early. If you’re a backpacker, you can try what we did. We looked at Google Maps to find places to stay and made bookings by directly calling the owners. However, you can also make reservations through a travel agent. One of the interesting things we came across during this process is that prices are multiple times higher on third-party apps. This is especially true during the peak seasons. So, verify prices by directly contacting the hotels before booking through apps or agents.
  14. Tipping is not expected in Meghalaya, but rounding up the bill is appreciated.
  15. The state’s official languages are Khasi, Garo, Jaintia, and English. Other languages spoken in the state include Pnar-Synteng, Nepali, and Haijong. A few people also speak Bengali, Assamese, and Hindi. English is widely spoken compared to Hindi in Meghalaya, so language barriers are unlikely.
  16. It shares an international border with Bangladesh in the west and south, making it a trade center with Bangladesh.
  17. 25 Km long, Krem Puri is India’s longest cave in the “Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya.”
  18. The highest plunge waterfall in India, the Nohklaiaki Fall, is close to Cherrapunji.
  19. The staple food of the people is rice with spicy meat and fish preparations. They rear goats, pigs, fowl, ducks, and cows and relish their meat. The dishes of Khasis and Garos have different tastes and names. Usually, people might find it difficult to order and eat North Eastern cuisine, but if you’re a foodie who loves to try new things, you’ll find yourself spoilt with options.
  20. Meghalaya is one of India’s few states with a Christian majority. About 75% of the population practices Christianity. The second most practiced religion is Hinduism.

These were the top 20 things that fascinated us. But there’s a whole lot more for you to find out in this place. If you’ve been to Meghalaya, comment below what you liked and were intrigued about the state. We’d love to hear from you.

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