Its handicrafts include bamboo objects, bags, textiles and shawls. Khumbeu ceremonial hat is also a popular traditional handicraft made from Hnahthial leaves.
Art & Crafts
Its handicrafts include bamboo objects, bags, textiles and shawls. Khumbeu ceremonial hat is also a popular traditional handicraft made from Hnahthial leaves.
Bamboo and Cane Crafts:Cane and bamboo crafts have their own place in the economy of the Meghalaya, just after the agriculture. The artisans of the state keep themselves busy with making crafts after devoting time to agriculture. In the state of Meghalaya, there are two types of products made from bamboo and crafts. One of which is medium quality articles that are used for daily purposes and others are such articles which are of superior quality and used for both functional and decorative and are designed to meet the changing requirements of market. The Khasis are famous for evolving striking cane baskets. The Garo hills are highly affluent in producing numerous forms of bamboo culture. Bamboo and cane of Garos includes some species that resemble Khasi bamboo and cane. Further steps are required to be taken to develop supplementary or small scale hills as myriads of forest lands are covered with bamboo orchids. There are several sorts of constructions and craft that are made from bamboo like different kinds of mat and basket making. Semi- tropical climate facilitates the swift growth of excellent variety of bamboo in state. Different articles like baskets known as thugis or khok are highly famous. Aesthetically designed artistic baskets are called ‘meghum khoks’ and are made in the peaky hills of Garos. Tribes of the hills use such baskets to keep precious items including cloths. Garos also practice ‘Pokerwork’ in which, with the help of red-hot pointed rod, wonderful designs are burnt into bamboo. In Meghalaya, Khasi women wear a big round hat made of a circular bamboo frame along with the thick rim which is covered with the cloth. Moorahs, mats and khasi umbrella (known as kurup) are some of the medium quality products.
The working skills that are involved in making these crafts have been handed over from one generation to other from many centuries. Bamboo / Cane are easily available in the North Eastern States and almost every home is made of this raw material. Various items made up of bamboo and cane comprise of furniture, headgears, cradles for babies, rain-shields, baskets for transportation , dishes/ saucers, containers, tribal costumes and other related accessories. Musical instruments like / mouth organ, flute, tobacco pipe, cup violin, tribal implements/ weapons etc are made of cane and bamboo. Cane and bamboo are also massively used for constructing traditional houses.
Costumes and Jewellery:In the state of Meghalaya, three chief tribes wear different costumes and jewelry. However, with the vagaries of time in the other states of the country, western codes of dress have been adopted by males and women are supposed to continue the tradition of cultural sartorial elegance.
The Khasi ladies wear a dress known 'Jainsem' which flows free to the ankles. The upper portion of her body is dressed in a blouse. Over these, she attaches both ends of a plaid cotton cloth on her one shoulder, thus extemporizing an apron. On various formal occasions, a long piece of Assam muga silk known as 'Ka Jainsem Dhara' is worn over the 'Jympien' which flows loose beneath after being pinned or knotted at the shoulder. The head-shawl or 'Tapmohkhlieh' is either put on by knotting from both ends backside of the neck or is arranged in a graceful manner as through with a shawl.
The Jaintia maids dress similar to her Khasi counterpart with the addition of a ‘Kyrshah’, a plaid cloth knotted round the head when ladies are occupied in the work of harvesting. On several formal occasions, ladies wear a velvet blouse, draping a stripped cloth called ‘Thoh Khyrwang', skirt styled round her waist and tied at her shoulder an Assam muga piece flowing loose to her ankles. In contrast to this, Garo ladies wear a blouse, raw cotton 'Dakmanda' which matches the 'Daksari' and ‘Lungi’ that is wrapped like a 'Mekhla' as put on by Assamese ladies.
The jewelry of Jaintias and the Khasis are similar and pendants worn by them is called ‘Kynjri Ksiar', which is made of 24 carat gold. The Jaintias and the Khasis also put on a chain of thick red coral beads called 'Paila’ round their neck during the time of festivals. The Garo women wear Rigitok that are slender fluted stems.
Costumes of Meghalaya
The splendid state of Meghalaya has provided a shelter to mainly three tribes of India named Garo, Khasi and Jaintias. The interesting fact about the state is that, major tribes Garos are the highly skilled weavers of the state. Likewise, families of Garos depend on the occupation of weaving for their earnings.
Traditional costumes for Garos
Jainsen is a traditional costume of the state worn by women, an unstitched cloth wrapped around to cover the lower part of the body. Generally, mulberry silk is used to weave this type of clothing.
Endi silk shawls are adequately enhancing the glory of the wearer. Sonidan is the major center where errandi silk or endi is produced in ample amount. Endi silk is produced by domestic silkworm and Philosamia Ricini which feeds mostly on castor leaves. The silk weaver of the state uses, hugely, Endi silk threads to weave magnificent shawls that are limber as well as ensure warmth in the season of winter. These shawls are endowed with natural shades of white, brown, crème, gold and beige. These shawls are not only close to the heart of local tribal but are also chosen many times as favorite clothing by every fashion freak of India.
In the major areas of Garo hills, village men wear a loincloth and women put on eking which is a short cloth tied round the waist. But in the crowded areas, Garo women wear blouse and dons a ‘Lungi’ which is hand woven and an unstitched cloth called Dakmanda. Especially it owns six to ten inch wide border beautified with different patterns and motifs.
Costumes for Khasi
The customary costume of Khasi’s men is unstitched apparel worn to cover the lower part of the body. However, the element of tradition is still alive in the attire of Khasi women. Women of Khasi tribe wear blouse and put on Jainsem that flows till the ankles. Besides all these garments, she ties edges of tap-moh khlieh, a cotton shawl round her neck and/or ties at shoulder that looks like the apron. Khasi women are fond of beautifying themselves with the elegant pieces of pure silver or gold jewelry.
The costumes worn by the male part of the Khasi tribe resemble the attire of Khasi women. Entire range of Khasi’s costumes is mill manufactured as Khasi people are not very much related with the weaving work in present time. Jainkup is the strip of woolen cloth which is mainly used by senior women.
Costumes of Jayantia
Jaintia women of the state of Meghalaya dress up in quite a different sense than other groups. Jaintia women wrap up their head with the piece of cloth with checks print called ‘Kyrushah’ when they engage in a work of harvesting. Khasi women put on a long kind of velvet blouse that covers her from the shoulder to the ankles with the skirt called Thoh Khyrwang which is wrapped round her waist. Moreover, in addition to this attire, Khasi women ties ‘Assam Muga silk ’round her shoulder flowing till the ankles.
Dressed up without ornaments, is lackluster for Jaintia Women. They embellish themselves with the earrings and wear other ornaments of pure silver and gold. It is a custom to wear a silver circlet round the head for a forehead decoration.
The Nongkrem Dance or better known as a Shad Nongkrem is annually organized in the month of November and that lasts for 5 days. During three sequent nights of these five days, festival prayers are organized to U Suid Nia Tong Syiem and Ka Pah Syntiew for good harvest, prosperity and peace of all people. On the very fourth day, a dance is performed by juvenile Khasi and virginal women, who are dressed in their customary costumes & gold ornaments in the forepart of the Iing Sad (central House). The ladies dance in the centre, are called ‘Ka Shad Kynthei’ with little steps even the lifting of the steps is barely seen. Their arms meet at the sides and their eyes are somberly shed down to exhibit obedience and modesty. The gold or silver crowns that they wear symbolize the dignity and glory of the great Khasi matrilineal society. The ‘Tiew Lasubon’ (a rarely available sweet fragrant with golden color flower observed in deep jungles), put up on the crown shows the purity of women. They wear the elegant gold chains, earrings and bracelets during the festivals. When the daughters from the majestic family come forward to dance, different umbrellas are used to cover up the heads of the princesses. The dance did by the male is called, ‘Ka Shad Mastieh’. Mens dance around the south side of the round circle carrying whisks in their left hand and sword in their right hand. The sword represents the man’s defense of himself, his mother, his wife, his house, his children and the whisk is held by the men for his care and sound proposal. The men put up ‘dhothis' along with the full sleeved shirts, turbans and embroided sleeveless coats.
To get rid from the boredom of life, people of Meghalaya savour the flavor of fairs & festivals throughout the year. In the state of Meghalaya, celebration of fairs came from ancient tradition which accounts for a huge gathering of people. The major attractions of the fair of Meghalaya are the pristine demonstration of the cultural norms and civilization which is still alive in the hearts of people of the state. Every fair organized yearly, imparts the fragrance of entrancement in ambience of Meghalaya. People, inhabited in the state of Meghalaya, don colorful attires during the fair to exhibit the aliveness of the deep rooted custom and tradition. In the fairs of Meghalaya, Garos, Khasi and Jantia participate to exhibit their masterpiece of artwork, handicrafts, as the woven piece of different attires is highly famous in the state as well as all over India. To ensure a massive amusement for fair goers, music, games, rides, dance and many more activities transform the new waves of the enthusiasm and excitation. Various stalls of the food capture the attention of people come to relish various elements of the different fairs. So, at your chance to visit Meghalalya, don’t miss to enjoy the real taste of state’s culture and attend at least one fair of the state.
Music in Meghalaya
The mysterious state of Meghalaya has adequate amount of assorted music to endear worldwide music lovers. Meghalaya is the realm of the music where milieu resounds with the perfect tempo, resplendency of songs and sound of musical instruments. Several musical activities generally take place under the bluish and open sky. In the state, where Garos hold distinct place among the majority of population and they usually sing folk songs to rejoice festival, birth, marriage heroic deeds. Various types of songs are sung by Garos with the accompaniment of tunes of different types of flutes and beats of different types of drums. The Jaintias and Khasis are usually fond of such songs that glorify the nature surroundings them viz. hills, waterfalls, lakes etc. and also express the passion for their land. At the moment of singing songs, various types of musical instruments such as, duitara, drums and other instruments similar to flutes, sitar, cymbals, pipes, are also played.
Food of Meghalaya
The cuisine of Meghalaya has something special to eat in its dish that smacks your lips and obliges you to taste them at least for once. With the luscious taste and variety in food, the state of Meghalaya lavishly serves diverse dishes to food lovers from all over the world.
The main food of Meghalaya includes scrumptious fish or meat along with rice. In fact, the food of Meghalaya is incomplete without rice as rice is the basic food of the state.
Moreover many fruits such as orange, lemon, bananas, guava, pineapples, which are used to prepare other yummy food, are grown in this state. The fruits and food which are grown in this state have highly impacted over the eating habits of the people of Meghalaya. People of Meghalaya are fond of variety in meat viz. pig, ducks, fowls, goats etc. Moreover, people residing in this state consume largely dry fishes, bison, deer, wild pigs etc. a cultivation of ‘Jhum’ is plasticized by the people of the state which is an integral item in the food of the state.
After having their meal, people of Meghalaya are habitual to have betel leaf along with lime and dried tobacco.
A recipe to cook in the simplest way, Nakham Bitchi deserves special mention among the various recipes of Garo. Nakham Bitchi, a momentous Garo dish which comprises of spicy and hot soup, is cooked by using an special kind of dry fish popularly known as Nakham.
Khasi recipes largely vary from Garo recipes. The Khasi recipes comprise a mélange of rice preparation like ‘Jadoh’, red hill rice cooked with pork, ‘Jastem’, a rice dish cooked with gravy of ginger, onions, pork and turmeric. Other Khasi recipes are:-
Dohkhlieh, it is a special type of pork salad.
Mylliem chicken, it is cooked with the help of chicken and Khasi peppers.
Tungrymbai, it is cooked with the help of fermented soyabeans.
Pukhlein, it is prepared with jaggery and powdered rice.
Jaintia recipes comprise various food items prepared from Mushroom. Many exotic dishes are made from the available variety of mushroom, which is usually known as Tit Tung. In recipes of Jaintia, mushrooms are cooked with pork and black sesame seeds. Tit Tung is the most favorite dish of the people of Meghalaya.
Situated at a height of 1,343m, 20-km from Shillong, regarded as sacred by the Hynniewtrep people, is set amidst a beautiful scenic view against the backdrop of sacred forest. This 'Navel-of-heaven' as per Khasi mythology, is a heavenly peak, which offers to fill the spiritual void and emptiness, to those who seek and desire solace and peace of mind.
Located on the outskirts of the city, lies a sparkling waterfall, which looks like an eagle with, wings spread out. Hence, the name spread eagle falls. The falls has fairly steep cliffs on three sides with a very deep pool beneath - a soothing setting amidst calm nature. The falls is locally known as "Urkaliar" or the falls into which Ka Liar slipped.
At a distance of 15-km from Shillong on the Shillong - Jowai highway is the awe-inspiring Rengthiam Falls. Located in the mawlyngad village, 2 kms. Away at pepbah, this spectacular waterfall untouched in its natural beauty and surroundings will give any visitor the excitement of visiting the unknown in this unique corner waiting to be discovered.
A few kilometres to the west of Sohra (Cherrapunji), a clear bubbling stream emerges from its steep mountain bed to hurl down a rocky precipice, into a deep gorge, creating a captivating view of breathtaking beauty. The cascading waterfall compares favourably with the well known Job Falls of South India.
About two kilometeres to the south of the David Scott Monument at Sohra lies Mawsmai village located on the edge of the mawsmai Ridge. Mawsmai was the ancient seat of the Sohra Syiemship (Kingdom). Close to this village, on the ledge of the Mawsmai Ridge stands a conspicuous Observation-Tower, from where one gets an unforgettable view of the famed Mawsmai Falls whose waters cascade down for over seven hundred feet to join the swift river below, leaving an indelible impression on every visitor. The falls are also kn... read more
The trekking opportunity in Meghalaya is outstanding for the fact that, the terrain is very challenging like in Himalayan areas but with the advantage of not being snow-wrapped. An added attraction is the possibility of intimating with many rare species of flora & fauna, rare to find elsewhere. You can hire guides to walk through the most alluring and confusing terrains of the Meghalaya, which is characterised by flowing rivers, rolling hills and towering waterfalls.
Some of the exceptional trekking routes are :
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The Elephant Gait and the Elephant Falls are located near Upper Shillong. These are beautiful sights especially in the rainy season and are favorite picnic spots among the locals. Beyond the Elephant Falls, one can also view the Upper and Lower Elysium Falls.
Located in the heart of the city adjacent to the Lady Hydari Park with its mini zoo, lies the Crinoline Falls which cascades through its jungle path. At the foot of the falls there is a well maintained Swimming Pool which caters to swimming enthusiast of all ages. Beside swimming there is an attached restaurant and regular evening programmes are arranged for the benefit of tourist and visitors
Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is located in the Garo Hills district 2 kms from Tura Peak. The reserve is one of the least disturbed forest tracts of the sub-himalayan ranges. It is the first biosphere reserve of its kind in the northeast region. The Garo Hills contain many natural limestone caves. The famous Siju Cave is located very close to the Nophak Lake near the Simsang River game reserve. The Cave is filled with water and is miles long.
Geology, rock and soil
The entire Biosphere Reserve is hilly. The rock is ... read more
Balpakram National Park, Meghalaya
Balpakram, which has been, declared a National Park since 1987 is the land of scenic beauty, lying at an altitude of nearly 3,000 ft. above sea level, covering an area of 200sq. kms. It is a vast tableland of dense forest, teeming with wild life, undoubtedly one of the richest spot in bio-diversity in the country. Many rare and exotic species of flora and fauna some endemic to the area - many almost extinct very rare forms of wild-life
found in the area had naturally evoked ... read more