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Wednesday, April 13, 2011



Shillong(Khasi: Shillong) is the capital of Meghalaya, one of the smallest states in India and home to the Khasis. It is also the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district and is situated at an average altitude of 4,908 feet (1,496 m) above sea level, with the highest point being Lum Shyllong at 6,447 feet (1,965 m). The city had a population of 260,520 according to the 2001 census. It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland. Hence, Shillong is also known as Scotland of the East.
Shillong is a beautiful city and is surrounded by pine trees. Standing 1496m, it provides welcome relief from the heat. This capital of Meghalaya derives its name from the deity Shyllong or Lei Shyllong, who is worshipped at the Shillong Peak. It is dotted with neat Victorian Bungalows and little churches and has a golf course which is one of the best (and also one of the wettest) in the country. 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. This hill resort is unique in its scenic beauty and culture. A fresh balmy air and a bracing climate makes Shillong a place for all seasons. The tribes of Khyrim, Mylliem, Maharam, Mallaisohmat, Bhowal and Langrim trace their descent from Shillong.
Geography of Shillong

The capital of Meghalaya, Shillong lies on the eastern part of the state. Perched at an altitude of 1,520 meters (4,990 feet) above sea level, the city stretches for about 6 km on an elevated tract. It is situated on a plateau bound on the north by the Umiam gorge, on the northwest by the great mass of the Diengiei Hills that rise up to a height of 1,823 meters (6077 ft.) above sea level, and on the northeast by the hills of the Assam valley. The Umshyrpi and the Umkhra rivers, which finally merge and form the Umiam River, water it (Interactive map of Shillong). Shillong is at distance of 104 km from Guwahati, 295 km from Kaziranga, 578 km from Siliguri and 658 km from Darjeeling.
Shillong is located at 25°34N 91°53E / 25.57°N 91.88°E / 25.57; 91.88. It is on the Shillong Plateau, the only major pop-up structure in the northern Indian shield. The city lies in the centre of the plateau and is surrounded by hills, three of which are revered in Khasi tradition: Lum Sohpetbneng, Lum Diengiei and Lum Shillong. Shillong is said to be the second largest hill station in the world after Brasillia.
  • Best time to travel : Autumn (September to November) and Winter (November to March)
  • Weather Conditions : Pleasant, pollution-free; Summers: The temperature varies from 23 °C (73 °F); Winters: The temperature varies from 4 °C (39 °F).
  • Location : Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya is just 56 km (35 mi) from Cherrapunji, the world's wettest place.

History of Shillong
 Shillong was a small village until 1864, when it became the new civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia hills. It remained the summer capital of Eastern Bengal and Assam for many years. In 1874, on the formation of Assam as a Chief Commissioner’s Province, it was chosen as the capital of the new administration. An earthquake destroyed the city in 1897, necessitating its complete rebuilding. In January 1972, Shillong became the capital of the newly formed state of Meghalaya.
Shillong Town(P.B)
Way to Cherrapunji
View from Shillong Peak
St. Edmund's College
Famous Hanging Bridge


Shillong Peak
An ideal picnic spot, it is just 10 kms from the city. Located at an altitude of 1965 m, it offers a dazzling view of the idyllic surroundings.

Ward's Lake
Located in the heart of the city, it is popular for short garden walks and boating. It's said that its construction was initiated by a bored prisoner who was ready to do any kind of work to get out of his cell. He was given the work of digging holes and filling them up again. Once he hit a spring and that spot was developed into a lake and garden. This place was named after Sir William Ward, the Chief Commissioner. It is still quite an attractive place.
Botanical Garden
A secluded but captivating spot with a variety of exotic plants.

Golf Course
Developed in 1889 as a nine hole course, it was later converted to an 18 hole course, in 1924. It is termed as the 'Gleneagle of the East', at the United States Golf Association Library and Museum.

State Museum
Located at the State Central Library complex, it offers a in-depth glimpse of the lifestyle and heritage of the people.

All Saints Church  
This lies opposite to the State Central Library and is an attractive building made of wood and plaster.

Butterfly Museum
 It has the facility for breeding butterflies as an effort at conservation and houses a solid collection of mounted butterflies from India and abroad.

Lady Hydari Park   
This is another popular spot, with its mini-zoo, a children's section and well designed flower beds.
Sohpetbneng Peak  
Lying 20 kms from Shillong, this is another amazing peak.
Thadlaskein lake
This is a popular picnic spot. Legend has it that the lake was dug by the ends of the bows of the members of 290 clans of a rebel general of a Jaintia raja.
Jakrem is a popular health resort with hot-springs of sulphur water, said to have medicinal properties.
The fascinating annual boat race on the Umgot river, during spring, is an attraction



The Khasi are an indigenous or tribal people, the majority of whom live in the State of Meghalaya in North East India, with small populations in neighbouring Assam, and in parts of Bangladesh. They call themselves Ki Hynñiew trep, which means "the seven huts" in the Khasi language. Their languages Khasi is the northernmost Austro-Asiatic language. This language was essentially oral until the arrival of European missionaries. Particularly significant in this regard was a Welsh missionary, Thomas Jones, who transcribed the Khasi language into Roman Script. The Khasi people form the majority of the population of the eastern part of Meghalaya. A substantial minority of the Khasi people follow their tribal religion; called variously, Ka Niam Khasi and Ka Niam Tre in the Jaintia region. Other religions practiced include Presbyterian, Anglican, Roman Catholic and very few are Muslims. The Khasi people who reside in the hilly areas of Sylhet, Bangladesh are of the War sub-tribe. The main crops produced by the Khasi people living in the War areas, including Bangladesh, are betel leaf, areca nut and oranges. The War-Khasi people designed and built the living root bridges of the Cherrapunjee region. In several States of India, Khasis have been granted the status of Scheduled tribe.

Geographical distribution and sub-groups

The total Khasi population may be estimated at 1.2 million people. According to the 2001 Census of India over 1.1 million Khasi lived in Meghalaya [3], in the districts of East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi and Jaintia Hills. In Assam their population reached 13,000. The Census of Bangladesh ennumerated 12,280 Khasi for the whole country in 1991. It is generally considered that the Khasis consist of four sub-tribes: Khynriam, Pnar, Bhoi and War. The Khynriam inhabit the uplands of the Khasi Hills District, the Pnar or Syntengs live in the Jaintia Hills. The Bhoi live in the lower hills to the north and north-east of the Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills towards the Brahmaputra valley. The War, usually divided into War-Jaintia, in the south of the Jaintia Hills and War-Khasi in the south of the Khasi Hills, live on the steep southern slopes leading to Bangladesh. The Lyngngam people who inhabit the western parts of the Khasi Hills display linguistic and cultural characteristics which show influences from both the Khasis to their east and the Garo people to the west.
Traditional Attire


The traditional Khasi male dress is a Jymphong, a longish sleeveless coat without collar, fastened by thongs in front. Nowadays, most male Khasis have adopted western attire. On ceremonial occasions they appear in a Jymphong and sarong with an ornamental waist-band and they may also wear a turban.

The traditional Khasi female dress is called the Jainsem or Dhara, both of which are rather elaborate with several pieces of cloth, giving the body a cylindrical shape. On ceremonial occasions they may wear a crown of silver or gold. A spike or peak is fixed to the back of the crown, corresponding to the feathers worn by the menfolk. The Jainsem consists of two pieces of material fastened at each shoulder. The "Dhara" consists of a single piece of material also fastened at each shoulder.

Social Structure
The Khasis have a matrilineal and matrilocal society. Lineage is traced through the mother, children taking their mother's surname, with maternal uncles traditionally playing a major role in the Kur(clan), while the father keeps an important role in the household. In Khasi tradition, the youngest daughter, the Khaduh will inherit the house and the major part of the property as she is the main caretaker of the parents. Despite its matriliny, Khasi society cannot be said to be matriarchal: although women are influential within the clan and family, participation in the traditional political institutions has been reserved for males(there is no such bar for participation in the modern Indian political process) although this is changing.

Khasi Language
 Khasi is an Austro-Asiatic language spoken primarily in Meghalaya state in India by the Khasi people. Khasi is part of the Khasi-Khmuic group of languages, and is distantly related to the Munda branch of the Austroasiatic family, which is found in east-central India.
Although most of the 865,000 Khasi speakers are found in Meghalaya state, the language is also spoken by a number of people in the hill districts of Assam bordering with Meghalaya and by a sizable population of people living in Bangladesh, close to the Indian border.
Khasi is rich in folklore and folktale, and behind most of the names of hills, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, birds, flowers, and animals there is a story.
Khasi language English
Khublei (khu-blei) 'THANK YOU' in khasi.
Phi long kumno? How are you? In short it is also used as “Kumno?”
Nga khlaiñ I am fine.
Kumne Short form response to ‘Kumno?’ meaning ‘like this’.
Um Water
Ja (cooked) rice
Dohkha (doh-kha) fish (meat)
Dohsyiar (doh-syiar) chicken (meat)
Dohsniang (doh-sni-ang) pork
Dohmasi (doh-ma-si) beef
Dohblang (doh-bl-ang) mutton
Jyntah (jyn-tah) dish (meat/vegetable)
Jhur (jh-ur) vegetable
Mluh (ml-uh) salt
Duna (du-na) less
Sohmynken (soh-myn-ken) chilli
Ai aiu? Give what?
Mynno? When? (past)
Lano? When? (future)
Hangno? / Shano? Where?
Kumno? How?
Khublei shibun. Thank you very much.