Meghalaya is literally the 'Abode of the Clouds'. The name describes the climatic phenomenon that brings torrents of rain to this region. Meghalaya is a region of great scenic beauty; a panorama of lush, undulating hills, fertile valleys, 250 species of orchids, meandering rivers, waterfalls, sparkling mountain streams and lakes. It was declared the 21st State of India on 21 January 1972. It united the areas of the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills. The state approximately 22,429 square kms in area lies between the latitudes 25.10-26.50 N and the longitudes of 85.49 0 - 92.52 E. It is bounded by Assam in the north and the east and the plains of Bangladesh in the south and west. The State is divided into three hilly regions - the Garo Hills (Western Meghalaya), the Khasi Hills (Central Meghalaya) and the Jaintia Hills (Eastern Meghalaya).
The earliest mention of the word 'Khasi' appears in Sankaradeva's 'Bhagavata Purana' composed in 1500 A.D. Infact, we come across very few reliable references to the history of the Khasis in the Khasi Hills before the nineteenth century, but the history of the Jaintia Hindu Kings and also the history of Khyrim Kings in fragments are preserved in the Ahom, Kachari, Koch and Jaintia 'buranjis'. The warring chiefs of these hill regions were taken advantage of by the British in the early 19th century. With the defeat of the Jaintia Chief , his land was made a British territory and his people were forced to pay house taxes, resulting in political & territorial separation from the rest of the then Khasi States.On the other hand, the 25 Khasi Chiefs, although subdued, remained more or less independent through treaties and agreements known as Sanads. They did not pay tax to the British, except the petty chiefs who were British subjects, paying house taxes. The region was brought under the direct occupation and sovereignty of the British in the 1820s and was, subsequently included in the province of Assam. With India's independence, a number of constitutional and political changes took place in the region that ultimately led to the formation of the seven states of northeast India.
ThThe state of Meghalaya is directly influenced by the southwestern monsoon that originates in the Bay of Bengal. The monsoon begins in May and continues until October. Mawsynram in East Khasi Hills district has one of the heaviest rainfalls in the world with a July average of 959 cms. The climate from November to April is almost dry. Winter begins in December and lasts until February.
The principal languages in Meghalaya are Khasi, Garo and English. However, the state language is English