Meghalaya: Abode Of Clouds.

India

by Seema Krishnakumar

For several reasons, rain Gods murmur most in Meghalaya than elsewhere in India. Clouds hang onto its dips and highs, shrouding it in blissful mystery only to unravel exquisite gems beneath. A month long road-trip through the most rain-steeped part of India has left me spellbound of India's astonishing diversity.

Meghalaya - one of the seven sister states in the northeast of India - may at first seem secluded from the rest of India. The three hills of Garo, Khasi and Jaintia, its namesake tribes and their stories make up this unusual land - represented by its root bridges, monolith gardens and steadfast archers. Life, as I see it here, is much slower and richer, but fast catching up with the rest of the world.

Nature itself, Meghalaya's best charm, is working against its magnificence in recent times. Illegal coal mining and destruction of forests for jhum cultivation (shifting cultivation) has left vast tracts of hills destroyed and water polluted, rendering the once rain-rich state a water-scarce land.

Yet the land still abounds in beauty: its three hills and meandering rivers, its incredible people, its southern borders straddling Bangladesh, and the myriad questions that it evokes - at once a true treat for an adventure traveller!

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