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Shillong

Shillong, India (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 Shillong Peak at 6,449 feet (1,966 m). The city had a population of 314,610 according to the 2011 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 has steadily grown in size and significance since it was made the civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills in 1864 by the British. In 1874, on the formation of Assam as a Chief Commissioner's Province, it was chosen as the headquarters of the new administration because of its convenient location between the Brahmaputra and Surma valleys and more so because the climate of Shillong was much cooler than tropical India. Shillong remained the capital of undivided Assam until the creation of the new state of Meghalaya on 21 January 1972, when Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya and Assam moved its capital to Dispur in Guwahati.

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Geography

Shillong is located at . It is on the Shillong Plateau, the only major pop-up structure in the northern Indian shield.[1] 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.

  • Best time to travel : Autumn (September to November) and Winter (November to March)
  • Weather Conditions : Pleasant, pollution-free; Summers: The temperature varies from ; Winters: The temperature varies from .
  • Location : Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya is just from Mawsynram, the world's wettest place.

Climate

Due to its latitude and high elevation Shillong has a sub-tropical climate with mild summers and chilly to cold winters.[2] Under Koppen s climate classification the city features a subtropical highland climate. Shillong is subject to vagaries of the monsoon. The monsoons arrive in June and it rains almost until the end of August. October November and March April are the best months to visit Shillong.

Connectivity

Although well connected by road, Shillong has no rail connection and a proper air connection. Umroi Airport exists but has only limited flights.

Roadways

Shillong is well connected by roads with all major north eastern states. Two major National Highways pass through Shillong

Private bus operators as well as state transport buses from other states ply to and from Shillong daily. Sumo taxi service is also available to various destination like Guwahati, Agartala, Dimapur and other north eastern towns and cities.

Local Transport

Major mode of local transport within Shillong are the shared black-and-yellow taxis that run fixed routes (5 to 10 rupees per hop). But if one wants to book a private taxi, the price is 50 rupees for a one-way trip within town. taxis. Unlike other Indian cities, Auto-Rickshaw are rarely seen here.

Demographics

Shillong Landscape from Shillong Peak
Shillong Landscape from Shillong Peak
India census[3] Shillong City has

  • Population of 143,007; of which male and female are 70,028 and 72,979 respectively. The sex ratio of Shillong city is 1042 per 1000 males.

   Although Shillong city has population of 143,007; its urban / metropolitan population is 354,325 of which 176,591 are males and 177,734 are females.

  • Males constitute 46% of the population and females 54%.
  • Average literacy rate of 86%, higher than the national average of 63.5%: male literacy is 85%, and female literacy is 88%.
  • 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Khasis make up the majority of the population though the percentage of Khasi people in the city continues to fall as a result of the large number of migrants from other Indian states. All the other northeast Indian tribes are represented here as well as significant numbers of Bengali, Nepali, Assamese, Biharis and Marwaris making it a fairly cosmopolitan city.

Christianity is the dominant religion in the city. Presbyterianism and the various denominations of Protestants and Roman Catholic church make up the Christian population of Shillong. A sizeable proportion of the population follow the original Khasi religion, Niam Khasi and Niamtre. Other religions found in India are also represented in significant numbers in the city.

Places of interest

These are a number of location in and around Shillong which are tourist spots.[4] These include: Elephant Falls Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians

  • Elephant Falls : 12 km on the outskirts of the city, the mountain stream descends through two successive falls set in dells of fern covered rocks.
  • Lady Hydari Park : A popular charming tourist draw, the adjacent mini zoo is an added attraction.
  • Wards Lake : Known locally as Nan-Polok. Its an artificial lake with sprawling garden and some boating facility. Located right at the heart of Shillong
  • Golf link : Shillong has one of the largest golf courses (the world's wettest) in Asia and the golf course is called Gleneagles of the East. It enjoys the rare distinction of being one of the few natural golf courses in Asia. Not only is the Shillong golf course scenic and enjoyable, it is also challenging. A group of British Civil Service officers introduced golf to Shillong in 1898 by constructing a nine hole course. The present 18 hole course was inaugurated in 1924. The course is set in an undulating valley covered with pine and rhododendron trees. The tight fairways, carpeted with a unique local grass which hardens the soil, are difficult to negotiate. The number of out-of-bounds streams that criss-cross every fairway makes it all the more trying. Obstructions come in the form of bunkers, trees and rain. The longest hole is the 6th, which is a gruelling 594 yards.
  • Motphran : The Stone of France which is locally known as "Motphran" was erected in memory of the 26th Khasi Labour Corps who served under the British in France during World War I. It bears the words of the famous Latin poet Horace "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" which can be roughly translated into English as: "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country."
  • Shillong Peak: An ideal picnic spot, 10 km. from the city, 1965 m above sea level, offers a panoramic view of the scenic country side, and is also the highest point in the State. Obeisance is paid to U Shulong at the sanctum sanctorum at the peak's summit every springtime, by the religious priest of Mylliem State. In the evening the city lights below appear like a star-studded abyss.
  • Capt. Williamson Sangma State Museum: For those interested in ethnic tribal culture and tradition this Govt. Museum offers insights to the lifestyle of the people. This museum is in the State Central Library complex where monuments for the great patriots of the state had been erected besides the statue of Smt. Indira Gandhi and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures: The Don Bosco Museum is part of DBCIC (Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures). DBCIC comprises Research on Cultures, Publications, Training, Animation Programmes and the Museum, which is a place of knowledge-sharing on the different cultures of the Northeast in particular, and of culture in general.DBCIC with its Don Bosco Museum is situated at Mawlai, Shillong. Since then it has been attracting visitors from the region, from all over India and from abroad.
  • Entomological Museum (Butterfly Museum): A privately-owned museum of M/s Wankhar, Riatsamthiah, Shillong at a distance of about 2 km from Police Bazar is the only known museum in India devoted to moths and butterflies.
  • Other Museums:
    • Air Force Museum at Upper Shillong
    • Forest Museum in Lady Hydari Park
    • Rhino Heritage Museum at Shillong
    • Zoological Museum in Risa Colony
    • Anthropological museum at Mawblei
    • Botanical Museum at 4th Furlong
    • Arunachal Museum at the Cantonment Area
  • Chrysalis the Gallery: Chrysalis the Gallery (an ArtGallery) is situated on the 2nd floor of SalonsarMansion at Police Bazaar, the Commercial Hub of Shillong. Chrysalis has flexible spacing to display paintings (canvases), sculpture, photography and handicrafts. Run by a local artist, Jaya Kalra, the gallery caters to exhibitions of artists and artisans especially from the north east and also from the rest of India.
  • State Museum : Located at the State Central Library complex, visitors can get a glimpse of the lifestyle and heritage of the people.
  • Cathedral of Mary Help of Christian : It is located in Don Bosco Square, it attracts devotees and visitors alike.
  • Bishop and Beadon Falls : Both cascade down the same escarpment into a deep valley, the mass of water dissolving into misty sparks.
  • Spread Eagle Falls : 3 km from Polo Grounds, a soothing setting amidst the calmness of nature-a treat to the eyes.
  • Sweet Falls : Situated near Happy Valley, most suitable for a day's outing and picnic. Explore it!
  • Crinoline Falls : Near Lady Hydari Park, a cool spot within the city limits. This is a must visit place in Meghalaya.

Sports

Shillong Golf Course Although relatively unknown in the field of sports, Shillong recently got into the limelight because of Shillong Lajong FC, a football club based here which has taken the Indian football scene by storm in the recent Indian leagues. Shillong Golf Course is one of the oldest golf course of the country and is surrounded by scenic pine and rhododendron trees.

Locals are adept in archery. Shillong is also famous for its daily dose of archery gambling where people predict scores of an archery game played near Polo Ground, Shillong.

Binningstar Lyngkhoi, a lad from Shillong is a national marathon runner and represented India in the last 2010 Commonwealth Games. He is currently the fastest marathoner in India with a timing of 2:18 hours.

Education

IIM Shillong's Entrance
IIM Shillong's Entrance
Shillong is fast emerging as an educational hub for the entire North eastern region. Important educational institutes like the Northeastern Hill University (NEHU), Martin Luther Christian University,Indian Institute of Management, National Institute of Technology, Shillong, Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), ShillongNational Institute of Fashion Technology Shillong and North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, The English and The Foreign Languages University,Shillong Campus, St. Edmund's College, St. Anthony's College, Shillong and several others College and Engineering Institution have been established here. St. Edmund's is a century old educational institute which has produced many eminent personalities in different spheres of life. UPES Deradun has come up with its sister university in UTM- The Lifestyle University which offers courses like MBA in Sports management and Fashion and Retail Management

Media

Local media in Shillong is strong. There are a number of theatres, newspapers, magazines, local radio and television stations.

Print Media

Quite a number of dailies are published for Shillong both in Khasi and English. Prominent English dailies published here include Shillong Times, Meghalaya Guardian, Mawphor Today,MeghalayaTimes. Khasi dailies like Mawphor, Nongsain Hima among others are published here.

Electronic Media

The radio industry has expanded with a number of private and government owned FM channels being introduced. State-owned Doordarshan transmits terrestrial television channels. Apart from these few weekly news channels like PCN, Ri Khasi are broadcast weekly on the local cable networks. Currently, the only News broadcaster in English is Media Plus.

Communication Services

Shillong has a well connected communication network. Fixed telephones lines are available. Internet services are available both wired and wireless broadband. It is also well covered in mobile networks with all major cellular providers like Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, IDEA, BSNL, Tata Indicom, available here.

Localities

Shillong is divided geographically into a number of localities. These include

  • Rilbong
  • Lower Mawprem
  • Nongsohpoh
  • Mawbah
  • Mawiong
  • Laban
  • Madanrting
  • Happy Valley
  • Laitkor
  • Madan Iewrynghep
  • Lower Lachumiere
  • Upper Lachumiere
  • Old Kench's Trace
  • New Kench's Trace
  • Polo
  • Jingkieng Umshyrpi
  • Jail Road
  • Jhalupara
  • Risa Colony
  • Cleve Colony
  • Police Bazaar
  • Lum Kartik
  • Dum Dum

Eminent personalities associated with Shillong

People who have been associated with Shillong include

  • Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 4 July 1902),born as Narendranath Dutta, was the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Sri Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and is the founder of Ramakrishna Mission head quartered at Belur. He was primarily responsible for introducing Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga in the West and best known for his inspiring speech beginning with "Sisters and Brothers of America ,in his opening remark at the Parliament of the World's Religions at Chicago in 1893. The Swami delivered his last public lecture of his life in Shillong. The place of his last public lecture have been immortalised by erecting his statue at the very spot.(Also known as Quinton Memorial).
  • Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel laureate, poet, author, thinker, artist, playwright, considered a patriarch of Bengali society, often sojourned in the cool climes of Shillong; besides living in a summer residence called Mitali, (today in use as a temporary State Legislative Assembly on loan from the State Art and Culture Department). A writing desk and chair used by the Poet Laureate can still be seen (and used) in the Maharaja Suite of the Tripura Castle Heritage Hotel;
  • John Shepherd-Barron, inventor of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) was born in Shillong.
  • Queenie Rynjah, Padmashree & educationist
  • Victor Bannerjee, an actor is also a student of St. Edmund's School.
  • Amita Malik, famous film critic.
  • Nirad C. Chaudhuri has written extensively about Shillong in his book The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian.
  • Dhruba Hazarika (1956 ) former student of St. Edmunds College. Recipient of the Katha prize for story writing. Presently based in Guwahati. His first novel 'A Bowstring Winter' has been published by Penguin India in May 2006.
  • Arthur Llewellyn Basham, noted historian of Indian culture. He died in Kolkata in 1986 and is buried in Shillong.
  • Arundhati Roy, noted writer and Booker Prize winner was born in the KJP Synnod Hospital in Shillong.
  • James Michael Lyngdoh I.A.S, a student of St Edmunds, retired as the Chief Election Commissioner of India. He is also the author of Chronicle Of An Impossible Election.
  • Pradyot Bikram Kishore Manikya, (b. 4 July 1977) is the current head of the Royal House of Tripura also has a summer Castle in Shillong and owns a Hotel called The Royal Heritage -Tripura Castle and the popular news and current affairs magazine The Northeast Today
  • L. Rynjah, (b. 1950) I.A.S, born & brought up in Shillong. He was a prominent bureaucrat in Assam. he is now one of the Advisers to Planning Commission of India
  • Edward Pritchard Gee, India's famous naturalist and author of the best seller The Wild Life of India spent his retired life in 'Evergreen cottage' in Upper Shillong. He left for England in 1968 and died soon after.
  • Anwaruddin Choudhury, a prominent naturalist who is also known as the 'Birdman of Assam' was born and brought up in Shillong. He is the author of 19 books including The Birds of Assam.
  • Rono Dutta, President of United Airlines did his schooling from St.Edmunds, Shillong.
  • Anjum Hasan is a Bangalore based writer from Shillong and her debut novel Lunatic in my Head which is set in Shillong was launched on 7 Dec 2007. She has also written a book of verse titled Street on the Hill.
  • Utpal Dutt, the prominent actor of Bengali and Hindi cinema, was born on 29 March 1929 in Shillong.[5]
  • Leela Majumdar, the writer, spent her childhood days at Shillong, where she studied at the Loreto.
  • Shawn Lane the legendary guitarist and composer spent time jamming with the locales of Shillong[6][7] in February, 2003. In a comment made later about Aizawl and Shillong, he said:

References

External links


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