Shillong (English: //) is a hill station in the northeastern part of India and the capital of Meghalaya, which means "The Abode of Clouds". It is the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills district. Shillong is the 330th most populous city in India with a population of 143,229 according to the 2011 census. It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the British of Scotland. Hence, they would also refer to it as the "Scotland of the East".
Capital of Meghalaya
From top left to right: A view of Shillong, Elephant Falls, The Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, Ward's Lake
Scotland of the East
|District||East Khasi Hills|
|• Body||Shillong Municipal Board|
|• Director||B. S. Sohliya|
|• Capital of Meghalaya||64.36 km2 (24.85 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,495-1,965 m (4,908-6,449 ft)|
|• Capital of Meghalaya||143,229|
|• Density||234/km2 (610/sq mi)|
|Demonym(s)||Nong sor and Shillongite|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
793 001 – 793 102
Shillong has steadily grown in size 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 the 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.
Shillong was capital for composite Assam during the British regime and later till a separate State of Meghalaya was formed. David Scott, the British civil servant of the East India Company, was the Agent of the Governor-General North East Frontier. During the First Anglo-Burmese War the British authorities felt the need for a road to connect Sylhet and Assam. The route was to traverse across the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. David Scott overcame the difficulties his administration faced from the opposition of the Khasi Syiems – their chiefs and people. Impressed by the favourable cool climate of Khasi Hills, they negotiated with the Syiem of Sohra in 1829 for a sanatorium for the British. Thus began the consolidation of British interests in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills.
A serious uprising by the Khasis against foreign occupation of their land followed. It began early in 1829 and continued till January 1833. Eventually, the Khasi confederate chiefs were no match against the military might of the British. David Scott negotiated for the surrender of the leader of the Khasi resistance, Tirot Sing, who was then taken to Dacca (present-day Dhaka) for detention. After the resistance of the Khasis a political agent was posted in the hills, with its headquarters at Sohra, also known by the name Cherrapunjee. But the climatic condition and facilities of Sohra did not make the British happy. They then moved out to Shillong, which was then known as Yeddo or "Iewduh" as the locals call it. The name "Shillong" was later adopted, as the location of the new town was below the Shillong Peak.
In 1874, a separate Chief Commissionership was formed with Shillong as the seat of administration. The new administration included Sylhet, now a part of Bangladesh. Also included in the Chief Commissionership were the Naga Hills (present-day Nagaland), Lushai Hills (present-day Mizoram) as well as Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills. Shillong was the capital of composite Assam till 1969 when the autonomous state of Meghalaya was formed. In January 1972 Meghalaya was made a full-fledged state.
The Shillong Municipal Board has a long history dating back to 1878, when a proclamation was issued constituting Shillong and its suburbs, including the villages of Mawkhar and Laban, into a station under the Bengal Municipal Act of 1876. Inclusion of the villages of Mawkhar (S.E. Mawkhar, Jaiaw and part of Jhalupara and Mawprem) and Laban (Lumparing, Madan laban, Kench's Trace and Rilbong) within the Municipality of Shillong was agreed to by Haiñ Manik Syiem of Mylliem under the agreement of 15 November 1878. But, there is no trace of Shillong in the British era maps dating back to 1878, up to 1900.
Shillong was also the subject of the great earthquake that occurred on 12 June 1897. The earthquake had an estimated moment magnitude of 8.1. Twenty-seven lives from Shillong town alone were lost and a major part of the town was destroyed.
Shillong is at Shillong Plateau, the only major uplifted 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.. It lies on the
Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya is just 100 km (62 mi) from Guwahati which can be accessed by road along NH 40, a journey of about 2 hours 30 minutes through lush green hills and the magnificent Umiam lake in between.
Smart Cities MissionEdit
Shillong has been selected as the 100th city to receive funding under the centre's flagship "Smart Cities Mission" Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation AMRUT. In January 2016, 20 cities were announced under the Smart Cities Mission, followed by 13 cities in May 2016, 27 cities in September 2016, 30 cities in June 2017, and 9 cities in January this year. The total proposed investment in the finally selected 100 cities under the Smart Cities Mission would be Rs 2,05,018 crore. Under the scheme, each city will get Rs 500 crore from the centre for implementing various projects.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Weather conditions in Shillong are typically pleasant, pollution-free. In the summer the temperature varies from 23 °C (73 °F). In the winter the temperature varies from 4 °C (39 °F).
Under Köppen's climate classification the city features a subtropical highland climate (Cwb). Its summers are cool and very rainy, while its winters are cool and dry. Shillong is subject to vagaries of the monsoon. The monsoons arrive in June and it rains almost until the end of October.
Climate data for Shillong (C.S.O) 1981–2010, extremes 1902–present
|Record high °C (°F)||24.9
|Average high °C (°F)||14.9
|Average low °C (°F)||5.9
|Record low °C (°F)||−0.9
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||13.6
|Average rainy days||1.6||2.3||4.1||9.7||15.8||18.1||17.9||16.7||15.7||8.4||2.1||1.1||113.5|
|Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST)||87||76||68||72||81||86||87||88||90||90||88||89||84|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||223.2||223.2||232.5||219.0||170.5||108.0||99.2||108.5||102.0||176.7||216.0||235.6||2,114.4|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||7.2||7.9||7.5||7.3||5.5||3.6||3.2||3.5||3.4||5.7||7.2||7.6||5.8|
|Source: India Meteorological Department (sun 1971–2000)|
Although well connected by road, Shillong has neither rail connections nor a proper air connection. Umroi Airport located 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the city centre has only limited flights.
Shillong is well connected by roads with all major northeastern states. Two major National Highways pass through:
- National Highway 40 (India) – Connected to Guwahati
- National Highway 44 (India) – Connected to Tripura and Mizoram (NH 44A)
Private bus operators, as well as state transport buses from other states, come to and from Shillong daily. Taxi services are also available to destination like Guwahati, Agartala, Kohima, Dimapur, Aizawl and other North Eastern towns and cities.
The Shillong Bypass (pictured) is a two lane road which stretches across 47.06 kilometres (29.2 mi) connecting Umiam (NH-40) to Jorabad (NH-44) which then leads to other northeastern Indian states of Mizoram and Tripura. The project estimated to have cost around ₹220 crore (US$31 million) was completed in a span of two years (2011–2013).
Teteliya-Byrnihat line, 22 km (14 mi) long, from Guwahati's suburb Tetelia to Byrnihat near Shillong in Meghalaya is likely to be completed by March 2022. From Byrnihat it will be extended further to Shillong in future.
As of 2011[update] India census, According to 2011 Indian Census, Shillong had a total population of 143,229, of which 70,135 were males and 73,094 were females. Population within the age group of 0 to 6 years was 14,317. The total number of literates in Shillong was 119,642, which constituted 83.5% of the population with male literacy of 84.8% and female literacy of 82.3%. The effective literacy rate of 7+ population of Shillong was 92.8%, of which male literacy rate was 94.8% and female literacy rate was 90.9%. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes population was 1,551 and 73,307 respectively. Shillong had 31025 households in 2011.
According to 2011 census, Christianity is the dominant religion in the city, practised by 46.49% of the population, followed by Hinduism at 41.95%, Islam 4.89%, and to a lesser degree i.e. 2.01% includes Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. An ancient indigenous religion of the Khasi and Jaintia tribes is still followed by 4.5% of the population. The Shillong metropolitan region, which includes the towns of Laitumkhrah, Lawsohtun, Madanrting, Mawlai, Mawpat, Nongkseh, Nongmynsong, Nongthymmai, Pynthorumkhrah, Shillong Cantonment, Umlyngka and Umpling, had a population of 354,759, 12% of the which being under six years of age. The literacy rate in the metro region was 91%.
Places of interestEdit
- Elephant Falls: 12 km on the outskirts of the city, the mountain stream descends through three successive falls set in dells of fern covered rocks.
- Lady Hydari Park: The park stretches over a kilometre and has an adjacent mini zoo.
- Wards Lake: Known locally as Nan-Polok. It is an artificial lake with garden and boating facilities, built during the colonial era.
- Shillong Golf Course: Shillong has one of the largest natural golf courses in Asia: 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 a valley covered with pine and rhododendron trees. The tight fairways, carpeted with a 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. Shillong Golf Course is considered to be the "Glen Eagle of the East" at the United States Golf Association Museum. It was set in a valley at an altitude of 5,200 ft in 1898 as a nine-hole course and later converted into an 18-hole course in 1924 by Captain Jackson and C. K. Rhodes.
- Motphran: The "Monument 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 Latin poet Horace "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" which can be roughly translated as "It is sweet and honourable to die for one's country. Due to government neglect and public apathy, this monument is now in a dilapidated condition standing.
- Shillong Peak: A picnic spot, 10 km from the city, 1966 m above sea level, offers a panoramic view of the scenic countryside and is the highest point in the state. Obeisance is paid to U Shyllong at the sanctum sanctorum at the peak's summit every springtime, by the religious priest of Khyrim/Mylliem State.
- Capt. Williamson Sangma State Museum: For those interested in ethnic tribal culture and tradition this government 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 were 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 cultures of the northeast in particular, and of culture in general. DBCIC with its Don Bosco Museum is situated at Mawlai, Shillong.
- Wankhar Entomological Museum (Butterfly Museum): A privately owned museum of M/s Wankhar, Riatsamthiah, Shillong about 2 km from police bazar is the only known museum in India devoted to moths and butterflies.
- Chrysalis the Gallery: This art gallery is on the second floor of Salonsar Mansion 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 northeast and also from the rest of India.
- State Museum: Located at the State Central Library complex
- Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians is in Don Bosco Square
- Bishop and Beadon Falls: Both cascade down the same escarpment into a deep valley
- Spread Eagle Falls: 3 km from polo grounds
- Sweet Falls: Sweet Falls (also called "Weitdem," in the native dialect) is a waterfall located about 5 km from the Happy Valley and is about 96 m in height.
- Crinoline Falls: Near Phan Nonglait Park
Shillong is the only capital city in Northeast India to produce two football clubs that participate in the I-League, namely Royal Wahingdoh FC and Shillong Lajong FC. Both play at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Royal Wahingdoh FC was adjudged 2nd runners-up in the 2014–15 season of I-League.
Shillong Golf Course is one of the oldest golf course in the country and is surrounded by pine and rhododendron trees.
Among people of the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya, archery has been both a sport, a form of defence for several centuries and gambling (teer). While modern customs have replaced many of traditional aspects of the culture here, a pervasive fascination for archery remains.
Binningstar Lyngkhoi from Shillong is a national marathon runner and represented India in the last 2010 Commonwealth Games. He is the fastest marathoner in India with a timing of 2:18 hours.
|Shillong Lajong FC||Football||I-League||Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong|
|Royal Wahingdoh FC||Football||I-League||Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong|
|Rangdajied United F.C.||Football||I-League||Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong|
- North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute Of Medical Sciences
- Indian Institute of Management
- National Institute of Technology Meghalaya
- National Institute of Fashion Technology, Shillong
- North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Homeopathy
General degree collegesEdit
- Lady Keane College
- Raid Laban College
- St. Anthony's College, Shillong
- St. Edmund's College
- Saint Mary's College
- Sankardev College
- Seng Khasi College
- Shillong College
- Shillong Commerce College
- Synod College
- Women's College, Shillong
Local media in Shillong is strong. There are a number of theatres, newspapers, magazines, local radio and television stations. Shillong is also often called as "India's Rock Capital" due to its inhabitants' great passion for music, hosting concerts featuring a number of western artists.
Cinemas in Shillong include Bijou Cinema Hall, Gold Cinema and Anjalee Cinema Hall (also called Galleria Anjalee Cinema).
Newspapers are published for Shillong both in Khasi and English. Prominent English dailies published here include Shillong Times, Meghalaya Guardian, Highland Post, Meghalaya Times and The Sentinel. Khasi dailies like U Mawphor, U Nongsaiñ Hima among others are published here. Weekly newspaper are "Salonsar" and "Dongmusa". There are magazines like "Iing Khristan" (100 years of publication), "Pateng Mynta" in Khasi and "Youth Today" and "Eastern Panorama" in English.
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 Channel, Batesi and T7 are broadcast weekly on the local cable networks.
Fixed telephone 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, Reliance, Jio are available here.
Headquarters Eastern Air Command, Indian Air ForceEdit
HQ Eastern Air Command (HQ, EAC) was shifted to Shillong on 10 Jun 63 from Kolkata and housed in the old buildings located at Nonglyer village at Upper Shillong, some 10 km from (Lower) Shillong, but at a greater altitude of around 6,000 feet AMSL. Initially a British military base, it was taken over by No. 58 Gorkha Regiment of the Indian Army post Independence in 1947. The Regiment was redeployed after the Sino-Indian War of 1962, making way for the IAF to step in. Only helicopters can operate from HQ, EAC, using a 12.7 hectare (31.3 acre) helipad.
EAC controls air operations in the eastern sector which include West Bengal, Assam, Mizoram and the other eastern states bordering Bangladesh, Burma, and Tibet. EAC comprises permanent airbases at Chabua, Gauhati, Bagdogra, Barrackpore, Hashimara, Jorhat, Kalaikunda and Tezpur with forward airbases at Agartala, Culcutta, Panagarh and Shillong.
Historic neighbourhoods of Shillong include Mawkhar, Jaiaw, Riatsamthiah, Umsohsun, Wahingdoh, Khyndailad (Police Bazar), Mawlai, Laitumkhrah, Laban, Malki, Nongthymmai and Polo.
Notable personalities associated with ShillongEdit
People who have been associated with Shillong include:
- Amita Malik, a film critic.
- Anjum Hasan is a Bangalore-based writer from Shillong. Her debut novel Lunatic in my Head, which is set in Shillong, was launched on 7 December 2007. She has also written a book of verse titled Street on the Hill.
- Anwaruddin Choudhury, a naturalist who is known as the 'Birdman of Assam' was born and brought up in Shillong. He is the author of 22 books including The Birds of Assam and Pocket Guide to the Birds of Meghalaya.
- Arthur Llewellyn Basham, historian of Indian culture. He died in Kolkata in 1986 and is buried in Shillong.
- Arundhati Roy, writer and Booker Prize winner, was born in the KJP Robert Gordon Synod Hospital in Shillong.
- Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Former Indian President, and scientist while delivering a lecture at Indian Institute of Management Shillong on 27 July 2015, suffered a massive heart attack at around 6:30 p.m IST. He was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition and subsequently died of cardiac arrest.
- Bibek Debroy, economist and author; currently serving as the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India.
- Edward Pritchard Gee, naturalist and author of 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.
- Hanuman Prasad Poddar, a great saint who was the founder editor of Kalyan magazine and Gita Press, born in Shillong on 17 September 1892
- Indira Goswami (Mamoni Goswami) spent her early days in Shillong and studied at Pine Mount School.
- John Shepherd-Barron, inventor of the automated teller machine (ATM) was born in Shillong.
- Karen David, a Canadian-British actress, singer, and songwriter born in Shillong. She is best known for portraying "Princess Isabella Maria Lucia Elizabetta of Valencia" in ABC's fairytale-themed musical-comedy television series, Galavant, as well as Francesca "Cesca" Montoya in the BBC television series Waterloo Road, and Layla in the American action film The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior.
- Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum, Kargil War veteran is from this city. He was posthumously awarded Mahavir Chakra for his heroics in the Kargil war.
- Leela Majumdar, the writer, spent her childhood days at Shillong, where she studied at Loreto Convent.
- Nirad C. Chaudhuri has written extensively about Shillong in his book The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian.
- 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;
- Robert D'Silva, Pakistani Roman Catholic priest attended seminary in Shillong
- Rono Dutta, president of United Airlines did his schooling from St. Edmunds School.
- Shillong Chamber Choir have performed in the World Choir Olympics and elsewhere in the world. They won the talent show India's Got Talent in 2010.
- 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 headquartered 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 the 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/Vivekananda Cultural Centre).
- Utpal Dutt, the prominent actor of Bengali and Hindi cinema, studied initially in St. Edmund's School before moving to St. Xavier's Collegiate School Kolkata.
- Victor Banerjee, an actor, was a student of St. Edmund's School.
- Verrier Elwin, celebrated British anthropologist and author, recipient of the Padma Bhushan, eventually settled in Shillong and lived in the town until his death in 1964
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- "Gadkari to inaugurate Shillong Bypass". The Economic Times. The Times Group. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
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- North East to get better Indian Railways connectivity! 5 major rail projects lined up, Financial Express, July 17, 2020.
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- "Up and down the hill". The Hindu. 11 July 2006.
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- Utpal Dutt Wikipedia
- Shillong travel guide from Wikivoyage
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