Shillong

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Shillong
Capital
A view of Shillong with the Himalayas visible at the background
A view of Shillong with the Himalayas visible at the background
Nickname(s): Scotland of the East
Shillong is located in Meghalaya
Shillong
Shillong
Coordinates: 25°34′00″N 91°53′00″E / 25.5667°N 91.8833°E / 25.5667; 91.8833Coordinates: 25°34′00″N 91°53′00″E / 25.5667°N 91.8833°E / 25.5667; 91.8833
Country India
State Meghalaya
District East Khasi Hills
Area
 • Capital 64.36 km2 (24.85 sq mi)
Elevation 1,525 m (5,003 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Capital 143,007
 • Density 234/km2 (610/sq mi)
 • Metro 354,325[1]
Languages
 • Official English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 793 001 – 793 100
Telephone code 0364
Vehicle registration ML-05
Website smb.gov.in

Shillong (English pronunciation: /ʃɪˈlɔːŋ/;[2][3] Khasi: Shillong) is the capital of Meghalaya, one of the smallest states in India and home to the Khasis. It is 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). Shillong is the 330th most populous city in India with population of 143,007 according to the 2011 census.[4] It is said that the rolling hills around the town reminded the European settlers of Scotland. Hence, Shillong is known as "Scotland of the East". The population density of the state of Meghalaya in the current decade is 342 people per sq mile.

It 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.

Geography[edit]

Aerial view of Shillong

Shillong is at 25°34′N 91°53′E / 25.57°N 91.88°E / 25.57; 91.88. It is on the Shillong Plateau, the only major uplifted structure in the northern Indian shield.[5] 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.

  • 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 55 km (34 mi) from Mawsynram, the world's wettest place. Shillong receives far less precipitation due to the orographic effect.

History[edit]

As the legends goes, the place Shillong was named after a beautiful youth named 'Shyllong' born to a virgin mother in a village near Bisi. This boy Shyllong later came to be regarded as the local deity after whom the place was named as Shillong.

The Shillong Municipal Board has a long history dating back since 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 by Hain Manik Syiem of Mylliem under the agreement of 15 November 1878.[6] Although, there is no trace of Shillong in the British Era maps dated back to 1878-1900.

Shillong was also the subject of the great earthquake that occurred on June 12, 1879. The earthquake had an estimated moment magnitude of 8.1. 27 lives from Shillong were lost. [7]

Climate[edit]

Under Köppen's climate classification the city features a subtropical highland climate (Cwb). Its summers are warm 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 August. October–November and March–April are the best months to visit Shillong.

Climate data for Shillong
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 15.3
(59.5)
17
(63)
21.3
(70.3)
23.4
(74.1)
23.5
(74.3)
23.7
(74.7)
24
(75)
24
(75)
23.4
(74.1)
21.7
(71.1)
19
(66)
16.3
(61.3)
21.05
(69.87)
Average low °C (°F) 4.4
(39.9)
6.5
(43.7)
10.7
(51.3)
13.8
(56.8)
15.3
(59.5)
17.3
(63.1)
18
(64)
17.7
(63.9)
16.5
(61.7)
13.3
(55.9)
8.8
(47.8)
5.3
(41.5)
12.3
(54.09)
Rainfall mm (inches) 13.6
(0.535)
22.7
(0.894)
52.8
(2.079)
129.8
(5.11)
273.1
(10.752)
468.2
(18.433)
395.1
(15.555)
316.8
(12.472)
294.1
(11.579)
193
(7.6)
38.6
(1.52)
9.2
(0.362)
2,207
(86.891)
Avg. rainy days 2.9 3.3 6.9 13.1 21.4 24.2 24.5 23.5 22.1 12.5 4.4 2.1 160.9
Source: World Meteorological Organization[8]

Connectivity[edit]

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

Roadways[edit]

Bypass road

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

Private bus operators as well as state transport buses from other states ply to and from Shillong daily. Taxi services are also available to destination like Guwahati, Agartala, Dimapur and other North Eastern towns and cities.

Police Bazar, Shillong

Demographics[edit]

Religions in Shillong
Religion Percent
Hindus
  
10%
Muslims
  
7%
Christians
  
60%
Others†
  
23%
Distribution of religions
Includes Sikhs (0.2%), Buddhists (<0.2%) and followers of local religions.

As of 2011 India census[9] Shillong City 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 92.34%.   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 North East tribes are represented here as well as significant numbers of Assamese, Bengali, and a bit of Nepali, Hindi-speaking people making it a fairly cosmopolitan city. Christianity is the dominant religion in the city. Presbyterianism and other denominations of Protestants and Roman Catholics make up the Christian population. A large proportion of the population follow the original Khasi religion: Niam Khasi and Niamtre. Other religions found in India are represented in significant numbers in the city.

Places of interest[edit]

These are locations in and around Shillong which are tourist spots.[10] These include:

Elephant Falls
Police Bazar, Shillong
Wards Lake
  • 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: The park stretches over a kilometre and has an adjacent mini zoo.
  • Wards Lake: Known locally as Nan-Polok. Its an artificial lake with garden and boating facilities.
  • Shillong Golf Course: Shillong has one of the largest golf courses (the world's wettest) 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 5200 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 “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 as "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country."
  • Shillong Peak: A picnic spot, 10 km from the city, 1965 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 Shulong at the sanctum sanctorum at the peak's summit every springtime, by the religious priest of 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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 “Weitden,” in the native dialect) is the most beautiful of all the waterfalls in Shillong. It lies about 5 km from the Happy Valley and is about 96 m in height.
  • Crinoline Falls: Near Lady Hydari Park.

Sports[edit]

Polo basketball court

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 I-League. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is the homeground of Shillong Lajong FC in I-League.

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 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[edit]

National Institute of Fashion Technology Shillong

Shillong is fast emerging as an education hub for the entire northeastern region. Important educational institutes like the Indian Institute of Management, National Institute of Technology Meghalaya, University of Technology and Management, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Martin Luther Christian University, Institute of Hotel Management (IHM), National Institute of Fashion Technology, Shillong and North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, English and 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.

UPES Dehradun has come up with its sister university called UTM-The New Age University- it is the only university to introduce courses like Computer Science Engineering programs in collaboration with IBM and the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies.. The university offers other courses like Bachelor in Journalism & Mass Communication, B.Tech in Petroleum Engineering, Electronics & Communication Engineering, Civil Engineering with specialisation in Infrastructure Developments, PGDM in Sports Management,BBM in Fashion Management and BBA in Retail Management.

Media[edit]

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

Cinema[edit]

The Gold Cinema was set up in 2011 at Dreamland Cinema Hall complex. The PVR Gold Class theatre has a seating capacity of over 200 people and is equipped with a Dolby 8.1 surround sound and complete push back seats. Projection system in the theatre is directly linked through satellite (United Films Organization). The theatre screens movies both in 2D and 3D. The Cinema is a joint venture between the Gold Cinema and Raves Entertainment. Movies are shown at four different timings daily (Monday to Sunday) at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 8 p.m. Prices of the tickets range from ₹100 to ₹250. Tickets for 2D movies are cheaper and 3D are more expensive. Most of the Hollywood (and Bollywood) movies premieres here unlike other available theaters in Shillong. [11] The current movies playing are Transformers: Age of Extinction and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (July 11- July 17).

Other cinema in Shillong are Bijou Cinema Hall, Payal Cinema, Arti Cinema Hall and Anjalee Cinema Hall. These kind of theaters screens mostly Bollywood and Khasi movies. They do not show 3D movies nor are air conditioned. Since the prices of the tickets in the aforementioned theaters are cheap they do not provide the best accommodation for audiences; conducive atmosphere, indisciplined crowd, smoking, spitting, use of profane words.

Print media[edit]

Quite a number of dailies 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 Mawphor, Nongsain Hima among others are published here. Among those Khasi Dailies, Salonsar was published in 2010, the only religious bi-lingual newspaper in Meghalaya.

Electronic media[edit]

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 are broadcast weekly on the local cable networks. Currently, the only news broadcaster in English is Media Plus.

Communication services[edit]

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, RELIANCE available here.

Localities[edit]

Night view of Lapalang colony, Shillong

Shillong is divided geographically into localities. These include

[citation needed]

Eminent personalities associated with Shillong[edit]

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 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 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/Vivekananda Cultural Centre).
  • Swami Bhaskarananda, head of the Vedanta Society of Western Washington, hails from this city. Swami Bhaskarananda was born in November, 1930, and joined the Ramakrishna Order as a monk in 1958. He has authored 8 books in English ("The Essentials of Hinduism" is the most widely sold one and is used as a text book in colleges and universities in USA, as is the book "Journey From Many to One—Essentials of Advaita Vedanta". Some of the books have been translated into Kannada, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish.) He is the Editor in Chief of "Global Vedanta", a journal of the worldwide Ramakrishna/Vedanta movement. On invitation, he has traveled all over the world giving talks on Hinduism and its philosophy. He also helped form the Interfaith Council of Washington and is one of its past Presidents.
  • 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 and educationist
  • Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum, Kargil War Hero and a martyr hails from this city.
  • Victor Bannerjee, an actor, was 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 was 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 the author of Chronicle Of An Impossible Election.
  • Pradyot Bikram Kishore Manikya (b. 4 July 1977) is the head of the Royal House of Tripura, has a summer castle in Shillong, and owns The Royal Heritage-Tripura Castle hotel and the popular news and current affairs magazine The Northeast Today.
  • L. Rynjah (born 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 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.
  • Zohurul Hoque, translator of the Holy Quran into Bengali, Assamese and English was a student at St. Edmund's College.
  • Rono Dutta, president of United Airlines did his schooling from St. Edmunds School .
  • 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.[12]
  • Leela Majumdar, the writer, spent her childhood days at Shillong, where she studied at Loreto Convent.
  • Shawn Lane the legendary guitarist and composer spent time jamming with the locals of Shillong[13][14] in February, 2003. In a comment made later about Aizawl and Shillong, he said:
Man, this place barely exists on the map and there are all these wonderful people coming out of the woodworks with Powers of 10 albums and posters that I haven't even seen in America...(T)hey know everything I have ever done, every tune I have ever played... it's just bizarre, simply inconceivable.[15]
  • Rose Millian Bathew(Kharbuli) (b 1931) was the first woman chairperson of the Union Public Service Commission. She is from Shillong and lives there now.
  • Indira Goswami (Mamoni Goswami) spent her early days in Shillong and studied at Pine Mount School.
  • Manas Chaudhuri, Padmashree awardee and former editor of Shillong Times. Previously a Member of the Legislative Assembly
  • Arin Paul, filmmaker, spent his early days at Laitumkhrah, Shillong and was a product of St. Edmund's School, Shillong.
  • Nirendra Dev, author and journalist. Studied in St Anthony's 1982–1985. Penned books The Talking Guns: North East India, Godhra-A Journey to Mayhem and Ayodhya-A Battle for Peace.
  • Mansur Ahmad, President of American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (2013), was born in Shillong and studied at St. Edmund's College. Presently based in Minneapolis, MN.
  • Prof. David R. Syiemlieh (born 1953) lives in Shillong. He taught History at the North Eastern Hill University and rose to become Pro-Vice-Chancellor. He was for some time Vice-Chancellor Rajiv Gandhi University,Itanagar.He is presently Member, Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi
  • Internationally acclaimed choir group Shillong Chamber Choir is also from Shillong. They have performed in the World Choir Olympics and elsewhere in the world. Recently they won the talent show India's Got Talent 2010.[16][17][18][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Shillong City Overwiew". Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Define Shillong". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Definition of Shillong". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.census2011.co.in/city.php
  5. ^ Bilham, R. and P. England, Plateau pop-up during the great 1897 Assam earthquake. Nature(Lond),410, 806–809, 2001
  6. ^ "Shillong Municipal Board - History". Shillong Municipal Board. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Jugal Kalita (June 15, 2014). "The Great Assam Earthquake of 1897". 
  8. ^ World Weather Information Service-Shillong, World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  10. ^ Hattar, Rahul Singh. "Shillong: Scotland of the East". The Indian Backpacker. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Lamphrang Nongspung (June 24, 2011). "Gold cinema awaits tax holiday clearance". The Shillong Times. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ Utpal Dutt Calcutta Web
  13. ^ "Shawn Lane Biography"
  14. ^ "Shawn Lane acoustic Jamming with locals in Shillong, India"
  15. ^ "Remembering Shawn Lane (1963–2003)"
  16. ^ Sengupta, Somini (23 June 2008). "Town in India Rocks (No Use to Wonder Why, Babe)". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  17. ^ Fremson, Ruth (23 June 2008). "An Outpost of Rock" (Audiovisual slide show). The New York Times. Retrieved 24 June 2008. 
  18. ^ http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Shillong-Choir-hits-high-note--wins-contest---and-many-hearts/692083.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ http://www.shillongchamberchoir.com/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]