: शिलांग, Bengali
: শিলং) is the capital of Meghalaya
, one of the smallest states in India
. It is also the district headquarters of the East Khasi
Hills District and is situated at an average altitude of 4,908 ft (1,496 m) above sea level, with the highest point being "lum shyllong" at 1965 m. The city has a population of approximately 260,000 according to the 2001 census. Shillong has steadily grown in size and significance in its own traditional way from a mere village as it used to be when it was made the new civil station of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills
by the British
. It remained the summer capital of Eastern Bengal
for many years. 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 Valley 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 January 21 1972
when Shillong became the capital of Meghalaya and Assam moved its capital to Dispur
Shillong is located at . It is on the Shillong Plateau
, the only major pop-up 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.
Due to its latitude and high elevation Shillong has a sub-tropical climate with mild summers and chilly to cold winters.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.
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This is one of the few hill stations with motorable roads all around. Shillong has no rail lines. There is a small airport at Umroi
, around 30 km from Shillong; most flights into Umroi
are only on certain days of the week. The nearest major airport and railway station is at Guwahati
, approximately 120km from Shillong. The tourist towns of Cherrapunjee
(around 56 km) and Umiam Lake
(around 16 km) are close to the city.
As of 2001
, Shillong had a population of 132,876. Males constitute 50% of the population and females 50%. Shillong has an average literacy rate of 80%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 83%, and female literacy is 78%. In Shillong, 11% 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. The major denominations are the Presbyterian Church and the Roman Catholic church along with significant numbers of other denominations. A sizable proportion of the population follow the original Khasi religion.
Other religions found in India are also represented in significant numbers in the city.
Shillong is divided geographically into a number of localities. These include
- Mission compound
- Happy Valley
- Lower Lachumiere
- Upper Lachumiere
- Old Kench's Trace
- New Kench's Trace
- Rilbong Burnside
- Jail Road
The Shillong Golf Course
Shillong has one of the largest golf courses (the world's wettest) in Asia and the golf course is called "Glen Eagle of the East".
It enjoys the rare distinction of being one of the few natural golf courses in Asia. Not only is the Shillong 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 grueling 594 yards.
Institutions in Shillong
- Shillong is home to one of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management known as IIM Shillong.
- NIFT(NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FASHION TECHNOLOGY)
- NEIGRIHMS(North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute Of Health and Medical Sciences)
- Shillong is the headquarters of the North Eastern Council.
- The main university is the North Eastern Hill University with campuses in Tura and Shillong- HQ
- A bench of the Guwahati High Court has been set up in Shillong.
- Shillong is a major educational center in north eastern India. The major colleges in Shillong are:
- Some of the most famous schools in Shillong are Laban Bengalee Boys' Higher Secondary School, Queenie Secondary School, All Saints Diocesan High School,Pine Mount School,B.K.Bajoria Public School,K.V.Laitkor Peak, Loreto Convent,K.V NEHU, St. Edmund's School, Shillong and St. Anthony's School, established in the early 20th Century. Among the new schools in Shillong are BSF Senior Secondary School, Umpling and Army School Shillong, 101 Area
- Shillong has a centre of the CIEFL (Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages) which has its headquarters in Hyderabad.
- Shillong also has many offices of the Geological Survey of India.
- The Anthropological Survey of India and the Zoological Survey of India also have their presence here.
- It also has the HQ of the Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force
- The HQ of the oldest paramilitary force in India - the Assam Rifles
- The Assam Regimental Centre of the Indian Army
- The 101 Area of the Indian Army.
- The Gurkha Training centre of the Gurkha Regiment of the Indian Army which trains raw recruits and converts them into feared soldiers.
Schools in Shillong
- St.Edmund's School
- St.Peter's School
- St.Anthony's School
- Loreto Convent
- St.Margaret's School
- St.Mary's School
- Pine Mount School
- Shillong Public School
- All Saint's School
- Seven Set School
- Lady Keane School
- Laitumkhrah Presbyterian School
- Army School, Shillong
- Laban Bengalee Boys' Higher Secondary School
- St.Johns Whitehall.
Restaurants in Shillong
- Bamboo Hut
- City Hut Dhaba
- Broadway Restaurant
- Cloud 9
- Eden Restaurant
- The Wok
- Vilippi Restaurant
- TKS Dinning Room
Rock Music Capital of India
Shillong is considered the rock music capital of India. Many international and Indian rock groups visit Shillong every year. Shillong itself has produced a many legends in rock music which are greatly recognized all over India.
Some of the International rock groups that have visited Shillong in the past are:
Some of Shillong's own popular rock groups are:
- Revel Soul
- Great Society
- King Apple
- Midnight Garden Factor(2nd Runners up in the Hornbill National Rock Contest held at Nagaland )
Eminent personalities associated with Shillong
People who have been associated with Shillong include
- Swami Vivekananda, social reformer, philosopher and world renowned patriot monk visited Shillong.
- Dr. Prosperly B. Lyngdoh is the first Khasi to graduate from the Billy Graham School, Louisville, KY. USA. Dr. Lyngdoh was born and brought up in Jowai Jaintia Hills. Dr. Lyngdoh is presently working as a professor.
- Amit Paul the finalist of the Indian Idol 3
- Abhijeet Dutta, Deputy Managing Director, State Bank of India (SBI) also hails from Shillong.
- Queenie Rynjah, Padmashree & educationist
- P Mukhim who received the illustrious Padmashree prize
- S Jain who received the prestigious international Alfred P. Sloan award
- the poets Robin S Ngangom and K S Nongkynrih
- the former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma studied in St. Anthony's College.
- Former Chief Election Commissioner James Michael Lyngdoh is from Shillong and had studied at St. Edmund's College but has settled in Hyderabad.
- Lt. Keishing Clifford Nongrum, 25, 12 J&K Light Infantry, was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (India's Second highest military award for gallantry) posthumously for bravery during the Kargil War 1999
- Lou Majaw, the Bob Dylan of Shillong. Lou and Eddie Rynjah had started celebrating Bob Dylan's birthday in Shillong on May 24 1972. It has become an annual event and gets extensive coverage on national and international TV Channels.
- Zulfi Ali Khan, a very original and expressive guitar player who has forged new grounds in fusing carnatic classical with jazz and rock.
- Poet Rabindranath Tagore's novel Shesher Kobita (The Final Poem) is based in Shillong.
- The actor Victor Bannerjee is also a product of St. Edmund's School.
- Utpal Dutt the famous actor and a radical communist was also born and brought up in Shillong.
- Sandeepan Das is the first trainee commercial pilot from Shillong to receive training in USA. He was born in the year 1983 and completed his schooling and Graduation in Electronics Technology from St.Edmund's College Shillong.
- Famous film critic Amita Malik is from Shillong.
- Nirad C Chaudhuri has written extensively about Shillong in his book 'Autobiography of an Unknown Indian'.
- Anthropologist and tribal expert Verrier Elwin had settled in Shillong and he lived here till his death.
- Multi-faceted Mrs. Rita Saikia Das, who now, is promoting the Assamese Cuisine internationally was brought up in Shillong. She also helps noted actor Victor Bannerjee another eminent personality, run a Blind School in Assam.
- Mr L P Singh one of India's last ICS (Indian Civil Service) Officers was governor of Meghalaya and other North Eastern states during the seventies.
- 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.
- Noted historian of Indian culture Arthur L. Basham was married to Namita Catherine in Shillong. He died in Kolkata in 1986 and is buried in Shillong.
- Lila Majumdar (1908-2007) famous Bengali juvenile classicist and a noted personality , (by relation she was Satyajit Ray's aunt) spent her childhood in Shillong.
- Dr. Zohurul Hoque (1925-)internationally recognized translator of the Qur'an in 3 languages. Currently resides in Guwahati.
- Air Marshal Pranab (Lalu) K. Barbora, born in Shillong, is presently holding the rank of Air Marshall in the Indian Air Force, and he is the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Air Command.
- Noted writer and Booker Prize winner, Arundhati Roy was born in the KJP Synnod Hospital in Shillong.
- Prabhat Dey Sawyan,prominent industrialist and architect,recently honoured by The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTAC);designed and launched boutique resort 'Ri Kynjai' incorporating traditional khasi roof forms into a modern architectural setting.
- Brother Eric D'Souza, former principal of St. Columba's School, Delhi, recipient of President's Award for the Best Teacher is one of the most respectable citizens of Shillong.
- Award winning Blues band Soulmate hails from Shillong
- Murli Melwani, another product of St Edmund’s School and College, is the author of “Indian English Stories”(2007), “Stories of a Salesman”(1966;2nd edition 1976),”Deep Roots(a 3-Act Play) and “Themes in Indo-Anglian Literature.”
- “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. July 4, 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 magzine The Northeast Today
- Ashfaque Haque ex-student of St. Edmunds School is the Proprietor of [Media:Global Management Services http://www.gmshr.com].
- Rono Dutta president of United Airlines did his schooling from St.Edmunds,Shillong.
- Bangalore based writer Anjum Hasan is from Shillong and her debut novel Lunatic in my Head which is set in Shillong was launched on Dec 7 2007. She has also written a book of verse titled Street on the Hill
- Shawn Lane the legendary guitarist and composer spent time jamming with the locales of Shillongin 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...
Nari K. Rustomji, ICS (rtd.), acclaimed administrator and author, was Advisor for NEFA to the first post-Independence Governor of Assam, Sir Akbar Haydari, and retired as Chief Secretary of Meghalaya. He maintains a retirement home in Shillong.
- Ankush Saikia (b. December 14, 1975) grew up in Shillong and studied at St Edmunds School and College. His first book Jet City Woman, a short novel set in Delhi and northeast India, was published by Rupa & Co. in November 2007. He is currently a senior editor at a publishing firm in New Delhi.
- Samujjal Purkayastha; Founder, Astromanity: a student oriented Space Exploration Organization and Old Pals: a Social Networking website was born at the Ganesh Das Hospital in Shillong. His ancestral home is in Shillong.
- Evelyn Norah Shullai, educationalist and pioneer of Girl Guiding in India