State : Meghalaya, in the north east of India.
Best time to Travel : November to March.
The Weather Conditions : The climate of Meghalaya varies with the altitude. The climate of Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills is uniquely pleasant and caressing. It is neither too warm in summer nor too cold in winter, but over the plains of Garo Hills, the climate is hot and humid, except in winter. The Meghalaya sky is always covered by clouds, truly giving it the name of Meghalaya (Megh - clouds; Alaya - abode of). The average annual rainfall here is about 1,150 cm.
Location : Meghalaya is sandwiched between Assam (in the north) and Bangladesh (in the south).
Meghalaya wildlife holiday tour is full of treasure trove of Nature, with its rich variation of dense endemic and cultivated flora. Nature, in its plenteous abundance, had blessed Meghalaya with a unique array of plantation, ranging from tropical and sub-tropical to temperate or near temperate. This is due to the diverse physiology, varied and plentiful of rainfall and distinctive climatic and edaphic conditions of the state, within small regions. Biotic factors have also played an important role, at places decisive.
Geographical position of Meghalaya has it appears favoured immigration and introduction of different plant species from the neighbouring states of the North Eastern India and also countries like China, Tibet and Burma.
Depending on the varied scales of rainfall at different parts of the year and at different altitudes and places, both tropical and temperate vegetation occur in Meghalaya. The plant kingdom in Meghalaya contitutes of Parasites and Epiphytes, Succulent Plants, Trees and Shrubs known as Phanerophytes.
The Endemic Plant
In Meghalaya, all the above classes of plant life are found to occur naturally, constituting its rich and varied natural vegetation. The vegetation consists of endemic Pitcher Plant or Nepenthes khasiana Hk. Meghalaya is a storehouse of richly varied and colorful orchids with as many as 325 species. It is rightly called a Land of Orchids.
The forests of Meghalaya are treasured with valuable products such a timber, fuelwood, fodder, resin, tannin, gums, shellac, fibre, latex, essential oils, fats, edible fruits, honey and a large number of medicinal plants. Meghalaya is well known for bay leaves and cinnamon. Morus alba, Quercus semiserrata and a number of other tree species play an important role in the economy of the State, being the host plants for rearing of silk worms for sericulture.
You can find various seasonal flowers and you will also comes across Dahlia, Canna, Gladiolus, Begonia, Tropaeolum, Aster, Polargonium, Antirrhinum, Crinum, Celosia, Kniphofia, Impatiens, Chrysanthemum, Petunias, Pansy, Calendula, Sweet peas and Salvia. Meany climbers like Bougainvillea, Rosa, Jasminum, etc are quite common. Multiplicity of orchids like Phaius, Dendrobium and Cymbidium spp. are also cultivated here.
The forests of Meghalaya are a rich source of timber. Timber trade is an integral and vital element in the economy of Meghalaya. Some of the important tree species, which yield valuable timber for trade are Khasi Pine, Sal, Teak, Bamboos, the rubber-yielding plant of Ficus elastica Roxb., Lac and Gum.
Recently Tea and Coffee are also being grown in lands abandoned after jhuming.
Among the important and recognised medicinal plants found and cultivated in Meghalaya are Ipecac, Rauvolfia serpentina, Cinchona, Abromine, Chaulmoogra Oil, Croton Oil, Eucalyptus, Castor Oil, Chiretta, Solanum khasianum, Casearia vareca, Zanthoxylum armatum, Hedyotis scandens, Paederia foetida, Salix alba, Anacardium occidentale, Cinnamomum, Taxus baccata.
The Fauna- The Great Wildlife of Meghalaya
Meghalaya is also a happy hunting ground to the zoologists for its interesting, rare and diverse fauna wealth. It is said that about 50% of the entire wildlife population of mammal are found in the entire Indian sub-continent can be seen in Meghalaya Wild life natioinal parks and other sanctuaries in the North-East. Out of the above, nine genera of wildlife of mammals, such as Tupaia, Rhizomys, Cannomys, Chiropodomys, Micromys etc. are only found in Meghalaya Jungle and its adjoining areas.
The Animal Kingdom of Wildlife
The species found in Meghalaya national parks are - Hoolock - the only tailless ape in India, Golden Cat, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Large Indian Civet, Binturong or Bear Cat, Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer, Pangolin.
Take a wildlife safari tours to explore Some species of various families of mammals namely Primates, the Cats, Civets, Mongooses, Dogs, Bear, Weasels, Bats, Rodents, Elephants, Gaur, Wild Buffalo, Serow, Deer, Pigs and Pangolins residing in the forests of Meghalaya. In Meghalaya wild population alos includes Hoolock Gibbon, macaques and langurs, Rhesus Macaque and Assamese Macaque. The Golden Langur is a very rare species of Meghalaya and is on the verge of extinction. Among lemurs, the Slow Loris is found in Meghalaya.
In Meghalaya, usually two species of bears are found - Sloth Bear and The Himalayan Black Bear. The Weasel Family in Meghalaya comprises Weasels, Otters, Martens and Badgers. The Common Otter, Yellow Throated Marten and the Hog-Badger are commonly found. In Meghalaya, both vegetarian and carnivorous bats are found. In Meghalaya, the most interesting rodents are - Flying Squirrel, Malayan Giant Squirrel, Himalayan Squirrel, Indian Porcupine, Bulky Body, Subtle Mind.
There are about 2,000 elephants in the Garo Hills and 500 in the jungles of the Jaintia Hills. The Wild Buffalo is also found in Meghalaya. The Serow is common in Meghalaya. In Meghalaya, usually two varieties of deer are found - Sambar and Barking Deer. Wild Boars and the Pangolins or scaly ant-eaters are also common here.
The Bird Kingdom
Meghalaya national parks and sanctuaries, specially in lower altitudes, multifarious species of birds are found in abundance. Magpie-Robin is a favourite bird to be seen in Meghalaya. Some of the common bird watching trips includes sighting of - Hoopoe, Long tailed Broadbill, Scarlet Minivet, Burmese Roller, Blue-throated Barbet, Red-vented Bulbul, Himalayan Black Bulbul, Himalayan Whistling Thrush, Spotted Forktail, Black-breasted Kalij Pheasant, Red Jungle Fowl, Mynas like Jungle Mynas, Hill, Mynas etc., Besides, hornbills including the Great Indian hornbill, florican, owl, black drongo and many other birds are also found.
In Meghalaya four types of reptiles are found - Lizards, Crocodiles, Tortoises and Snakes. Among the non-poisonous snakes found in Meghalaya, the following may be mentioned: Python, Blind snakes, Copper head, Green tree racer, Red necked Kulback. The poisonous snakes in Meghalaya include: Indian cobra, King cobra, Coral snake and Vipers.
About 250 species of butterflies are found in Meghalaya, out of about 1,000 species seen in India. Some of the exquisite varieties of butterflies of Meghalaya which are admired all over the world are -Blue Peacock, the Kaiser-E-Hind, Leafs-Butterfly, the Dipper, the Bhutan Glory, the Yellow Orange Tip, Vagrant, the Common Blue Bottle, the Red-Breast Jazebel.