A view of Shillong

Location of Shillong in Meghalaya

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
  Capital 64.36 km2 (24.85 sq mi)
Elevation 1,525 m (5,003 ft)
Population (2011)
  Capital 143,229
  Density 234/km2 (610/sq mi)
  Metro 354,325[1]
  Official Khasi (secondary English)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 793 001 – 793 100
Telephone code 0364
Vehicle registration ML-05
Climate Cwb

Shillong (English pronunciation: /ʃɪˈlɔːŋ/;[2][3] Khasi: Shillong) is the capital and hill station of Meghalaya, also known as "The Abode of Clouds", one of the smallest states in India. 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, they would also refer to it as the "Scotland of the East".

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. In 2016, it was voted "India's Favourite Hill Station" by[5]


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.[6] 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.


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 August. October–November and March–April are the best months to visit Shillong.

Climate data for Shillong (1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 24.9
Average high °C (°F) 14.6
Average low °C (°F) 5.7
Record low °C (°F) −0.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 12.5
Average rainy days 1.4 2.2 3.7 9.0 16.3 17.9 18.2 16.1 15.9 8.4 2.4 1.3 112.7
Source: India Meteorological Department (record high and low up to 2010)[7][8]


As the legend goes, Shillong was named after a boy called 'Aahlad', who was born to a virgin mother in a village near Bisi. This boy later became a handsome youth and was made the local deity; and the place was named after him.

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 favorable cool climate of Khasi Hills, they negotiated with the Syiem of Cherra 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 Cherrapunjee. But the climatic condition and facilities of Cherrapunjee did not make the British happy, they then moved out to Shillong, which was then known as "Yeddo". 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.[9]

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 Hain Manik Syiem of Mylliem under the agreement of 15 November 1878.[10] 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 June 12, 1897. The earthquake had an estimated moment magnitude of 8.1. Twenty-seven lives from Shillong town alone were lost.[11]


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 center has only limited flights.


Shillong 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.

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 North-Eastern Indian states of Mizoram and Tripura. The project estimated to have cost around 220.35 crore (US$33 million) was completed in a span of two years (2011-2013).[12][13]


As of 2011 India census[14] 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. The population of Khasis in Shillong is 5 lakhs making up 65.2 % of Shillong population at 2011 census. 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, practised by 59.9 % of the Shillong population at 2011 census . 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. Hinduism is also represented in significant numbers in the city forming about 30.0 % of Shillong's population at 2011 census .

Places of interest

Elephant Falls
Wards Lake

These are locations in and around Shillong which are tourist spots.[15] These include:


Polo basketball court

Although relatively unknown in the field of sports, Shillong 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 and Royal Wahingdoh FC in I-League. It is the only capital city in Northeast India to produce two clubs that participate in the I-League, viz. Royal Wahingdoh FC and Shillong Lajong FC. Royal Wahingdoh FC was adjudged 2nd runners-up in the 2014-15 season of I-League.[16] 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 the fastest marathoner in India with a timing of 2:18 hours.

Club Sport League Stadium
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


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 College, St. Edmund's College, St. Anthony's College, Shillong and several others college and engineering institution have been established here.


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.[17]


Cinemas in Shillong include Bijou Cinema Hall, Payal Cinema, Gold Cinema and Anjalee Cinema Hall (also called Galleria Anjalee Cinema).[18]

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 Mawphor, Nongsain Hima among others are published here. Weekly newspaper are "Salonsar" and "Dongmusa". There are Magazines like "Iing Khristan" (celebrated 100 years of publication), "Pateng Mynta" in Khasi and "Youth Today" and "Eastern Panorama" in English.

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 Channel, Batesi and T7 are broadcast weekly on the local cable networks.

Communication services

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 are available here.

Headquarters Eastern Air Command, Indian Air Force

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.[19]

EAC controls air operations in the eastern sector which includes 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.[20]


Panorama of Police Bazar which is an important economic centre and major commercial hub of Shillong

Notable personalities associated with Shillong

People who have been associated with Shillong include:

See also


  1. "Shillong City Overwiew". Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  2. "Define Shillong". Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  3. "Definition of Shillong". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  5. (Press release) (March 31, 2016). "Shillong voted as 'India's favourite hill station'". The Shillong Times. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  6. Bilham, R. and P. England, Plateau pop-up during the great 1897 Assam earthquake. Nature(Lond),410, 806–809, 2001
  7. "Shillong Climatological Table Period: 1971–2000". India Meteorological Department. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  8. "Ever recorded Maximum and minimum temperatures up to 2010". India Meteorological Department. Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  9. Syiemlieh, David R. (2005). Reflections From Shillong: Speeches Of M.M. Jacob (Volume 3). Daya Books. ISBN 8189233297.
  10. "Shillong Municipal Board - History". Shillong Municipal Board. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  11. Jugal Kalita (June 15, 2014). "The Great Assam Earthquake of 1897".
  12. "Gadkari to inaugurate Shillong Bypass". The Economic Times. (The Times Group). April 30, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  13. ANI (May 1, 2015). "Gadkari to inaugurate Shillong bypass today". Yahoo! News. (Yahoo!). Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  14. "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.
  15. Hattar, Rahul Singh. "Shillong: Scotland of the East". The Indian Backpacker. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  17. Mohar Basu (February 20, 2015). "Rock On 2 to be shot in Shillong". The Times of India. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  18. "Shillong gets its first multiplex". The Shillong Times. January 30, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  22. Utpal Dutt Wikipedia
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