Meghalaya is a state saturated with history that spans over millennia, and has a played a major role in the customary history of humankind. The lands of Meghalaya and its neighbouring states have been favoured by archaeologists due to the discovery of several high elevation sites from the Neolithic Era, including Garo Hills and Khasi Hills. Aboriginal people throughout Meghalaya’s history have been credited with the domestication of rice, which is today the dominant staple food of Asia.
In Sanskrit, ‘Meghalaya’ means ‘The Abode of Clouds’ and is named so due to its low winter temperatures, wet climate - the state is known to be one of the wettest locations on the planet - and high elevation points of the capital hill station of Shillong. The capital earned the moniker ‘Scotland of the East’ when Meghalaya was still part of Assam state throughout the British Raj, before being formed in 1972. This name, indeed, resonates throughout time as the state is steeped with scenic landscape of rolling hills and pine forests, an abundance of flora and fauna, and various species of mammals, along with the rich heritage of the British Raj infused with that of indigenous communities, discernible in architecture, local cuisine, and the arts and crafts.
Local ethnic communities Khasi, Garo and Jaintia, all of which have inhabited Meghalaya since ancient times, have been practising variations of artistic weaving, basketry, and bamboo and cane work for generations, amongst other traditional handicrafts. Today, sericulture, which is the rearing of silk worms, production of silk and silk weaving are key cottage industries of Meghalaya, and over 30,000 families are engaged in sericulture farming and handloom weaving. Indian silk is loved the world over for its fine quality and high endurance. Muga, mulberry and Eri silk from Meghalaya are no exception, and local weaves captivate with the ethnic patterns of their weft designs.