Shillong was the capital of Assam, but after the state was split as Assam and Meghalya meaning 'The abode of the clouds', it became the first capital of the newly formed State of Meghalaya . Located in undulating pine covered hills, the city has a milder climate than tropical India. The city center is 1496 meters above sea level. Shillong currently has a population of around 270,000. Home to several waterfalls, it is also known as the Scotland of East. The British legacy is still visible in architecture and food habits of population. The Assam style houses with slanting roofs, large number of windows and wooden floors look like a piece of art and happen to be very good idea, considering Shillong lies in a area where rains and earthquakes are very common.Shillong receives heavy rainfalls during monsoon and the rainy season usually lasts longer than rest of India. An umbrella is therefore a necessity while packing your bags. Although people avoid the rainy season, it is generally the time when city is clean rains wash the streets of all garbage and waterfalls are in full strength.
Most of the Shillong population belong to Khasi tribe, who are predominantly Christian. There are significant Bengali and Nepali minorities. An interesting aspect of Khasis are that they are a matrilineal society - the mother is head of family, youngest daughter owns all the property and mothers surname is passed on to children.