Ch 2-The Land of Clouds : City-heights


sh6There is a local legend surrounding the etymology of Shillong. It is believed that there was a handsome youth named ‘Shyllong’,, 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.sh1During the colonial period, it was an integral part of the erstwhile British provincial state of Assam and served as the capital even after independence.So there are many British architecture all around the city as well as beautiful houses, gardens and churches in the neighborhood. The city features a Subtropical Highland Climate. Its summers are cool and very rainy, while its winters are cool and dry. Shillong’s monsoon is unpredictable and it has the influence of the name Meghalaya also known as “The Abode of Clouds”, on it’s ever changing sky.sh4Shillong 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. It is on the Shillong Plateau, the only major uplifted structure in the northern Indian shield. The city lies in the center of the plateau and is surrounded by hills.sh2HQ 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.sh7Initially 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.sh9EAC 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.sh5Pollution free Shillong is aptly known as ‘ Scotland of the East’ as the rolling hills and lush landscapes reminded European settlers of Scotland. The city still retains the colonial-era charm in certain areas, although it exudes modernity in every sphere. Often proclaimed as ‘ India’ s Rock Capital’ because of the great passion for music the inhabitants have.sh3


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