Wet Lands

Sohra, the local name of Cherapunjee, is a high-altitude town in the north-easten state of Meghalaya in India. For long, it has been described as the wettest place on earth, having once received a historic amount of rainfall: 24,555 millimetres  in the year of 1974. The people living in and around the wetlandsbelong to the Khasi community, an indigenous ethnic group in Meghalaya. 

 

The sky in Cherapunjee is mostly grey and the air is always thick with mist and fog, staying true to the Sanskrit meaning of the ‘Meghalaya’ translating to an abode in the clouds. However, The people of Sohra have acclimatized to the weather conditions and life continues unaffected. Children still walk to and from school, markets are open despite the rain, and business continues as usual. The thick clouds and fog do not affect the traffic either, although predictably one does not encounter a large number of two-wheelers on the road. Everyone uses two sets of clothes, wet ones for outdoors and dry for indoors. Umbrellas are of little help to pedestrians because the water comes down sideways, on account of the high winds.

 

At the time of British colonisation, Sohra was their summer capital. It is said that many British officers committed suicide during their time in Sohra. There was speculation that the perpetually overcast weather played a role in these attempts on their lives, a situation that propelled the British to shift their operations to the neighbouring town Shillong in 1866. Christian missionaries accompanied the British there and the majority of the population continues to follow the Christian faith to this day.