Meghalaya’s Mawsynram, the world’s wettest place, rewrote its June rainfall records held since 1940.
The 24-hour rainfall recorded recently was a whopping 6mm, surpassing the previous record of 945.4mm of 1966.
The second closest rainfall record was held by nearby Cherrapunji, another wet place, where the 24-hour rainfall was 972mm.
Mawsynram is situated in East Khasi Hill district of Meghalaya, 15 km west of Cherrapunji, Mawsynram is 1400 m above sea level.
The ‘Maw’ in Mawsynram is a Khasi word which means ‘stone’, thus referring to certain megaliths found in the Khasi Hill area.
The village is most famous for the gigantic formation of a stalagmite, which resembles the shape of a ‘shivling’.
With 11,872 mm of rainfall received annually, Mawsynram beats Cherrapunji by a slender margin.
Cherrapunji receives 11,777 mm of rainfall.
The rains are so intense in Mawsynram that the villagers use thick grass to sound-proof their huts from the deafening rain.
The women of Mawsynram use rain covers known as ‘knups’, using bamboo slivers, plastic sheets and broom grass to create a rain shield that resembles a turtle shell, which is then worn on the head.
The knups are large enough to keep rain off the whole body right up to the knees.
Meteorologists believe Mawsynram’s location plays a huge part in it receiving huge amount of rainfall.
Moisture gathers over the Bay of Bengal, it causes precipitation over Mawsynram, leading to a heavy and very long monsoon season.
Rainfall at Mawsynram:
Since northeast India is mostly hilly and is an extension of the Indo-Gangetic Plains, the region is highly sensitive to changes in regional and global climate.
Pre-monsoon and monsoon are the rainy seasons of northeast India.
Rain-bearing summer air currents (the Bay of Bengal branch of monsoons) that move north from Bangladesh’s hot and humid floodplains hit the funnel-shaped relief of the Meghalaya hills with deep valleys and gorges.
The steep parallel mountains (Garo, Khasi and Jaintia hills) in Meghalaya block the movement of the clouds to the north
They are squeezed in through the gorges and then forced to ascend the steep slopes and shed most of their rainfall in the region.
Knups are made from banana leaves lashed to a frame of bamboo.
They are worn rather than carried, which allows you to use your hands. And if you lean into the wind, they won’t blow inside out, or away.
Knups are the traditional umbrellas of Northeastern India, and are here being used in the wettest place on earth, Mawsynram, which has over 38 feet of rain a year.