Abundant cane and bamboo grows in Meghalaya. It grows very fast and comes in many varieties. The artisans, mostly khasis, when free from agriculture, use this resource to build their houses, and make their implements, baskets, and objects of everyday needs.
In Shillong, the capital of the state, houses are built on wooden stilts. These houses have walls made of a framework of wood and bamboo matting. The bamboo matting is made from rough strips of bamboo woven openly. This is put between two grids made from wooden strips or whole bamboo. The matting is plastered with a mixture of lime and sand till it gets a fairly thick coat. For the matting, the ekra variety of bamboo is used, which is found in large amounts in the Khasi hills.
Khasi conical baskets (khoks) are a common sight in Meghalaya. Market day is a great event and all kinds of baskets filled with vegetables, fish, meat, rice, and bamboo shoots can be seen at every stall at the marketplace. Basic khoks or thugis, and artistic baskets, known locally as meghum khoks, are also made. This type of basket is used by the tribals to store valuable items, including clothes. A mixture of creosite oil is applied on the baskets to make them pest-proof.
The khasis are famous for weaving cane mats, stools, and baskets and khasi umbrellas (locally known as kurup) are made in light and medium qualities. They make a special kind of cane mat called ‘tlieng’, which lasts for at least 20-30 years.