Meghalaya Tourism
 
simsang river

Garo Hills-The Ecological Canvas of Meghalaya

Forming the western part of the State the entire Garo Hills having an area of approximately 8,000 sq kms. is densely forested and hence one of the richest spots in bio­diversity.

The Garos predominantly inhabiting the three districts of the State namely East Garo Hills, West Garo Hills and South Garo Hills are basically superstitious, believe in spirits and have rich traditional tales of myths and legends. To the Garos everything that is interesting and unnatural has to have the lore of some kind.

turaTura

Location: West Garo Hills District

Tura the headquarter of West Garo Hills, which was also the headquarter of composite Garo Hills before two more districts of East and South Garo Hills were created, is 323 kms. from Shillong via Guwahati named after a powerful goddess Durama-Imbama, this Tura town is situated at the foot of Tura peak. 5kms higher at 1400m the peak offers some of the finest views of the hills against a backdrop of lowlying plains and sweeping curve of the mighty Brahmaputra.

tura peakTura Peak

Location: West Garo Hills District

A beautiful and majestic hill stands on the eastern side of Tura at a height of 872 m above sea level overlooking the town of Tura. Local legend has it that the peak provides a sacred shelter or abode to the ‘Gods’ and it is also claimed that Tura was traditionally known as Dura, but due to mispronunciation by the British gave it the present name of Tura. The Tura range has been declared a reserve forest with an observatory, a Cinchona plantation and a tourist bungalow located at its vicinity. A magnificent view of the lower Brahmaputra valley as well as the golden yellow plains of Bangladesh can be seen all year round from the peak. A foot-track or path developed during the British Raj is still in existence and can be used by tourists and adventurers alike to reach Tura peak with ease and comfort.

nokrekNokrek Biosphere

Location: West Garo Hills District

About 40 kms, via Asananggiri and Sasatgiri but just 2 kms. from Tura peak; teeming with wild life, Nokrek hill is the home of a very rare species of citrus locally known as Memang Narang orange of the spirits. This Memang Narang is considered to be the most primitive and progenitor of all other varieties of citrus plants in the world with a view to preserve this rare species of citrus indica the first gene sanctuary of the world has been established here.

chibragreChibragre

Location: West Garo Hills District

Lying at the confluence of Ganol and Rongram rivers, just 9 kms from Tura on the Tura Guwahati road is an ideal picnic spot.

pelga fallsPelga Falls

Location: West Garo Hills District

Pelga falls located at the distance of 7 kms from Tura has become increasingly hot spot for anglers and picnickers in recent years. The tourism department developed this place by constructing a footpath and view point. A typical traditional Garo bamboo bridge constructed over Ganol river is another added attraction.

rongbang dareRongbang Dare

Location: West Garo Hills District

Is another attractive tourist spot in West Garo Hills which can be easily viewed from Tura-Williamnagar PWD Road and the roadside near Rongbang dare virtually becomes mini bazaar in recent years where the Garos can dispose off their agriculture products besides running their indigenous food and tea stalls.

sasatgreSasatgre Village

Location: West Garo Hills District

Located on the hilly crescent-like saddle, at the foot of the Nokrek peak, in the West Garo Hills district, Sasatgre village is accessible by a jeepable road from Oragitok village which lies on the Tura-Asanangre-Williamnagar State highway.

Sasatgre has been blessed by nature in so far as orange plantations are concerned and the village is surrounded by healthy, dark green orange bushes, which are highly productive. The village now falls on the periphery of the Nokrek Gene Sanctuary-cum-Biosphere Reserve.

Bhaitbari

Location: West Garo Hills District

This small sleeping hamlet of Bhaitbari came into national focus when ruins of ancient kingdom dating back to 4-8 A.D. were discovered here a few years ago. This place is just 8 kms. from Phulbari near Assam border and in nearer via plains road along Assam border and is nearer via plains road along Assam border.

rangapaniRangapani

Location: West Garo Hills District

40 kms from Tura, near Mankachar on the Assam border there still lies the earthly remains of the great general Mir-Jumla the army general of great Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb. Mir-jumla died of malaria while returning from his excursions to the North - East. His tomb maintained by the local Muslim association lies in this village.

williamnagarWilliamnagar

Location: East Garo Hills District

Named after the 1st Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Capt. Williamson Sangma, this riverine town built on the curve of Simsang river is the Headquarters of East Garo hills. It is 313 kms from Shillone via Guwahati and is 76 kms from Tura.

Rongrenggiri

Location: East Garo Hills District

5 kms from Williamnagar, is noted for being the last battle field where the Garos bravely resisted the British.

Sisobibra

Location: East Garo Hills District

12 kms away from Williamnagar on the Tura Wiliamnagar road, a beautiful place on the banks of Simsang River is of historical importance, for it was here the legendary hero Togan Sangma along with his co-patriot Gilsang Dalbot fell to the bullets of the British soldiers while bravely resisting them. A memorial has been erected at the place where the warriors fell down. District Council has constructed a twin cottage near the memorial place where visitors can stay.

Adokgre

Location: East Garo Hills District

l0 kms from Duphdara on the Assam border, Adokgre was the first camp in Garo Hills when the Garos coming from Tibet under the leadership of Jappa-Jalimpa arrived the promised land of Garo Hills. It was here that they distributed the land according to their Machongs(clan).

Naka-Chikong

Location: East Garo Hills District

15 kms from Duphdara, it is a big rock with deep hollows, in the middle of Ildek river in Badaka village just 3kms from Adokgre, this big rock is mythologically believed to be swarming with fishes, you can get tons of fishes any season of the year, but there is one belief, if any one inadvertently touches the big rock under whose hole the fishes are, all fishes immediately disappear from the river. The Hindus consider this a sacred place and regularly come here for worship and picnic.

resubelparaResubelpara

Location: East Garo Hills District

15 kms from Williamnagar Sub-Divisional head quarter of Resu Sub-Division; there is a hot spring here.

Napak

Location: East Garo Hills District

45 kms from Williamnagar there is a lake formed by damming of the upper tributary of a river during the great earth quake in 1897. Napak was once the land of the spirit until one woman working in the Jhum accidentally killed a spirit's baby. The spirits feeling insecure then migrated to Balpakram where they settled till now.

baghmaraBaghmara

Location: South Garo Hills District

Baghmara the head quarter of South Garo Hills District is a fast growing township. It is situated on the banks of Simsang river on the international Bangladesh border. Nearby just below the picturesque Dilsa hill, the State Tourism Department has constructed a Tourist bungalow.

baghmara forestBaghmara Reserve Forest

Location: South Garo Hills District

At a distance of about 4 kilometers from the main town of Baghmara, this thick forest is inhabited by langurs, birds of different species, elephants, etc. Many tourists have reported sighting herds of elephants as they travel from Baghmara to Balpakram National Park via Baghmara Reserve Forest.

nengkongNengkong

Location: South Garo Hills District

14 kms north of Baghmara is the well known caves Tetengkol, which balwakol measuring 5,33kms in length is one of the longest cave in the Indian Sub-continent. The other cave is Dobakkol Chibe Nala almost 2kms long and another, a little over 1 km long called Bok-bak dobakkol are also in the vicinity of the area.

sijuSiju

Location: South Garo Hills District

132 kms from Tura, Siju is famous for Dobakkol or the bat cave with impressive stalagmites and stalagtites. It is one of the longest caves in the Indian Sub-continent and contains some of the finest river passages to be found any where in the world. There are magnificent limestone rock formations inside, epecially named princes, Di's chamber by the excavators will fill any visitor with awe. Close by on the other side of Simsang River is the Siju bird sanctuary, a home for many rare and protected birds and other wildlife. The Siberian ducks also migrated here during the winter months. At the entrance to this bird sanctuary after a steep climb of nearly 1 km there is a stretch of fantastic rock formations that will take your breath away.

balpakramBalpakram

Location: South Garo Hills District

The literal meaning of Balpakram is the "land of perpetual winds". There is a great precipice or deep gorge in Balpakram and is popularly compared to the Grand Canyon of U.S.A. It is believed that here, the spirits of the dead dwell temporarily before embarking on the final journey. Balpakram is sacred to the Garos as the abode of the dead spirits. As mentioned earlier, the Garos are deeply spiritual and believe in myths as interesting and awe-some as the Greeks mythlogics. In support of their beliefs, Balpakram has many mysterious and unnatural phenomena that cannot be satisfactorily explained by modern science and logic.

Some of these mysterious sites are Boldak matchu karam, Chidimak, Matchru, Areng patal, Goncho Dare, Dikkini ring, Rongsaljong Agal, Rongsobok Rongkol.

Apart from the above mentioned sites there are many mysterious places which you can explore yourself. Indeed Balpakram is so steeped in myths that even the Hindus believe that it is a sacred place. They believe that when Laxman was seriously injured during the war with Ravana and a very rare life saving herb was required, Hanuman found it here but not knowing which to take also in his haste to return, broke the top of the hills and carried it away. The missing portion of that hill became a deep awning canyon. Balpakram has been declared a National Park some years ago. This place is about 220 sq kms in area and is 167 kms from Tura. This place is not only of mythological importance but also the natural habitant of many rare and exotic animals and plant life. It is also believed to be the original home of the rare citrus plant Me-mang Narang. Balpakram is exquisitely beautiful when ground orchids are in bloom. The best time to see is from November to March. There is the guest house at Hattisil at the entrance to Balpakram run by the Forest Department.

imilchang dareImilchang Dare

Location: South Garo Hills District

A waterfall of immense visual beauty is to be found close to the Tura-Chokpot Road in West Garo Hills district. The stream on which it is located, flows through a deep, narrow winding bed of crevice rocks till it suddenly emerges on to a broad wide opening and cascades in a thick, wide formation, over a broad chasm, creating an electrifying waterfall of unique beauty. The deep, wide pool at the bottom of the fall with its wide and expansive surroundings make it an exciting swimming pool, full of fish of varied size and colour, besides being an ideal picnic spot.

Emangre

Location: South Garo Hills District

This is the only village where the traditional wood carving on the posts and beams of the "Nokpante" or the bachelor's dormitory still survives.

Dombeware

Location: South Garo Hills District

3 kms from Eman Asakgre there is a legendary lake on top of the hill believed to have been created by a merman when he eloped away with a beautiful wife of one boastful man. Some people say Bombe, the beautiful woman is still alive in the underground water Kingdom.

simsang riverSimsang River

Simsang River starts from Nokrek peak and runs towards east, passing through Rongrengiri, Williamnagar, the headquarters of East Garo Hills district, Nongalbibra, Siju, Rewak and finally Baghmara, the headquarters of South Garo Hills district. Simsang river is known as Someshwari when it enters Bangladesh at Baghmara is the most magnificent and most prominent.

Radi NokatRadi Nokat

Location: North Garo Hills District

Another major tourist attractions within Resubelpara town is Radi Nokat Village. The prime attraction of this place is the presence of numerous natural rock formations, conical in shape resembling Shivlingams (Shiva’ Phallus). These natural rock formations have become a holy site for devoted Hindu Pilgrims from all over the Country and beyond. Every year, hundreds of devoted followers gathers at this site to commemorate the birth of Hindu God Shiva.

KodaldhowaKodaldhowa Lake

Location: South West Garo Hills District

Situated at about 8 kms from Zikzak, is the famous Legendary Lake known as Kodaldhowa. It is said this tank was excavated to wash the spades everyday while digging kata beel. The locals in Hajong language called this tank Kodaldhowa which means “Kodal” spade and “Dhowa” means wash Kodaldhowa spreads over an area of 14 bighas of land. Nearby the lake is a small temple which has a small underground shaft used only during religious ceremonies. This temple is a huge attraction for the tourist and ever year hundred of people flock to this temple during the annual mela.

Snake StoneThe Snake Stone

Location: South West Garo Hills District

The snake stone is a remarkable stone structure in the form of a long snake discovered in a village called Kawegre at Mahendraganj along the international border.

The stone resembles a snake about 20ft in length. This snake stone was accidentally dug upon by the villagers of Kawegre during the construction of a road to the village. During the excavation, the villagers also discovered stone idols and earthen pots at the site.

It is only after the excavation of the area can anything concrete be said about the history of the place. History will be re-written, as this archaeological site in South West Garo Hills, is believed to be an important religious centre cast out of mighty Brahmaputra River from the fourth century AD.

The site has not been properly promoted hence very few devotees, tourist and scholars visit this area. It demands an immediate attention, recognition, publicity and research.

Chenga BengaChenga-benga Lake

Location: South West Garo Hills District

Chenga-Benga is a natural lake located at Gandhipara area about 7 kms from Garobadha on the banks of River Ganol. The length of the lake is around 3kms and the breadth is about 15-20 metres wide.

The name of the lake follows after the two brothers, Chenga and Benga. Legend has it that Chenga and Benga, the two holy men, who left their worldly affairs and resided on the banks of the lake. Throughout their lives they contributed towards the welfare of the local natives. It is also believed that on a certain full moon night, pious and fortunate people can see golden vessels floating on the surface of the water, which can be collected and used for religious rites and rituals.

The Koch community constructed a Hindu temple on the banks of the lake and every year a mela or a gathering known as Asthami Puja is celebrated in the month of Baisakhi which usually falls during the month of March to April.

KamakhyaMa Kamakhya Temple at Thakuranbari

Location: South West Garo Hills District

Maa kamakya Temple at Thakuranbari was build by a Great Koch King, Narayana. This temple is located on a hillock about 1 km away from Mir-Jhumla’s Tomb. It is said that this temple has a connection to the famous Kamakhya Temple located at Assam. Legend has it that Maa Kamakhya’s body parts were divided into 52 parts and wherever her parts fell, temples are build to honour and worship her. Consequently as the story goes, Maa Kamakya’s navel fell at Thakuranbari and thus the temple came into existence. Apart from the deity of Kamakhya Devi, the compound also houses other temples namely Siva, Durga, Shakti, Hanuman, Santoshi and Swammy. Though this temple is small and still unknown, it is an important pilgrimage destination as Hindu Devotees and pilgrim from all over India visit the place during important occasions.

Dobul LakeDo.bul Lake at Damalgre

Location: South West Garo Hills District

Do.bul Lake is a natural Lake located at Damalgre Village about 35 km from Ampati. The size of the lake is 4 hectares approximately. This lake is an Ornithological hotspot known for its abundance of varieties of birds, both indigenous and migratory. It provides an ideal opportunity for bird watchers and wildlife photographers to watch them undisturbed in their natural setting, especially during winters when the lake is bustling with hundreds of waterfowls and other migratory water birds like Siberian Cranes, pelicans, white storks and ducks. For nature lovers and kids, the place is an ideal place to spend a wonderful day in the lap of nature.

Aminda RangsaAminda Rangsa

Location: West Garo Hills District

It was recently declared the cleanest village in Garo Hills and has the potential to be at par with Mawlynnong if publicized. It lies about 35 km from Tura. The villagers have developed keen civic sense and are maintaining this status with pride. They also craft their own dust-bins creatively which are kept at regular intervals. An artist native of this village uniquely displays his talent by carving sculptures on standing dead trees, live trees and rocks, at the same time training the village youth in the same trade.

Aside from these sculptures the village also boasts of beautiful sceneries such as the view of the whole of Tura. The village leaders also spoke about an A.sim (salt-water pool) that attracts elephants seasonally. A traditional sacred grove is also maintained close-by. It also used to be inhabited by Hoolock gibbons, unfortunately none has been sighted for the past two to three years, but a variety of birds still inhabit the forests around the village which can attract bird-watchers from all over the world if publicized. The pineapples, pumpkins and maize produce of the village is also exceptional in terms of form and taste as well.

The village can also supply souvenirs as the artists of this village also create smaller and portable sculptures.

Chandi DareChandi Dare

Location: West Garo Hills District

Another waterfall in the district is Chandi Dare- a beautiful two tiered waterfall. It is connected with the main road by a Kachcha fairly motorable road. Vehicles such as jeeps, Gypsies, Maruti 800s etc. Can get there easily.

Mesak DareMesak Dare

Location: West Garo Hills District

Just 2 km from the Rongram Bazaar-this waterfall is also an ideal spot for picnics and tourist spots. The villagers have recently declared the water reserved and hence fishing is not allowed. The route leading to this waterfall is motorable to about 2/3 of the length during the rainy season. However during winter, it is motorable right upto the waters. It is a perennial waterfall and does not dry up even during the winter when the rainfall is negligible.

Mangisi WariMangisi Wari

Location: West Garo Hills District

Mangisi Wari lies in Selsella block. The BDO along with the villagers wish to develop it into a fish sanctuary and a recreational park and the potential for this place to attract both local visitors and outsiders is high. It has serene and picturesque view of the paddy fields surrounding it. It is also conveniently located just about 300 meters from the main road.

Balupara ConfluenceBalupara Confluence

Location: West Garo Hills District

The Balupara Confluence of two rivers lie at the village of Balupara, located just behind the area chosen as permanent site for the Achik Baptist Dalgipa Krima (ABDK) Sobha. The Sobha is an annual conference held among all the Achik Baptist Churches of Meghalaya, Assam and sometimes even Bangladesh. During these conferences foreign speakers and visitors often take part. Thus developing this site would be a platform to attract both foreign and national tourists as well. The ABDK has planned a project that includes constructing a huge conference hall, guest houses and a recreational centre which can be rented throughout the year for meetings, retreats, weddings, etc.

This area also lies in the Songsarek circuit of Babdam-Chidaogre-Sadolpara which are frequented by researchers from various parts of the world to study the Animist culture of these villages. The Balupara confluence is located about 22 km from Tura, and is ideal for picnics. A roads are being constructed almost upto the point of confluence. It also has a waterfall of about 7-8 feet high.