Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jaintia: Nature’s Own Land Beckons

Jowai town now wore a festive look even if Christmas and New Year day is three weeks away. Thanks to the annual tourism festival brand named Discover Jaintia 2008, the festive spirit is already in the air in the town in particular and the district in general. The third edition of the week long Discover Jaintia beginning on November 1, is organised by the Jaintia Tourism and Environment Society in collaboration with the District administration and other partner NGOs.

The festival adds festive spirit to the beautiful tourist spots of the district and this is the best time to visit such places. From Shillong one can visit Nartiang by taking left on reaching Ummulong. Nartiang is famous for the Monolith Park which has the largest collection of dolmen and menhir in one place and the park is also famous for the tallest and largest monolith believed to be erected by the giant u Mar Phalangki. While in Nartiang don’t forget to visit the famous Durga temple believed to be about 300 years old and a Shiv temple adjacent to it. The erstwhile Jaintia kings are believed to performed human sacrifice in the Durga temple in the days of the yore. From Nartiang one can return back on the same road to hit the National Highway 44 again and head towards Jowai. After traveling for few minutes before reaching Jowai one will see to the left; the magnificent Thadlaskein lake also known as Sajar Niangli lake; believed to be dug by Sajar Niangli and his followers with the edge of their bows only.

In Jowai there are many places to visit, the Tyrchi fall which is again only few minutes’ drive from Thadlaskein lake is another important tourist spot, but before one decide to decent down to have a view of the majestic fall one should remember that there are more 300 steps to the lower part of the fall. On reaching Jowai; one can drive to Syntu Ksiar and enjoy the beautiful view of Myntdu river, believe to be the guardian angel (ka tawiar takan) and the memorial tomb of u Kiang Nangbah, or one can also travel to Ialong which is about 6 KM from Jowai where the famous Ialong sacred grove is located.

On the second day, stating from Jowai one can travel to Muktapur which is 50 KM from Jowai ad a frontier village on the Indian side of the Indo-Bangla border. On the way one can stop and visit Thlumiwi falls and the ancient stone bridge. Then proceed further and stop at the Jarain pitcher plant lake for a while. If you want to see a living pitcher plant, you can stop at Myrkein where the small reserve forest of the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council is located. On reaching Amalrem about 28 KM from Jowai, to proceed to Muktapur one should take extreme left and after traveling for few minutes you will see to your left a huge sign post indicating the location of the Krangshuri falls. This again is a unique spot which has many features in the one ecosystem. Then the next stop will be at Syndai where the Rupasor the ancient bathing ghat of the Maharanis of the erstwhile King of the Janitia kingdom. Few metres down one can see the Umpubon river and in the river there is a sculpture of an elephant carved since time immemorial. Syndai also have another sculpture of “u Khmi” earthquake and to see this sculpture and the cave; one has to take the path near the river which leads to Syndai village. Syndai cave is considered to be people friendly cave.

For people with a knack for adventure, one can drive to Elaka Nongkhlieh and visit the exotic caves recently discovered and mapped by the Meghalaya Adventure Association, but a word of caution, this caves are not for amateurs. For serious cavers one can contact the MAA in Shillong. Nature loving people tempted by the wild, one can seek the help of the Divisional Forest Officer incharge of wildlife division to trek on the three protected area or the reserve forest of the district. Of the three; Narpuh is easily accessible though it is more than 60 KM from Jowai, but it is assured that it worth taking the effort.
So what else are you waiting for, pack your bags and baggage and hit the road Jack, nature is calling and Jaintia beckons.

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