(Last Updated on : 08/04/2015)
The Garo hills are a part of the range that is called the Garo-Khasi range in Meghalaya
. The range is part of the Meghalaya subtropical forests eco-region. It is one of the wettest places in the world. Garo Hills are known for its abundance of wildlife attracts naturalists and photographers to capture the multifaceted sights of a unique range of flora and fauna.
Through the Garo Hills, two mountain ranges pass, called the Arabella range and the Tura range, which forms the great Balpakram valley in between. From the Tura peak one can get an amazing view of the sunset at 1,400m and its peak can be reached by a 5km trek, by hiking or rock climbing. The Nokrek Peak is the highest point in the Garo Hills, which is covered by a thick film of lush forest. Flora and fauna is in plenty in the hills. The Nokrek National Park
comprises herds of wild elephants, many rare varieties of birds and pheasants along with rare orchids. Bhaitbari, Wadagokgre Imilchang Dare, Williamnagar, Rongbang dare, Pelga Fall, Siju Bird Sanctuary, Adokgre, Teteng Cave, Nengkong, Baghmara, are some of the places that has always been center of attraction in the Garo Hills region. Balapakram area is considered to be sacred for the Garo community due to their belief that the spirits of the dead sojourn here.
Divisions of Garo Hills
The Garo Hills have an area of approximately 8,000 sq. kms. Garo Hills comprises 5 districts. The Garos predominantly inhabit the three district of the State namely East Garo Hills
, West Garo Hills
and South Garo Hills
West Garo Hills is one of the largest districts of Meghalaya located in the western part of the State. Tura
is the largest town having a population of 70,000. The localites have their own customs and tradition very different from the city dwellers and also indulge in superstitious acts. Besides the Garo hills, there are Garo settlements in the plains of Assam and Bangladesh.
Tribes of Garo Hills
The Garo hills are mostly dominated by the tribes known as Garos
. The Garos call themselves Achik-mande. In the Garo language Achik means Hills and mande, Man. So, Achik-mande means the Hills people.
Festivals in Garo Hills
Garo Hills festivals include Wangala Festival, which takes place every November at the hills. This is a harvest festival held in honor of Saljong, the Sun god of fertility. The others are Rongchu gala, DenBilsia, Mangona, Mi Amua, Jamang Sia, Sa Sat Ra, Grengdik BaA, Chaka, Ja Megapa, Chambil Mesara, AjeaorAhaoea, Dore Rata Dance Do'KruSua, Saram Cha'A,A se Mania or Tata.
Hence the Garo Hills with its vibrancy and vigour can culminate into an interesting holidaying experience. One can feel at paradise with the greenery and the fresh air, which might help to rejuvenate and recuperate.
Places of Interest
These are locations in and around Garo Hills which are tourist spots. These include:
Nokrek Peak: The highest point of the Garo Hills region of the State, Nokrek Peak stands 1412 m above sea level. This discovery of Citrus-Indica led to the establishment of the National Citrus Gene Sanctuary-cum-Biosphere Reserve at Nokrek covering an area of 47 sqkm.
Tura Peak: A majestic hill stands on the eastern flank of Tura, the largest town in the Garo Hills region of the State. It peaks 872metres above sea level. A tourist-bungalow, an observatory and a Cinchona-plantation are located at Tura Peak and its environs.
Imilchang Dare: This waterfall is located close to the Tura-Chokpot Road in West Garo Hills district. 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.
Balpakram: A National Wildlife Park, located in South Garo Hills and 167 km from Tura. It is home to the rare Lesser Panda, the Indian bison and the Stag like Serow. A variety of medicinal herbs locally called "dikges" grow abundantly in Balpakram.
Naphak Lake: Located at a distance of 112 km from Tura, ideal for fishing and bird watching with the river Simsang flowing nearby.
Siju Caves: The famous limestone caves of Siju are located near Naphak Lake.