Jaintia Hills lie further east to the Khasi Hills in Meghalaya. It is one of the administrative districts in the state, headquartered in Jowai. Starting from Umiam, we skip Shillong completely and instead, take the beautifully laid bypass road, which meets the old highway NH6, coming through Shillong, near Mawryngkneng. The highway itself, is really picturesque and the drive is very rewarding.
Why are Jaintia Hills, the land of Giants?
This place was a summer retreat for the Jaintia Kings. In winters, they travelled down to the plains of Bangladesh. The monolith rocks are scattered all over the Jaintia Hills and even beyond. We even saw some in Sohra. They are believed to be erected as a mark of respect or loyalty to the Kings.
One look at the monoliths and you will agree that this can not be the handiwork of an “average” human. There are several theories about their origins and almost all of them agree on one thing. The people in these parts could have been Giants, and thus, were able to move and erect such huge stones so easily in such a short time. The largest gathering of these monoliths is near the village of Nartiang. Attributed to a strong lieutenant of the Jaintia Kings – Mar Phalangki, the highest of these monoliths is almost 8 meters or 2 stories high! It even has a story of human sacrifice associated with it.
WATCH: VIDEO LOG FROM JAINTIA HILLS
Also, less than a km away from this place, is a centuries old Durga temple. Story goes that human sacrifice was practiced here till the British came and banned it. Even now, the practice continues, but, instead of a human head, it’s a goat that faces the axe.
If you are interested in more such stories, check out the article HERE
What else to explore in Jaintia Hills?
From the monoliths, we travel back to NH6 and continue towards Jowai. And soon come upon this beautiful lake – Thadlaskein. Meghalaya tourism has a nice property called Highwinds just opposite to it. And true to the name, it is quite a windy place. A great place to break your journey.
After the break, we continue towards Tyrshi falls. The road or trail, whatever you wanna call it, may look like you have lost your way, but fret not. Persist on it for some time and you will reach a clearing where you can park the car. You need to walk for the rest of the trail.
Since it was not the monsoon season, the fall itself was pretty dry with not much water, but, the view from this place was simply spectacular. The sunset was probably the best we saw on the entire trip.
Thus ended our excursion into the Jaintia Hills. But this short visit has piqued my curiosity enough to make a longer trip here. Hopefully soon. The same highway (NH6) passing through Jaintia Hills, continues onwards till Dawki. So, this can be an alternate, longer, and more rewarding route to reach Dawki, provided you have the time to take a break in Jowai.
Keep Rocking, keep Roaming!
Have you been to Jaintia Hills? Any stories to share? We would love to hear from you!