South West Garo Hills District is the smallest district in Meghalaya, with an area of just 822 sq km. This district is surrounded by Bangladesh on one side, while it shares its boundary with South East Garo Hills District on the other side. The capital city of this district is Baghmara, which was formerly known as 'Jillong'.
The district of South West Garo Hills is one of the most ancient districts with its name having been mentioned in the Indian epic Mahabharata.
It was originally part of the undivided Goalpara district. The district of South West Garo Hills came into existence in 1973, when it was separated from the erstwhile Goalpara district.
The South West Garo Hills is a region in present-day Meghalaya, India, carved out of the old West Garo Hills.
After the Gram Sevak Circle's reorganization, all of the villages formerly belonging to other Community and Rural Development Blocks fall under Betasing Community and Rural Development Block, with the exception of Jarankkona Gram Sevak Circle from Dalu Community & Rural Development Block, which belongs to Zikzak Community and Rural Development Block.
The district of South West Garo Hills is a part of the Gregory Trail, which is a popular tourist destination. The whole district has a very picturesque landscape and it has been featured in several Assamese films.
Apart from being located on the bank of the Beki River, this district also shares its boundary with the Jaldapara National Park, which is the second-largest national park in Assam.
Most of the people living in this district are Bangladeshis. However, there are also several indigenous tribes like Rabhas and Hajongs who make up the population of the South West Garo Hills District.
This district has a monsoon climate, which is characterised by high humidity levels. The average rainfall of the region is around 2200 mm. It also experiences tropical cyclones during the rainy seasons, which are known as Kalbaisakhi in Assamese language.
There are six administrative divisions in the South West Garo Hills District, which are Baghmara, Tura Bagicha, Pynthorumkhrah, Champaguri, Betasing, and Manda.
Apart from the South West Garo Hills District, other districts which are located in this range are North Garo Hills, West Garo Hills and East Garo Hills. The population of the South West Garo Hills District is around 1,45,000 people.
The South West Garo Hills District of Meghalaya is home to several ethnic groups, like the Rabhas and Hajongs. The culture of this place is a blend of Bengali and indigenous Garos.
The economy of the South West Garo Hills District is primarily based on agriculture. Rice, ginger, oranges and tea are some of the major products grown in this region.
The infrastructure facilities in this district are better than those in most other districts because it is located close to the state capital. All the villages are connected to roads and regular bus services are available from all parts of the district.
The South West Garo Hills District is one of the most literate districts in Meghalaya. There are several schools, colleges and universities located here.
The South West Garo Hills District is a popular tourist destination in Meghalaya due to its picturesque beauty and location close to the city of Guwahati.
The Beki River is a major river, which flows in the South West Garo Hills District. It starts from the Jaintia Hills and falls into Bangladesh. The two major towns situated on this river are Tura and Chokpot.
The most popular waterfall in this district is the Don Bosco Waterfall.
The Jatinga Valley Nature Reserve is one of the most popular nature reserves in Meghalaya. This nature reserve has a rich variety of flora and fauna. Other than the Jatinga Valley Nature Reserve, other major nature reserves in this district are Rongram Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Chokpot Mangrove Forest, Kharkutta Rani Bheta Eco-Tourism Park, Rongjeng Nature Reserve, etc.
There are several shrines and temples located in the South West Garo Hills District. Some of these places include the Mainak Shikhar (where Lord Shiva is worshipped), Justus Sanai Pith (where Lord Hanuman is worshipped), and the Hill View Park.
The Christian population of the South West Garo Hills District adheres to several denominations, like Baptist, Catholic, Church of North India, Presbyterian, Apostolic Pentecostal Mission Trust, etc.
The most prominent cave in this district is Dain Thlen Cave, which is located near the Rongjeng Nature Reserve.
Some of the famous places in this district are Don Bosco and Jatinga Valley Nature Preserve, Rongram Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Chokpot Mangrove Forest, Gandacherra War Memorial, Pakyong War Memorial, Nokrek National Park, etc.
The Alche Monastery is among the most famous monasteries. This monastery belongs to the Buddhist community and was established in 14th century. It houses some of the largest statues of Lord Buddha, which are known for their architectural beauty. The architecture of this monastery is a blend of Hindu and Buddhist architecture.
The Garo Tribal Museum is another famous place near Tura city. This museum displays the handmade tools, utensils, musical instruments and other belongings used by the tribal people of this region in their daily lives. The artistic work on these objects is simply amazing and attracts visitors from all around the country.
The Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures is a famous tourist destination in South West Garo Hills District. It is located close to Tura city and was founded by the Salesian order of Christianity. This centre has information about various tribes and people living in this region. The centre also has some rare objects and articles used by these tribes in the past.
The major communities living in the South West Garo Hills District are the Garos and the Hajongs. The main languages spoken by the people of this district are English, Assamese and Meitei.
Kokborok and Ao languages are also spoken by a few people in this region.
Rice is the staple food of the people living in this district.
Garo traditional dances are an integral part of the culture of this district. Some of the famous dances are Boga Nokni, Chambil Mesara, Chang Sarok Turu Ajea Gaam, etc. Apart from these dances, some other common folk dances seen in this region are Khirol Mukna Dance, Chambil Mesara, Gua Suru, Danyi Suru, Anjeng Kana Dance, Chang Sarok-Turuk Ajea Gaam.
The Garo community celebrates the Goria Puja festival in the month of December every year. This festival is celebrated over 5 days and all the family members take part in this festival. The Garos make delicious food items like pithas (rice cakes), momos (dumplings) and sel-roti (sweet rice bread) during the Goria Puja festival to please the Almighty God.
The Hajongs celebrate several festivals in this district, like Durga Puja, Diwali, Dusshera, etc.
The major languages spoken in South West Garo Hills District are Meghalaya subtribe, Assamese and English. Some of the other languages which are also used by a few people living here are Bodo, Bengali and Hindi.
There are a total of 19 helipads, 8 airports and 2 landing grounds in South West Garo Hills District.
The NH-44 is the main highway that connects the capital city of Assam with parts of Meghalaya and other neighbouring states. A road network covers up all areas within this district, which makes it easy for people to commute from one place to another.
There are several inter-district and intra-district bus services that connect the different parts of the South West Garo Hills District with each other. The Shillong-Guwahati Inter district Bus Terminus is the most famous bus terminus in this region.
Many minibuses and taxis are available here to make commuting easy and convenient for the people of this district.
The main mode of transport for people living in the South West Garo Hills District is roadways. There are several private and public bus service providers that help tourists to travel from one destination to another easily. The transportation network covers almost all parts of this district, which makes it convenient for the locals as well as the tourists to commute within a short period of time.
The nearest railway station from South West Garo Hills District is in Guwahati city, which is about 115 kilometres away from this place. The National Highway 44 makes the journey to Guwahati comfortable for passengers travelling by road.
In South West Garo Hills District, there are a number of commercial as well as non-commercial banks that provide financial assistance to the people of this region.
The nearest airport from South West Garo Hills District is in Guwahati city, which is about 115 kilometres away from this place. The main advantage of reaching here by air is that you can also visit other places in Meghalaya during your stay at this place.
South West Garo Hills District remains quite hot throughout the year. The temperature here varies from 15 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius.
The monsoon season starts in June and ends in September. If you are a tourist who loves to explore new places, then this is the best time for you to visit South West Garo Hills District. During this season, you can also enjoy several water sports activities like boating and fishing.
Khasi Hills Division
Garo Hills Division
Jaintia Hills Division