In the Jaintia Hills, monoliths represent ‘remembrance.’ Several Monoliths have been erected to honor the throne of the Jaintia King. Nartiang Monoliths is one of the most iconic and historically significant sites one might come across. The Nartiang Monoliths are situated in Nartiang Village, hence the name. This village is also considered to be the summer capital of the Jaintia Rulers.
Location of the Ancient Nartiang Monoliths
Nartiang village is a place where one can find a vast collection of monoliths in a single area. It is a jungle of Monoliths. It is approximately 24 kilometers from Jowai and 62 kilometers away from Shillong. Some refer to this location as a forest of monoliths, although others refer to it as a garden of monoliths. Everyone has a fascinating way of describing this incredible place. These monoliths are considered to be the largest cluster of monoliths. It has a diameter of 100 meters, a height of about 8 meters, a width of about 2 meters, and a thickness of about 0.5 meters.
The Nartiang Monoliths are considered to be the tallest structures in Meghalaya. Some claim it is the largest in the world. It is ancient. The tallest Monolith is said to stand at 26 feet.
The tallest monolith Menhir is said to have been erected by the U Marphalyngki to honor his victory in battle. He is said to be the Jaintia King’s trusted lieutenant. Other monoliths, however, were erected between 1500 and 835 A.D. by U Mar Phalyngki, U Luh Lyngskor Lamare, and various clans of Nartiang village.
Even though it is enormous and has a rugged stone feel, one cannot help but admire it. This is a unique way to remember and celebrate life and the respective person’s life. It is no less than a great honor and respect that they receive through these monoliths. Even though they might not exist in the form of a body on earth, their tale and life are forever embraced via these monoliths. This monolith is a rendezvous for visitors who encounter life beyond actual presence. It is a distinct way to get in touch with people. It is a tribute to the person. It is a way to commemorate a significant event.
The Monoliths are divided into two sections. The upper portion is known as ‘Menhris’ or “Ki Moo Shynrang,” which means “male.” The lower is in the shape of a flat table that is laid horizontally, represents a female. It is known as “Ki Moo Kynthai.”
In ancient times, Jaintia adopted a Kingdom structure, and these monoliths are a symbol of that tradition. There are several stories that have circulated in the Jaintia Hills area that validate the stories of these monoliths. Hearing historical events in the form of a story embedded in the monoliths is very engrossing.
According to locals and history, these monoliths were built in the memory of the establishment of the market from Raliang to Nartiang. It is said that on a rainy day, a Jaintia Ruler named Luh Lyngshor went to an old woman’s hut in Raliang. It was once a village near Nartiang. He requested a bamboo to shield himself from the rain. However, the woman denied his request, stating that he was a well-built man. Instead of bamboo, he should use the market’s giant stone slab to cover himself. The Jaintia Ruler followed the advice of the old lady. He bore the massive stone slab from Railang to Nartiang. This incident marked the transition of the market from Railang Village to Nartiang, effectively ending the former village.
Later, the stone was said to be used by people as an alternative to umbrellas to shield themselves from the rain. They would carry it all the way from Jaintiapur. Insanely incredible!
Nartiang bears a strong resemblance to history and is of particular interest to archaeologists. This site is also recognized by tourism departments, who are working hard to preserve it. Due to its historical significance, this location has attracted a significant number of tourists who want to learn more about the monoliths. Not only do students with historical and archaeological interests visit, but so are all types of people, including youngsters, who want to get a closer look at these monoliths and understand their foundation.
Jaintia Hills is no less than a host to ancient monoliths and table stones that are either memorial of the deposited ashes of the deceased in cairns or cenotaphs, or memorabilia of significant incidents.
Unlike other locations in the Jaintia Hills, the Monoliths in Nartiang Village are not natural formations, but they are extremely important in the state’s history. Each place has a unique story to tell. Some may be interesting, whereas others may not be. Places progress in the same way as people do. As people learn from their experience and improve themselves, each location prefers to evolve with an improvised version while carrying history with them.
The majority of the stones were erected half a millennium ago, with additions made before the mid-nineteenth century. Even if the documents do not reveal the history or tale of all the monoliths that reside in Nartiang, it does not affect the atmosphere of that place. When strolling about and admiring the stone slabs, you can’t help but wonder what the story is behind them. Despite the fact that the site exhibits dispersed monoliths across the area, it radiates a distinct atmosphere that will pique your interest to new heights.
This location is accessible via Airways. Guwahati's Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport is the closest. However, Shillong is also an option. If you're taking the train, the closest station is Guwahati Railway Station.
This spot is well worth the hype. Even if you are not interested in the historical significance of this place, it is a must-see. It is a great opportunity, particularly for students who will be encouraged to learn more about the existence and historic tales of the monoliths.