Places of Tourist Interest
There are several places in Garo Hills that can be developed for tourism. Some of them are of historical importance; others are important because of their association with the cultural traditions of the Garo people and many of them again have deservedly earned fame for their scenic beauty. Much of the area still remain untouched, retaining almost intact the original flora and fauna which should have more of the attention of the scientists, or even the ordinary lover of Nature. Tourism. If properly developed, could be a potentially rich source of revenue to the district as well as to the State.
Formed by River Damring during the Great Earthquake of 1897, this lake was believed to be the habitat of a huge water serpent called Sangkini by the locals. Located near Songsak block, just off the Darugiri-Songsak road, this beautiful, natural inland lake is a popular picnic spot and camping site. The lake has an immense potential for pisciculture.
Locally known as Rong’bang dare, this waterfall is situated 25 miles away from Tura on the Tura- Williamnagar Road, a little beyong Rombagre village. It is a tributary of the Simsang River which can be seen from this road but the real beauty and magnitude of it can be experienced when one goes down to the place at the bottom of the waterfalls.
This Sprightly fall, though perennial, is at its best during the monsoon months. It presents motorists driving from Asanangre towards Williamnagar, a romantic visual of lasting satisfaction. Although the fall is located about crow-flight kilometres away from the highway, the width and depth of the falls are enough to make it clearly visible and a sheer delight. Clustered on either side by vast evergreen hills of bamboo’s which sway, leaving the viewer with memories of ecstatic joy.
Located just off the Williamnagar-Songsak road, near Dadengpara, this pleasant looking waterfalls is small and is only of moderate size during monsoon. Although it's not far off the road, it is nestled deep in the thick jungle and steep hillside and is not easily reached for a vantage view.
Located at Mejolgre village, this beautiful waterfalls falls from a great height and makes a deafening sound.
A few of the more important places are described in the following paragraphs:
This thriving village is situated on the banks of the Manda river, a few kilometers from the Trunk Road leading to Goalpara town some 60 kms to the west. It has a Post Office, a Dispensary, a Veterinary Hospital and a Police Station. The weekly market is held on every Thursday at Damra which is 1 km away.
The village is situated in northern Garo Hills on the banks of the Damring or Krishnai River. It is situated some six kilometers away from the Community Development Block headquarters at Resubelpara. It has a post office, a dispensary, a veterinary hospital, a police station, a telephone exchange and an inspection bungalow. A thriving market is held here every Saturday.
This important place is situated near the confluence of the Nongal and the Simsang Rivers in East Garo Hills District.
There are rich deposits of coal in and around this place. The place is electrified. Both mining and electrical undertakings are being undertaken by the Government and progress has, as a result, been fast. A Hospital and a Post Office are located here.
Naphak or Napak
It is situated about 6 km away from Songsak, the headquarters of the Songsak Development Block. The local Inspection Bungalow stands close to a beautiful lake called Ta sek Wari, on the most beautiful natural lakes found in the Garo Hills. The lake which is located in the middle of the village is very wide and deep. It was formed by the damming up of part of the upper reaches of the Krishnai during the great earthquake of 1897. Through the very clear water, stumps of trees long submerged can be seen. There are many varieties of fish in this lake which people have begun to catch for their own consumption having thrown away all their former superstitious dread that whoever caught fish from the lake would be afflicted with sickness and die. Local people say that the lake is a habitat of a large water serpent which is called Sangkni. The lake has long been a popular resort for the many tourists who regularly visit it to enjoy its beauty.
This large village is situated on the Khasi Hills border in the eastern part of East Garo Hills District. It is 6 kilometers away from Rongjeng, the headquarters of the Dambo-Rongjeng Development Block. With the establishment of the Meghalaya Bamboo Chips factory here, the village has started growing steadily. Since bamboos grow abundantly in the whole of Garo Hills, the chipping unit is expected to maintain a regular flow of its produce for the foreseeable future.
Located in the north-eastern corner of the district, Rajasimla is one of the earliest villages to be visited by the American Missionaries in the early years of the last century.
The name Rajasimla was given to this place to commemorate the treaty between the Rajah or Zamindar of Bijni and the villagers which recognized this particular spot as the boundary between the territory of the Rajah and the independent Garo villages.
The place is of particular interest to Garo Christians because it was here that the American Baptist Missionaries laid the foundation of a church on 14th April, 1867. Prior to this the Missionaries had gained two converts, uncle and nephew, named Omed and Ramke who were baptized by dr. Miles Gronson on 8th February, 1863, at Sukhleswar Ghat in Gauhati. These two persons worked actively to spread the Christian message and also opened a school in Damra. The School at Rajasimal was opened later.
At present, Rajasimla has one High School, a Hospital and a Veterinary Hospital. It serves as a base for socio-cultural contacts among all the surrounding villages and here such plays as Kalsin-Sonatchi, Serejing Wal’jan and other dramas are regularly staged. Local theatres are still in a formative stage and need time to develop, but the local people deserve credits for their talents in this art form.
This important village is located in the northern part of the district. It is the headquarters of the Resubelpara Development Block. It has a Post Office, a Hospital and Veterinary Hospital as well as a number of Government Offices. It also has a Government Aided School and a Government Aided Girls’ High School as well as a Basic Training Centre for Lower Primary School Teachers.
It is the district headquarters of East Garo Hills. Williamnagar is situated on the upper reaches of the Simsang River, and for this reason it was originally called Simsanggre, the name being changed in 1976 to Williamnagar, after the name of the first Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Captain Williamson Sangma.
The presence of an a ‘sim or salt-lick nearby still attracts many kinds of wild animals. Surrounding thick jungles provide an ideal haunt for wild animals like elephants and tigers.
This place is becoming an important center for cultural, educational and socio-economical activities. The rural people of surrounding areas are also provided with agricultural training facilities.
The township has one Civil Hospital, a Veterinary Hospital, a Post Office, a Telephone Exchange and a Police Station.
As Williamnagar is the district headquarters, major offices are being established here together with accommodation for the government staff serving here. The government Circuit House and the District Council Inspection Bungalow overlook the beautiful Simsang River.
Bus services ply daily between the township and other places within the Garo Hills and outside. One such service connects Williamnagar to Shillong. The service may use the alternative route via Nongstoin in West Khasi Hills in the event of floods in the plains.
As a planned town, it has the advantage that older towns in Meghalaya do not have, which give a better look and a better layout to it.
The land is very fertile and suitable for horticultural products of various kinds.
Located on the left bank of the River Simsang close to Williamnagar, the district headquarters of East Garo Hills, Rongrengiri and its environs are covered with tall, elegant and mature Sal trees which constitute the Rongrengiri Reserve Forest covering an are of over thirty six square kilometers. During the British Expedition to annex Garo Hills to British India, they faced the last major Garo resistance to their intrusion at Rongrengiri. After days of seize, they succeeded on 12th December 1837 to fell the Garo Warrior Pa Togan Nengminja Sangma who led the Garos, at Chisobibra near Rongrengiri. This broke the Garo resistance and the British annexed Garo Hills with ease. A simple Memorial to Pa Togan has been erected at Chisobibra within Rongrengiri Reserve Forest. A function to commemorate the fallen martyr Pa Togan, is held annually at the site of the Memorial, on the anniversary of his martyrdom.
Rongrengiri is ten kilometres off Williamnagar on the Tura- Asanangre-williamnagar state Highway. At Rongrengiri, the River Simsang provides an excellent spot for anglers to try their hand for big as well as small catch.
Wildlife lovers will find flocks of Imperial-Pigeons grazing for calcinates, on the sandy banks of the Simsang River, at Chisobibra.
Alongside the Dudhnoi- Damra-Darugiri-Baghmara road, at Darugiri, one comes across a vast expanse of Reserve Forest, covering an area of approximately ten-and-a-half square kilometres. This is the Darugiri Reserve Forest set up towards the close of nineteenth century. The Reserve forest located between Songsak and Rongjeng consist of mature Sal plantations which stand elegant and tall, spreading an eternal canopy of emerald green over vast areas with very little undergrowth except their smooth, tall trunks which look like pillars set to uphold and bear the weighty canopy of Sal foliage, above.
On the periphery of the Reserve Forest, at Darugiri, is the century old Darugiri forest Rest House, still maintained in its original state of simple rustic opulence, yet enough to meet the requirement of officials and visitors who frequent the place in search of all things natural that a mature Reserve Forest can offer.
The Darugiri Reserve Forest-a naturalists’ paradise, to be sure.