West Jaintia Hills,Meghalaya

West Jaintia Hills is an administrative District in the state of Meghalaya in India. The united district (Jaintia Hills District) was created on 22 February 1972 and occupied an area of 3819 km2. It had a population of 295,692 (as of 2001). The district is part of the Meghalaya subtropical forests ecoregion.With the bifurcation of the erstwhile Jaintia Hills District into East and West Jaintia Hills District, West Jaintia Hills District came into existence on 31 July 2012 with its headquarters at Jowai. Jowai is the host of all the heads of important governmental offices and establishments, educational institutions, hospitals, banking institutions, etc.

The total area of the district is 1693 km2. The district comprises one Civil Sub-Division Viz. Amlarem Civil Sub-Division and three Community and Rural Development Blocks viz. Amlarem C&RD Block, Laskein C&RD Block and Thadlaskein C&RD Block with the following boundaries:

  • North – Assam
  • South – Bangladesh and East Jaintia Hills district
  • East – Assam
  • West – East Khasi Hills District
  • Economy
    Although the mainstay of the district is agriculture, however due to the abundance of Limestone, plenty of Cement factories have been set up in the district(now East Jaintia Hillls). More are set to come up. Coal mining at sites like Lad Rymbai(East Jaintia Hills district) is also one of the major activities set up here.Coal mined here is mostly exported to Bangladesh and Assam. Most of the coal mining sites are now situated in the East Jaintia Hills district.
    The common dialect in West Jaintia hills is Pnar, belonging to the Jaintia language. Other dialects include War Jaintia speaking to the southern part of the district and Biate, spoken by approximately 20,000 members of its namesake tribe.[4] The Biate resided in the Sutnga elaka (East Jaintia Hills district), which are believed to have similar culture to that of mizo tribe. It is said that their language is also very similar to that of the mizo. Moreover, their dress is very similar to that of the naga and mizo tribe.As per The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976 and The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 1987, the Biates are listed as one of the Kuki tribes.
    Places of interest
    West Jaintia Hills boasts of exquisite natural beauty. Few of the places of interest in Jaintia hills are listed below:

  • Monolith in Nartiang[5] – Touted as the tallest monolith in the world.
  • Jowai: Jowai, the headquarters of the West Jaintia Hills district is situated 64 km from the national highway. A picturesque town circled by the majestic Myntdu River.
  • Thadlaskein Lake: 56 km from Shillong. According to legend this lake was dug with the ends of bows by members of 290 clans of USajiar Niangli, a rebel general of Jaintia Raja, to commemorate the great exodus of the clans.
  • Megalithic Remnants- Nartiang: 65 km from Shillong, was the summer capital of the Jaintia Kings, of Sutnga State. Huge monoliths, form the striking landmark of the village. The Nartiang menhir measures 27 feet 6 inches in thickness.
  • Syndai: An important village of West Jaintia Hills which is famous for a number of caves and caverns in the limestone-borne area, used as hide-outs during war times between Jaintia Hills and foreign intruders.
  • Syntu Ksiar: Syntu Ksiar, which means ‘golden flower’ is a vast pool of calm water, where the river Myntdu which almost encircles Jowai, appears to come to a sudden halt providing a remarkably beautiful scene.