Jantia Hills, locally known as ‘Ri Jaintia’ or the ‘Land of the Jaintias’ is a magnificent hilly region located in the eastern part of Meghalaya. The land is lavishly gifted by nature with numerous cascading rivers, mighty waterfalls, undulating grass covered hillocks, picturesque landscapes and thick forests. The place may rightly be called ‘Nature’s own Land’ due to the wide and varied presence of exquisite flora and fauna.
With so much natural beauty to offer, this place provides a perfect escapade from the regular monotony and chaos of life. Where hospitality is an inborn trait or the Jaintias, here are 5 amazing facts you need to know about Jaintia Hills, also known as ‘The Land of the Twelve Chiefs’.
#1 Jaintia Hills has a geographical area of 3819 sq Km and comprises of two districts- The West Jaintia Hills district and the East Jaintia Hills District. In local parlance is also known as ‘Ka Ri Khat-ar Dalloi which means ‘Land of the twelve Chiefs’. Dalloi is the traditional Chief who governs an Elaka comprising a number of villages. In the whole of Jaintia Hills, there are 12 Dallois who govern who govern their respective Elakas. These 12 Elakas are – Nartiang, Jowai, Nangbah, Nongjngi, Raliang, Mynso, Shiliang, Myntang, Shangpung, Sutnga, Lakadong, Amwi and Nongtalang.
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#2 Matrilineal system is being practised by the people of the region- a system where the children take the title from the mother’s side and the line of inheritance passes through the youngest daughter. However, it may be noted that females do not occupy absolute majority in the family. The father, in reality still occupies an honoured position as the authoritative head and decision maker in the family.
#3 Jaintias occupy an important place in the annals of history. The legend of U Kiang Nangbah- a freedom fighter who led the fight against British Imperialism during the period of 1861, U Sajar Nangli- the brave army chief of the Jaintia Kingdom who, along with his followers created the mesmerizing Thadlaskien Lake, U Marphalangki- an able lieutenant of the Jaintia King, who erected the giant size Monolith at Nartiang village, which until now stands as a witness to the greatness of ancient Jaintias.
#4 The Jaintias have a rich cultural heritage and arts, sports, music, song and dance occupy an important part of their life. Those residing in central and northern region are called ‘Pnars’ while those in the southern slopes are called the ’War Jaintias’. The North Eastern part of the region is inhabited by people of different tribes called ‘Baite’ and ‘Hmars’.
#5 Jaintia people are comparatively; economically well off in the state owing to rich coal deposits in the region and have climbed th economic ladder and excelled in various spheres of the economy.
By: M S Luid | Source: TNT-TheNortheastToday (Discover Jaintia- Nature’s Own Land)