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West Garo Hills District

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About the West Garo Hills district

Click on the following link to download district statistics as per NITI Ayog website
http://niti.gov.in/file/288/download?token=WixMw94Y

Brief About West Garo Hills District
West Garohills History

The early history of the Garos is shrouded in mystery. The forefatheras of the Garos allied to Koches, Chutiyas, Kacharis and Meches came from the north-west. Another tradition ascribing some support to this theory, maintains that the Garos are descended from their forefathers in Asong Tibetgori. The Garos in the Kamrup plain, recount a tradition that their forefathers came eastward from the Himalayas and reached Gondulghat where they made a brief halt, and on leaving that place, traversed to Sadiya, from where they trekked on into the north bank of Brahmaputra. After a long westward trail, they reached Amingaon. There in the north bank their life was not secure, they crossed the Bahmaputra river and came to occupy Kamakhya. They occupied it for some generations until the Koches came to invade the Garo Kingdom. From Gauhati, wave after wave of westward migration poured to the Garo outer hills, and later on penetrated the interior hills of their present abode. Probably who those crossed the hills and advanced further south to Mymensing in Bangladesh were the earliest immigrants whereas those who came later on, now confined into their present settlement at Goalpara and Kamrup, belonged to the later immigrants.

If critically examined, the ancient history of Garos would seem to have been a period marked by persistent and tenacious internal warfare and many blood-feuds seem to seem to have occurred between families or villages and between neighbouring Chiefs or Nokmas.

Mediaeval Period
With the passage of time in the medieval period, while the Garos in the hills were still divided into a number of petty Nokmaships, the plain tracts along the fringes at the foot of the hills came to be included in the many Zamindari Estates, which eventually developed into fewer but larger complexes. During the mediaeval era and the Mughal period, the more important estates bordering the Garo Hills were Karaibari, Kalimalupara, Mechpara and Habraghat in Rongpur district, Susang and Sherput in Mymensing district of Bengal and Bijini in the Eastern Duars.Early records describe the Garos as being in a state of intermittent conflict with Zamindars of these large estates.

Modern Period

The contact between the British and the Garos started towards the close of the 18th Century after the British East India Company had secured the Diwani of Bengal from the Mughal Emperor. Consequently, all the estates bordering upon Garo Hills, which for all practical purposes had been semi-independent were brought under the control of the British.

Though political control had passed from the Mughals to the British, the latter, like Mughals, had no desire to control the Estates or their tributaries directly. The Zamindars were not disturbed in the internal management of their estates. In fact, they were entrusted, as they had been by the Mughals, with the responsibility of keeping the hill Garos in check with help of their retainers. Thus in the beginning, the intermittent conflict between the Zamindars and the Garos went on unabated until the situation deteriorated to the extent that the British were forced to take notice. This development led ultimately to the annexation of the Garo Hills in 1873. Captain Williamson was the first Deputy Commissioner of the unified district. The district was bifurcated into two districts viz. East Garo Hills and West Garo Hills districts in October 1979.

District Profile of West Garo Hills
West Garo Hills is one of the largest district of Meghalaya located in the western part of the State. The Garo Hills district was divided into two districts, viz. the West Garo Hills district and the East Garo Hills district in October 1976. The erstwhile West Garo Hills district was further divided into two administrative districts of West and South Garo Hills on June 1992. The district headquarters of West Garo Hills is Tura, which is the second largest town in the State after Shillong.

Area Profile

The West Garo Hills district lies on the western part of the state of Meghalaya bounded by the East Garo Hills district on the east, the South Garo Hills on the south-east, the Goalpara district of Assam on the north and north-west and Bangladesh on the south.

The district is situated approximately between the latitudes 90° 30' and 89° 40' E, and the longitudes of 26° and 25° 20' N.

The population is pre-dominantly inhabited by the Garos, a tribe with a matrilineal society belonging to the Bodo family of the Tibeto-Burman race tribes. Other indigenous inhabitants are the Hajongs, Rabhas, Koches, Rajbansis, Meches, Kacharis and Dalus. The district is also inhabited by Bengalis, Assamese, Nepalese, Marwaries, Biharis and people from other parts of India.

Topography
The West Garo Hills district is mostly hilly with plains fringing the northern, western and the south-western borders. There are three important mountain ranges in the districts of Garo Hills.

Tura Range:
This is one of the most important mountain ranges in the West Garo Hills. The Tura range is about 50 kms. long and extends in the east-west direction from Tura to Siju in the South Garo Hills district. The mountain peaks that are located in this range are Tura Peak, Nokrek Peak, Meminram Peak, Nengminjok Peak, Chitmang Peak The highest peak of this range is the Nokrek (1412 m.) lying 13 kms. south-east of Tura. To the west of the Tura range low hill ranges run from north to south, and to the north of the Tura range hill ranges run parallel to it, gradually increasing in height till they meet in the south.

Now the entire Tura range comes under the management of Nokrek National Park. These high ranges are strictly protected as Catchment areas right from the time of British Administration in Garo Hills. There is no human habitation in the heart of these ranges which has now became an ideal home to various flora and fauna.

Arbella Range:

Arbella Peak is 999 metres high. It lies on the northern side of Asananggre village on the Tura Guwahati road. Most of the peaks in this mountain range fall in the East Garo Hills district.

Ranggira Range:

This mountain range lies on the western fringe of the district and ends in Hallidayganj village. The height of this peak is 673 metres.

River Systems:

The Tura range form watersheds in the West Garo Hills district, from which the rivers flows towards Bangladesh plains in the south and the Brahmaputra valley in the north and the west. The important rivers of the north group are the Kalu, Ringgi and the Didak. The important rivers of the southern group are the Bhogai, Dareng etc. The Tura range is also the source of the Simsang (Someswari), one of the major rivers of Meghalaya, whose valley is of the most important feature in the South Garo Hills.

Someswari: This is the largest and the second longest river in the whole district. The river is locally known as Simsang. It starts from Nokrek mountains and runs towards the east, passing through Rongrenggre, Williamnagar the headquarters of East Garo Hills district, Nongalbibra, Siju, Rewak and lastly Baghmara the headquarters of South Garo Hills district. The upper course of this river is not navigable due to the high number of cataracts and numerous huge stones. However the lower course has many deep pools and falls. They are Mirik, Matma, Kan’chru Suk, Jamiseng, Warisik, Bobra, Goka etc. The chief tributaries are Chibok, Rongdik, Rompa and Ringdi rivers.

River Simsang or Someswari

Jinjiram: It starts from Derek village and its main tributary starts from Upot Lake. It runs towards the east connecting with Gagua river, then runs through the border of Goalpara towards Phulbari and reaches Hallidayganj where it enters the Goalpara district. It is the longest river in the Garo Hills districts.

Kalu: Locally this river is called Ganol. Its sources start from Tura peak and runs towards the west through Damalgre, Garobadha and Rangapani before it enters Goalpara district. Its chief tributaries are Dilni and Rongram rivers.

Didak: It stars from Anogre village and runs through Garo Hills district before it enters into Goalpara district.

Bogai: Locally known as Bugi. Its source starts from the southern side of Nokrek mountains and runs through Dalu village and enters into Mymensingh district in Bangladesh.

Rongai: Starts from Arabela peak and runs through Ringgegre village and then falls into Jinjiram river. Locally known as Ringge river.

Dareng or Nitai: The source is on the southern side of Nokrek mountain. It runs southwards through Silkigre and enters into Bangladesh. It has many famous deep pools like Warima, Rong’ang, Bamon etc. where Bamon is the deepest. The chief tributaries are Kakija, Daji and Rompa.

Climate

The climate of the district is largely controlled by South–West monsoon and seasonal winds. The West Garo Hills district being relatively lower in altitude to the rest of Meghalaya, experiences a fairly high temperature for most part of the year. The average rainfall is 330 cms. of which more than two-thirds occur during the monsoon, winter being practically dry. The district have mostly dense tropical mixed forest, and a small patch of temperate forest in the higher parts of the Tura range.

Communication
Tura, the headquarters of the district, is well connected by road with other places in the district as well as with the rest of the Meghalaya and Assam. Buses by Meghalaya Transport Corporation and other private transport services run regularly connecting Tura with all important places in the districts of Garo Hills and also to Shillong (323 kms), the capital of the State. Regular day and night bus services are also available from Tura to Guwahati (220 kms), the capital of Assam, which is also the nearest railhead. There are also regular bus services connecting Tura to Siliguri, a city in North Bengal. Also the place is connected to Dhubri in Assam by road and river transport.

Helicopter services are available from Tura to Shillong and Guwahati.

The National Highway 51 connects Paikan on National Highway 37 in Assam with Tura, the district headquarter which extends further to Dalu, near the Bangladesh border.

There are City Bus services in and around Tura for the convenience of office goers and others. Taxi & Auto services are also available.

Infrastructure
There are 7 degree colleges in the district. There is also a Law College and a College of Teacher's Education (B.Ed College) at Tura. There are 8 higher secondary schools, around 110 secondary schools, and upper primary and primary schools in almost all the villages. There also exists a Public School and Kendriya Vidyalaya at Tura. Other than that there are vocational institutes at Tura like Regional Vocational Training Institute (RVTI) and ITI. Monfort Centre for Education is also providing education to the physically handicapped persons, which also provides training to the teachers to properly equip them to educate the physically handicapped students.  At Tura, there is a campus of North Eastern Hill University. Recently a Home Science College has been set up in the District.

The district has 7 Hospitals, 14 Primary Health Centres (5 underway), 4 State Dispensaries, 5 Community Health Centres, 82 Health Sub Centres and a Nursing School.

Doordarshan Kendra and All India Radio, Tura transmits programmes covering local issues, featuring local people, in the local language.

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