The Jowai hill station is located at an average elevation of 1380 meters in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills district. Surrounded by the Myndtu River on three sides, Jowai is a great place to visit because of its pleasant weather, clean rivers, thick forests, undulating hills and the festivities of the Pnar tribe and many other tribes settled there. But most of all, this is a scenic place, where the visitors can roam around in peace, forgetting their day-to-day worries and tensions. They can relax and unwind like nowhere else.
One of the major annual attractions is the festival of Behdeinkhlam, during which the local people prepare meat, fish and pork delicacies. It ends with a traditional dance. The July festival is celebrated at the end of the sowing period. It is an invocation to God for a bumper harvest. Young and the old people dance to the tune of pipes and drums. Women do not participate in the dance. They are busy offering sacrificial food to the spirits of the forefathers. The festivities also acquaint the visitors with the cultures of various tribes living in this part of the country.
The Jowai Presbyterian church here is the oldest church in the district built 150 years ago. It is one of the few surviving structures of British architecture in the region. The Thadlaskein Lake, a popular tourist spot, was developed by Sajar Nangli, a follower of a former Jaintia king. The Ialong Park is an ecological park valued and admired by nature lovers. It also offers a picturesque view of the Pynthor Wah valley of the Myntdu river.
Places of Interest
Among other places of tourist interest are the Tyrchi fall about 8 km from the heart of Jowai, and the Nartiang monoliths, which is the biggest collection of monoliths or megalithic stones found near the Nartiang market, and Syntu Ksiar, a valley well irrigated by the Myntdu river.
Getting to Jowai
There is no railway or air link to the district. The nearest airport and railway station is Guwahati (160 km). Shillong has a small airport with limited flights only to Kolkata. Jowai is well connected by roadways to Shillong (60 km). It is on NH 44, which connects Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur. Buses are few and overcrowded. The popular transport is shared Sumo or Indica. But the roads are bad and any journey takes long time.
Long, Active Monsoon
In the short Jowai summers, the temperature varies from 19⁰ C to 25⁰ C. The monsoon begins in May and continues well into October. Jowai has quite a wet monsoon. The total annual precipitation is 3438 mm, and the monsoon makes travelling harder than it usually is. The Jowai winters are cold with temperature varying from 4⁰ C to 224⁰ C. The minimum temperature can drop further. The best time to visit Jowai is either March-April or October-November. If families are planning a visit in the winter, they should make it a point to look for winter coats for women online shopping, along with men and kids winter wear so that they have adequate protection against cold.
• The author is a freelancer, writing about hill stations, winter wear and online shopping. He likes to write informative articles on the changing styles in clothes for websites like www.woollen-wear.in.