Baghmara is the headquarter of the South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya, and also one of the most popular tourist spots of the region. Baghmara shares its border with Bangladesh in the South. The perfect combination and contrast of hills, valleys, terrains and rivers is what makes it such a paradise for nature lovers.
If you want to see some rare plant species, including the insectivorous pitcher plant, known as the Memang Koksi, Baghmara Wildlife Sanctuary is the place. The view of the picturesque Dilsa Hills and the free flowing Simsang river would make you forget all the worries in the world. The roads in this region are mostly rough, and hence the mode of transport is usually limited to buses and jeeps.
The Baghmara Wildlife Resort is an excellent choice for those who are looking to lodge in the area for a couple of days. It has outdoor dining facilities where one can enjoy the green nature while dining. There is also a beautiful swimming pool to have a cool dip on a hot summer day. The best way to reach Baghmara is by hiring a tourist bus from Tura.
Nengkong is a very popular tourist destination in the South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. There are three caves in and around this area. The most popular is the Tetengkol Balwakol cave which is 533 km long. It also happens to be the second longest cave in the Indian sub-continent.
The other two popular caves in the region are the Dobbakol Chibe Nala cave, which is about 2 km long and is located in the Chibe Nala river, and the Bok Bak Dobhakol which is about 1 km long. Both these caves are just as beautiful and adventurous as the Tetengkol Balwakol cave.
Nengkong is at a distance of about 14 km from Baghmara, and the nearest place to lodge is the Baghmara Tourist Lodge. One can reach Nengkong by hiring a local taxi from Baghmara. Tura is at a distance of 132 km, and one may reach Nengkong by booking a tourist vehicle from Tura.
Siju is located near the Simsang river. The most famous spot here is the Dobakkol or the bat cave. This cave has some magnificent formations of stalactites and stalagmites within it. Dobakkol also happens to be one of India's longest caves, and it has some of the most impressive river passages, difficult to be found anywhere else.
The beautiful limestone rock formations inside will awestruck any visitor. Nearby, on the other side of the Simsang river is the Siju Bird Sanctuary. This is a home to several rare and protected species of birds and wildlife. During the winter months, one can also see the migratory Siberian ducks in this sanctuary.
At the entrance to this bird sanctuary, there is a steep climb of about 1 km. On following this path, you will come across magnificent stretch of rock formations which will make you wonder at the amazement of nature. One can reach Siju by hiring a local cab from Baghmara.
Balpakram is the sacred land of the Garos. It is said to be the abode of spirits where many mysterious phenomenon occur that cannot be explained by science or logic. There is also the popular Balpakram National Park located here.
The Balpakram National Park is home to the endangered wild water buffalo, Bubalus arnee and has a small population of red panda. Asian elephants are also found in Balpakram. Bisons are also only found here in the state of Meghalaya.
Some popular places of interest here are the Boldak Matchu Karam, a huge Boldak tree that has a mysterious depression around its trunk. Then there is a small pool called Chidimak, the water of which is absolutely charcoal black.
Next, there is Matchru, a vast stretch of rock that is filled with animal foot-prints, though all the nearby rocks are completely smooth. Then there is Areng Patal, a huge rock that is said to attract any living being that goes near it, into its hollow surface from where there is no return.
The Goncho Dare rock cliff canyon is also another place of interest and is believed to be the home of evil spirits. There are tourist vehicles available to Balpakram from Tura as well as Williamnagar.
Imilchang Dare, flanked on the side of the Tura-Chokpot Road is a resplendent waterfall in the west of Garo Hills in Meghalaya. The beautiful waterfall originates from a stream that comes down in a twin flow through a deep tapered cleft and unites below only to delve into an equally breath-taking pool.
The pool which works as a natural swimming pool for the locals is an add-on to the beauty of the already scenic falls. The picturesque locale can make one want to remain here forever. The pool under the falls also contains the treasures of water - a myriad of fishes in different colours.
The Imilchang Dare will be found by travellers as a much fulfilling culmination to their journey. Situated only 35 km from Tura, tourists can hire a cab to the destination. However, there is about a 20-minutes path that isn’t motorable yet, and travellers will have to walk.
Dombeware is located at a short distance of 3 km from Eman Asakgre, a small village with a scanty population of 113. Dombeware is a serene lake on a hilltop that is believed to be shrouded with mystery.
The popular legend says that the lake came into existence when a merman in love with a beautiful married woman, saved her from the clutches of her arrogant and boastful husband and eloped with her. It is believed by the locals that the lover of the merman is still alive and dwells in the underground water works.
Getting to Dombeware is not an easy task as the place is situated in a remote area with no motorable roads. It is almost a four-hour walk to the Eman Asakgre village and from there on another hour and a half to Dombeware. However, all this trekking is worth the effort as Dombeware entices you in its enchanting beauty the moment you behold it.
Simsang river flows through the heart of the Garo hills, dividing the area into two parts. The river changes its name to Someshwari as it transcends the borders and gushes into Bangladesh. The Simsang trickles down from the Nokrek Peak, eventually swelling up on being joined by the chief tributaries, namely the Ringdi, Rompa, Rongdik and Chibok.
On its way the river passes through Rongrengriri, Williamnagar (headquarters of East Garo Hills), Nongalbibra, Rewak, Siju and the headquarters of South Garo Hills, Baghmara. The river facilitates boat rides. Simple boats and jet skis are available for tourists.
Moving along the river amidst the valley gives you your very own Hollywood moment. On every bend it gives you an excitement and feel of being on a secret trail or an adventure to find hidden treasures. And the river indeed provides you hidden treasures in the form of Electric Eels cradled in the depths of the river.
The river is known to be a great place for fishing. The villages situated by the great river organize an annual festival of fishing known as Nathok Wari. The festival is usually held during the winter months. The best time for visit is from September to January.