Baghmara is the district headquarters of South Garo hills in Meghalaya. It lies on the Bangladeshi border and is surrounded by hills, tracts and a river on its expanse. The word ‘baghmara’ refers to ‘bagh (tiger)’ and ‘mara (killed)’. It is said that Bong Lasker, a local killed a Bengal tiger in this place and hence the name. There is also a tomb in the town in his memory. Earlier, Baghmara was known as Barokar which referred to the 12 streams in the region.
With its spending natural beauty and apt location, Baghmara is popular with tourists. The top 5 places in Baghmara have to be those that not only give you a chance to enjoy nature, but also help you know the essence of the place. Those places are:
1. Baghmara Reserve Forest
Visiting a forest reserve in any place is a joy in itself, but to visit the Baghmara Reserve Forest is much more enchanting as it offers sighting of wildlife, birds, in a calm and serene environment as no other. Some of the species to look out for are elephants, langurs, leopard, gaur and more. In fact, it is a common sight to see herds of elephants going about their life. There are also several bird species in the forest, which makes it a bird watcher’s paradise. Though there are also several types of plants here, one of the major attractions is the carnivorous pitcher plant. Winter months are the best time to visit Baghmara Reserve Forest as during this time, you can also see many migratory birds.
2. Siju Caves
Even those who are not keen nature lovers will love a visit to the Siju caves in Baghmara. It is the third longest cave in the country and houses remarkable stalagmites and stalactites. It also has fine river passages, which is unique in itself and which cannot be seen anywhere in the country or the world. There are several chambers in the cave, some are even unexplored and offers a marvelous sight to visitors. No wonder that Siju Caves is known as Meghalaya’s pride. It is also known locally as Dobakkol or the bat cave.
3. Siju Bird Sanctuary
Birders anywhere in the world should visit Siju bird sanctuary at least once in lifetime as it offers a birding experience like no other. It is located near Siju caves on the other bank of Simsang river at a distance of 450 km from Shillong, Meghalaya’s capital. Birds such as Siberian Ducks, Grey Hornbill, Peacock Pheasant, etc. can be spotted here. Several migratory birds too visit the sanctuary during winter months and hence that is the best time to visit the Siju bird sanctuary. Many activities such as camping, trekking, river rafting, fishing and angling can be undertaken here.
4. Simsang River
Simsang river is one of the eminent rivers in Meghalaya and it flows through the centre of the Garo hills, which means the area is divided into two because of the river. The tributaries of the river are Chibok, Rompa, Ringdi and Rongdik. It is a picturesque place with enchanting hills, valleys and trees. Be it with family or friends, or even alone, spending some time at Simsang river banks rejuvenates you and lifts your spirits. You can undertake boat rides, either on simple boats or jet skis and it is an adventurous experience. Simsang river is also famous for fishing and an annual fishing festival, Nathok Wari is organized during winter months, which is very popular with locals and tourists alike.
The major attraction of the place is the three caves that are really a nature’s marvel, namely, Tetengkol Balwakol, Dobakkol Chibe and Bok Bak Dobhakol. Of these, the Tetengkol Balwakol is the second longest cave in India, with a length of 533 km. Nengkong is quite adventurous to visit the caves and offers a great experience.
A visit to Baghmara offers a thrilling as well as a rejuvenating experience with its different places. A visit to the pitcher plant sanctuary is also recommended. The only way to get here is to travel to Guwahati railway station, and then hire a bus or a jeep to reach Baghmara.
Other Major Tourist Destinations In Meghalaya: