Jaintia Tribe of Jaintia Hills

Jaintia tribe - a sub tribe of 'Khasi', are the inhabitants of Meghalaya. They have been residing in Jaintia hills and belong to the Proto Australoid Monkhmer race.

Jaintias are also known as Syntengs and Pnars. Their kingdom was the oldest one and widely spread over the hilly areas of the Jaintia Hills District. The origin of the Jaintia kingdom is unknown. The capital, Jaintiapur, now ruined, was located on the plains at the foot of the Jaintia Hills.

Jaintia people are rich in their cultural heritage. Their culture reflects the traditions, music, dances, art and crafts of Jaintia tribe. The tribe is famous for artistic weaving, wood-carving and cane and bamboo work. These are also the main crafts of the tribe. They are also famous for weaving of carpet and silk and the making of musical instruments, jewelry and pineapple fiber articles. Jaintia men wear Jymphong and dhoti while the women wrap several pieces of clothes so as to give a cylindrical shape. During functions they wear crowns of silver and gold with peak attached at the back of it. This tribe is matrilineal in character and the youngest daughter inherits the familial property.

The two most important festivals celebrated by the Jaintias are the Behdiengkhlam festival and Laho Dance festival. Behdiengkhlam festival is held generally in the rainy season of July or August. This festival is also regarded as the most colorful festival of the Jaintias. Laho dance, also known as the Chipiah dance is performed for sheer entertainment.

Jaintia Hills offer some of the most stunning natural sights in Meghalaya. The green surroundings, high plateaus, deep valleys, rambling rivers, and cascading waterfalls are feast for the eyes. Nartiang in the Jaintia Hills is the site of a collection of giant Monoliths, some are among the tallest in the world. There can be found an ancient Durga Temple which was once used for human sacrifice.

(Photo - of a Jaintia girl taken from http://www.indianetzone.com/2/khasis_tribals.htm)