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The world’s mysterious suicide valley of birds : Jatinga

Adoringly  described  by  the  visitors  as  ‘Switzerland of the East’, the Dima Hasao District ( formerly) North Cachar Hills is a district garlanded by hills.   This dreamland of North-East is an unending  saga  of   mesmerizing   hills  and  valleys,  gently  flowing  streams  and waterfalls,  where  the  very  breeze  that  blows  across  the  paddy  fields  and the bamboo forests is redolent with the fragrance of the land in which man and animal live in perfect harmony with nature. Waiting to be discovered are a hundred other wonders that seem one with the legends and folklore of the land and its people. The people of North Cachar Hills embody in their lives a fascinating mosaic of ethnic, cultural and tribal mix, and  all the values that have been derived from centuries of shared living on the lap of nature.
Jatinga, a village on a prominence, is located in Dima Hasao district, Assam, in India. The village is inhabited by the khasi-pnar tribes and a few Dimasa people. Jatinga is an offshoot of the main ridge of the Borail range. Centrally located at the junction of the roads leading to Haflong, Lumding and Silchar, it is also known as the valley of death for birds. While this village is scenic, it is more popular for the strange phenomenon of avian mass suicides. The myth of these birds committing suicide has spread far and wide among the common people residing in Jatinga and nearby villages. The mysterious phenomenon comes to pass at the end of monsoon months, usually during the months from August to November. The prodigy is claimed to be mysterious as it occurs especially on moonless foggy hours of the night. It is interesting how the death of these birds are not confined to a certain species but also many other species of birds namely Tiger Bittern, Black Bittern, Little Egret, Pond Heron, Indian Pitta, Kingfishers etc. along with many other species are affected.
This strange episode of hundreds of birds plummeting to down on ground was first noted somewhere in the early 19th century. Disturbed and scared by this incident, some locals fled from the scene, selling off their lands. Despite the danger and the repeat performances of these birds committing suicude every year, they continue to fly to their death in this small area of 1500 by 200 metres.  A number of theories have been proposed, one suggesting that the phenomenon is credited to disorientation of the birds caused by high altitudes and fog, and simple-minded folks who see these falling birds as evil spirits. Another theory suggests that the weather of the region leads to “changes in the magnetic qualities of the underground water” causing the birds’ disoriented state. The phenomenon remains an unsolved mystery, with many theories doing the rounds.
Over the past hundered years, thousands of birds have flown to their death over a small strip of land in Jatinga, India. In a land of very few people, this bizzare Bermuda triangle of unforeseen death remains largely unexplained, despite studies by india’s most pretstigious ornithologists. Though the researchers have come up with a somewhat valid explanation, it is not clear as to why birds flying only over Jatinga meet with these accidents and why do they fly during the dusk in the first place. September to November are the peak months for tourists to visit Jatinga to watch this bizarre phenomenon in person. Tourists usually take up a rickshaw trip from Haflong as they get to enjoy a wonderful and scenic journey by doing so.
Jatinga experiences a very pleasant weather all year around which makes it a very prime tourist spot of Assam. The average temperature is 21.6 degree Celsius. In summers, the temperatures go as high up as 36 degree Celsius which makes it a bit warm yet not enough to ruin one’s  tour. Rain pelts down quite heavily during July to September with precipitation rate of 2578 mm. Winters, i.e., October to March, is a comfortable season to visit Jatinga when the temperature ranges from 10 to 25 degree Celsius.
Other than Jatinga, the Dima Hasao district has gained its fame with its alluring diversity in flora and fauna of the land, which has captivating and enchanting places as tourist attraction spots namely:
HAFLONG
Also known as white ant hillock, Haflong is situated 310 km away from Guwahati. Belonging to the Dima Hasao district, Haflong is the only hill station of Assam. It is a picturesque hill station that is surrounded by numerous beautiful lakes, streams, waterfalls and lush vibrant forests. Haflong is a dream destination for nature lovers and camping enthusiasts. At an altitude of more than 600 meters above sea level, it is an ideal getaway for a serene vacation. Haflong Hill is one of the major tourist attractions of Dima Hasao. It is renowned for its majestic view of the mountain ranges, bounty vibrant green forests and trekking adventures for the nature lovers. Serving as the headquarters of North Cachar Hills district, Haflong is a production center for horticultural produces like pineapple and oranges. Like other hill stations of India, Haflong’s architecture reflects the British colonial past.
Adoringly  described  by  the  visitors  as  ‘Switzerland of the East’, the Dima Hasao District ( formerly) North Cachar Hills is a district garlanded by hills.   This dreamland of North-East is an unending  saga  of   mesmerizing   hills  and  valleys,  gently  flowing  streams  and waterfalls,  where  the  very  breeze  that  blows  across  the  paddy  fields  and the bamboo forests is redolent with the fragrance of the land in which man and animal live in perfect harmony with nature. Waiting to be discovered are a hundred other wonders that seem one with the legends and folklore of the land and its people. The people of North Cachar Hills embody in their lives a fascinating mosaic of ethnic, cultural and tribal mix, and  all the values that have been derived from centuries of shared living on the lap of nature.
Jatinga, a village on a prominence, is located in Dima Hasao district, Assam, in India. The village is inhabited by the khasi-pnar tribes and a few Dimasa people. Jatinga is an offshoot of the main ridge of the Borail range. Centrally located at the junction of the roads leading to Haflong, Lumding and Silchar, it is also known as the valley of death for birds. While this village is scenic, it is more popular for the strange phenomenon of avian mass suicides. The myth of these birds committing suicide has spread far and wide among the common people residing in Jatinga and nearby villages. The mysterious phenomenon comes to pass at the end of monsoon months, usually during the months from August to November. The prodigy is claimed to be mysterious as it occurs especially on moonless foggy hours of the night. It is interesting how the death of these birds are not confined to a certain species but also many other species of birds namely Tiger Bittern, Black Bittern, Little Egret, Pond Heron, Indian Pitta, Kingfishers etc. along with many other species are affected.
This strange episode of hundreds of birds plummeting to down on ground was first noted somewhere in the early 19th century. Disturbed and scared by this incident, some locals fled from the scene, selling off their lands. Despite the danger and the repeat performances of these birds committing suicude every year, they continue to fly to their death in this small area of 1500 by 200 metres.  A number of theories have been proposed, one suggesting that the phenomenon is credited to disorientation of the birds caused by high altitudes and fog, and simple-minded folks who see these falling birds as evil spirits. Another theory suggests that the weather of the region leads to “changes in the magnetic qualities of the underground water” causing the birds’ disoriented state. The phenomenon remains an unsolved mystery, with many theories doing the rounds.
Over the past hundered years, thousands of birds have flown to their death over a small strip of land in Jatinga, India. In a land of very few people, this bizzare Bermuda triangle of unforeseen death remains largely unexplained, despite studies by india’s most pretstigious ornithologists. Though the researchers have come up with a somewhat valid explanation, it is not clear as to why birds flying only over Jatinga meet with these accidents and why do they fly during the dusk in the first place. September to November are the peak months for tourists to visit Jatinga to watch this bizarre phenomenon in person. Tourists usually take up a rickshaw trip from Haflong as they get to enjoy a wonderful and scenic journey by doing so.
Jatinga experiences a very pleasant weather all year around which makes it a very prime tourist spot of Assam. The average temperature is 21.6 degree Celsius. In summers, the temperatures go as high up as 36 degree Celsius which makes it a bit warm yet not enough to ruin one’s  tour. Rain pelts down quite heavily during July to September with precipitation rate of 2578 mm. Winters, i.e., October to March, is a comfortable season to visit Jatinga when the temperature ranges from 10 to 25 degree Celsius.
Other than Jatinga, the Dima Hasao district has gained its fame with its alluring diversity in flora and fauna of the land, which has captivating and enchanting places as tourist attraction spots namely:
HAFLONG
Also known as white ant hillock, Haflong is situated 310 km away from Guwahati. Belonging to the Dima Hasao district, Haflong is the only hill station of Assam. It is a picturesque hill station that is surrounded by numerous beautiful lakes, streams, waterfalls and lush vibrant forests. Haflong is a dream destination for nature lovers and camping enthusiasts. At an altitude of more than 600 meters above sea level, it is an ideal getaway for a serene vacation. Haflong Hill is one of the major tourist attractions of Dima Hasao. It is renowned for its majestic view of the mountain ranges, bounty vibrant green forests and trekking adventures for the nature lovers. Serving as the headquarters of North Cachar Hills district, Haflong is a production center for horticultural produces like pineapple and oranges. Like other hill stations of India, Haflong’s architecture reflects the British colonial past.
MAIBONG
Located in the hilly region of the Mahur River, the little town of Maibong enjoys a lot of tourist attention as it is located only 44.6 kms from Haflong. Just with one and a half hour drive, you can reach this landscaped town. Serenaded with mountains, waterfalls and many historical relics, Maibong is a must visit in Assam. The town used to be the capital city of the old Kachari Rulers between the years of the 1500s to 1700s. The relics which were sculptured and carved during those time period have been preserved in a museum of Haflong District. People mainly visit Maibong to catch a glimpse of the famous two-roofed monolithic temple – Ramchandi  which has inscriptions that date back to the 1750s. There are several other inscriptions on historic tanks and ancient temples, which have great historical value. One  can also visit the Mahur River which is the perfect picnic spot for friends and family.
UMRANGSO  
In the Dima Hasao district of Assam, there is a small industrial town, which is also a well known tourist spot, by the name of Umrangso. The town of Umrangso has a number of big industries such as Kopili Hydro Electric Project of Nepco, along with a few cement factories such as NECEM cements, Vinay cements, etc. The town is a beautiful one with abundance of hills and lush greenery. This is an ideal place to spend a few relaxing days amidst the bounty of the nature. The Hydro Electricity project is also important, and thus visitors also visit the Kopili project. Moreover, there are Garampani (Hotwater) springs; streams with water with medicinal benefits, which is generally flocked by a good number of tourists. The nearby town of Diphu is another added attraction, and houses a botanical garden.
Bird watchers, nature lovers, tour operators, travel writers and tourists arrive in Jatinga village in southern Assam’s Dima Hasao district join the local tribes and communities for the first three-day International Jatinga Festival. Troupes of the Dimasa, Jaintia, Biate, Hrangkhawl, Nepali, Meitei and the Karbi tribes, in their traditional attire, dance in the event. It is said that the international Jatinga festival  or the Jatinga Falcon festival is organised not only to promote eco-tourism of the land but also to showcase the diverse range of art and craft, music and dance, culture and cuisine of the these ethnic groups of the district.
Savouring the customs and traditions of the people, their colourful festivals and bazaars and their hospitality complete with the local brew makes a visit to North Cachar Hills doubly rewarding. The salubrious climate round the year, the leisurely pleasant pace of life and the bounties of nature all combine to beckon the tourists with the promise of an experience they would love to treasure.
MAIBONG
Located in the hilly region of the Mahur River, the little town of Maibong enjoys a lot of tourist attention as it is located only 44.6 kms from Haflong. Just with one and a half hour drive, you can reach this landscaped town. Serenaded with mountains, waterfalls and many historical relics, Maibong is a must visit in Assam. The town used to be the capital city of the old Kachari Rulers between the years of the 1500s to 1700s. The relics which were sculptured and carved during those time period have been preserved in a museum of Haflong District. People mainly visit Maibong to catch a glimpse of the famous two-roofed monolithic temple – Ramchandi  which has inscriptions that date back to the 1750s. There are several other inscriptions on historic tanks and ancient temples, which have great historical value. One  can also visit the Mahur River which is the perfect picnic spot for friends and family.

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