Tourist Interest
Introduction
         There are several places in the district  that can be  developed for tourism. Some of them are of historical importance;  others are important because of their association with the cultural traditions of the Garo people and many of them again have deservedly earned fame for their scenic beauty. Much of the area still remain untouched, retaining almost intact the original flora and fauna.  Garo hills known for its abundance of wild life, should interest naturalists and photographers to capture the facts of life of animals and the flora and fauna.
       Two mountain ranges - The Arebella range and the Tura range, passes through the Garo Hills, forming the  great Balpakaram Valley in between.
Balpakram National Park
          A national  wild life park, is about 45 kms from Baghmara, also known as the abode of perpetual winds. An awe-inspiring mini-canyon separates the Garo Hills plateau from the Khasi-Hills plateau across the Sib-bari rivulet. A majestic rocky plateau crowns the western ridge of the cliffs on the Garo Hills side of the mini-canyon. 
         The plateau commands an enchanting view of the beautiful plains of Bangladesh which are criss crossed by meandering rivers and large expanses of silvery inland water. The plateau has borne the unending lashes of summer wind and storm which have blown off all traces of soil, leaving the plateau as one continuous mass of rock and rubble. The Garos believe that on death, the soul of every pious Garo flies to Balpakram and abides there for all time to come, making it the abode of human souls.
          The Balpakram plateau and canyon abound in plants and herbs of immense medicinal value, besides being the home of all sorts of wild animals including wild bison, wild cow and elephants. Government has since created the Balpakram National Park stretching over an area of approximately two hundred and twenty square kilometres, covering the plateau. The National Park can be approached by taking off from the Baghmara-Moheshkhola-Ranikor-Balut-Shil-  long Road, at a place called Sib-bari. 
          During April each year, the entire Balpakram plateau is covered by exquisitely colourful wild flowers and swarms of colourful and beautiful butterflies, making it a veritable dreamland.
          Balpakram has many mysterious and unnatural phenomena that cannot be satisfactorily explained by modern science and logic.

Some of these mysterious sites are:-

Boldak Matchu Karam:  
         On the wayside there is a sturdy Boldak tree (schimawalliche) that has a mysterious depression around its trunk as if eroded by the constant tethering of animals on it. The Garos believe that the spirits of the dead tie their animals slaughtered for their funeral to this tree while taking a rest close by hence when one such tree was felled by strong winds, soon after another tree close by started having the same symptoms.

Chidimak:  
        
There is small pool in Balpakram which is absolutely charcoal black. It is believed that the spirits of the dead wash and clean themselves here before entering the realms of the dead. Hence the clear water turned black from their sins and soots of cremation.

Matchru:  
         Anti or Animal market. In the heart of the vast plateau there is a big stretch of flat rocks that is full of foot prints of all kinds of animals big and small. It is not understood how only that stretch of rock has thousands and thousands of footprints embedded there whereas the nearby rocks are completely bereft of such prints. Myth logically of course it is said that it used to be a market place where all kind of animals gather for their weekly markets.

Areng Patal:  
         It is a massive rock with a hollow space on its surface that is believed to have powerful magnetic powers. This hollow space acts as a veritable death trap to any bird or animal (except for man of course) that goes near it. Any living being that goes near it is magnetically drawn towards the hollow from where it can never come out and die eventually.

Goncho Dare: 
         
The rock cliffs of the canyon are said to be the natural habitats of gonchos, the evil spirits who like to take away people from their homes. These gonchos lead their victims over steep precipices and inaccessible rock faces without causing any physical harm.

Dikkini Ring: 
         To the southern side near Mahadeo village there stands a massive flat rock in the shape of an upturned boat. It is said that one night when Dikki, a legendary hero was making this boat, the cocks started crowing before completed the task and hence the uncompleted boat turned to stone. The legend says that spirits work only at night and have to complete their works before cocks crow.

Rongsaljong Agal: 
          On the South Garo and Khasi  Hills border there is a very interesting rock tank that is  120 ft long and 90 ft wide. Interesting side of it is that the water here remains perpetually clear and transparent, also it remains at the same level throughout the year. It is surprising that heavy down pours of rain cannot raise its level or the scorching heat of summer reduce it. The Garos believed that it used to be the bathing ghat of Bandi's wife Shore. Her bucket of water fossilized into stone remains in that place.

Rongsobok Rongkol:  
          Further east to the northern side of Balpakram  there is a beautiful cave that contains shining pieces of rock that resemble banana flowers.
          Apart from the above mentioned sites there are many mysterious places which you can explore yourself. Indeed Balpakram is so steeped in myths that even the Hindus believe that it is a sacred place. They believe that when Laxman was seriously injured during the war with Ravana and a very rare life saving herb was required, Hanuman found it here but not knowing which plant to take also in his haste to return broke the top of the hills and carried it away. The missing portion of that hill became a deep awning canyon .
          Balpakram has been declared  a National Park some years ago. This place is about 220 sq kms in area and  is 45 kms away from  Baghmara. This is a place of not only mythological importance but also the natural habitat of many rare and exotic animals and plant life . It is also believed to be the original of the rare citrus plant Me- mang Narag .  Balpakram is exquisitely  beautiful when ground orchids and herbs are in bloom. The best time to  see is from April to mid June. There is the guest house at Hattisil entrance to Balpakram run by the Forest Department.

Siju Cave
          The third longest cave in the Indian sub-continent, it is situated on the bank of the Simsang river just below the village of Siju. The cave is locally known as Dobakkol or the Cave of Bats. The cave consists of innumerable internal chambers and labyrinths which have not yet been fully explored. The depth of the cave is yet to be fathomed although cave-explorers are reported to have so far covered depths of over a kilometer. The cave is totally dark with a perennial stream flowing out of it ,which abounds with different forms of aquatic life. The floor of the cave is covered with a very thick layer of bat-droppings. Beautiful stalactites and stalagmites are found all over the cave.
          30 kms. North of Baghmara, Siju is famous for Dobakkol or the bat cave with impressive stalagmites and stalagtites. It is one of the longest cave in the Indian sub-continent and contains some of the finest river passages to be found any where in the world. The magnificent limestone rock formations inside especially named princes Di's chamber by the excavators will fill any visitor with awe.
           Close by on the other side of Simsang River Siju bird sanctuary is the home for many rare and protected bird and other wildlife. The migratory Siberian ducks also come here during winter months. At the entrance to this bird sanctuary after a steep climb of nearly 1 km there is a stretch of fantastic rock formations that will take your breath away.

Design: NIC District Unit, South Garo Hills, Bahgmara
Content Provided: The District Administration, South Garo Hills