THE ADIS The Adi tribes inhabiting north of the river, on the southern slopes of the great Himalayan range between the Dihing and Subansiri rivers in the Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh. The contemptuous term Abor has been discarded in recent times, and they are called ‘Adis’. The British Government experienced much trouble with these turbulent, predatory and most powerful of all the hill tribes of North Eastern Frontier. Many a punitive expedition had to be sent to the land of the Abors since 1826. The Adis claimed over lordship over the whole of the lofty mountain ranges between Assam and Tibet and levied contributions from their lowland and less marital neighbors of Assam. Bori, Bomo-Janho, Mimat, Aieng, Passi, Minyong, Padam, Milang, Panggee and Simong are the most prominent sub-tribes of this great race.

The men were three kinds of helmets, one of plain cane, and others trimmed with an edging of bear’s skin, or covered with a thick yellow skin of a species of deer. The helmets are brimless and distinctly oval. They are made of successive rings of cane which is built up and bound together with strips of fine cane woven vertically and so closely as to entirely cover the ring foundation. The helmets can hold water.

Both the sexes used to crop their hair by lifting it on a Dao (short sword) and chopping it all around with a stick, leaving a cap of hair on the crown.

The Abor women are not much distinguished for their beauty. The women have Tattoo makes about the mouth, in the hollow of their lip, immediately under nose. The women were heavy yellow necklaces and iron or copper bracelets. Their ear-rings are made of long spirals of wire about two inches thick, which dangle on the shoulders. The women are hard worked, as they do the whole of the field work. The unmarried girls were five or six flat circular plates of brass, slightly overlapping the other, called the beyop, fixed to a plaited band of thin cane, under the petticoats. The teeth become sooty black by constant chewing of tobacco and lime or by smoking pipes.
THE AKAS The Akas or who call themselves Hrussos and are subdivided into Kotsun, Kovatsun and Miri Akas, inhabit the sub Himalayan region of India, at an altitude of 3000 to 6000ft. towards the south of the Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Akas are fair-complexioned, well built, flat-nosed and prominent cheek-boned people of Mongoloid stock. The Aka men tie their head in the middle of the head in a knot, while the women wear it at the back. The head-dress of the Aka is a kind of ring cap or crown made of cane, about 3 inches high with one or two tall feathers in front. The men usually wear a kind of toga, made of Assamese silk. A sword of about 4 ft. long with a handle of 4 inches, is placed in the cumerband. The women also wear a long garment of dark red which reaches upto the ankles. The well to do a Aka women wear a pretty fillet a silver chain-work round the head. The ear-lobes are adorned by large vase-shaped silver earrings. The neck is burdened with necklaces of colored beads. The women tattoo their beautiful faces is an artistic pattern of a straight line running below the forehead to the chin where it bifurcates.

The Akas, who were no less predatory in their habits than the rest of the hill men of Arunachal Pradesh, were bold and daring robbers and cut-throat’ in 1867, but they are now a peace loving people. They have given up their predatory incursions, tribal feuds and internecine wars. They are now good agriculturists, keen traders and industrious people.

THE APA TANIS The Apa Tanis who inhabit the banks of the Kali River in the Subansiri District, are the most civilized people of Arunachal Pradesh. They have received considerable attention from Arunachal Pradesh administration as the headquarters of the Subansiri District is located at Ziro, in the Apa Tani Valley.
Unlike their neighbors Nishis and Miris, the Apa Tanis are a peace loving settled tribe, practicing the most modern method of terraced cultivation, though animal traction was unknown to them till 1945. The houses are clustered with well laid-out streets, which show that they are the pioneers of town-dwelling in India. The houses are constructed utilizing the bamboos and pine-wood which are abundant in their place. The roofs are thatched over by paddy-straw.

The Apa Tanis have a prominent nose, deep set eyes and longish faces. The men wear their hair tied in a knot just above the forehead through which a brass rod of about 12 inches long is driven horizontally. The male Apa Tani tattoos only below the mouth, a horizontal line is drawn across the under lip, and straight lines are drawn downwards from it to the point of the chin. The female tattoos themselves with broad blue lines from the top of the forehead to the tip of the nose, and from the lower lip to the forehead of the chin.

The value of money was utterly unknown to them before 1947. The wealth of an Apa Tani is measured in terms of Mithan. Salt was the most highly prized article for Apa Tanis and they used to go to the plains of Assam for getting a pitch of it.

The Apatani plants first the paddy which takes a long time to ripen in the fields which can be flooded and comparatively less moist lands are sown in with paddy which ripens quickly. Besides rice, millet and maize they raise tobacco, chillies, beans, marrow, cucumber, taro, ginger, potato, tomato etc.. Agriculture is practiced with the help of labour gangs and slave labour which do not cost an Apatani.

The society of Apatani is divided into two divisions : Mura (slave) and Mite (patrician). The Mite is distinguished by high stature, light skin, prominent nose and deep set eyes, whereas the Mura have more Mongoloid characteristics.
THE NISHI The Nishi, who inhabit the Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh, are the martial-cum marital race of India. There is none to compete with the Nishi in traditional warfare in Arunachal Pradesh.

The podum style of hair-do, which is typical of the people of Arunachal Pradesh, is the adopted by the Nishi men. The hair is plaited, brought to the forehead, and tied neatly with yellow Tibetan thread. A brass-skewer of about a foot long is passed horizontally through the podum. A can helmet, surmounted by the crest of a hornbill beak, dyed scarlet red, with additional decorations, depending upon the status of the person, complete the hair dress.

Shifting cultivation is the only method of agriculture possible in the hills inhabited by the Nishis. Plough and wheels are unheard of. The agricultural calendar is determined by natural phenomena such as the singing of birds at particular seasons, flowering of trees etc. Paddy and millet are the two principal corps raised. Rice is the staple food of the Nishi people, supplemented by fish, meat of various animal, edible tubers and leafy vegetables. Apong (beer prepared from millet) is an exhilarating drink and is consumed in large quantities in lieu of water. Every Nishi is a soldier in his own right. Their primitive armament consists of a spear with iron head, a large sword and a bow with poison arrows.

THE GALLONGS The Gallongs who inhabit the fertile and less slopy lands in the lower Siyom, Sipu and Simen valleys of the Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh ought to have received proper attention considering the fact that they
are the only people who practice fraternal polyandry in the whole of Northeast Frontier. They live in sparsely populated villages. Often a single clan occupies the whole of a village. The biggest Gallong village is Kombong with a population of more than 1000 souls. The dialect of the Gallongs does not differ much from the Adi language.

The Gallongs belong to the Paleo Mongoloid stock of the human race. The men are of short stature with broad nose and deep set eyes. The women are shorter. Both the sexes are well built and capable of doing the hardest of labour. The charming Gallong women part their hair in the middle, plate the tresses, and keep them tied into a chignon just above the nape.

The Gallongs construct their houses on bamboo or wooden struts at a height of four to twelve feet from the ground level. There is no privacy inside the house due to absence of partitioning. Both the sexes have separate ladders to enter the house. Women are strictly prohibited to use the ladder meant for men. The guest, slaves, master with his wife and children, married sons and their wives everyone in short sleep round the fire place.

The granary is always built apart from the dwelling houses. The entry of rats is prevented by the discs fixed on the poles below the floor supporting the granary. Jhuming is extensively practiced. Hillak trees are never felled in jhumming, as they are considered to be abodes of spirits. Paddy, maize, millet, chilli, mustard, brinjal etc. are sown in the same field. Rice, the staple food of the people, is supplemented by millet and maize.

The Gallongs are basically a peace loving and law abiding people. The spilling of human blood is considered as the most heinous crime in the Gallong society. Slavery exists in a mild form.

THE KHAMTIS The Khamtis who settled in the Tengapani basin during the 18th century inhabit the Lohit District of Arunachal Pradesh. They are migrants from the Bro Khampti area, the mountainous region which interposes the eastern extremity of Assam and the valley of the Irrawady. They called themselves Tai. They are confined to seven villages, namely Chowkham, Memong, Barpathar, Mime, Kherem, M’Pong and Man Khao within the Namsai Subdivision. The Khamtis are middle sized, resembling the Chinese in countenance.

The Khamti men used to tattoo when they paid formal visit to their parent stock in Burma, but not otherwise. The women are not marked. The Khamti dress, like the pottery, weapons and metal crafts, are manufactured at home. The women are good at the needle and elaborately embroidered bags, bands for the hair and other articles of artistic beauty are made.

The houses are built on raised floors with thatched roofs. Rice is the staple food of the Khamtis supplemented by vegetables, meat and fish. They are settled agriculturists and use of plough, drawn by a single animal, is known to them. Their leveler is of the Burmese type. They are also experts in hunting and handling a boat among the rapids in an unrivalled manner.

The Khamtis are followers of Theravada Buddhism. They celebrate the two great religious festivals of the Budhists, one to celebrate the birth and the other to mourn the death.
IDU MISHMIS The Mishmis are divided into three main groups – the Idus, the taraons and the Kamans, who are called by the plains people of Assam – Chulikattas, Digarus and Mijus respectively. The Mishmis inhabit the Lohit Distrcts of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Idu women are comparatively taller and finer creatures than their men. The girls are decidedly good looking, but their beauty is terribly marred by their peculiar method of cropping the hair. The women are experts weavers on tension looms and cater to the needs of their neighboring tribes in respect of durable textiles. Their embroidered clothes may in due course relegate the Naga and Manipuri textiles. The Idus are the first tribe in Arunachal Pradesh to discover the properties of the Rhea nivea and many others of the nettle family.

The slash and burn method of cultivation is the mainstay of the Idus. Rice is the staple food, supplemented by millet, maize and tapioca. Yu (Rice beer) is their favourite beverage.
THE MONPAS The Monpas are the inhabitants of the Kameng Districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The great Buddhist Monastery of Tawang is the heart of the Monpa Life. The Dalai Lama visited this Monastery on his way to India. The most important village occupied by the Monpas is Dirang Dzong (5700 ft.).

The Monpas are a mild, gentle, quite, friendly, courteous, industrious and kind people. They follow the terraced cultivation. The slopes of the forests are terraced to check erosion. Animal traction, unknown in most parts of Arunachal Pradesh, is known to them and they use bulls and bullocks for ploughing. They also manufacture carpets, mats and saddle bags which are exquisitely beautiful.

The Monpas follow the Tibetan brand of Buddhism. Lord Buddha’s teachings have left a strong imprint on their daily life. The people love music, dance and dramatic performences.
THE NOCTE The Noctes, a brother tribe of the fierce Konyak Nagas, inhabit the narrow strip of turbulent mountains that divide Margherita and the Brahmaputra valley from the Burma border in the high slopes of the Patkai Range of the Tirap District of Arunachal Pradesh. Their important villages are Khonsa, Borkuma, Lapnan and Borduria.

The Noctes are heavily tattooed on the face and the body. The teeth become sooty black by chewing the bark of a tree for cosmetic reasons. The house of the Noctes are built on stilts, so that the ground floor can be used for keeping the domestic animals. The houses of the Chiefs are very large, the largest in the whole Arunachal Pradesh. The society of the Nocte is divided into three classes – the Chiefs, Proletariat and the Middle Class, descendants of the sons of chiefs who have married commoners. There is no slavery among the Noctes.

Opium has been the curse of elder generations, but the young men are free from it. Vaishnavism has been grafted upon their primitive religion.
THE SINGHPHOS The Singphos, who are the most powerful tribal of the Indo-Burma border, inhabit an area bounded on the North by the Lohit, on the east by the Langtang range, on the south by the Patkai range. The word ‘Singpho’ means man. Singpho is the lingua franca of the people of the Tirap District of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Singphos are divided into a number of clans, each under a Chief or Gam. The traditional hair style of the Singpho men is the Kudumi. Ladies are wear their hair gathered into a broad knot on the crown of the head. Tattooing is resorted to by both the sexes.

The Singphos have long known and drunken tea before it was discovered by the Englishmen.

Village dormitory played an important part in the social life of the Singphos. Intial steps towards wooing and courting take place here. The Singphos have all more or less adopted Buddhism but continue to share all kinds of superstitions with their neighbours.

THE WANCHOS The Wanchos inhabit the Tirap District of Arunachal Pradesh. When the name Wancho comes up, we are reminded of the tragic death of Lieutenant Holocombe attached to the Topographical Survey, in February 1875. The Wanchos of Ninu Village butchered Holocombe and his party, numbering 80.

The Wanchos are a hospitable and friendly people. Hey adorn their hat with a splendid array of beads. The Wancho men used to have fillets made of carved wooden heads or human
hand, made into various geometric pattern or gaily coloured, for tying their hat at the back of the head. The hairs and ears are beautifully decorated with feathers and flowers. The women cut their hair short, but the Chief’s daughters can wear it long.

Most of the Wancho villages are situated above 3000 feet on the slope of the Patkai Range. The unmarried boys and girls have their separate Morung (dormitories). These dormitories played an important role in looking after their villages, maintenance of village paths, helping in cultivation and providing a sort of relief service.

The Wanchos are accustomed to taking tea prepared in bamboo tubes without adding milk or sugar. People are addicted to opium and poppy cultivation is carried on to cater to their needs.


District: Kohima, Nagaland
The Angamis are Naga tribe native to Nagaland state in North-East India. The Angami Nagas are hill people depending basically on cultivation and livestock-rearing. The Angamis are known for terraced wet-rice cultivation; because of this labor-intensive cultivation, land is the most important form of property among them. They are one of the only two groups of Nagas out of the seventeen who practice wet-rice cultivation on terraces made on the hill slopes. They are known for the Sekrenyi celebrations every February. The Sekrenyi festival falls on the 25th day of the Angami month of Keizi. It is a celebration of purification accompanied with feasting and singing. This Angamis were traditionally warriors.
District: Kohima, Nagaland
According to the local traditions, the Rengmas and the Lothas (or Lhotas) were once part of a single tribe. The Rengmas are divided into two groups: the Eastern Rengmas, and the Western Rengmas. They are experts in terrace cultivation. The Rengmas commemorate the Ngada Festival for eight days just after the harvest, towards the end of the November. It is the festival of thanksgiving and rejoicing. Ngada also underscores the end of the agricultural year.
Distrcit: Peren, Nagaland
The Zeliangrong are formed of three tribes, namely ZEmei, the LIANGmei and RONGmei and the Zeliangrong is derived from the first few syllables of these three individual tribes. Hega, their matrimonial festival, is dedicated to the almighty. This is considered as an auspicious time for young couples to tie the nuptial knot. The festival begins with a variety of programmes and merrymaking. The Zemes that are inhabiting in Nagaland call themselves Zeliang and those of the Manipur borders are called Zeliangrong.
District: Peren, Nagaland
The kukis are one of the tribes who followed a southerly migration route and were known as Aishen when they migrated from Manipur. Later some of them also migrated to Meluri sub-division towards the Indo-Myanmar border. Kukis celebrate Mimkut, a harvest festival, for a week from the 17th day of the Kuki month of Tolboi. The village priest (Thempu) sacrifices fowls and perform a series of rituals to propitiate the spirit of the demo n-god during this festival.
District: Dimapur
The Kachari people are a group of people inhabiting Assam and Nagaland states in Northeastern India, mostly in Dimapur (border town between Assam and Nagaland). The Bushu is the main festival among the Kacharis. It is a festival which usually falls in the month of January after the paddy is harvested, threshed and stored. They generally celebrate it around a full moon night in January because it is believed to be auspicious.
District: Phek, Nagaland
Chakhesangs are the former Eastern Angami, who have separated from the Angami Naga Tribe, and are now recognized as a separate tribe. It is a major tribe in Nagaland. The tribe is basically divided into two groups known as "Chokri" and "Khezha". Tsukhenye and Sukrenye are main festival among the Chakhesang people.
District: Phek, Nagland
The Pochury identity is of relatively recent origin. It is a composite tribe formed by three Naga communities: Kupo, Kuchu and Khuri. The word Pochury is an acronym formed by the names of three native villages of these tribes: Sapo, Kechuri and Khury. Yemshe is the main festival, for blessing the upcoming harvest. All the Pochuries celebrate this festival with great pomp and gaiety anticipating a good harvest.
District: Tuensang, Nagaland
The Chang shares an affinity with the Sema, Lotha, Ao, Yimchungru, Phom, Sangtam and some Southern Naga tribes, as can be deducted from old legends. The main festival Naknyulem is a festival of bonding through the exchange of gifts and delicacies amongst friends and relatives. Festivities run throughout the day through various types of games like top spinning, tug-of-war, climbing of oil poles etc.. The womenfolk plays and compete with the instrument Kongkhim.
District: Mokokchong, Nagaland
The Aos are one of the major Naga tribes of Nagaland. They are first among all the Naga tribes to embrace Christianity and by virtue of this development the Aos avail themselves to Western education that came along with Christianity. In the process the Aos became the pioneering tribe among the Nagas in many fields. They are well known for multiple harvest festivals held each year. A bonding festival, Moatsu Mong is celebrated by the Ao after the season sowing is over. The festival celebrated
with vigorous singing and dancing continues the customary practices of making rice beer and rearing the best pigs and cows for slaughtering during the festival. The elders encourage the youth to be bold and heroic for defending the villages from enemies, a custom continued from the head-hunting days.

District: Mon, Nagaland
The Konyak are recognised among other Naga Tribe by their tattoos, which they have all over their face and hands, facial tattoos were earned for taking an enemy's head. They are called the land of Angh's, meaning ‘the beginning of everything’. They have the largest population among the Nagas. The Konyaks can be found in Myanmar, in the Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal, and in the Mon district of Nagaland. The Konyak's festival "Aoleang" falls in the month of April from 1st to 6th. Aoleang is the biggest festival for the Konyak. They wear their traditional attire and sing folk song to celebrate the Aoleang festival.
District: Longleng, Nagaland
The origin of the Phoms, like that of other Naga tribes, is uncertain. One oral tradition of the Phoms, like that of the Ao Nagas, states that their ancestors originated from stones. Their traditional territory lies between the territories of Konyak in the north-east, the Ao in the west and the Chang in the south. Yongnyah is the largest Phom village. The Phom has four main festivals, Monyu is the most imporatnt traditional among them. The arrival of this destival by beating of log drums with a distinct tune traditionally called Lan Nyangshem.

District: Tuensang
Khiamniungan is one of the minor Naga tribes, mainly found in the Tuensang district of Nagaland, India and the adjoining areas of Burma. According to a popular myth, Khiamniungan means "source of great waters" - the place from where the early ancestors of
Khiamniungan are said to have emerged. The traditional Khiamiungan attire consists of bright red and bright deep blue colored dresses. The ornaments are made of cowries and conch shells. The tribal musical instruments include drums made of gourds and bamboo flutes. They traditionally practiced jhum cultivation, celebrate the Miu festival at the time of sowing. They offer prayers for a good harvest.

District: Tuensang/Kiphire, Nagaland
Yimchungru is one of the major Naga tribes of Nagaland and the Tuensang district within India and areas of Burma. Yimchungru means "the ones who have reached their place of choice". The traditional dress of the Yimchungru includes colorful cane-made headgear decorated with hair and bird feathers. Metemneo is the main traditional five-day harvest festival of the Yimchungru tribe. It is celebrated after the millet crop is harvested, usually in the second week of August. It is an emotional event, for it is combined with prayers for the departed near the dear ones.
District: Tuensang/Kiphire, Nagalnd
The Sangtam people are one of the major tribes in Nagaland. They are united under the common banner called “United Sangtam.” There are 62 (sixty two) villages among the Sangtams, 24 villages under Longkhim-Chare sub-division and 38 villages under Kiphire district. The Sangtam have about twelve festivals spread over the calendar year. Except a few types, all the festivals are connected to food production, blessing and prosperity. Mongmong is one of the most important festivals of the Sangtam.
District: Wokha
Wokha is the traditional home of the Lotha tribe. Lothas are renowned for their colorful dances and folk songs. The male members wear shawls indicating their social status. The prestigious social shawl for women is Opivuram and Longpensu for men. Tokhu Emong is the harvest festival of the Lothas and the entire village participates in the celebrations. Like many Nagas, the Lothas practiced headhunting in the older days.
District: Zunheboto
The Sumi are one of the most united and most aggressive Naga nations. Despite their ferocity and aggressive nature in warfare, the Sumi are known for their simplicity and honesty. Sumi Nagas mostly inhabit the central and southern regions of Nagaland. Zunheboto is the district of the Sumis and they also live in districts such as Dimapur, Kohima, Kiphire, Mokokchong, Tuensang etc. Tuluni, in the Zunheboto language, means rice beer, is the main festival of the Sumis. The event is also called Anni, which means the season of plentiful corps.


Meghalaya is the home of three Mongoloid tribes – the Khais, the Jayantias and the Gaors. Many scholars theorize that the Khasis and Jaintias orginitated from Southeast Asia while the Garos came from Tibet. All three have a matrilineal social system in which the family lineage is taken from the mother’s side.

Mythology relates that the Khasis of Meghalaya race descended from ki hynniew trep or ‘the seven huts on earth and the nine huts in heaven’, which were connected to their creator by a golden ladder called U Sophet Beng. During the golden age, the sixteen families physically commuted between earth and heaven along the golden oak vine on the summit of Lum Sophetbeng (the heavenly umbilical cord). When sin crept and covered the earth, the golden bridge was broken. The sun refused to shine on earth and hide himself in a cave. Nine families remained .in their celestial abode and seven settled on earth and multipled. Khasi people beleieved that when they die their souls find their way to God to be with the Nine above.

Traditionally, the Khasi, like the Jews, have believed that their religion is god-given, not one founded by men. Their religion is neither animistic nor pantheistic, it is purely monotheistic. They have no fixed days of congregational worship. There is no common written book of worship on which their faith is based. Killing animals like fowl, goats, pigs and bulls and breaking eggs are part of the Khasi religious rites and ceremonies.

Being the followers of a unique system of matrilineal society, the Khasi woman enjoys a special position in society. She is the guardian and preserver of the family and has certain rights over the house and property sanctioned by customs and religious traditions.

The Khasis celebrate several festivals which are directly and indirectly connected with religion. They are meant to be joyful and happiness is expressed outwardly in the form of dance, feast and worship. The Nongkrem Dance is the most important festival of the Khyrim State and is associated with goat sacrifice. It is held in Smit, which is 15 km. from Shillong city. Many religious rites are performed during the five day festival. Drums and pipes are played continuously to mark the occasion while young virgin women come out to dance on the specially prepare field. Other main festival is Shad Suk Mynsiem Dance, also called Weiking
Dance, signifies love, friendship and peace of the Khasi people. The three day festival usually celebrated after the harvest and before the sowing season in March or April.

Jaintia people lives in beautiful Jaintia hills, among pine forest groves and winding rivers for centuries. They belong to the same racial and cultural stream as the Khasi and are also known as Pnars. Like the Khasi, they had a matrilineal system, in which the offspring took their title from the mother’s side. The families well being was in the hands of the mother or uncle and the husband’s duty was towards his mother’s home. But with the advent of Christianity things have changed. The major difference between Jaintia and Khasi customs concerns marriage. The Khasi and the Jaintia have the same religion, although the Jaintia are more influenced by Hinduism. They have a superstition that Taro, like the Khasi Thlen, is an evil spirit bringing riches to its owner and disease or death to his enemies or victims.

The most important town in the Jaintia Hills district is Jowai, 1380 metres above sea level, situated 64 km. from Shillong town. The annual festival of Behdeinkhlam is celebrated in great style in Jowai and the Musiang Bazar, the biggest in the Jaintia Hills. One of the Jaintia’s most colourful religious festival, celebrated for three days during July at Jowai. The word literally means ‘driving away of evil by wooden sticks’. This festival was handed over to the Jaintia people by the ‘Seven Huts’ who came down from heaven and started a new life on earth.

The festival is connected with the series of religious rites of performed by Ka Langdoh (the Priestess) assisted by the Daloi, Basans (subordinate officers) and other elder who are versed in rituals and ceremonies. People dance on the street with the accompaniment of drum beating and pipe playing. The women do not participate in the dancing but they have an important role to play at home by offering sacrificial food to the spirit of the ancestors.
The Garos are divided into various sub tribes with varying customs and beliefs, but the main three tribes are the Maraks, the Momins and the Sangmas. Their tradition speaks of a migration from Tibet through Bhutan and eventually reached the plains after crossing the Brahmaputra River under the leadership of the legendary Japa-Jalinpa and Sukpa-Bongia. They gradually moved up the Assam Valley and settled in the southern parts of Goalpara and the northern and western parts of the Garo Hills.

The districts head quarter of the West Garo Hills is Tura, which is situated 657 metres above sea level. The Garo Hills districts covers 8,000 square kilometers of which 300 sq. km. are set aside as forest reserves. Most of the area is used for age-old practice of Jhumming or shifting cultivation. About 80 percent of the total population is engaged in agriculture.

The Garo also trace their descent through the mother. For generations women have been the custodians of Garo wealth. They have their own unwritten laws of inheritance which are passed down from the generation to another. Garo laws are identical to the Khasi’s in regard to property passed on to the daughters. Marriage within the clan is strictly prohibited and the husband and the wife must belong to separate clans. The children take the mother’s clan. Traditionally the proposal for marriage comes from the woman’s side and it is the woman who usually chooses her husband. After marriage the husband lives in his wife’s house.

The Wangala is a Garo’s post-harvest festival that marks the end of the agricultural year. It is an act of thanksgiving to the sun god of fertility, known as Misi-A-Gilpa-Saljong-Galpa. This is the most popular festival of the Garo Hills, and is held in November, the precise date being fixed by the headmen. The men and women dance in mirthful gaiety with the beating of drums, blowing on the buffalo horn trumpets and bamboo flutes. The social aspects of the Wangala Festival go on in the villages for a number of days, with eating, drinking and merrymaking.