Ri Bhoi District of Meghalaya at a Glance

Lok Sabha Constituencies in Ri Bhoi district, Meghalaya (MP Constituencies) Shillong
MLA Assembly Constituencies in Ri Bhoi district, Meghalaya Mawhati

Ri Bhoi

Particulars  Description
Area – 2,378 Sq.km
Population – 258840
District Head Quarters – Nongpoh
Language – Khasi
History And Geography

Ri Bhoi District Website

Khasi is a generic term, which comprises of different septs viz the Khynriams, the Pnars, the Bhois, the Wars, the Nongtrais, the Muliangs and the Lyngngams. Bhois who are the natives of the District, thus, belong to the Khasi Tribe and they were the earliest autochthons who inhabited and settled in these northern low but fertile lands of Khasi Hills. Tradition says that when Sajar Nangli who was the Army General of the King of Sutnga Syiemship (later Jaintia Kingdom) along with his comrades, had some misunderstandings with the King, when the Rajah demanded from his subjects to bring one baby every night and place at his feet to warm him while sleeping in the night time. After a great commotion, Sajar and his followers left JSutnga Kingdom and fled towards the North-West of the present Khasi Hills. In the course of their odyssey, between 1500 and 1600 A.D together with his followers, they traveled through these foothills, set their foot and settled for sometimes in these far-flung areas. Within a short span of time, they established the kingdom known as Nongpoh Syiemship. Another tradition as narrated by Shri.J.L.Syiem on the 27th November 2003 , says that Nongpoh Syiemship had already been in existence before the arrival of Sajar Nangli and his followers with Syiem Nongshai as the ruling clan which then ruled this small hill principality for more than six generations. The administration of this Syiemship was assisted by the twelve priests (Lyngdoh) and hitherto it is also known as Ka Ri Khadar Lyngdoh means “The State of Twelve Priests”. Later on, other principal States like Jirang syiemship, Nongwah Syiemship etc were established and expanded. Nongkhlaw Syiemship in West Khasi Hills District is believed to have been established by Sajar Nangli after his arrival. From Ka Lieh sprang up the Syiemlieh clan, Ka Shai sprang up the Syiem Nongshai clan, ka Ka Iong sprang up the Syiemiong clan of Nongspung Syiemship and Ka Nga of Syiem Sutnga which remained at Sutnga and thus, all were born from the same mother. Therefore Nongpoh Syiemship evolved much earlier and did not have any contemporaneous beginning with Nongkhlaw Syiemship. However, till date, the Syiem Nongshai clan of Nongpoh Sirdarship still has a consanguine relationship with the Syiemlieh clan of Nongkhlaw Syiemship and the Syiemiong clan of Nongspung Syiemship. This Syiemship was relegated to the status of Sirdarship in the seventies of the 19th century i.e probably in the year 1863-64 and thus under the aegis of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India, this very Sirdarship strongly deserves restoration to its early pristine glory and nature. Nongwah Syiemship that lies on the North-West of Nongpoh Syiemship, was established during the contemporary period. The area of this Syiemship was known as Desh Rane and became graded as the British Area and temporarily tagged to Kamrup District of Assam for administrative convenience of the then British rulers. This hill principality lapsed its status of Syiemship in the seventies of the 19th century in consequence of the absence of male heirs to succeed the last surviving and ruling Chief (Syiem) U Lang Singh and thus deserves restoration. Etymologically, the word “Bhoi” appears to have foreign origin. P.R.T Gurdon, the former Deputy Commissioner, Khasi & Jaintia Hills says that it has a territorial entity. According to oral literature, once upon a time, the Ahoms who were the natives of Assam while performing their journey to the Hills for trade and commerce, they encountered and came across some hills people who used to live and settle in the thick jungles full of animals, who were honest and simple but ferocious and revengeful if one started intruded their lands. The Ahoms, therefore, used to get scarce at them especially if they were intimidated. They used to talk among themselves “bhoi lage”. But according to Rev. (Fr.) S.Sngi Lyngdoh SDB the etymological meaning of the word “Bhoi” is derived from the Assamese language “Bhoiyam” means “those people who dwell in the low fertile lands”. Thus the people were known as Bhois. However, another popular theory suggests that once upon a time the Khasi came and possessed their present land by crossing the great river “Bramaputra” as the Assamese proudly calls it “Luit Puria” wherein he has lost his script while swimming and passing the water whereas the Bengalee managed to escape without losing the script by carrying the same in his head. If that be so, this area probably was at some point of time, the corridor through which the earliest migrants stepped in and passed through. Now the question arises, whether some persons were already dwelling in this area prior to the advent of Sajar Nangli and his followers. To answer to this question, it requires an indefatigable study and an unbiased analysis by historians, sociologists, anthropologists and other research scholars. This therefore, points out to the fact that presently, the origin of the Bhois is still shrouded in mystery.


The Bhois of Ri Bhoi District are the Sub – group of the main Khasi Tribe. The majority of the Bhois speak the Bhoi dialect, although they use the Khasi dialect as a major subject in their schools. In Ri Bhoi District, there are other groups of tribes viz, Garos, who speak the Tibeto – Burman groups of language, whereas the Karbis, Marngars, Mikirs, Bodos and Lalungs use Assamese as their Lingua Franca. Some speak and write Khasi too. The Bhois follow the matrilineal system. Children bear the title of the mother and she is the safe keeper of all properties owned by her parents.

Merriment dances of Ri Bhoi District includes – Ka shad Lakympong, Lukhmi of Namsha, Thaiang, Nongtung and Tyrso. Shad Krudkba and Langhei of Marngar.

Administrative Units

The hierarchy of administration in the District can be divided into four levels viz (1) The District Administration at Nongpoh, is headed by the Deputy Commissioner and his comrades-at-arms, (2) The Administrative Unit at Jirang is headed by the Administrative Officer and a team of officials, (3) The Traditional Institutions are headed by the Syiems and the Sirdars, (4) The Traditional Durbars of the Syiem Raids and (5) The Village Administration by the headmen. The first two categories pertains to the Government of Meghalaya and the latter three comes within the purview of The United Khasi-Jaintia Hills Autonomous District (Administration of Justice Rules) 1953 of the District Council which were framed in accordance with the provisions of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India. The jurisdiction of civil administration coincides with parts of the administrative areas of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council Shillong, having the office of the Area Superintendent at Nongpoh. As it is a well-known fact, the Sixth Schedule, is the only provision in the Constitution of India framed solely for the preservations of the customary practices and administrative rights of the Khasis being the natives which inter alia includes regulation of jhum control, implementation of some rural programmes, regulation of trade for non-tribals, elaka and village administration etc.
While gearing up with the developmental administration at the Block-level, The State Government has set up three Community & Rural Development Blocks at Jirang, Umling and Umsning respectively. These are the efforts to decentralize and translate Government plans into reality and to activate the cycle of development at the grass-root levels. The village settlements in the District are purely agrarian in nature. Traditional trade and commerce took place in ancient time between the natives of this District and the people of Assam .


Umiam Lake: 
Offers water sports facilities including sailing, water skiing, water scooter.The Orchid Lake Resort and the adjacent Lum Nehru Park is an ideal quiet Holiday Resort.

Lum Nehru Park :

Adjacent to the Orchid Lake Resort, in one of the surrounding spurs, there is a charming park, known as “Nehru Park”. Besides beautiful lawns and flowers, there is also orchidarium and aviary.

Dwar Ksuid:

Located in Khapmara, Bhoilymbong area of Umroi. Popularly known as the “Lover Paradise”. The rumbling swift flowing river with lots of slippery boulders attracted visitors and pinickers alike, even home video film makers. Dwar Ksuid means the Devil’s Doorway, it beats the rational thinking personae with a probing question, ‘Why the devil, did they named the doorway after the devil. Does it signify something”. Nevertheless, the captivating beauty of this river and its natural surroundings did not escape the Megawood birds eye, where a Mega film “U Manik Raitong” was shot here.

Orchid Resort:

Located at Umiam adjacent to Lum Nehru Park. It is about 14 Kms from Umroi Airport, 110 Kms from Guwahati Airport, 86 Kms from Guwahati Railway Station, 17 Kms from Shillong City Centre and 34 Kms from the district Headquarter (Nongpoh). This unique, idylic and picturesque resort consisting of a watersports complex. Earlier the watersports complex at Umiam lake has a unique Floating Restaurant cum Sport Deck named Flying Duck, is the first of its kind in the country, designed by world famous architect Charles Correa. Unlucky, the Flying Duck is now out of order. The complex provides facilities like sailing, rowing, waterskiing, toboganning, etc. This picturesque lake resort attracts visitors and film makers from Assam and within the state, in the home video “Tang Jingkynmaw”.

Lum Sohpetbneng :

Located at Umiam which is about 40 Kms from the district headquarter. It is about 6 Kms from Umiam to reach the top of a peak. It sets amidst a beautiful scenic view against the backdrop of a sacred forest. A majestic legendary peak, literary mean the Naval or Heaven, or Heavenly Peak, as per Khasi mythology, is believed to be an ancient golden staircase which linked earth and heaven. It was believed that in the golden days there were sixteen families who ascended and descended through this golden staircase but later on seven families decided to remain on earth. Therefore, God the creator granted their wish. Situated on Shillong-Guwahati Road, this peak offers a breathtaking view of its natural surroundings.

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