Krang Suri Waterfall and the story of the Hidden Arsenal of the Jaintia Kings

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Amalrem, located 27 kms south-west of Jowai, the headquarters of the West Jaintia Hills district in Meghalaya, has been a sleepy little town.

Suddenly, Amlarem found a prominent place in the tourism map of India. Thanks to Krang Suri waterfall. Most travel websites describe Krang Suri as India’s most magical waterfall you can lay your eyes on.    

Krang Suri is extremely popular because of its mesmerising deep blue (sulphate) colour. High-voltage extols on social media and travel blogs made it the most visited waterfall in India now.

The jungle with eternal greenery around Krang Suri has made the destination extremely popular.

Abundantly blessed by the nature, the waterfall is God’s own creation. The beauty is indescribable.

To feel the essence of the waterfall, one has to walk down the slippery stones and also track through the woods. Ones, who visit Krang Suri, will always wish to visit it again and again.

But, Krang Suri is not just a mesmerising waterfall. It carries an un-described mystery and a story with it.

The historical narrative behind the waterfall is hardly known to anyone. But, the records talks about Krang Suri at the time of the erstwhile Jaintia Kingdom.

The Jaintia Kingdom was a monarchy set up by the tribal king Prabhat Ray (1500–1516) in present-day Bangladesh and parts of the hills of present day northeast India.

The Jaintia Kingdom was annexed by the British East India Company on March 15, 1835, and Rajendra Singh (1832–1835) was the last king.

After the conclusion of the Anglo-Burmese War (1826), the East India Company had initially allowed the Jaintia king his rule north of the Surma river. But, the refusal to pay tax led to the annexure in 1835.

The king was handed over his property in Sylhet along with a monthly salary of Rs 500. The British administered the plain areas directly and the hill region indirectly via a system of fifteen dolois and four sardars.

But, prior to the arrival of the East India Company, the Jaintia kings, during its 335 years of rule, were expansionists. The kingdom extended from the east of the Shillong Plateau to the plains of present day Sylhet, and to the north, the Barak river was the natural boundary.

The Jaintia Kingdom had its capital at Jaintiapur (now located 35 kms north of Sylhet city). The monarchs had their summer-capital at Nartiang (now in the West Jaintia Hills district).

A centuries-old Durga temple and the giant monoliths at Nartiang still remind the tribal Jaintia population about the valor and pride of the Jaintia Kingdom.

Though there has hardly been any historical documentation on the Jaintia Kingdom, oral history claims that the Jaintia Royal family had matrimonial relations with the Ahom and the Koch dynasties.

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After the 17th century invasion by the powerful Kachari king Satrudaman, the Jaintia Kingdom came under increasing Kachari and Ahom political influence.

For the Jaintia kings, holding on to the territory, and for expending it, they were often engaged in both open-field and guerilla battles in the hills and valleys.

During the 335 years of rule of the Jaintia kings, Krang Suri was always the secluded natural arsenal.

The lethal weapons of the Jaintia kings were always hidden at Krang Suri. The location of the hidden arsenal was known to the only few loyal commanders of the tribal army.  

Every time before a battle, the loyal commanders used to visit Krang Surito collect their weapons.

Even today, very few people, including the tribal Jaintia people, know very little about the hidden arsenal at Krang Suri. It is still a mystery.

Behind the Krang Suri waterfall, there is still an ancient cave. Tourists visiting Krang Suri still have no knowledge about it.

Oral historians claim the lethal weapons which the Jaintia kings usually stored at that place were ‘sickle-shaped’.

“Krang” means “krem or a cave” in Pnar (a dialect spoken in the Jaintia Hills.) and “Suri” means “sickle-shaped weapons.”

Suri in Pnar dialect usually means ‘wolf.’ So a lot of people believed that Krang Suri was a waterfall infested with wolves.

As there has been no proper historical study on the subject, a lot of people still believe the “wolf” stories connected to Krang Suri.

Actually, the word “Suri” is meant to be pronounced as ‘Shuri,’ which refers to the “sickle-shaped weapons”. With this right pronunciation, the wrong believe would probably be clarified.

So, Krang Suri is not a cave for or about the wolves. Instead, it is a cave of ‘Shuri’, or the sickle-shaped weapons.

People usually visit Krang Suri waterfall for its beauty. Once they come to know about the “hidden arsenal” story of the Jaintia kings, the popularity of the destination is going to grow further.

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