A scenic small hamlet located picturesquely in a ridge between two high mountainous ranges of the North-Cachar Hills in the tiny north-eastern state of Assam, Jatinga is world famous for a very weird natural phenomenon taking place in the village, not known to be existing anywhere else in the world.
Jatinga is well-known around the world for the uniquely disturbing phenomenon of “Bird suicides”. Yes, you heard it right. The mysterious phenomenon taking place during the late monsoon months of September to November every year witnesses the mass suicide of flocks of migratory as well as local birds. Just after the sun sets in the village, hundreds of birds descend from the sky, directly moving towards any source of light thus plummeting to their deaths. Most of these birds die and many get severely injured.
As birds are not known to be suicidal in nature, this strange “Jatinga phenomenon” has garnered a lot of attention from ornithologists and nature scientists around the world. This strange incident has managed to baffle its local residents as well as tourists through all these years. Although, historically it was believed that this was due to some evil spirits, which was obviously never the case, now the local villagers believe that these incidents are a blessing for them from God, which does make a point as this “bird mystery” attracts thousands of tourists from around the world into this otherwise unknown village which has now become the main source of livelihood for its residents.
If you are keen in beholding this strange natural mystery from your own eyes, the best time to visit Jatinga would be from September to November, when the famous “Jatinga festival” is observed in the village especially meant for the tourists. And, when you are in Jatinga, you would definitely need to satiate your gastronomic cravings with the mouth-watering delicacies prepared by the local villagers out of the freshly killed suicidal birds.
How to reach: The Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati which is approximately 350 kilometres from the village, is well connected to various parts of the country. The nearest railway station is the Lumding Junction which is at a distance of 140 kilometres from the village. The Guwahati railway station is an important terminus well connected to various towns and cities in the country. Buses run by the state government or private agencies are easily available from Guwahati to Jatinga. But tourists generally prefer to stay in Haflong, a beautiful hill station near Jatinga and arrange for day-trips to Jatinga from Haflong by auto-rickshaws.
Where to stay: There is a government-run bird observatory in Jatinga which provides accommodation on a prior booking. Tourists also prefer to stay in Haflong or Silchar which have a number of hotels in various budgets, and pay day trips to the Jatinga village.