Jowai (IPA: ʤəʊˈwaɪ) is the headquarters of West Jaintia Hills District of the state of Meghalaya, India and is home to the Pnar tribe. It is a scenic place located on a plateau surrounded on three sides by the Myntdu River bordering Bangladesh to the south (about 50 km from the Indo-Bangladesh border). Due to its high altitude of 1380 m above sea level, Jowai experiences warm and pleasant summers with cool to chilly winters.
Jowai is an important business and education hub of the entire district catering to students from all over the district as well as the adjacent parts of Assam and Bangladesh. It is well equipped with amenities such as schools, colleges, hospitals, post office etc.
Jowai is well connected by roadways to Shillong which is 60 km away. The city of Jowai lies on the National Highway 44(NH 44) which connects Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and parts of Manipur, specifically Lamka (Churachandpur), where the Highway NH 44 is sole link to it.
There are a few buses that ply through this route but are overcrowded with people and goods. The most popular and convenient mode of transport in the district is the Tata Sumo and the Tata Indica that function on a shared passenger basis. The cost for travelling from Shillong to Jowai by either a Tata Sumo or Tata Indica is र80 with a fairly good frequency all through the day.
There is no rail or air link in the district. The nearest and convenient air and rail head serving most destinations is in Guwahati, Assam, about 160 km away. Shillong, the capital city, has a small airport serving limited flights to Kolkata only.
The town does not have much to offer as most of the tourist spots lie a few distances away from town, except for the buzzing market area "Iaw Musiang", one of the oldest in the district. Other attractions include:
- Syntu Ksiar - A must see destination - A valley well irrigated by the Myntdu River. 'Madan Madiah' or 'Uncle's Ground" situated in the valley, is of historical value as it was the site for the rise of the freedom struggle. Today, the ground holds A monument of Kiang Nangbah, a fearless fighter of the hill people.
- Tyrchi Falls - A waterfall located at approximately 8 KM from the heart of Jowai.
- Jowai Presbyterian Church - The oldest church in Jaintia Hills built by the Welsh Presbyterian Mission around 150 years ago, is located within the precincts of town. It is one of the few structures that still retain the British form of architecture.
- Thadlaskein Lake - A popular tourist spot which was dug by Sajar Nangli a follower of the erstwhile Jaintia King.
- Ialong Park - Although lesser known, the ecological park has much to offer nature lovers. A picturesque view of the pynthor wah valley of the Myntdu river can be seen from this park.
- Nartiang Monoliths - The biggest collection of monoliths or Megalithic stones in one single area is found in the north of the Nartiang market.