In physical beauty the Khasi women excel their sisters both in the hills and the plains. Their complexion is a golden yellow and their soft smooth features have a Polynesian touch. As has already been indicated, ethnologically, the Khasis are different from the other hill-tribes of Assam. While the latter are supposed to have migrated from the North-East, the Khasis came from the South East. Their Mon-Khmer speech is still spoken in Cambodia and Pegu and anthropologists have noticed some common customs and habits among the Khasis and Malayasians.
According to their legends, the original habitat of the Garos was Tibet, but legends apart, the Garos belong to the stock called Tibeto-Burman and they have close affinities with the tribal races inhabiting the plains of Assam, North Cachar Hills and parts of Tripura. Grierson, in his Linguistic Survey of India, encadres the languages of all these tribes under a single group called Bodo. The Garos have the strongest resemblances, linguistically and physically, to the Kacharis. In fact the resemblances are so strong that they have led Major Playfair in his monograph on the Garos to conclude that these two peoples originally constituted one, subsequently separating themselves, the Kacharis spreading over the north and the Garos over the south bank of the Brahmaputra.
The origin of the Mikirs is obscure. It is not impossible that they are autocthons. Of the tribes of the North Cachar Hills, the Zemis came from the Naga Hills. They are a sub-tribe of the Kachha-Nagas, who again are a branch of the Angamis, whose men are noted for their physical vigor and manly beauty. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Zemi buck is generally a fine specimen of youthful, masculine attractiveness. The Dimasas are a branch of the Kacharis who ruled over Upper Assam until they were driven out by the Ahoms in the beginning of the sixteenth century. The Kukis came to the North-Cachar Hills in two waves from the Mizo Hills from where they were ousted by the more vigorous Lushais, who in their turn had migrated from the Chin Hills of Burma.
As regards their domestic life, customs and beliefs, although a somewhat common pattern runs through all the hill-tribes, there are strong local variations.