Thembang living testimony of rich Arunachal history
By Pradeep Kumar , BOMDILA | Nov 23 | : Few centuries-old fortified village Thembang on a hilltop amidst lush green forest , about 42 km from Bomdila in West Kameng district, is the living testimony to rich history of Arunachal Pradesh.
The media team took the serpentine 42-km road from Bomdila to reach Thembang, the lone village in the state, built in 1100 AD as a fort for about 60 villagers that qualified Thembang Dzong to the 55 tentative list of India of United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)‚Ä(TM)s World Heritage site.
The stone-built tall entrance gate of the fort on south and north directions welcome the visitors while proving its life so also the houses built with stone and mud using indigenous technology.
The village exhibits an important interchange of human values on developments in Dzong architecture within Arunachal Pradesh, a region of unique cultural integration in the world; it bears an exceptional testimony to the living cultures ‚Ä" the Bhuatanese, the Tibetans and indigenous Nroth East Indian, including their social structure and practices, rituals and their vernacular building knowledge; it is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement depicting vernacular architecture high up in the mighty eastern Himalayas bordering two significant cultural influences that is known for the Monpa‚Ä(TM)s ingrained sense of responsibility to their environment and their efforts to maintain their natural & cultural heritage resources for posterity, according to Mon Thembang Heritage Committee (MTHC).
Despite unique historical importance of the village no elected leader, including the chief minister, tourism minister, has ever visited the visit except local MLA Phurpa Tsering.
When asked why it has been neglected, Tsering, present Hydropower, Animal Husbandry Minister, said "the village is under the radar of the GoAP, particularly archeological section of the research department but more attention is needed to develop it. That is why the MTHC has been formed for its management and promotion, assist in making the final dossier, under the guidance of research department make the action plan for future development, help in passing prevention law, help amend the existing traditional laws to prohibit activities detrimental to WHS guidelines, specially construction of structures to maintain the monumental heritage and work conscientiously to implement the action plan".
In fact, the journey is tiresome. When the GoAP is trying to tap its huge tourism potential, ropeway could be planned from a spot around 10 km from here like that of 1.2-km Tawang Monastery to Ane Gompa at a charge of Rs 100 for visitors (monks Rs 25) which would facilitate the tourists heading for Tawang to evince keen interest to visit the monument. It was former governor (Gen) J J Singh who had taken the initiative to install state first ropeway in Tawang to promote tourism.
In fact, beside the fortified village, a Buddhist Monastery has been built by the local people at the entrance of the village on a hill top with a motorable road which would be inaugurated on November 25. This would be another tourist attraction.
The team accompanied by Atisha Guest House owner Rinchin Dondoop and contractor Wangchu, both residents of Thembang, were received by ASM Passang Tsering Dirkhipa and local youth T C Atejepu, who apprised that few houses were damaged, few after getting educated shifted leaving the remnants as it is but still 400 inhabitants live in 52 houses there.
Four of the six tribes of the district live in the village who reflected their hospitality when Kupa, a 74-year-old resident invited the team to his wooden floor stone house. He assisted by two elderly women served local brew made from maize.
When asked, interpreted by Dondup, he said that neither he had any fear in living in his house neither he had faced any problem.
The elderly women also treated the media team wit lot of love and affection, undoubtedly a proof why this Himalayan state is known for its rich culture and hospitality.
Housewives and male members were seen busy in domestic chores while children were returning from the nearby Govt residential middle school which is approached from the south gate.
Phurma Lhamu, a class-VII girl student, talking to this editor told that there is not much difficulty in the village as there was a fair weather road, electricity supply and ration was provided by the GoAP. She is the eldest daughter of chowkidar of CO office and has her younger brother reads in class-II while another brother and sister are yet to go to school.
Trader Tashi, who has been running a small grocery shop for the last 29 years, said that he has been meeting the daily necessities of the villagers by procuring from outside market including Bomdila and Dirang.
A half metre tall he goat with very tall horns drew my attention. When asked, Atjepu disclosed that the he goat is unique as the four clans consider it as a reincarnation being the carrier of their gods. They observe a ritual every six-yearly with the help of a priest from outside who chants the original hymns, inherited from generations.
Bomdila Festival showcases importance of environmental protection
From Staff Reporter , BOMDILA | Nov 23 | : With the objective to educate the masses about maintaining the ecological balance, the second of the Bomdila Festival was themed ‚Ä~Environmental protection‚Ä(TM) whose importance was underscored by forest & environment department.
Karmik and adhyamik (chos-rig)department chairman Gambey Wangdi, in his address as chief guest, urged everyone to plant more trees and prevent rampant deforestation. Wangdi said that man must live in harmony with nature or else face her wrath.
There were various games, like tug of war and volleyball to encourage sports enthusiasts. Winners Sajolang and Aka adjudged winner and runners up in volleyball, Sajolang and Monpa (Kalaktang) teams were adjudged winner and runner up while in shotput Sangey Sangchoju and Dorjee Tsering Thongchi were 1st and 2nd respectively were awarded.
The Festival Celebration Committee also felicitated Army‚Ä(TM)s 5 mountain division GOC Maj Gen J Jayashankar for his wholehearted support as festival partner besides senior general manager Mahindra Vijay Kumar, who heading the Mahindra Drive, arrived with 72 tourists on way to Tawang, for his constant support to promote tourism. He has been doing so with the help of tour operator Lhakpa Tsering, also Motorsports Club of Arunachal president. West Kameng DC, also chief adviser of Bomdila Festival was also felicitated by the committee.
In his reciprocation, the GOC thanked the organisers for giving the Army an opportunity to know about the diverse cultures of the district and lauded the peace loving people. He assured the Army‚Ä(TM)s all possible help for the festival.
The troupes of Monpa, Miji (Sajolang), Aka (Hrusso), Sherdukpen, Sartang & Bugun presented colourful cultural programmes reflecting the rich cultural mosaic of this multi-ethnic state.