The Tai-Khampti of Lohit. Arunachal Pradesh, INDIA. By:- Chow Bilaseng Namchoom

On the trail to the Land of Golden Pagoda

     ‘Unity in diversity’. It is not just another phrase or quotation. These words are highly prudent in a state like Arunachal Pradesh that is incredibly rich and vast in culture and heritage. A few quotations or statements cannot describe the pedestal that Arunachal stands on in the world map because of its colourful and unique cultures.
     The most fascinating treasure trove of the North East, Arunachal has always been famous for its traditions and hospitality. It is acknowledged to be one of the most splendid, variegated and multilingual tribal areas of the world. 
     The state has now started gaining acclaim as one of the world’s biodiversity heritage spots. It is the most picturesque tourist destination in India with its numerous turbulent streams, roaring rivers, deep gorges, lofty mountains, snow-clad peaks, thousands of species of flora and fauna and an endless variation of scenic beauty.
     The various dialects spoken in Arunachal Pradesh are Adi, Aka, Apatani, Nyishi, Nishing, Miji, Gallong, Nocte, Wancho, Tagin, Hill Miri, Idu Mishmi, Miju Mishmi, Digaru Mishmi, Monpa, Tangsa, Khampti, Sherdukpen besides many more. The warmth in the relations and euphoria in celebrations make the state stand out distinctively in the panorama of the world. The cuisines, festivals, music, and literature, everything is special in this ‘Land of Unexplored Paradise’.
     Of the 26 major tribes, the Tai-Khampti inhabits the district of Lohit, and smaller populations of the tribe also live in parts of Assam as well as East Siang district. The word ‘Khampti’ means ‘a land full of gold’ (Khamp: gold; Ti: place).
     The Tai-Khampti have a distinct, rich and unparalleled cultural heritage which has till now remained unexplored in its totality. The community, as a matter of fact, is greatly orthodox and all its socio-cultural activities are religious. The Khampti offer prayers to Lord Buddha, meaning thereby that they believe in the existence of God, worshipping Lord Buddha whom the Hindus recognize as the 10th incarnation of God. The form of Buddhism practiced by the Khampti may be termed a progressive form of Buddhism.

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