Explores the untouched beauty and wilderness of Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh
Nature and Landscapes
Less explored but the most fascinating district of Arunachal Pradesh is West Siang, which can be packaged for adventure sports with its lush green forests, deep river valleys, and beautiful plateau. Skirted by the Slang river, it is a land of song and colorful dance, of hard, eager work, fine spinning and weaving.
The district is spread over 8,325 sq km touching Mac Mohan line with China in the north and East and Upper Siang districts in the east. It touches Dhemaji district of Assam in the south and Upper Subansiri district in the West.
The district was carved out on May 30, 1980, when the erstwhile Slang district was bifurcated. Its indigenous tribes are Adis and Membas. The Adis are divided into six sub-tribes, namely Gab, Minyong, Bori, Bokar, Pailibos, and Ramos. The Adis worship the Sun and Moon God called Donyi-Polo. Being agriculturists, most religious rites of Adis coincide with farming cycles and culminate in some kind of sacrifice. The social and cultural life of the Adis is vividly reflected in their songs, dances, and festivities. A team of young girls performs the rhythmic ponu dance. The leader is called ponu nyibo.
Mopin is the main festival of the Galo sub-community which is supposed to be the most colorful in Arunachal Pradesh. This festival is celebrated to get rid of natural calamities, disease, effects of evil spirits and for a good harvest, health and prosperity. Applying rice powder (iti) to one another’s face is the special feature of the Mopin festivals. Soiling festival is celebrated by the Minyong community in September. Other places that can be promoted to attract visitors are Malinithan and Mechuka.
Situated in the foothills of West Siang district adjoining Assam, Malinithan is a site of rich granite and sculptures belonging to the 14-15th century. Ruins of a big temple and sculptures of Indira, Airabata, Surya and Nandi Bull have been excavated at the site. Legend has it that Lord Krishna, after eloping with Rukmini, came here to relax with his bride. They visited the local temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati, who blessed the couple with a garland of flowers. It was also here that Krishna rechristened her as Malini. Hence, the name Malinithan — the abode of Malini.
Mechukha, which is known as the Switzerland of Arunachal Pradesh, is situated 1,890 m north of the district close to the Mac Mohan line. It is fringed by lofty mountains and snowcapped mountains of Eastern Himalayas. Tourists can soak in its salubrious climate, Buddhist gompas and hospitality. It is a good pick-up zone for traditional handicrafts, carpets, wood-carvings and scroll paintings.
HOW TO REACH The district headquarters of West Siang district is situated at the confluence of Siyom and Sipu rivers, ideal for white-water sports, angling, picnic, trekking, and hiking.
BY AIR Nearest airport is Mohanbari (Dibrugarh), Assam.
BY RAIL Nearest rail head is Silapather (Assam).
BY ROAD Buses/Sumo taxis ply from Itanagar, Pasighat, Likabali, Daporijo, Yingkiong. Road to some important places is: Pasighat (105 km), Likabali (147 km), Daporijo (178 km), Yinkiong (180 km), Naharlagun (321 km), ltanagar (331 km).
BY FERRY Dibrugarh to Sonarighat via Likabali