Ep 9 Dirang to Shergaon | Thembang Heritage Village | Arunachal Pradesh Tawang Tour

Ep 9 Dirang to Shergaon | Thembang Heritage Village | Arunachal Pradesh Tawang Tour

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See, we are standing here, watching these nearby houses. Yes Sir. These houses seem like very, very old. I don't know how old though.

Yes sir. So, tell me since when do people live in this village? Yes Sir. this village is about a 1000 years old. 1000 year old village! Really! Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore. This is your host, Harish Bali.

We are in Dirang right now. We reached here last night at 8.30 pm. This is where we've booked ourselves an accommodation. This hotel is called 'Snow Lion.' We paid Rs 1600 room tariff on double occupancy.

Our stay here was comfortable. Now we are going to Dirang Dzong. This journey is 5 KM long. After that we will visit Thembang village.

It is an old village. From there we will go to Bomdila. By the way, you can also go straight to Bomdila, which is just 40 KM away. Today, we plan to spend the night either in Bomdila Or at a nearby hotel or homestay. The weather here isn't as cold as in Tawang because of the lower altitude.

Dirang receives a good number of tourists. To be honest, Dirang receives more tourists than Tawang and Bomdila. Because it isn't as cold and tourists coming from Guwahati.... ...prefer to spend the night here. They come here, go to Tawang from here. On their return, they stay here again and then proceed back to Guwahati.

Great! Let us got to Dirang Dzong. We are near the Dirang entry point. I've told you already, we are here to visit Dirang Dzong. Right now, we have two other persons with us. One is Karchung Bhai.

We had stayed at his homestay 4 days ago and we met here incidentally. And the other person is Lopsung Ji, the local ZPM (Zilla Parishad Member). It was nice to come across you here. Lopsen ji, you are a local resident of this place. What is the meaning of Dirang Dzong? Dzong actually could be called a 'fort' or an 'administration block.' We will show it to you after we climb these stairs to reach the top.

Right there? Yes! Let us go there. Sure let's go. Where do you live? Sir, this is my house. I live right here in the town. This area is called Dirang Basti? Dirang Basti! If you go 5 KM from here, you will reach Dirang market or Bazar. And actual Dirang is this, Dirang Basti. The market came later on.

This area was known as Dirang in the old times. What would be the approximate population of Dirang? Of Basti? Yes! The approximate population of Basti would be above 3000. That is the number as per the last Census. All these houses are made of stones and these look to be quite old. Yes these houses are quite old.

These are made with just clay, stones and the floors are wooden. Wooden planks! The roofs, which are made of tin now, used to be made with bamboo earlier. The roof! These days, bamboo is in shortage. And transport has become easier too.

Since the cars came, bringing tin here wasn't an issue. This is Gompa? This is a Gompa and you will find it where there is a Buddhist belt. The Dzong is behind it and its renovation is going on.

It is quit ancient. During the early days, all the major decisions of the community were taken here. During the Tibetan rule, about 600-700 years ago, any decision regarding.... any public punishment or any other work used to be taken inside this building. There used to be a basement in this building, where the prisoners were kept. The structure that you see here is the original 600-700 years old structure.

I've heard that there was a single source of air passage in this jail? You can see this breach in the wall here and there. During those times, the basement was used as a jail. So, anyone who was punished was incarcerated here. Only one air passage? Yes, only one! And it is the original one? Yes, it is the original air passage created at that time. There is a bit of maintenance going on but all this is original.

Is this the house? Look at this! You know this is an old structure right at the entry. Yes, yes! It is quite old. So, it is made like this, you can see this is a wooden lock.

Since there were no iron nails in those times.... ...wooden locks like these were created to keep the stones in place. Namaste! This is my sister's place. Alright. Very nice! So, what is it that you're doing here? This is the traditional dress for our women. She is weaving the cloth, which will later be stitched into a dress.

So, everyone makes their own dress at home like this? Yes, they can, but most of the ladies don't make it these days in cities. But there are many in villages who still do this work. Didi, tell me how many days will it take for this dress to be completed? About a week. A week! Yes! You are a local, so tell me, people have been living here for the past 200-300 years? She was born here. So were her parents. You talked about the '62 war a short while ago, these houses were already there at that time.

Generations of villagers have been living here now. People are born here and they spend their entire lives here. So, what is your main occupation? This or farming? Farming! It was nice talking to you Didi! Thank you! These are the kids of our village. We have a traditional dance form called 'Chham.' Also known as 'Ajilamo dance.' So, they are practicing the same right now. You guys can watch them practice.

Nice! (Music) Right! Very good! Excellent! Very good! All of you, come to this side. Lobsen ji, please tell me about this mask and this dance form. Actually, this dance form tells you a story. The dance steps are based upon a particular story.

We call it Ajilamo dance. Azilamo Dance! Is there a local festival where such dance performances are organized? Yes, we have events like the Losar Festival where traditional dances are performed. Apart from Ajilamo dance, we present Yak dance and Singhe (Lion) dance too. Right now they are practicing these dance. When they will perform at the festival, you will get to see them in a better form.

In which month? Our Losar festival takes place during February-March. One thing I have to admit, the kids were enjoying the dance very much. One thing is just practicing... They are self-interested in practicing. They were dancing with such joy on their faces! It felt good to watch them Very nice! We've got some notebooks, which I will give you. Where are those? Here! Will you please help? Just open this packet.

Give it to all children. Here you go. Are there more kids here? Here, take one! This is a cutter, this is rubber (eraser).

Notebook! Very good! eraser! Thank you! Take this chocolate. Thank you! Study well. Thank you Lobsen ji, for spending time with us.

And Karchung ji, it was a pleasure meeting you here. We wouldn't have been able to meet him if not for you. It was a pleasure meeting you as well. You will show our village, our kids, to lot of people will get to know about us. Everyone will feel nice knowing about you.

A special thanks to your channel. So nice! Tell me one thing, is that corn hanging in that house? Is it a common practice here? Yes, this way maize is dried and then it is grinded in a millstone. They will make maize flour form it. Maize is quite popular here, right? Yes! Thank you so much! Let us click a group photo with kids before we leave. We've reached the entry gate of Thimbang. When we left Dirang, we bypassed Munna camp, and came straight to Bomdila.

Bomdila was just 10 KM from there. So, we took a U-turn and travelled 12 KM inroad from Munna Camp. This is the narrow road that we took to reach here. Not 12 but 14 KM. After 14 KM of journey, we are standing at this entry gate. If we go further from here, we will reach the Thembang Heritage Village.

A lot of people had suggested that we must visit here . And looking at this weather, a heavy shower seems likely to occur in another 15 minutes. A light drizzle is already on. Nice! Let us go towards the village. We've met Mr. Kunzang here. Hello! Tell me one thing, can we drive our car upto the place that we've come to visit.

No! You'll have to climb footsteps. Where do we have to go exactly? In that direction. There! Yes! Nice! What is this nicely built building? Is it a house? This is a homestay. It will become operational in a few days. Great! Shall we go? We've reached inside the fort. Why is it called a fort? These are all houses and nothing looks like a traditional fort.

During the 16th century, all this was located within the four walls of a fort. The fort walls have dissipated over the centuries. So, now only entrance gate and a few portions of the wall are left. One can see the surrounding walls in between. We are inside the village. Here, we've met his sister too.

Yes Sir! Your good name? Shringlamu Dirkipa. Can you repeat it please? Shringlamu Dirkipa.. Shringlamu Dirkipa. Great! Tell me how old is this village. Yes Sir! This village is 1000 years old.

1000 year old village!!! Really! That is great! Now, we had told them that we would like to have lunch first. Then we would visit the village since the time is 2.30 pm already. So, shall we eat lunch first? Yes Sir, sure. Great! So, is that your home? Yes Sir! Let's go then.

Lamu, it is such a nice thing that you've prepared so much for us at a short notice. Namaste ji! There is dal as well! Very nice! Very good! Red rice! Yes sir, red rice. This is Chhurpi. Yes Sir.

What is it called, we ate it in Bomdila once, it was cooked with rice noodle? We call it boiled vegetables sir. Fenny, or something like that. Fin, fin! Fin.

Fin chhurpi. Fin chhurpi, yes! Have you had lunch? I've had lunch Sir. Red rice is more popular in Tawang as well as in this district. Yes Sir. Isn't it so? Yes Sir.

It is more famous in this region. We prefer red rice over other varieties. Chapati is not a part of your daily diet? No Sir. We eat only rice. Tell me what dish is this? This is mushroom Sir.

Mushroom? Yes Sir. Quite a different mushroom! Yes Sir, it is a local variety. It was harvested in the forest yesterday. Really!! And I cooked it today. So, it grows itself? Yes Sir! Lovely! Chhurpi is quite common here. You must be eating Chhurpi at least once daily? I mean whoever I ask here....

We eat it thrice a day! Oh God! I can't believe this. I asked you once daily and you said you eat it thrice daily!!! Yes Sir! Since we don't eat roti (flatbread) here because we need energy for farming. Because roti quenches hunger only for a short while. One feels hungry again after that.

I am most excited to taste this mushroom since you told me it has come from the forest. First let me tell you, at my home, mushroom is frequently cooked. At least once in a week! But this doesn't taste like mushroom at all. This is a completely different thing.

Nice! Let me tell you that I've had Chhurpi earlier on many occasions. The main thing that I like in this one, apart from the rice noodles, is.... ...that it is very soft. Is it this soft because it is freshly made? Yes Sir! This Chhurpi must be soft because it is made a few days ago. Yes Sir, it was made this morning.

It's fresh! Here, I came to know that people store chhurpi for upto 6 months' time. Am I wrong? No Sir, we can store Chhurpi for upto a year too. For upto one year! Oh My God! What is this? Sir, these are fresh ingredients. Mushrooms! You brought all this just to show us!!! Can I take a closer look? So, this one is dried mushroom. Yes Sir, this is dried. And that one? This is fresh mushroom.

Fresh mushroom! And this? This is one of our local vegetables Sir. Kopimo! It is called Kopi. It makes a delicious curry. You cook it? Yes, we do. I will join you again after finishing this food. So, are we going to visit the inside of any of these houses? Yes sir! This one? Yes Sir, this is the one! Okay! The family is inside, so let us go in Sir.

Let's go. Namaste! These people are habitual of living like this, with stove (chulha) in the same room. Unlike our homes, where chulha is in a separate room.... ..these homes had everything in the same room. Modern homes have kitchen, bedroom and other rooms separate but in these houses.... ...the kitchen and bedroom is all in a single space. Even I am noticing that in a single room, there is a chulha on which food is being cooked.

And this is where they sleep as well. There is no other vent for this smoke, except for this one. Yes Sir! Can you ask them what they are cooking? (Talking in local language) They are making tea right now.

They're making tea. Yes sir, tea! Do they use these utensils even today? Yes Sir, these are used to store our local wine. You also told me about some rituals happening the village right now.

Yes Sir, we will go and see those. Sir, he is the elder most priest in our village. Namaste ji! Let me introduce you to him. (Speaking local language) So, this pooja that you were doing here, is it done yearly, weekly, what is its periodicity? This pooja happens once every six years Sir. There are different periodicities according to different ethnic groups.

For example, for the Bara Jaat people, this pooja took place two months ago. And for our community, the pooja took place today. Alright, you mean the pooja takes place as per the caste. So, all of you are now drinking after the pooja.

Which drink is this? Sir, it is upto your choice. Every liquor is branded here. Like during the pooja, ladies will bring branded drinks for us. These days, nobody actually drinks here. Somebody would take warm water. Somebody might have beer.

This is a local drink called Rokshi. Wine? Yes, it is locally made. It is known as 'Mahua' in other localities, something like that. Yes, I saw it down there.

So, basically, you all drink wine after the pooja is over. This is prasad (religious offering) Sir. This is paneer (cottage cheese), basically. But this paneer would be different from what you get elsewhere in the region.

Sir, after the milk is collected, it is boiled. Then, we add something sour to it. So, that is how paneer is made and that paneer is used as a prasad. Can you give me half of this local drink? Sir, we cannot do that. We have to serve the full glass to our guests. Excuse me Sir, if you come to a function of ours as a guest,....

...we will hold you down and force you to drink the whole mug. Yes Sir, you will have to drink it all. Let me tell you, I feel that if I drink two of these..... ...that would be enough to intoxicate me. Yes Sir, absolutely! A bit Sir.

A little bit, but yes. Yes Sir, if you aren't habitual, that is. But this drink is a hard one, not a light one. I've just had two sips and I already feel it hitting me in the throat. No Sir, don't worry. No, may be because this is my first time.

Right. We will finish it and move outside. And thanks to all of you! Sir, it is a good thing that you came here on such an auspicious day. We also felt happy that you came here. I feel happy too about it.

So nice! Okay then, thank you everyone! We walked down those stairs from the gate. The building in front of us, is a homestay, right? Yes Sir, it is a homestay. This is a homestay. On this side too. So, you have two homestays facing each other. Yes Sir.

One was that which was being constructed near the school. Yes, and there another one in between here and there. Total 4 homestays? Great! Thanks, I had a good time with both of you in this village. Sir, it was a pleasure for us as well.

You guys do well. You should study and you are already doing farming. Thanks! Okay bye-bye! We've reached Shergaon. It took us 2.5 hours to reach here from Thembang. On our way, we took a 10-minutes tea break at Rupa.

Right now, I am with the homestay owner. The name of this place is Lopon Homestay. Great! She has told me that there are 3 rooms in this homestay. But they rent out the 3 rooms to a single family. If that family rents two rooms, the third one is kept empty.

This is their arrangement here. We've booked two rooms here at Rs 1200 tariff on double occupancy basis. And as you told me, this homestay started operating about a month & a half ago.

We've been travelling in this circuit for the past 11-12 days. Tomorrow, we will return. Tell me one thing.

I've seen in Tawang and Dirang that people don't have sur names. If I take an example of my name, I am Harish Bali. My first name is Harish and Bali is my surname. But here, both are first names.

How is it in your town? Surname comes after the name. I belong to Dirang. So, even I don't have a surname. My name is Rinchin Lamu. It was after my marriage that I started using a surname. What's your name now? Rinchin Lamu and! After that, you use the surname of your husband's family? So, it is the different aspect that there isn't any surname in Dirang & Tawang but....

..here you have surname. Yes! My name is Rinchin Lamu and I belong to Dirang Sir. I've understood. There is one more thing that I tried to understand during my interactions. I tried to understand it in Tawang as well as in Dirang. People who die here, some of them could have their last wish that.....

...after my death, my body should be divided into 108 pieces. And all those pieces should be put into a river. Someone else could wish that after death, they should be kept in a coffin and.... ...that coffin should be kept on top of a mountain. In that case, vultures, crows etc would feed upon the dead body. And the body should be kept in a way that it faces towards the monastery.

Some people wish for being burnt on a wood fire after death, just like cremation. That is what I've understood from my interaction. And the wish about 108 pieces is quite common in this region? It isn't rare, it is a common last wish. Quite an awkward question but I am just trying to understand What is the scenario here? Here, most of the bodies are cremated these days. Cremation! That is another difference between two regions.

One more thing that became known to me is the absence of non-vegetarian food... ...in Tawang and Dirang. Whatever non-vegetarian food goes, it is procured from outside. Yes! Yes, there isn't non-veg food locally available.

There isn't Sir. It is prohibited in Tawang and Dirang side. Yes Sir! Animal Slaughter is completely banned. Yes, it is banned Sir. But that isn't the case here. No, here isn't any ban.

Here as well as in Bomdila, I think? Yes, that is right. Great! These were a couple of facts that I found out in my journey so far. ...and I was curious to find out more about the same. That is good then. As for our tomorrow's plan, she has shown us this brochure. This brochure has information on places to visit in Shergaon.

And I feel that though we have only half a day available for Shergaon.... ...because of my torn ligament, I don't want to stay here for a longer duration. I want to get to Delhi and consult a Doctor. So, I will be here for the half day tomorrow. But when I asker her how much time would be enough to visit Shergaon.... ...she said, at least 2 days. Now, I don't have two days, but I will try to do my best with the half day tomorrow.

Later on, we want to go to the Chillipam monastery. That is what it is called? Yes, Chillipam. It is about half hour's drive up from Rupa. Afterwards, we will go to Bhalukpong via Tenga valley. We will try to spend tomorrow night in Tezpur.

Our journey will end there. Bhalukpong is in Assam. And before that is Arunachal Pradesh. While coming here, we had travelled via Shergaon route to go to Bomdila.

Now, we are taking the Bhalukpong route for our return journey. These are two routes to come to Arunachal Pradesh. Right? Very nice! That is it for today. Bye-bye! Thanks for your time! The best thing I can see from here is the clear river water.

Even from here, I can see deep into the water clearly. Such clear visibility into the water, from both the points.

2022-06-26 18:38

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