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Assam

ASSAM

(No special permission required to visit Assam)

Assam, the eastern most state of the Indian sub-continent, extends from 22o19' to 28o16' north Latitude and 89o42' to 96o30' east Longitude between the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas and the Patkai and Naga Ranges. The Kingdom of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh border Assam in the North and East, and along the south lies Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. Meghalaya lies to her South-West, Bengal and Bangladesh to her West. Assam is connected with the rest of the Indian Union by a narrow corridor in West Bengal that runs for 56 km below the foothills of Bhutan and Sikkim.

The population of Assam is a broad racial intermixture of Mongolian, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Iranian and Aryan origin. The tribes of Mongolian origin mostly inhabit the hilly tracks of Assam. This broad racial intermixture is the native of the state of Assam, called their language and the people “Asomiya” or “Assamese”.

According to the last census, the population of Assam is 22 million, 89 percent of which is rural. Assamese-speaking Hindus represent two-thirds of the state’s population and indigenous Tibeto-Burman tribal groups make up another 16 percent of the total. More than 40 percent of Assam’s population is thought to be of migrant origin. The term “Assamese” is often used to refer to those who are citizens of Assam. Native Assamese, Mymenshingy settlers (from Bangladesh) and tea-garden laborers are thus included in this coverage. The term can also be used to describe the indigenous or long-settled inhabitants of this northeastern state. The state has the largest number of tribes within their variety in tradition, culture, dresses, and exotic way of life. Most tribes have their own languages; some of their traditions are so unique and lively that these causes wonder to others. Boro, Kachari, Karbi, Koch-Rajbanshi, Miri, Mishimi and Rabha are also among these tribes exhibiting variety in tradition, culture, dresses, and exotic way of life. Assamese is the principal language of the state and is regarded as the lingua franca of the whole northeast India. The Assamese language is the eastern most member of the Indo-European family. Although scholars trace the history of Assamese literature to the beginning of the second millennium AD, yet an unbroken record of literary history is traceable only from the 14th century AD.

During the six hundred years of rule, the Ahom dynasty managed to keep the kingdom independent from the Mughals, the Muslim invaders of India, before the British, as well as other invaders. The Mughals attacked Assam seventeen times and were repelled each time. The state has the largest number of tribes within their variety in tradition, culture,
dresses, and their own exotic way of life. Most tribes have their own dialects and unique
traditions.

HISTORY
Assam was known as ‘Kamarupa’ or ‘Pragjyotishpura’ in the period of the Epics. Human inhabitation of this area dates back to about 2000 BC. The population of Assam comprises of the migrants from Burma and China. They came into Assam after the mongoloid migration. They came from Punjab through Bihar and North Bengal. Thus Assam presents a fusion of Mongol-Aryan culture. The early history of Assam is believed to be
of the Varman dynasty. The reign of this dynasty extended from 400 AD to 13th century. The visit of Huien Tsang is said to have taken place during the 7th century at the time of Kumar Bhaskar Varman. The Ahoms ventured into Assam in about 1228AD. By 15th century the kingdoms of Ahom and Koch were established. This period witnessed a sea change in all walks of life in Assam. In the later part of the 18th century the Ahom Kingdom was weakened due to internal strife. The Burmese ran over the political authority in Assam thus invoking British intervention to subdue the Burmese. After a
conflict between the Burmese and the English, the treaty of Yandaboo restored peace in 1826. The British then set out to organize the administration, transport and communication. Besides the various changes, the construction of railways, introduction of tea plantation, discovery of coal and oil etc. proved fruitful to the British during the World War II. After Independence of India, Assam witnessed several separations of territories. In 1948, NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh) was separated, in 1963 Nagaland, in 1972 Meghalaya and in 1987 Mizoram.


FESTIVAL OF ASSAM

Bihu
The primary festival of the Assamese is the three Bihus. Intricately connected to agriculture, the celebrations are secular. The first of the three Bihus is Bohag or Rongali Bihu, which marks the advent of spring, and the Assamese New Year, celebrated in mid April. On the eve of Rongali Bihu, the cows are ceremoniously washed with turmeric, tied with new rope and fed with vegetables like brinjals and bottle gourd. Celebrations extend over a week and include exchange of traditional hand woven gamochas (scarves), singing, dancing and merriment. Traditional delicacies are also prepared in every household.

The Magh or Bhogali bihu is celebrated in mid-January, during which the harvest is gathered. Uruka is celebrated on the eve of Magh Bihu, in which temporary shelters (meji) are built of hay and wood to a considerable height resembling a lofty temple on the harvested paddy fields, beside which a bonfire is lit for community feasting to celebrate the harvest. The next morning, the meji is ceremoniously lit. The feasting is followed by sports throughout the day. The half-burnt sticks and ashes of the meji are strewn on the fields and at the root of the fruit trees, as they are believed to increase fertility of the soil.

The Kati or Kangali bihu is known as ‘poor’ bihu and held in the month of Oct-Nov coinciding with the autumnal equinox. The main function associated with this bihu is the worship of the sacred tulsi (basil) plant at the root of which earthen oil lamps are placed. For a whole month lamps are lighted at the foot of the tulsi plant. People pray for a better harvest for the coming year.

ECONOMY
Assam is famous for producing Tea, growing almost 500 million kgs, about 60 % of India’s Production. The British in Assam introduce this plantation. The third largest tea auction center of the world is situated at Guwahati, the capital city in Assam. Agriculture however is the main occupation of 63% of the population, rice being the main crop and the staple diet. Other crops include pulses, jute, sugarcane, potatoes, cotton, oilseeds, coconut, areca nut etc. Agriculture is monsoon dependent and in addition to normal agricultural practices, the tribal population also practices jhum or shifting cultivation. Oranges, lemon, bananas, guavas, pineapple and mangoes are some fruits extensively cultivated. Forest and forest products are important part of the state’s economy, Cane and bamboo being substantial revenue earners. The forests also house some rare species of birds and animals for which there is a tremendous development in tourism of Assam.

INDUSTRY

Assam is also home to oldest refinery in India, the Digboi Refinery having started production in 1901, and played a significant role in Britain war effort during WW II in Burma. A substantial portion of India’s onshore oil assets is in Assam and is being systematically harvested by ONGC and OIL. Assam is also an important producer of silk of different varieties, like eri, pat (Assam silk) and muga (Golden silk). Oil, tea, bamboo and silk are the backbone of the economy here.


Guwahati City: Situated on the banks of the mighty river Brahmaputra, at an altitude of 55 meters above sea level, Guwahati is the junction of three important roads, National Highways 31, 37 and 40. The river Brahmaputra and North Guwahati split it into two parts. The nearest important city is Calcutta (1182 km), while the capitals of the other northeastern states are at distances varying from 110 km to 650 km. The city experiences an annual rainfall of 180 cm (from May to September). While summer temperatures range from 22 to 38C, in winters the mercury ranges from 10 to 25C. The best time to visit this cosmopolitan city is from October to April.

Kamakhya Temple: Over the centuries, Kamrup Kamakhya has been the seat of the powerful tantrik cult in India. Situated atop the Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, it is one of the 108 Shakti Peethas of the country. Rising to a modest height of 562 feet above the mighty river Brahmaputra, the hill on which the temple stands commands a magnificent view of the entire city. Several smaller shrines and temples dedicated to Kala Bhairava, Shiva and other Hindu deities are also located in its vicinity. Legends says that Kamakhya came into existence after the female genitalia of Sati, the Great Mother Goddess, fell when Vishnu started dismembering her body to force her inconsolable husband, Shiva, into performing his divine duties again. Legend has it that King Daksha had organized a sacrificial rite, to which he invited all the deities except Shiva. In fact, Daksha had done it deliberately to insult Shiva. Sati, being the daughter of Daksha, came uninvited. During the ceremony,Daksha began to speak ill of Shiva. Unable to bear the insults heaped on her husband, Sati immolated herself. The meditation of Shiva, who is omnipresent, was disturbed. Furious, he descended on Daksha and his kinsmen and destroyed them. With the dead body of his beloved Sati on his shoulders, he started the dance of destruction (Tandava). In his attempt to calm down Shiva and save the world from ruin, Vishnu sent forth his chakra to cut Sati’s dead body. The reproductive organ of Sati, the yoni, fell at the spot where the temple of Kamakhya stands today. When the yoni of Sati fell on the hill, where the temple stands, the hill turned blue and came to be known as Nilachal (blue mountain). Narakasur, the demon king, gave the name of the place Kamrup Kamakhya. He made Kamakhya his patron deity. Kamdev, the God of Love, with the help of the celestial architect Vishwakarma, built the original temple. Tradition has it that once in every year, the spring waters at Kamakhya turn red and the temple remains brought from near and afar by devotees are soaked in the waters and distributed as prasad (offering).

Sualkuchi village: Assam produces three unique varieties of silks, the Golden Muga, the
White Pat and the warm Eri. Silks grown all over the state find their way to Sualkuchi. Sualkuchi is one of the world’s largest weaving villages. The entire population here is engaged in weaving exquisite silk fabrics. A renowned center of silk production, particularly known for Muga - the golden silk of Assam, which is not, produced anywhere else in the world.

One can distinctly hear the rhythm of the shuttles of the looms as soon as one enters this craft village. Sualkuchi, the biggest village of Assam with a population of around 50,000, is situated on the north bank of the mighty Brahmaputra (35 kms from Guwahati)

Hajo Village: The town of Hajo (35 km west of Guwahati and 20 kms from Sualkuchi) is a sacred place for Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. The town also boasts of the Hayagriba Madhava Temple, accessible via a long stone stairway. Hajo village is renowned for their bell metal work.

KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK
NOT ALL RHINOS
Kaziranga is known all over the world as the home of one-horned rhinoceros - a world heritage site. But Kaziranga is not all about rhinos, it has many other animals, ducks and birds, which visitor can witness as easily as possible either from car or an elephant back.
This easy accessibility to wild life is the secret of Kaziranga’s growing popularity among the wild life lovers and tourists of the world. With its primeval vegetation Kaziranga
presents a view of what Brahmaputra valley must have been like ages ago, before it opened up for cultivation and habitation. Midway between Guwahati and Dibrugarh, two major towns of the state, Kaziranga is almost on the National Highway 37, covering an area of 430 square kilometers. Kaziranga is also a paradise for bird lovers. In the geographical center of Assam, the river Brahmaputra forms the shifting northern border of Kaziranga National Park, one of the gems of Indian wildlife conservation and home to 65% of the world’s population of ‘Rhinoceros unicorns’, the great one-horned Indian rhino. Each monsoon, the Brahmaputra breaches its banks and floods the park, breathing life back in to the parched land and replenishing the 200 ‘bheels’ or shallow lakes with water and fish. Situated on the Brahmaputra River, the Kaziranga National Park (altitude ranges between 40m and 80 m. To the South of the Park, the Karbi Hills rise to about 1,220m) covers an area of about 430 sq. km. Its swamps and grasslands with tall thickets of elephant grass and patches of evergreen forest support the largest number of rhino in the subcontinent. It was an alarming depletion in their numbers, due to hunting and poaching that led to the conservation of this area in 1926. In 1940, Kaziranga was declared a sanctuary. Herds of barasingha and wild buffalo are seen in the marshes. Rhinos browse unconcernedly as the visitors pass by and an occasional herd of elephants or wild boar is also sighted. The grasslands are raptor country and the crested serpent eagle, the Pallas fishing eagle and grey-headed fishing eagle can be seen circling over the marshes. The water-bird variety includes swamp partridge, bar-headed goose, whistling teal, the Bengal florican, storks, herons and even pelicans.

“KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK“ was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1985.

MANAS NATIONAL PARK
Manas, at the base of foot hills of the Bhutan-Himalayas in the state of Assam, with unique biodiversity and landscape is one of the first reserves included in the network of tiger reserve under Project tiger in 1973. It extends over an area of 2837 Sq. Km from Sankosh river in the west to Dhansiri river in the east, with a core area of 500 Sq. Km. of the National park, which declared in 1990. The average elevation of the area is 85 m above mean sea level. The river Manas flows into the national Park from the gorges of Bhutan and split into two major streams of which the main water course comes out of the National Park about 30 km downstream is known as ‘Beki”. The peace and tranquility of
Mothanguri tourists site on the bank of river Manas close to Bhutan is the rarest gift of the nature and in its finest form. A total of 543 species of plants (Pteridophytes and Angiosperms) recorded from the area. Out of which 374 species belong to Dicotylendons and 139 species to Monocotylendons. 60 species of mammals are recorded from the reserve. 21 of them are placed in Schedule 1 categories. Of these 3 are primates, the Capped Langur, the Golden Langur and Slow Loris, while 6 are cats namely Tiger, Black Panther, Leopard Cat, Clouded Leopard, Golden Cat and Fishing Cat. The Binturong, Sloth Bear, Elephant, Indian Bison (Gaur), Sambar, Asiatic water Buffalo, Swamp Deer,
Parti-coloured flying squirrel, Hispid Hare while the pigs comprise of the wild Boar and the Pygmy hog. The Pygmy hog, Hispid hare and Golden Langur are among endemic to this area. The only viable population of the smallest and rarest wild suid, the Pygmy hog, exists in Manas and nowhere else in the world. 312 species of birds are recorded. Out of this 10 are placed in Schedule I category. These are Black crested Baza, Lagger Falcon, Shahin Falcon, Bengal Florican, Pied Hornbill, Great Pied Hornbill, Rufous necked Hornbill and Peacock pheasant.

“MANAS NATIONAL PARK“ was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1985.
NOTE: Guwahati to Barpeta Road is approximately 140 kms and takes three and half hours. It takes further two hours to arrive Mothanguri Forest Lodge in Manas even though it is only 44 kms from Barpeta Road, car can travel only 20 kms an hour. Sighting
of animal in Manas is not so good as in Kaziranga but the diversity of the habitat is very high. Manas is probably a site of what the earth looked like before the arrival of man.


NAMERI NATIONAL PARK

Nameri National Park covering an area of about 200 sq. kms is located at the foothills of eastern Himalayas about 35 km from Tezpur, the nearest town (Tezpur is 200 kms from Guwahati). The park consists of deciduous forests, hills and the river Jia Bhoroli flows through it. Nameri was set up as a sanctuary on 1985 with an area of 137 sq. km. In 1998 it was officially established as a National Park.
Nameri National Park is birder’s paradise and more than 300 species of birds have been identified here - four species of hornbills, an abundance of Mainas, Bee Eaters, Barbets, Babblers, Bulbuls, Plovers, Ibisbills etc. In recent years Nameri has become famous because of the rare and endangered White Winged Wood Duck. The world population is
estimated at around 700. Above 50 of these resident birds are found in the Park. A plethora of reptilian and insect life bare testimony to the immense biodiversity of the area. Assam Roof Turtle, multicouloured butterflies and insects like Lantern fly are a common sight adding colour and charm to the scenery. Nameri is excellent elephant country and ideal habitat for a host of other animals including the tiger. The park is the second Tiger reserve of Assam. It is also home to the Leopard, Bison, Sambar, Hog Deer,
Muntjac, Wild Boar, Wild Dog (Dhole), Sloth Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Capped Langur, Malayan Giant Squirrel, and also the endangered small mammal - the Hispid hare. Traditionally Nameri is known all over for its Golden Mahseer. The snow fed Jia Bhoroli river flows along the southern periphery of the Park adding to the breathtaking scenery. On a clear winter morning one can see the snow capped peaks of Eastern
Himalayas as a backdrop. The Bhoroli record on rod and line is a 24.5 kg (52lb.) golden mahseer. The Forest Department regulates angling and accords permission to angling
members on a select stretch of the river, strictly on a catch, record and release basis. The other sporting species of fish found in the Bhoroli are Saal (Murral), Gorua (Goonch), Korang or Sundarie (Indian Trout) and Boka (Chocolate Mahseer). The best spots for
angling are approached by rubber rafts and the most favourable time for angling is November and February/March.


Eco Camp, which has ten double-bedded Swiss Cottage tents with thatched cover, organizes nature trails through thick jungle and dry riverbeds, accompanied by forest guards along with rafting. These rafting trips, meant for the entire family are essentially enjoyable float trips. Rafters may carry packed lunch and spend time swimming, sunbathing and generally relaxing on the different river islands. Kaziranga National Park can be reached in just 2 hours by road from Eco Camp.


DIBRU-SAIKHOWA NATIONAL PARK

Dibru Saikhowa National Park is the largest national park of Assam, spread over an area of 650 sq. km. It is located about 13 kms north of Tinsukia town and about 515 kms from Guwahati and is bounded by the Brahmaputra river and Arunachal hills in the north and Dibru and Patkai hills on the south. It was declared a wildlife Sanctuary in 1986 by the government of Assam by uniting two Reserve forests, viz., Dibru and Saikhowa including some other areas. It attained National Park status in 1999 restricting its core area to 340 sq. km. with a large buffer zone. Dibru Saikhowa National Park is one of the 19 (nineteen) biodiversity hotspots of the world. It mainly consists of semi wet evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forest, bamboo, canebrakes and grasslands.
Situated in the flood plains of Brahmaputra, at an altitude of 118 m above sea level, Dibru-Saikhowa is a safe haven for many extremely rare and endangered species of wild life including over 300 avifauna both endangered and migratory, as well as various species of shrubs, herbs and rare medicinal plants. It is also home to wild ferral horses.




GIBBON WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is the only sanctuary in India to be named after a non-human primate, Hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock). Hollock Gibbon, the only ape found in the Indian sub continent, requires prime evergreen forest for survival. The Park located 22 km from Jorhat town and 5 km from Mariani town. Total area of the National Park is 1915.06 Hactares.

BIODIVERSITY:
Faunal Composition: Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is the most diverse spot for primates in India. Out of 15 species of Primates in India, seven species of primates are found in Gibbon WLS, and they include: Slow lories, Rhesus macaque, Assamese macaque, Stum-tailed macaque, pigtailed macaque, Capped langur, Hoolock gibbon. The Avian diversity of the sanctuary is also very high and includes the Hornbill, Racket-tailed Drongo, Parakeets, Doves, Pigeons, Owl, Eagles, Kite, Tree pie, Flower peaker, Fly catcher, Kaleej pheasant, Red jungle fowl, Crow pheasant etc. Amongst reptiles Python, Cobra, Monitor lizard and Tortoise, etc. are found in the sanctuary. Floral Composition of the National Park includes - Dipterocarpus macrocarpus (Holong), Aqualaria agolacha (Agaru or Sachi), Terminalia myrocarpa (Halakh), Artocarpus chama (Sam), Michelia champaka (Titachopa), Canarium reiniferum (Dhuna), Lagerstoemia flosreginae (Azar), 8 Garcinia species (Thekera), Sepium buccatum (Selng) and many more. Various species of bamboo, fern, orchids and medicinal plants are also found here.

MAJULI
Majuli is the largest fresh Water mid-river deltoid island in the world. It is situated in the upper reaches of the river Brahmaputra in Assam. This Island, with a population of 1.6 Lakhs, majority being tribal, is endowed with rich heritage and has been the abode of the neo-vashnavite culture. The island is a bio-diversity hotspot and has rich ecology with rare species of flora and fauna.
From the beginning of their settlement in the island the people of Majuli have been facing the challenge of roaring force of nature like river Brahmaputra and have acquired the art of utilizing this mighty force of nature for their benefit. With the advent of Vaishnava saint of Assam the people have made their tiny island a Nerve Center of Assamese Religion, Art, Culture and Education and they have been preserving it as a living culture for the last five hundred years against all challenge of calamities - natural, political and social. This is a unique in this world and deserves recognition. Majuli for the past five centuries has been the cultural capital of Assam. The main depositories of cultural and spiritual heritage are the Sattras, which are just like Gurukul (hermitages) of yore. Here up to 400 celibates' stay for life preserving spiritual and cultural heritage, renouncing worldly desires. From the time of the great Vaishnavite renaissance of 14th and 15th century AD, under Srimanta Sankardeva, Srimanta Madhab Deva and other saints this island became the seat of Vaishnavite religion, art and culture. The famous Satriya Nritya (Dance) and Ankiya Bhaona (Traditional Drama) created by Sankardeva are now Internationally acclaimed and Nationally honoured. Majuli is equally famous for Tribal Folk Culture and Heritage. It is said to be the cradle of Missing and Deori cultures. The ancient Indian "GURU SISHYA PARAMPARA" system of education is prevalent only in the Satra Institutions of Majuli, Assam. The system confines the universal code, humanitarianism, the path of devotion, renunciation, truth, non-violence, well-being of the people, liberation from birth and death, under restrain, charity and compassion. The antique social customs of indigenous Assamese society are in practice only in the Sattras of Majuli in lineage system. In the sattra institutions of Majuli there is ample scope for learning every faculty required for leading a cleansing successful life. "



THE THAI (OR TAI CONNECTIONS)
Throughout Asian History, ethnic politics inevitably set forth images of conflicts between indigenous peoples and the larger migrant group. One such dominant migrant ethnic group, which is found across South, Southeast Asia and China, is the Tais. The Ahoms are an important branch of the Tai people. The Tai-Ahoms entered the Brahmaputra
valley from the east (from Moung Mao in China through the Shan states of Burma) in the early part of the thirteenth century. They established a small kingdom in the easternmost corner having conquered the Morans and the Borahis, two small Mongoloid tribes of that area. By the first half of the sixteenth century, the kingdom had grown in size and number after the conquest of many indigenous communities like the Chutiya kingdom on the northeast, that of the Kacharis in the southwest and the Bhuyan chiefs in the west and northwest. In the seventeenth century, the kingdom was further enlarged by the annexation of Kamrupa - the south most part of the Assam valley. As the Tai-Ahoms came from Muong Mao during first part of the thirteenth century, they might have brought to the Brahmaputra valley a Tai language spoken in the Muong Mao region of the present-day Dehong Dai-Jingpow Autonomous Prefecture in Yunan, China and the nearby areas inside Myanmar. Initially, it was probably advantageous for Siukha-pha (the first Tai migrant to the Assam Valley who later became its ruler) and his followers to keep the Tai language alive, speaking both the Tai & the Assamese languages. The Phakial speakers are scattered in different villages situated on the bank of the river Buridihing. They are Buddhist in religion and this is why they could maintain their separate identity socially and culturally within the sea of Hinduism. Though the Phakials are small in population, they are still maintaining their own individualities, their gorgeous and typical multi coloured costumes, the Phakial language, their customs and tradition.
It has its own separate scripts and has also preserved in a few manuscripts, which are mainly religious scriptures. These manuscripts are written in Tai-scripts, which are preserved in their village Vihars.

NAMPHAKE ( NAMPHAKIAL) VILLAGE
An exotic destination four kilometers away from Naharkatia (65 kms from Dibrugarh) town in Assam. Spread three-odd kilometers along the bank of the Dihing, a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra, the picturesque village has an enticing old-world charm. It is the largest of the Tai-Phake villages in Assam, boasting 70 odd families, which trace their ancestry to the great Tai race. The village folk speak a dialect similar to the language in Thailand and still follow the traditional customs and dress code of the great Tai race. The hamlet is also home to the Namphake Buddhist Monastery, one of the oldest and most respected Buddhist Monasteries in Assam. The villagers live in ‘chang ghars’ - bamboo
and wood houses built on raised platforms and are mostly engaged in agriculture.

The Singphos
The Singphos, a powerful tribe living in the plains and hills of Assam has a glorious story to tell. Of Mongoloid descent, folklore trace their origin to the Singra-boom hills of Tibet from where they migrated in many directions and one such group came and settled in the foothills of Upper Assam, in the Dihing Patkai region. However in the early 19th century, the invasion by the Manns and after the Sadiya Saikhowa battle, most Singphos returned to join other migratory groups in present day Myanmar and the other remaining in what is present day Lohit and Changlang Districts of Arunachal Pradesh and in the region covering Bisagaon, Inthem, Ketong, Khatanpani, Kotha, Ulup, Hassaek village.etc, in the Margherita Sub Division under Tinisukia District of Assam. The story of Tea in Assam is very intricately connected to the Singphos, who knew about its existence and were also drinking it much before its official discovery. It was their King, Bisa Gam who introduced Major Robert Bruce of the Marhatta (Maratha) Regiment of the East India Company to this plant, and on whose initiative, Assam and its story of tea started. It is said that on not being paid royalty, the King ordered the chopping of the plants grown by the new plantation and that resulted in the technique of hedging/pruning of tea bushes.

Physically mongoloid, Singpho men grow their hair long and tie their hair in a topknot, so too their women who decorate their hair with silver chains and married women distinctly tattoo their legs from ankle to their knees. While the womenfolk wear traditional neck pieces earrings and finger rings of their own traditional designs, the men do not wear jewellery albeit they all carry a sheathed dao (sword) with the King’s dao having embedded tiger claws. Their various clans have their own Chief, and they reside in houses on stilts (Chang ghar), usually near a stream. They are meat eater with rice being their staple diet and rice beer and it’s consumption form part of their traditions. Exogamy is practiced in marriage; they do not marry intra clan, preferring to confine marriages to certain clans only. Once a man marries to another clan, it becomes customary for his successors to seek wives from the same lineage. The Singphos are a unique race, steeped in their traditions and belief, and time spend with them is an experience one should not forego.