West Siang

West Siang District with its HQ at Along, bounded on the North by China, on the East by Upper Siang & East Siang districts, on the South by Assam and on the West by Upper Subansiri & Lower Subansiri districts of Arunachal Pradesh, the homeland of various tribes like Galo, Minyong, Bori, Bokar, Pailibo, Ramos, Membas & Khambas forms a natural abode for very many species of orchids, diverse flora & fauna endowed with a dense vegetation, and a wide range of climatic and geographical variations, the district enjoys a moderate and comfortable climate.

The West Siang District derives its name from ever-cascading Siang river (Siang Ane) under whose fertile valleys and plains the tribal civilization and culture flourished from the time immemorial. The West Siang District located in the central part of Arunachal Pradesh extends between 93.57 to 95.23 East longitude and 27.69 to 29.20 North longitude. It is bounded on the North by China, on the East by East Siang and Upper Siang districts, on the South by North Lakhimpur district of Assam on the West by Upper Subansiri and Lower Subansiri districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

The history of the formation of this district as separate administrative unit dates back to the year 1914, when undivided Siang was a part of the administrative division called Central and Eastern Sections, North East Frontier Track. In 1919, this was re-designated as Sadiya Frontier Track, which was, in 1948, bifurcated into administrative charges called Abor Hill District and Mishmi Hill District.

In 1954, the Abor Hill District came to be known as the Siang Frontier Division, which in turn was renamed as the Siang District in 1965. Under the provision of the Arunachal Pradesh (Reorganisation of the district) Act No. 3 of 1980 coming into force from June, 1, 1980, the district of West Siang came out as a separate administrative unit under the charge of a Deputy Commissioner. The West Siang district was an unknown land and people lived in isolation during the British rule. It was difficult in the pre-independence days to have access to the interior areas of the present West Siang district mainly due to the lack of communication. The people of the district lived in their scattered hilly abodes in isolation for generations, depending primarily on a sustenance nature of cultivation called Jhum. They exchanged their bare necessities of life through barter trade. The socio-economic and political development dawned in this region only after Independence

Topography of the district is mountainous. Northern part of it falls within higher mountain zone consisting a mass of tangle peaks and valleys. The foothill range which lies in Southern part have hills of low altitude. The district is divided into 4 regions on the basis of physiography viz., Likabali-Gensi Region, Tirbin-Basar Region, Lower Siyom River Basin Regionand Upper Siyom River Basin Region. The rocky and high hills and mountains with beautiful green valleys decked with wooded forest and drained by innumerable rivulets and mighty rivers flowing from upper elevations presents a splendid view of scenic beauties and diversities.

Due to mountainous terrains, the climate vary from place to place depending upon the elevation and no generalization can be made on it. The year can be divided into four seasons. The Winter season starts from December to February, pre-monsoon season from March to May, the South-West monsoon season from June to September and post-monsoon on transition period during October and November.



PLACES OF INTEREST

Malinithan: Among all the archaeological sites in Arunachal Pradesh, Malinithan, a place of high sanctity, is the most ornamental and sublime. Set on a mound of about 60 metres high, overlooking the vast stretch of the Brahmaputra Valley, Malinithan is situated near the Assam-Arunachal border at a point where the plains end and the hills begin. It is only one kilometre east of of the circle headquarter Likabali and about 8 Km from Silapathar in Assam. Linked by road and rail communications Malinithan is easily approachable.

Like many other sacred places in the north-eastern region, Malinithan is also associated with the Krishna legends. According to the tradition, Krishna and Rukmini, daughter of King Bhishmak, took a rest at this place on their way to Dwaraka from Bhishmaknagar. They were received cordially by Siva and his consort Durga (Parvati) as guests. Durga garlanded them with choicest flowers. At this, Krishna, in prais, addressed her as Malini (mistress of the garden). Since then, the place ceme to be known as Malinithan or Malinisthan - the seat of Malini.

Relics of stone images of Malinithan littered all over the mound came to notice from the early twenties of the present century. In course of a series of excavations beginning from 1968 and ending in 1971, ruins of temples and valuable sculptures were unearthed at this site. Beautifully designed and decorated basement of a temple, divine images, icons of Hindu deities, fine sculptures with animal motifs and floral designs, broken columns and panels with carvings were among the huge mass of stony remains, which were dug out as if from a buried treasure.

The fame of Malinithan as a holy place must have spread far and wide in early times. It is still a place of worship, and draws a large number of visitors and pilgrims.

Akashiganga: On the way to Along from Likabali, there exists a sacred place, about 25 km from the nearest railhead at Silapathar in Assam, hallowed as Akashiganga. The name Akashiganga is suggestive of a water channel in the hill. It is believed that the this place is associated with the legend narrated in the Kalika Purana (8th Century A.D.) that where the corpse of Sati (Parvati) was cut into pieces by Vishnu with his discus at the refusal of Siva to part away with it, her head fell somewhere near Akashiganga. the place is, therefore, held high in esteem as a pithasthan where the devoted Hindus on pilgrimage take a holy dip in a nearby water-pool formed by the falls. The place provides a magnificent bird's eye view of the river Brahmaputra glimmering far below.

Gompa at Mechuka: The Gompa at Mechuka is one of the oldest monasteries called Samten Yongcha of Mehayana sect located at a hilltop in the western most part of Mechuka, a place of tourist interest in the district of West Siang. This Gompa as per oral history of Membas is a contemporary of the great Tawang monastery.