Namsai is the headquarters of Namsai district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. This place is one of the 60 constituencies of Arunachal. Picture large paddy fields, gentle rivers and gentler rivulets, sprawling tea plantations, clean wide roads, grand pagodas, massive Buddha statues, traditional bamboo houses, ethnic roadside eateries, charming little markets, handsome men and pretty women.
Built on a plateau overlooking the plains and the Eastern Himalayas, the Kongmu Kham (Golden Pagoda) is one of the most noticeable landmarks as you enter Namsai town through Tengapani on the highway itself. Though the Kongmu Kham has become an iconic symbol of Theravada Buddhism in Eastern Arunachal and probably the most photographed structure in these parts, the pagoda complex and its sprawling lawns were built as recently as 2010. Inside the pagoda is a bronze Buddha statue that was gifted by the chief monk from a wat (temple) in Thailand.
During the first weeks of November, the Kathina Robe Ceremony (Kathina Civara Dhana), a ritual offering of red robes to monks by lay people is a big event at Kongmu Kham, and has in the past attracted monks and visitors from Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar, and a lot of cultural displays by artists from all these countries, along with those of the Khampti artists. This is a good time to visit. Being a high-profile monastery, celebrations of every festival here happen on a relatively grand scale. The Golden Pagoda is located at a distance of 20km from Namsai town on NH15.
Best Places to Visit in Namsai
- WORLD PEACE PAGODA, RIVER ISLAND, CHONGKHAM: The pagoda is situated on a river island in Chongkham, a historic town. This spot is a haven for the mind and is suitable for meditation in front of the Buddha statue that surrounds the vihara’s inner core. Chongkham, located on National Highway 52, is a lovely area to visit. The Tai Khampti Singpho museum, located on the grounds of the Arunachal Pali Vidyapith, is a must-see for those interested in Khampti and Singpho culture and traditions.
2. LATHAO INTERNATIONAL BANA MEDITATION CENTRE, LATHAO: Vipassana, which means “to see things as they truly are,” is one of India’s oldest ancient meditation techniques, and it is practised here. The centre, surrounded by lush woodland and perched atop the Lal Pahad (red hill), provides a tranquil setting excellent for meditation. It also has one of the highest Buddha sculptures in the region. Vipassana is a method of self-transformation based on self-observation of mind and body, which may be immediately experienced via disciplined attention to the physical sensations that create the life of the body and that continually interconnect and shape the life of the mind.
3. EMPONG MONASTERY, EMPONG: The locals regard Empong monastery as a ‘Ti Met’ (holy spot) because the statue erected there is said to have extraordinary abilities. According to legend, a long time ago, an innocuous peasant would occasionally utilise the statue of Lord Buddha as a guard to keep a watch on the rice grains drying in the sun and scare the birds away. When this was done, no birds came near to feast on the rice grains, and the rice stock stayed intact. A visitor to the community spotted this and took it back to the Empong monastery, believing it to be the miraculous functioning of the statue. Every year, hundreds of Belivers gather here to get their wishes granted during the Sangken Festival. Another reason to visit the tranquil village of Empong in the Chongkham circle.
4. MONASTERY, PHANENG: It is said that a sacred book (LEK) is stored in the monastery here and that as the pages are turned, it bleeds. According to legend, a great devotee penned the book with his heart and soul, and as a result, the book became personified, with blood dripping from its pages when turned. To avoid causing it pain, the book is now never opened. People come here to provide cloth covers (OM LEK) for the book and to pray for their desires to be granted with flowers, lit candles, and incense.
5. PARSHURAM KUND: Parshuram Kund is located in the lower levels of the Lohit River. It is a sacred spot where people from all across the country come to take a holy dip on Makar Shankranti. The common belief among the villagers is that a dip in the Kund on a sunny day wipes away one’s sins. According to the Kalika Purana, it was here that the sage Parshuram washed away his matricide guilt. On Makar Shankranti, which falls on the 14th of January every year, religious people and saints go to this Kund.
6. GLOW LAKE: Glow Lake is located in the Lohit district’s Wakro circle. It’s a lovely site, with snow-capped mountains in the background and a plethora of flora and animals around and around the lake. It has an area of around 8 square kilometres and is located about 5000 feet above sea level. The nearest road point is at twam village on the Chongkham-Wakro road, from whence one must begin walking to the lake. Because of the lack of a decent route, journeys to the lake become an adventure. The villages with distant hills in the background, the rivers and their banks, the tea gardens, the huge green fields, the monasteries, and so on are all sights to see, and the friendliness of the local people and their festivals, among other things, must be experienced to be properly appreciated.
- How to By Air:- The nearest airport is Mohanbari (Dibrugarh) in Assam, which is 123 kilometres away from Namsai. Cabs to Namsai may be hired when you arrive at Mohanbari.
- By Train:- The nearest railway station is New Tinsukia Junction in Assam, which is only 79.7 kilometres from Namsai. To go to Namsai, you may use cabs or buses from Tinsukia.
- By Road:- Namsai is well-connected to Assam’s neighbouring towns via road. Namsai has daily day and night bus services to Tinsukia, Guwahati, Siliguri, and Itanagar. Taxis or cabs are also available.