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The Patkai Hills – a range with history

09 Dec,2022 05:43 PM, by: Anushthatri Sharma
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The Patkai range is one of the richest in biodiversity in the world. Patkai is a high mountain located in the easternmost part of our state of Assam and extends to nearby states - Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland as well as border country Myanmar. It is a dense evergreen rainforest. The Patkai is also the source of several rivers in Assam like- Budhidihing and Nadihing. The Nadihing River originally flowed under the name 'Diom' from the confluence of the Mishmi and Patkai Hills. Other rivers originating from the Patkai are the Namphuk, Tirap, and Dibang River. In addition, several other rivers and tributaries originate from the Mishmi Hills of the Patkai range and flow through Arunachal Pradesh to Assam.

The great Patkai is home to several diverse ethnic groups. The first rays of the sun shine through this mountain in our state of Assam.

History of Patkai

The Patkai Hills are one of the most historically famous places in the world. Patkai is one of the mountainous routes of international migration. One of the world's major silk roads from Yunnan Province in China to India from the central and western parts was established across the Patkai. The Stilwell Road (also known as Ledo Road) was built during World War II across Patkai. Patkai is deeply associated with the political history of Assam. Chaolung Sukaphaa, who came from the kingdom of Mongmao in the Yunnan region of China, crossed the Patkai hills and established the Ahom kingdom in Assam. The Mans (Burmese) came to invade the Ahom kingdom through the Patkai. It is through the Patkai Hills that various ethnic groups such as the Singpho, Tangsa, Nakte, and others came from Burma (presently Myanmar) and settled in old Assam. Several small tribal kingdoms were established in the foothills of the Patkai. Assam’s first oil wells and coal mines were discovered at the foothill of the Patkai.

Natural Resources

The Patkai region is known for its biodiversity and natural resources. Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh is world-famous. Snow tigers and coconut tigers are found together in this national park. According to a research paper published by scientists, there are 13 species of earthworms, 5 species of leeches, 430 species of insects, 140 species of butterflies, 76 species of fish, and 25 species of birds in the Namdapha area.

Dehing Patkai National Park situated at the foothills of Patkai Hill Ranges, on the banks of River Dehing, and adjacent to the Namdapha Wildlife Sanctuary, is considered one of the few remaining lowland tropical rainforests in mainland India. It is located in the Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam.

The Ethnic Groups

One of the significant characteristics of Patkai is the diversity of ethnic groups and their folk cultures. The Patkai Hills are home to various minority ethnic groups and have created cultural diversity. Many of the ethnic groups living in this region are unknown to the world. Even we the people of Assam do not know how many diverse ethnic groups live in the Patkai region. Several ethnic groups living in the Patkai region have already lost their languages and traditional culture and customs.

Apart from Nagaland, a large part of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to the Patkai Hills. The Hills are inhabited by the Nagas in Patkai as well as many other tribes in Arunachal Pradesh. The Khampti, Singpho, Tangsa, Tutsa, Nakte, and Wangchu people are the notable tribes of the region. These major tribes also have many sub-tribes. There are 18 sub-ethnic groups of the Tangsa ethnic group. Thus, most of the major ethnic groups have many sub-ethnic groups. Their diversity of society, way of life, and traditional culture that Patkai houses are rare in the world.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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