Unseen Arunachal

Apa Tani priests wear special woollen patchwork cloaks with fine border and middle designs. Each cloth is different with lozenge patterns as basic designs also for the waistcoats worn underneath and the head cloths held in position by a brass needle with red and blue beads stuck through the pigtail. A symbolic bamboo structure in the pigtail means the priest is ‘on duty’.┬áPic Courtesy/Kazuko Koike.

Houshang, the Chinese monk who, in the 8th century tried to convert Tibet to a Chinese form of Buddhism but failed. His features are comical and thus he was perceived as a foolish foreigner or joker. Pic Courtesy/T Murray.

The Monpa tribe who hail from the northern territories of Arunachal, wear yak felt skull caps (gurdam) with tassels jutting down over the face, and intended to draw off rainwater. Pic Courtesy/G Oberzill.

The monk community of Chowkham Vihara in front of the gilded main pagoda.

Probably the most picturesque village of all Naga groups is Wakka, a Wancho settlement in Trap district. Every single house is thatched. Pic Courtesy/G Heller.

Parashuram Kund in the Lohit district is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage spot associated with the Mahabharata. Huge boulders placed in the lake stem from the giant earthquake on 1951 during which initially the entire lake was covered but was eventually overflown by a strong current. Pic Courtesy/G Heller.

Adi Minyong men from Yeksi/East Siang wearing Tibetan woollen coats (chuba) and long swords in half-open bamboo scabbards. Their cane helmets are adorned with boars’ tusks and black fibres as well as yaks’ tails to which chicken feathers are attached.

Arunachal: People, Arts and Adornments in India’s Eastern Himalayas, Peter va Ham, Niyogi Books, Rs 2495. Available at leading bookstores.

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