Namsai’s bountiful wealth of cultural heritage can be witnessed through some incredible museums that lie within a short distance from Namsai town. From exhibits depicting the glorious history of the tribal communities of eastern Arunachal Pradesh to tableaus showing their daily lifestyle, and ancient Buddhist scriptures, these museums are truly a treasure trove of rich cultural wealth of the Tai Khamptis, Singphos, Idu Mishmis and other tribes of Namsai and its nearby areas.
Here are three museums that one must visit when in Namsai.
Tai Khampti and Singpho Museum, Pali Vidyapith, Chongkham
This is a community museum to preserve and undertake research of rare and unique material of cultural importance of Tai Khamptis and Singphos. Managed by Arunachal Pali Vidyapith, the museum is a great source of knowledge and a storehouse of the culture and heritage of the two communities.
The museum cum research centre is one of its kind and the only one in Namsai district. On display is a vast array of artefacts and daily use objects, armoury, crockery, jewellery, crafts and much more. The most fascinating part of the museum is the room that houses ancient Pali scripts. Preserved over centuries, these scripts will leave you intrigued.
Then there’s a room dedicated to former Khampti chief Chowkhamoon Gohain, where his personal belongings, bed, clothes and a letter penned by him have been showcased. Surrounded by a peaceful and well-manicured garden, the airy museum offers the perfect environment for discovering the cultural heritage of the Tai Khamptis and Singphos.
RIWATCH Museum, Abali Village, Roing
This newly built museum can be visited on your way to Roing from Namsai. Managed by Research Institute of World’s Ancient Traditions Cultures and Heritage (RIWATCH), a non-profit, non-governmental, community based research organisation, the museum is one of the best in Northeast India.
Started in a world class set-up with the aim to preserve the age-old traditions of tribals of the region, the museum showcases fascinating exhibits related to the lifestyle of the local tribal communities including the Idu Mishmis. Some of the exhibits on display here have been gifted by the Dalai Lama himself. There are tableaus showing the lifestyle of Naga warriors and farmers.
You will also see weapons, ancient relics, archaeological exhibitis, sculptures, stone jewellery, old pictures and a lot more. Of special note are the 200-year-old earthen cooking pot and an 80-year-old stone utensil. Also on display is a small family heirloom and tribal attire.
Located in Abali village, a visit to the museum makes for a nice detour on your way to Roing.
Namdapha Wildlife Museum, Miao
Nestled in a pristine corner of Miao, right opposite the Mini Zoo, the Namdapha Wildlife Museum is located in the heart of the town. Maintained by the Namdapha National Park authorities and located next to the Field Director’s Office, the museum showcases rare animal specimens that have been collected from Namdapha and nearby regions over decades.
You would see a variety of snake and frog specimens, bird skins, mammal pelts, skulls, horns and stuffed specimens of wild animals. One of the most interesting exhibit is a complete skeleton of a large python. Other exhibits of note include large stuffed specimens of a Hornbill and a Common Leopard. There’s another room, where you can get glimpses of the rich cultural heritage and lifestyle of the local communities.
When done nerding out at the museum, visit the zoo, which is home to Hoolock Gibbon, the only ape of India. You will also meet Himalayan black beer, hog deer, sambar deer, leopard cat, slow loris, serow and stumped tailed macaque among other species.