Everyone in the little Tai Khampti town of Chongkham in Lohit district, Arunachal Pradesh, will tell you that the place was once the ‘richest village in Asia’. That was before a Supreme Court order put an end to the timber gold rush. Today, the forests are slowly recovering from their close shave, but the good people of Chongkham still seem pretty wealthy. Which must be why they can afford Rs 850 for a local Khampti lungi. I baulked and opted instead for this smuggled longyi, in the clan tartan of the Khampti’s Kachin brethren from across the border. Just Rs 350 — a bargain considering it’s come all the way from the storied town of Myitkina on the Stilwell Road, Myanmar.



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