The popular three-day annual festival Sangken of Arunachal Pradesh which began on April 14 ended on Friday marking the beginning of Theravada Buddhist New Year.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein on Wednesday accompanied by State BJP General Secretary cum MLA Namsai Chau Zingnu Namchoom and MLA Lekang Jummum Ete Deori, graced the first day of Sangken festival at Pariyatti Sasana Buddha Vihara Namsai and Buddha Vihara Empong to perform Saun Phra (an iconic ritual of pouring water on Buddha statues) and offered prayers to triple gems.
At Empong, Mein announced to develop the area to boost the tourism potential.
Deputy Chief Minister in the morning also paid homage and floral tribute to B.R. Ambedkar on his Jayanti at Pariyatti Sasana Buddha Vihara Namsai.
On the next day, Mein took part in the Maha Sangken celebration at Kongmukham. He was accompanied by State BJP General Secretary cum MLA Namsai Chau Zingnu Namchoom, MLA Lekang Jummum Ete Deori, DC Namsai RK Sharma and President of Society for Tai Ahom Resurgence Dr Hemanto Gogoi.
Thousands throng at Kongmukham to witness the Maha Sangken festival. The Maha Sangken festival was organised by the Tai Khamti Heritage and Literary Society.
The offering of prayers, pouring scented water on Lord Buddha images, cultural performances by members of Tai Khamti Heritage & Literary Society and splashing of water was a major attraction of the festival.
While extending his New Year greetings and best wishes, Mein said water symbolizes purity and gently sprinkling water on one another is a sign of respect and good wishes.
He said the need to celebrate the Maha Sangken was necessary to provide platform for people to preserve, protect, archive & pass down age-old traditional cultural identities to the next generations.
Talking on boosting of district tourism, Mein said our state has huge potential to become one of the best sought after tourist destination in the country and the State government is putting all efforts to boost the Tourism.
Mein informed that Namsai district recently had the privilege to host the flagged-in ceremony of “Honda Sunchasers 2021-H’ness Quest for the Land of the Rising Sun” signature motorcycle rally and flagged-off of “Trans-Arunachal Drive 2021” by Mahindra Adventure.
He said such events will definitely boost and promote our tourism and attract more adventure lovers to come to the State for exploring the unexplored places.
He further added that in and around Namsai District itself, we can develop a Micro-tourist circuit where tourists can pay visit to Namdapha Wildlife santuary, Manabhum Tropical Rain Forest, Bhismaknagar, Glow lake and Parshuram Kund, Second World War Memorial in Jairampur and various other nearby places.
“This part of Arunachal has lot to offer on adventure activities like Trekking, elephant ride, white water rafting and some rivers are anglers paradise in Eastern Arunachal,” said Mein.
He also announced that soon Buddhism tourism circuit from Tuting, Chowkham, Tawang, and Namsai will be developed and which will greatly help boost tourism revenue of the region.
Earlier, Mein inaugurated the Kongmukham welcome signage and also released an audio-video album ‘Ya Hei, Ya Hai,’ produced by Society for Tai Ahom Resurgence and the documentary film ‘Sojurn to Khamtiloung’ co-directed by Maw Tai Films & Tan Mansai Photography and another audio video album, ‘Fra Tra’ produced by Tai Khamti Heritage and Literary Society.
Mein also joined with revellers to splash and douse each other with water.
He said throwing or dousing one another water is the distinguishing feature of this festival and is done for all first three-day of the festival.
He offered prayers to Lord Buddha to bless all with peace, harmony, good luck, good health and protection from the evil influences of Chow Khunkiew (God of Misfortune).
Distribution of homemade delicacies likes tongtep (sweet wrapped in leaf), Khao-mo-sen (fried rice cake), Khao-tek to families and friends added more colour and vigor to the festival.
This year, as per the Theravada Buddhist Astrological prediction (Sangken Cha), Sangken commenced on April 14, Wednesday by bringing out the statues of Lord Buddha for installing at temporary shrine at exactly 5:46:55 AM ended on April 16, Friday by taking back the statues of Lord Buddha from temporary shrine to its original place at 9:51:36 AM today.
For this complete three days the statues of Lord Buddha was placed facing towards the western direction as it was believed that with the beginning of Sangken on April 14 at 05:46:55 AM the God of misfortune known as Chow Khunkiew entered earth from East adorned in purple costume riding on a bull holding bunch of flower in his right hand and water pot in his left hand going towards the western direction. Thus, the Lord Buddha images were placed facing towards western to ward off the evil influences of Chow Khunkiew. This year as per Sangken Cha, the good day of the week will be Tuesday and Thursday will be the bad day for whole year.
Sangken was also celebrated with traditional gaiety in different places of the State;
At Itanagar, three days of the festival was a sight to be seen in the Theravada Buddhist Temple where revellers from other communities also joined in the celebration to douse each other with scented water and to pay homage to Buddha. The Theravada Buddhist Society Itanagar ensured the necessary arrangement for the smooth conduct of the water festival.