Arunachal: Spiritual Tourism – A way forward

Golden Pagoda built in the year 2010 with the vision and sole initiative of Dy CM Chowna Mein to promote tourism through  Spiritual Tourism .


The ‘Kongmu-kham’ which means the ‘Golden Temple’ in Tai Khamti language, popularly known as the Golden Pagoda built in the year 2010 with the vision and sole initiative of Deputy Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Chowna Mein to promote tourism through  Spiritual Tourism has become a major tourist destination in the Eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh.

As per the official reports, there is annual turn over of more than one lakh tourists including both domestic and international tourists, annually visits the Golden Pagoda with an average of seven thousand visitors in weekends during the peak season. Most of the International Tourists which accounts for 40% of the total visitors are from South East Asian Countries mostly from Thailand and Myanmar. They form 80% of International tourists which is mainly due to cultural and religious similarities of the people of these countries with the Tai-Khamti of Namsai District. Most of them are religious pilgrims which come either to participate in cultural or religious activities.

A Thai Research team from Mahidol University, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Thailand has presently visited the Golden Pagoda at Tengapani (Noy-Cheynam) who is in Arunachal Pradesh to study the tribal cultures of Arunachal Pradesh. The research team is headed by an Assistant Professor, Dr Kanopporn Wonggarasin of Mahidol University.

In his interaction with them, Deputy Chief Minister, Chowna Mein highlighted the vast tourism potential of Arunachal Pradesh. He said to the visiting tourists that “Ours is a dynamic State with numerous tribes and sub-tribes having their own distinct identities, cultures and dialects living together for ages peacefully. Despite the challenges faced with the advent of modernity, every community is jealously preserving their age-old cultural heritage yet respecting each other’s culture, customs and traditions”. He said that the State of Arunachal Pradesh symbolizes a unique example of ‘unity in diversity’ which according to him is ‘the beauty of our State’.

He welcomed the visitors from Thailand and other Southeast Asian Countries to visit, enjoy and explore the pristine nature of our State and the vast cultural diversities.

He, while sharing his thoughts to the visitors said, “It is his ardent efforts to promote tourism with the spiritualism.”

True to his words, the annual turning over of tourists in the Golden Pagoda proved that the Spiritual Tourism can be a way forward for boosting Tourism Industry in the State along with other tourism like Ecotourism, Adventure Tourism, Cultural Tourism, etc. Similar tourists inflow can be seen in Lohit District during the Parashuram Kund Mela, which is another example of Spiritual Tourism.

Those tourists, who often comes to Namsai as Religious pilgrims also visit Tezu and Roing, the district headquarters of Lohit and Lower Dibang Valley District respectively and travel up to Mayudiah to see and enjoy the snow. The day is not far that with the improvement of the road connectivity upto Anini, the district headquarter of Dibang Valley District, visitors will travel to those places to enjoy the scenic beauty of our pristine nature.

Thus, apart from Cultural Tourism, Spiritual Tourism can be a major catalyst for promoting Tourism in Arunachal Pradesh given the fact that the people of South East Asian Nations like Myanmar,Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and others shares cultural and religious similarities with the people of Arunachal Pradesh. It can also be the fulcrum for realizing the vision under Act-East Policy.


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