Monpa, West Kameng, East Kameng

Monpa: Thembang Dzong

The historic fortified village of Arunachal Pradesh

Key Takeaways

  • The Dzong is made of stones and traditionally carved wood.
  • The fortified structure and the village is considered as a monument by itself.
  • Thembang village makes it to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Convention

The Thembang village is home to the Drikhipa clan of the Monpa tribe. The fortified village covers 3.2 acres of land and upholds a huge historical value. Dzong are ancient fortified structures that were built to protect the people from inter-tribal wars, and have been the same since then. The village has two gates, one situated in the north side and the other in the south side. The northern gate is the entry gate to the village and the southern gate is the exit gate which was used as an “escape gate”.

The Dzong and the gates were constructed using the traditional construction system of the Monpas. The structures are made of composite stone masonry and wooden architecture. These houses are decorated or ornamented with carved stone blocks, Mani walls, which are stone walls engraved with prayers and traditional wood carving. Paintings and manuscripts are also found in these houses etched as murals and graffiti along houses and ancient ruins.

The richness in heritage structures found in this village makes the village of Thembang a monument by itself. The village and Dzong of Thembang maintain almost all aspects of Authenticity and Integrity including its pristine setting. Further, Thembang is a protected archaeological monument under the care of the Archaeological Section, Research Department, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh. Also, Thembang village makes it to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Apart from the architecture of the village, Thembang is also rich in biodiversity which includes red panda which is an endangered species found in the Thembang forest. Due to its ecological richness, the Monpa community has embarked its aspects in their socio-economic practices.

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