North East India is home to over 200 tribes. Each tribal community have their own distinct culture and traditions. They speak different languages, have different religious practices, wear clothes with distinct patterns and also have different ways of celebrating. These celebrations form a part of their festivals where these communities performs colorful dances, showcase their traditional cuisines and source of livelihood like their agrarian practices and their handlooms and handicrafts.
Across a majority of the tribes of north east India one can find a close resemblance with the communities of South East India. One such tribal community of Assam are the Tai Khamyang tribes. Known to have migrated to Assam from the Kachin State in Myanmar the Tai Khamyang people derive their name from the Tai word ‘Khamyag’ meaning ‘people having gold'(‘kham’ meaning ‘gold’ and ‘yang’ meaning ‘to have’). Many Khamyangs have also historically used ‘Shyam’ as a surname, which is a cognate with ‘Siam’, the old word for Thailand.
The Tai-Khamyangs, represent a brethren of Great Tai/Thai family of South East Asia. They are numerically tribal group found in Tinsukia, Jorhat, Sivasagar and Golaghat districts of Assam as well as adjacent parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Their population totals about 7,000 of which only a small minority speak the native Tai Khamyang language. The Khamyang are followers of Theravada Buddhism and are closely related to the Tai-Khamti. They maintain good relations with other Tai Buddhist tribes of Assam.
The Tai Khamyangs, in the Patkai Mountain Range, got divided into two groups namely the Maan Nam or Pani Nora (Low Land Nora) and Maan Loi or Dum Nora (Upper land Nora). These settlements lies near the great lake ‘The Lake Of No Return – India’s Bermuda Triangle’. In the mid eighteenth century, due to the critical surrounding for the presence of couple of Cobras in the lake and problems faced from the Kachins, the Tai-Khamyangs crossed over the Patkai hill and settled in a fertile valley of Arunachal Pradesh. It is said that they constructed a pagoda which is still present near the ‘Lake of no return’.
Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East and be a part in Celebrating Indigenous people of the Legendary Tribes of North East India – the Tai Khamyang Tribe, Tinsukia District, the State of Assam, Incredible India!
Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Tribes of North East India