Wakka Village, located in the Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh inhabited by the Wancho tribe. Nestled amidst the enchanting landscapes, Wakka Village stands as a hidden gem in the Eastern Himalayas and is slowly gaining popularity among tourists. This serene and picturesque village offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of the region.
From its vibrant festivals and warm hospitality to its breathtaking views and pristine surroundings, Wakka Village has become an offbeat destination that captivates travelers seeking tranquility and a deeper connection with nature. In this article, we will embark on a virtual journey to Wakka Village, exploring its unique features, attractions, and experiences that make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and culture enthusiasts.
Location and Accessibility of Wakka Village
Wakka Village is located on a hilltop in the Longding District of Arunachal Pradesh, in northeastern India. Situated at an elevation of approximately 1,000 meters above sea level, the village offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, dense forests, and meandering rivers. While reaching Wakka Village requires some effort due to its remote location, the journey itself is a part of the adventure.
Rich Cultural Heritage
Wakka Village is home to the Wancho tribe, one of the major tribes in Arunachal Pradesh. The Wancho people have a rich cultural heritage, and their traditions and customs are deeply rooted in their daily lives. The Wancho tribe, culturally rooted in Naga traditions, shares ethnic ties with the Nocte of Arunachal Pradesh and the Konyak of Nagaland.
The Wancho community in Wakka Village flourishes under the governance of a Village Council led by a Chief. This close-knit community comprises several sub-villages that contribute taxes to the Wakka Chief as a symbol of unity and cooperation. Additionally, these sub-villages share a common bond through their use of the distinctive Wakka Wancho dialect, further strengthening their cultural identity.
Embracing animism, the Wancho people hold firm beliefs in the presence of two influential deities, Rang and Baurang. While Christianity has gained some following within the community, its influence has led to the gradual erosion of various facets of their traditional culture, intricately intertwined with their religious practices.
The Wancho people have traditionally built houses using wood and bamboo materials, topped with thatched roofs made of dried leaves. The community has a unique practice known as “Murung,” where boys receive guidance and training from their fathers, residing in dormitories specially designated for this purpose. On the other hand, girls live together in a single, spacious house under the care of an elderly woman, fostering a sense of unity and support.
Until 1991, headhunting was a prevalent custom among the Naga tribes, including the Wancho. However, recognizing the need for change, both the government and missionary efforts have taken decisive measures to eradicate this practice. Presently, headhunting is strictly prohibited and confined solely to the hunting of animals, signifying a significant cultural shift in the region.
Visitors to Wakka Village have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant Wancho culture, witnessing traditional dances, music, and festivals. The Oriah Festival celebrated between March and April, is a significant event where the community comes together to celebrate the arrival of spring and seek blessings for a prosperous year ahead. The festival showcases traditional attire, rituals, and folk performances, offering a unique insight into the Wancho way of life.
Nestled on the northern bank of the Noa-Dihing River, Wakka Village boasts a unique geographical location that sets it apart. The village is enveloped by verdant forests, creating an idyllic and serene atmosphere that offers respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Wakka Village emerges as a haven for nature enthusiasts with its strategic proximity to Namdapha National Park, one of the largest protected areas in the Eastern Himalayas and a haven for biodiversity, which enhances its allure. This renowned national park encompasses a diverse range of flora and fauna, including endangered species such as the elusive clouded leopard, the acrobatic Hoolock gibbon, and the mighty Himalayan black bear.
Traditional Handicrafts and Weaving
The Wancho tribe is known for its exquisite craftsmanship and intricate weaving techniques. In Wakka Village, visitors can witness the skillful artistry of the Wancho people, who produce traditional handicrafts such as bamboo baskets, handwoven textiles, and intricate beadwork.
Wakka Village stands out for its commendable efforts in preserving and fostering indigenous arts and crafts. The village inhabitants exhibit remarkable skills in the creation of exquisite bamboo artifacts, intricate wood carvings, and traditional Wancho garments. These masterfully crafted handicrafts not only showcase the artistic prowess of the local community but also play a vital role in sustaining the livelihoods of many villagers, ensuring the continuation of their rich cultural heritage.
Exploring the village and interacting with the local artisans provides a unique opportunity to learn about the traditional techniques passed down through generations. Supporting these local artisans by purchasing their crafts not only contributes to the preservation of their cultural heritage but also serves as a souvenir of this remarkable journey.
Trekking and Adventure
The picturesque landscapes surrounding Wakka Village offer ample opportunities for adventure and trekking enthusiasts. The region is blessed with scenic trails, challenging terrains, and breathtaking viewpoints. Treks to nearby locations allow visitors to witness the untouched beauty of Arunachal Pradesh. These treks offer glimpses of diverse flora and fauna and panoramic views that will leave trekkers in awe of nature’s grandeur.
Village Homestays and Warm Hospitality
One of the highlights of visiting Wakka Village is the opportunity to experience the warm hospitality of the Wancho people through village homestays. Staying with local families offers a genuine insight into their way of life, traditions, and customs. The villagers are known for their warmth, kindness, and genuine eagerness to share their culture and stories with visitors. Homestays provide comfortable accommodations and authentic local meals, allowing travelers to forge meaningful connections and create lifelong memories.
How to Reach
Wakka Village is located at a distance of approximately 50 kilometers from Longding.
The most convenient rail station to reach Longding is Sapeghati in Assam, situated approximately 60 kilometers away from the district headquarters. Travelers can reach Longding via Kanubari by taking a train to Sapeghati.
The nearest airport is located in Mohanbari near Dibrugarh, approximately 178 kilometers away from Longding District Headquarters. This airport provides air connectivity for travelers. In case of any emergency situations, there are also helipads available for use in the vicinity.
Tata Sumo services are available from the towns of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh in Assam, providing transportation to Longding. Additionally, there is a Sumo Service operating from the nearby town of Khonsa. These towns are well-connected to Itanagar and Guwahati through bus services, offering convenient travel options for visitors.
Wakka Village, with its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking natural beauty, and warm hospitality, offers a unique and authentic travel experience in the heart of Arunachal Pradesh. As an offbeat destination, it presents an opportunity to connect with nature, explore the unexplored, and witness the vibrant traditions of the Wancho tribe. From the tranquility of its surroundings to the warmth of its people, Wakka Village leaves a lasting impression on those fortunate enough to discover its hidden charms.
Arunachal Pradesh is a restricted area and visitors, other than natives, must obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter the state. An Inner Line Permit (ILP) can be obtained through the official website of the Arunachal Pradesh Inner Line Permit Management System. More details about the ILP have been in one of our previous posts.