19th century Buddhist monastery facing extinction threat

 Avik Chakraborty

Namphake Buddhist monastery situated at Namphake village of Naharkatia in Dibrugarh district has been facing erosion threat from Buri-Dehing river since several years. The river is few meters away from the Buddhist monastery. The monastery was established in 1850 and is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in upper Assam.  Namphake village have a population of 600. Namphake village is 6 km from Naharkatia.

The Buddhist monastery which is regarded as a sacred shrine for the Buddhist people residing in Assam is facing danger of being wiped out into river. Every year domestic and foreign tourist came to the village to see the Buddhist monastery. Large numbers of tourist from Thailand came to the village.

“Due to constant erosion our Buddhist monastery is facing danger of being wiped out because our village had lost huge chunk of land and many peoples have been shifted to another place.  Every year erosion posing a serious threat to our village and the monastery which is few meters away from the river,” said Aiseng meng Wingkon, village head of Namphake village.

It is said that in 1775 the Tai-phake people migrated to Assam from Burma(Myanmar) and established their base at Nongtai in Arunachal Pradesh and latter some of them established themselves here.

Aiseng meng Wingkon added, “To save the village and the monastery from being wiped out we need a complete anti-erosion measure which can stop the erosion. We are in constant fear during flood because level of Buri-Dehing increases and poses a threat for the village,”.

The Nam Phake village is the largest of the Tai-phake villages of Assam. There are total nine villages in Assam with a population of 1775. All of the people in the village are Buddhist in religion. The village folk speak a dialect similar to the language in Thailand and still follow the tradition customs and dress code of great Tai race.

Ajanta Gohain, another villager said, “Every year the river is coming closure to our village. We have urged the concerned department and they have took up the matter and done some work but that will not enough to stop the erosion which poses serious threat to our people during monsoon,”.  He said they urged the government to take immediate measures to stop the erosion.

Namphake village have a great tourism potential and every year the place witnessed a large number of tourist. The village has develop as a ecotourism spot and home stay facilities are also available in the village which pulled tourist to come to the village.


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