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My Visit to Chalapathar Shyam Gaon : a Hundred and Fifty years old Village


Have you ever visited any Indian village.  The soul of India lives in its villages.  So if you haven't seen any Indian village,  you haven't seen India. Well India has nearly 6.5 lakh villages and  about 60% of the Indian population lives in villages.  In Assam alone there are 2489 village panchayats covering about 26249 villages. Villages of upper Assam  may not be as similar to those of lower Assam. There are differences in geographical environments, cultures, traditions etc. Yet in spite of various differences, India is a country of unity in diversity.

Today's generation kids like to visit amusement parks or to attend any summer camps during their school summer vacations.  But in our time visiting grandma's house was every child's favourite destination during summer vacations. I too visited either my maternal grandmother's house or paternal grandmother's house during summer vacations together with my parents and my younger brother, in the late eighties and early nineties when I was in school. Both my grandmothers' houses are situated in two different Indian villages. One is in upper Assam and the other is in lower Assam. Both my grandmothers are no more now and after my marriage I hardly get time and opportunity to visit those two villages which are very close to my heart. But last month I got an opportunity to visit my maternal grandmother's village to attend a function of its 150th years of establishment. So today let me take you to my maternal grandmother's village which is now a hundred and fifty years old village situated in the Charaideo District of Assam .

Chalapathar Shyam Gaon is a village established before independence surrounded by at the east- Safrai River and part of Khona Tea Estate,  at west- Lakwa Tea Estate,  at north- Dichang River and at the south- beautiful Chala Reserve Forest. 


You can enter this village from three different sides.  From east,  west and south.  As we entered from east side through Khonamukh,  the evergreen elephant apple trees welcomed us. As we entered the village my mind took a trip down my memory lane.  Among various memories of my grandmother I  recalled the holly words that she uttered while tying a holly white thread around my wrist.  After we crossed a bridge over Safari river,  we entered the village . This entering route to this village is very quite and free of pollution. You'll find no houses or shops nearby and sometimes you may encounter a tiger roaming around. But don't be so afraid, a tiger will not attack any stranger right.  Ha ha.. just joking.  I visited many times through this route but never encountered any tiger. The old name of this village is schu la in tai language, means - "roaming place of tiger ". 



There is a beautiful Buddhist monetary at the heart of this beautiful village. The people of this village practices Buddhism as religion and they are known as  Tai Khamyangs. The Tai Khamyangs are popularly known as Nora. As many Khamyangs historically used 'Shyam' as their surname, so Tai Khamyangs are also popularity known as Shyam. 
Tai Khamyang is a subgroup of the greater Tai community of Assam. They are numerically a small group of indigenous Assamese community. The word 'Khamyang' is a Tai word which means 'having gold'. 'Kham' means - gold and 'yang' means - to have.  Tai Khamyangs are found in undivided Sivsagar, Tinsukia,  Golaghat and Jorhat Districts of Assam and in few places of Arunachal Pradesh. Among all the Khamyang villages Chalapathar Shyam gaon is the village with highest number of population of Khamyang people. According to source there are 127 Khamyang families living in this village with total number of 527 people .

Chala Shyam gaon Buddhist monetary 


Khamyang community has their own khamyang language but only a few can speak their language. They use Assamese as their language for communication. They even have their own costumes and attire which they wear with proud during any celebration. During my visit to this village when I was a kid, I saw few Chang ghars, houses build with wood and other materials with a raised platform. But now you'll find only modern houses build with bricks and concrete.

Glimpses of the Closing Ceremony 





As we entered the village  we saw a welcome gate and as we proceed through the gate we entered  the place where the villagers were celebrating their closing ceremony of 150th years of establishment of the village. We were served breakfast . A triangle shaped steamed rice cake wrapped in banana leaf (tong-tap), sticky rice cooked in bamboo hollow (khaulam) etc. with a cup of tea. And at lunch we were served steamed rice wrapped in ko leaf (khau-tak) together with pork and other recipes.

*To know more about the Cuisine of Tai Khamyang community click here


With the growing demand of rural tourism,  many villages in India found a map in the tourist map.  Chalapathar has also the potential to occupy a place in rural tourism as well as food tourism in India. It has a tremendous natural beauty to showcase. The handloom and textile art of these indigenous people are quite attractive and the food off course is quite unique and delicious.

As the sun sets in the evening we headed back to the concrete world again with more memories to keep alive in our hearts and with a hope to visit again.

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