Sacred Khyarii-Satam, mountain where Tapi Mra disappeared


Believe it or not, we tribes are so driven by nature that we have stories for every mountain, river, gorge, animal and bird. Sometimes it may seem superstitious, but some are absolutely sacred and require certain traditional ways of placating and asking permission by performing rituals before venturing into their domains. Khyarii Satam is one such sacred mountain, named after Abang Khyarii (brother Khyarii) and Satam (his shield armor, which is made of dried black bear skin). It is believed that according to Khyarii’s last wishes, his mortal remains were kept in this mountain, so that no living thing could reach him.

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Located in the northwest of East Kameng district, the golden spectacle of the Himalayas at dawn from Chayang Tajo and Lada is mesmerizing. The legendary Abang Khyarii Sattam or Brother Kyarii’s shield/armor can be seen there, which is indeed a black rock wall where snow barely settles throughout the year.

Abang Khyarii had two wives, the first being Changam Rewene and the second being Changam Rowone. Abang Khyarii was a great warrior and an expert hunter. He hunted various species of wild animals for the family. But Changam Rewene was never happy with them, saying they were his parents’ (Ato Nyidi) pets. Abang Khyarii was annoyed by her answer and asked the reason behind it.

Changam Rewene made it a condition that if he could kill the Punghi ne selangwo ga Firam Talang bo (boar) and the Punghi ne Selewo ga Rale Yapene (giant fish), then she would be happy.

Abang Khyarii agreed to the terms and informed her that if Sedam lo-Dogam (thunders) are heard from the north side, then assume Firam Talang bo has been killed, and if Swko lo-Dorah (sparks) is seen from the south, then assume Rale Yapene was killed.

After some time, a thunderous sound with thunderstorms was heard from the north side. Changam Rewene knew that Firam Talang bo had been killed, and indeed Abang Khyarii had killed Firam Tallang bo, but while he was carrying him with joyik (rope made from a plant), he slipped and fell, causing severe wounds to Khyarii’s leg with the boar’s canines.

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Even after 10 days, Abang Khyarii did not return home. Everyone was worried, but after 10 days he returned home with serious injuries.

Changam Rewene advised him to apply dodo nyerik and sangffa (wild elephant ear leaves or Colocasia esculenta) and Schima wallichi tree bark as medicine, but Changam Rowone advised him to apply bichang billang and moro killo (natural herbs/medicinal plant).

Abang Khyarii trusted the first wife more and applied the remedy according to her advice. This aggravated his injury and Abang Khyarii died after a few days. But before he died, he made his last wish that his corpse would not be buried in the pane narthe (low ground) but taken to the highest peak of the mountain where no animals and human beings exist and can reach. As a result, his mortal remains were taken to the highest peak of the mountain – the great Kra Dadi – with all his armour, including Khyarii Sattam.

The Sattam means the symbol of power and pride derived from Abang Khyasang Uglang and Tadu Uglang. This is the reason why Khyarii Sattam is prominent throughout the year, signifying the pride and dignity of Abang Khyarii.

With the rescue operation in place, the East Kameng District the administration and EKSWCO can also perform rituals to retrieve them. My heartfelt prayers for the speedy recovery of Tapi Mra and Niku Dao. Atur to Ane Donyi.

The author is the chairman of Nyishi Nyidung Mwjwng Rallung (NNMR). Views are personal.

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