Arunachal Pradesh, India
|District||West Siang district|
|Elevation||1,240 m (4,070 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+05:30 (IST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-AR|
Mechuka is a small town nestled 6,000 feet (1,829 m) above sea level in the Mechuka Valley in West Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh, India. Name of current MLA (October-2016) of Mechuka constituency is Pasang Dorjee Sona. It is the largest last town in Arunachal Pradesh, after Menchuka the McMahon border separates Indian territory and Chinese territory.
Mechuka is situated in a forested valley, surrounded by pine trees and thornbushes. The river Yargyapchu flows in the valley of Mechuka. Mechuka is 180 kilometres northwest of Along and is only 29 kilometres away from Indo-China border. The nearest airport is Lilabari Airport in Assam.
The name Men-chu-kha means medicinal water of snow where men is medicine, chu is water and kha is snow though kha also means mouth. The popular name for Menchukha is Menchukha.
Prior to the construction of the modern road, the only access to the village was via an airstrip, used by the Indian Air Force to supply the local people.
Religions practiced in the valley include Tibetan Buddhism, Donyi-Poloism, and Christianity. Mechukha is known for both its religious and historical significance. The 400-year-old Samten Yongcha monastery of Mahayana Buddhist sect is a contemporary of the much-revered Tawang Monastery.
The languages spoken in Mechuka are Tshangla, Adi, Tagin, Hindi, and English. There is no evidence of Tshangla still being spoken in Menchukha valley. Instead, the people speak Memba, which is a Bodish language made up of a mixture of various Bodic varieties (dwags-po, kong-po, brag-gsum mtsho-'khor), East Bodish Tawang Monpa, Tshangla and some Tani loans. Some Memba people still speak Tawang Monpa .
The Indian Air Force maintains an airstrip, known as the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Mechukha. The airstrip is used frequently to bring in vital supplies from cities in Assam via Antonov-32 aircraft and helicopters. The runway was renovated, strengthened, upgraded to a concrete runway and extended to 4,700 feet in 2017 by the government. The area has a significant military presence, which also creates some employment opportunities for civilians. There is a twice a week helicopter service under the UDAN scheme on Monday and Saturday. Government of Arunachal Pradesh has invited bids from the private airlines to operate a 9-searter fixed-wing air service which will not be under the UDAN scheme (c. May 2018).
Mechukha has recently been connected by road to Along, the district headquarters about 180 km away, leading to increased development in the area. Mechukha has since become a subdivisional headquarters.
The 2,000-kilometre-long (1,200 mi) proposed Mago-Thingbu to Vijaynagar Arunachal Pradesh Frontier Highway along the McMahon Line, (will intersect with the proposed East-West Industrial Corridor Highway) and will pass through Mechuka, alignment map of which can be seen here and here.
Mechukha is gradually becoming a popular tourist destination in Arunachal Pradesh due to its scenic beauty, exotic tribes, gentle hills and snow-capped mountains and River Siyom (locally known as Yargyap Chu). The Siom River, which flows through Mechukha also provides a scenic view in the valley.
The major tourist attraction here is a 400-year-old Buddhist Monastery, which is located at a hilltop in the westernmost part of Mechukha. Numerous ancient statues can also be found here. Accommodations are available at Tourist lodges and Inspection Bungalow and a few hotels are also coming up to meet the increasing influx of tourists from the country and abroad. The people of Adi tribe have resided in the Menchukha valley since time immemorial in the periphery of Mechukha valley in the villages of Gapo, Pauk, Padusa, Lipusi, Hiri, Purying, Rapum, Charung, Rego and Kart gumjipang, barang gang, shorang dhem, etc.
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