Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh: Mechuka is located in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. It is located at an elevation of 6000 feet above sea level and its geographical coordinates are 28°36'18"N 94°7'41"E. The small town is nested in the Mechuka valley of the Eastern Himalayas. The Siyom River flows through the town.
Mechuka is only 30 km from the Indo China border and is 500 km from the state capital Itanagar.
West Siang District is bounded in the North by China, on the East by Upper Siang & East Siang districts, on the South by Assam and on the West by Upper Subansiri & Lower Subansiri districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The district is irrigated by the Sirit and Siyom rivers. Along is the district headquarters.
Mechuka also spelt as Menchuka is made of three words: 'Men' means "medicinal", 'Chu' means "water" and 'Kha'' means "ice" in local language. The melted water here from the ice capped mountain is believed to have medicinal values. In the ancient times, the sick Memba tribes were healed by filling small bath tubs with this water and giving them a bath. This water is the source for the name of the place.
Mechuka is a small hamlet of the West Siang district of Arunachal and is the district headquarters. High hills, snow-capped mountains with golden peaks, and River Siyom constitute the town that is also referred to as the Switzerland of north east. The entire town can also be called as Mechuka Valley. The valley has a number of ancient statues all over the place.
The town is a paradise on earth and tourism is still developing. The Arunachal Government is working hard to make this town as the top most tourism destination owing to its incredible scenic beauty. Establishment of a commercial chartered airport, a high end golf course sufficient water, and better agricultural infrastructure and assistance are a few steps in the agenda.
The town currently has traditional infrastructure like hanging wooden bridges on ropes, road side cafes, small houses made of flat stones and wood, irregular roads etc. This, in fact add to its conserved beauty and leaves a lot of potential for development. The Almond blossoms in Mechuka also add to the beauty of the town.
People at Mechuka:
Mechuka is mainly inhabited by the Memba tribe. They follow the Buddhist religion and speak Memba, Adi, Hindi and a bit of English. The Adi tribe also inhabit in the valley for centuries. They wear the traditional costume and smoke pipes.
Agriculture and fishing is the main source of livelihood for the locals. Earlier they mainly cultivated maize, millets and paddy. But now with the support of the government and better agricultural infrastructure they have also started cultivating rice and rearing fishes.
Festivals at Mechuka:
Losar Festival- The Memba tribe celebrate the Losar festival in the month of February, one month ahead of other tribes.This is the New Year celebration of the tribes that is celebrated for five days. The festival includes prayers, hoisting of religious flags on top of houses, reading of Buddhist scriptures, and lighting butter lamps in the houses.
Mopin Festival- In this festival of five days celebrated from 5th April, people sprinkle water on each other depicting happiness. They also rub rice powder on each other's face.
Activities at Mechuka:
Trekking and hiking on the high mountains and rafting and angling in River Siyom are the main activities that visitors can venture into and enjoy. Local assistance and tour operators help tourists. There are a number of unexplored trails that one can venture into. Camping in the forests is another exciting feature of the place.
The nearest big town is Along which is about 215 km from Mechuka. Along is the main city of the district and a major tourist hub.