Basar is geographically located in the centre of Arunachal Pradesh, India. The indigenous tribe of the place is Galo, one of the 26 major tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The climate here is sub-tropical with an average annual minimum temperature of 15°C.
How to reach Basar: By road, nearest town in Assam is Silapathar under Dhemaji District, which is 95 Km away. Silapathar has double lane road connectivity with rest of the country. Basar has a single lane road connectivity as of now but the construction of double lane road to Basar is being undertaken. Silapathar is connected with broad gauge railways too. Nearest Airport is at Mohanbari, Dibrugarh, Assam. There are regular commercial flights on daily basis from Mohanbari to Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati etc.
IMPORTANT: All Indians require Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Arunachal Pradesh. Foreigners require Protected Area Permit (PAP). Special arrangements of ILP will be made at the Likabali Gate to Arunachal Pradesh.
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The folk lore of the Yapoms
Basar has many places like Jolly, Chemchi-Chemte, Tako-Laglam and Here-Hada known to be the home of Yapom. According to Galo beliefs, Yapom or Yapom-Yaje are a kind of spirit which dwells in deep forests. Such forests are rarely visited by humans. Yapom cannot be seen by humans as their world is metaphysical in nature. These spirits are believed to have their own organisations akin to human beings and they too have their hierarchies and tribes. They organise marriage ceremonies, fight supremacy wars and protect their territories. The high and huge trees are their homes and the hanging vines and creepers their ladders. Wild animals like wild boars, deer and birds are believed to be reared by them.
They consider certain section of humans in their locality as their relatives and favour some hunters by granting wild animals and birds. But sometimes, when human beings venture deep into their territories and cause damage to the forests, hostility is created. They are known to kidnap or punish such trespasser. When these Yapom-Yaje inflict punishment on humans, it is known as Yapom-Panam. In such cases, even death can occur. On the other hand, if the Yapom-Yaje wants to settle through negotiations, they kidnap the individual and confine them in a state of hallucination. This is called Yapom-Jonam.
Since ages, there are stories of such occurrences. Even today, Yapom Panam or Yapom Jonam incidents are reported. When such incidents occur, the village priest would predict through a chicken liver whether the individual who has vanished into deep forest has been kidnapped or killed by these spirits. If the chicken liver confirms Yapom-Jonam, the entire village male folk would set out in search. When located, the victim is forcefully pinned down to brought back to his or her senses through a priest’s chants. The victim is known to behaves differently, has a very strange body odour and avoids meeting people.
There are many stories of turf war or supremacy war between Yapoms. They fight and destroy each other’s territories. These wars become apparent through tornados or thunderstorms leading to complete devastation of parts of forests. Most stories related to Yapoms are seen through dreams of some Nyibo (priests). The priests also see it through their supernatural powers through Nyigre Honam- a ceremony where priests chant mantras while performing a rhythmic dance and invoke supernatural powers to communicate with metaphysical world. Thus it has been the practice of Galo people since ages to make some offerings to Yapoms through the Pombek ceremony before cutting down trees for cultivation, killing wild animals or settling in a new place. These offerings are mandatory to keep the Yapoms of that place in good humour and to appease them to avoid any conflict.