Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
One of the most romantic stories is based on Ita Fort, located at the heart of Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh. This story is based on various writings by LN Chakravarty (Glimpses of Early History of Arunachal) and Sir Edward Gait.
In ancient times there was a refugee king from Assam named Mayamatta, who built a fort on Hita. Mayamatta had a beautiful queen. On becoming pregnant, due to some reason, the queen went down to the plains to give birth. The queen gave birth to a son named Arimatta, on the banks of the Brahmaputra. The queen brought up the prince, and sometime during his childhood told the prince not to venture to the north as his ancestors lived there.
After many years, Prince Arimatta grew up to be a great king and ruled over the area. On hearing that there was some king living to the north, Arimatta decided to march to the north to defeat the king. He gathered his troops and marched upstream along the Dikrong river. From there, Arimatta marched upstream along Papupani to the junction of the Taja and Lepper streams. He saw many people on the Ita hill, but could not advance as the door of the fort was closed.
Arimatta returned to the plains, collected more troops and re-attacked Ita Fort. After a tough battle, his troops managed to break the fort’s door, and captured the fort. Arimatta attacked the king and tried to kill him with arrows. At this stage, the refugee king told Arimatta: “Thou shalt not be able to kill me unless thou pierce my heart with thy fingers.”
Arimatta pierced Mayamatta’s heart as advised, and his whole body was smeared with blood from the pierced heart. Before dying, the refugee king told Arimatta that he was his father!
On hearing this, Arimatta was filled with grief and sorrow.
Then he recalled his mother’s advice not to venture north. To repent for his act of patricide, Arimatta gave away many presents and hid many jewels and gold and silver articles in the Goruchuntia hills. The hidden articles are still supposed to be lying there and many people consider the place haunted.
After returning to the plains, Arimatta tried to wash away his father’s blood from his body by bathing in the Brahmaputra, but the stains could not be removed fully. Therefore, on his mother’s advice, Arimatta covered his body with oil and burnt himself to ashes.
Thus goes the legend of Ita Fort located in our capital city!(The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)