By: Amy Natung
Ita Fort in Itanagar town is one of the most important historical sites in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, India. The name literally means “Fort of bricks” (brick being called “Ita” in the Assamese language). It also lends its name to the city Itanagar, the Capital of Arunachal Pradesh. The Ita Fort at Arunachal Pradesh was built as early as the 14th or the 15th century by kings of the chutia dynasty.
Ita Fort just like many other historical sites have many stories and beliefs surrounding it, among them one of the stories is here.
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.
People usually go there for a morning walk and evening walk. It is also the best place to hang out with friends and family if you are a lover of nature and greenery. Ita Fort is also famously known as Lovers Point as one can see many couples in the area, it’s one of the places were couple goes on a date besides Ganga lake.