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The Lohit River or Zayü River is a river in India and China. It is a tributary to the Brahmaputra River. The river rises in Tibet Autonomous Region, in the Kangri Garpo range, where it is known as the Zayü River (Chinese: 察隅河; pinyin: Cháyú Hé). It descends through this mountainous region and surges through Arunachal Pradesh in India for 200 kilometres (120 mi) before entering the plains of Assam where it is known as the Lohit River. Tempestuous and turbulent, and known as the river of blood partly attributable to the lateritic soil, it flows through the Mishmi Hills, to meet the Siang (Brahmaputra) at the head of the Brahmaputra valley.
Thickly forested for the most part, alpine vegetation gives way to subtropical forests, and then to some of the densest tropical jungles in all of India. Rhododendrons bloom in many hues in the upper reaches, orchids reveal themselves in the lower groves. This is indeed a treasure house of medicinal plant and herbs, and the home of Mishmi teeta, the coptis plant, prized the world over for its medicinal properties.
The Mishmis hold sway in the hills. In the plains are the Khamptis and the Singphos, fervent Buddhists and migrants from across he Patkai hills from Burma. As the Lohit journeys through, Tibetan theology gives way to animist belief, in turn replaced by Theravada Buddhism and then by Hindu temples. This region experiences a mix of many cultures near the tripoint between Tibet, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.
There have been very few raft expeditions on the Lohit River. It is a medium volume continuous Class 4+/5 river in its upper alpine reaches and becomes pool drop towards the latter end of the trip. Rafting was first started in February 1994 by the Indian Army and the first successful kayak descent of the river in December 2003.
Parshuram Kund, a Hindu pilgrimage is situated on the lower reaches of Lohit. Over 70,000 devotees and sadhus take holy dip its water each year on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, in the month of January.
- PTI (18 January 2013). "70,000 devotees take holy dip in Parshuram Kund". The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- PTI (19 December 2012). "Arunachal Pradesh planning to promote tourism at Parsuram Kund". Daily News & Analysis. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
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