– Kachin State, located in the northern most part, is one of the seven States of the Union of Myanmar. Lies between China to the east and India to the west, and has a land area of 34,379.22 square miles.
Geography: – Kachin State is part of the eastern edge of the Himalayan Range and is also continuous with the Yunnan escarpment, composing the Tibet-Myanmar frontier mountain ranges. Hkakaborazi, the highest mountain in South East Asia at 19 315 feet, and Indawgyi, the largest lake in Myanmar with 98 square miles, are all located in Kachin State.
– Generally divided into three seasons: the hot summer, the rainy monsoon and the cold winter. Climate conditions vary considerably from warm to humid in the lowlands and extremely cold in the highlands. In winter, mountains in the far north are snow capped. The rainy season starts in June in the lowlands and April in the highlands. The winter starts in December followed by a very short summer.
– Kachin comprises of eleven ethnic minorities, namely Jinghpaw, Lachik, Dalaung, Lauwaw, Guari, Lisu, Rawang, Hkahku, Duleng, Atsi and Zaiwa. There are also other nationalities such as Shans, Bamar, Kadu, Kanan, Chinese and Indians living in the state.
– Most of the towns in the state are accessible by telephone communication, locally and internationally. The state’s major towns are linked with other capital cities of Myanmar by road, railways, waterways, and airways. The State is linked to India by Ledo Road, also known as the Stilwell Road, built during World War II.
– Myitkyina, a major city in the central area, is the state capital, while Bamaw is the main town in the southwest, and Putao the main town in the far north. Mogaung and Mohnyin are ancient cities inhabited mostly by Shans. Myitkyina is well known as one of the places in Myanmar where the allied forces of the west, led by General Merill’s Marauders, landed and fought the enemy together with local rangers.
– Kachin State is rich in forest products, minerals, and gem stones some of which are still untouched. Phakant jade is one of the most famous products of the state and is very popular in the world. Gold can be panned in almost every river and stream of the state.
– Agriculture is the main occupation with rice as the main crop. Kachin State is a place where grapefruit and other rare citrus fruits are available. Pineapple, star apple, “da-nyin” fruit and “hkatchyo’ rice is among the best quality in the Myanmar market.
– Kachin State celebrates Kachin State day on the 10th of January, and the New Harvest Festival in November. There are many locally celebrated festivals among the people. One of the common festivals among the Kachin people is the Manau.
– More the 50% of Kachin State is generally covered by numerous types of forests with thousands of different plant species. Rhododendron is indigenous to Putao region and of the 600 known species of rhododendria, the English botanist collected 118 here in some 1920s, and some 107 of those may be still viewed at Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh. Also the wild orchids bloom in great profusion in this region. Botanists also identified 19 species of pine with the expeditions. Over 800 kinds of orchids, 97 varieties of bamboo and 32 different types of rattan canes are also home to this region. The forests ranging from tropical monsoon evergreen to alpine forest can also be found in the northern most part of the state. The rich variety of plants and animal life in Kachin State reflects its geographical location as well as its varied topography and climate.
– As many as 134 avian species were also recorded so far. Among them 15 rare species of Pheasant among them being a few on the endangered list, the Lmpeyan Pheasant, the Blood Pheasant. Blyth’s Tragopan, Temminck’s Tragopan, Sclater’s Monal, Snowy-throated Babble, Chestnut thrush, Red-tailed laughing trush and Ruxty bellied Short wing etc to name a few in the rare species list and some new identified species in Myanmar and South-East Asia. The area is home to numerous wild animals – including monkeys, deer, birds and butterflies – so it is no wonder paradise for scientific researchers and butterfly hunters. There is a safe habitat for wild elephants, tigers, takins, rare red pandas and other endangered species. Migratory birds from China and Mongolia, especially the Red Head Crane, travel in thousands to the plateau of Putao in spring, and disperse in early monsoon.
– In the foothills of the Himalayas in northern Putao situate Mt. Hkakabo Razi, the highest snow-capped mountain in South East Asia. 19,269 feet (5881 meter) high and a very important watershed area for the eastern Ayeyarwady river (Nmai Hka). The flagship trek of the area lies more than 440 kilometer away from nearest airstrip which takes nearly 6 weeks to complete. The route passes through the 1472-square-mile Hkakaborazi National Park. Apart from this there are several smaller peaks such as Mt. Lancrumadin of 3495 meters. Mt. Phongun Razi of 3485 meters, Mt. Phangran Razi of 4450 meters, Mt. Madwe Razi of 4500 meters and
Mt. Slimatdin of 4800 meters etc which can be scaled by trekker with normal physical condition.
– The Mali Hka and the Nmai Hka merge in Kachin State to become the Ayeyarwady, largely a glacier-fed river, stretch over a thousand miles long and it is one of the finest water ways in the world. This fertile valley flows though the dry zone in the heart of Myanmar and acts as a conduit of communication to over fifty million people.
– The largest natural lake in Myanmar, situated between East longitude 96˚ 23’-97˚ and North Latitude 25˚ -26˚ in Kachin State, South-west of Myitkyina. The 16 miles long and 8 miles wide lake is rich in biodiversity with different species of marine life and wetland birds.