Chapter – I
Travelling, for me is not just going to different places and experience different people. Travelling, for me is a beautiful ritual through which I connect with different people, lifestyle, culture, food, traditions, ethos and history.
Over the years, I have been to countless places, been among numerous people and lived through a multitude of traditions, cultures and lifestyles. Today, I am here to share one of my most intimate connections with one such place – Arunachal Pradesh.
The meaning of Arunachal Pradesh is “the land of dawn-lit mountains” and I still find myself at loss of words when it comes to describing this place.
It is the eastern most state of India and shares its international borders with Bhutan, China and Myanmar. The population here is very scant, the place is very clean, the languages are complex, the food is unforgettable and you will find more such things on the internet.
What I am here to do is, share my experiences from this remote land where I spent half a decade!!
How to Reach
First of all, reaching Arunachal Pradesh is not so easy. There are no direct flights or trains from any part of the world. This was one of the reasons my desire to see this place was piqued.
The closest railway stations are Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia and the closest Airports are Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport and Dibrugarh Airport, all located in Assam. Once you reach these destinations, you can take a bus or rent cars to go to Arunachal Pradesh.
Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia connect to different regions of Arunachal Pradesh and since there are limited interconnected roadways in Arunachal Pradesh, you might have to travel a lot.
The next tricky part is entering Arunachal Pradesh. Indian citizens have to procure for an ILP (Inner Line Permit) and international tourists have to procure a PAP (Protected Area Permit). Without one of these 2 documents, you won’t be allowed to enter Arunachal Pradesh.
You can now apply for these permits online here. Back in early 2000s, I had to tediously find the right office in Guwahati to get myself a permit.
Best Time to Visit
I have lived there through every season and here is the one thing I can say hands down, do not go there during the rainy season (May to September). If you somehow find yourself in Arunachal Pradesh during monsoon, brace yourself for landslides and floods. The very mesmerizing nature will ensure that you are stuck in your hotel for days at a stretch.
Summers are a good time to visit and the winters are the best if you love snowfall and it was throwing a snowball on someone has been in your bucket list forever.
Tourist Attractions in Arunachal Pradesh
If I have to summarise Ziro in a word, the word would be ‘speechless’. That is how I felt when I went there. Ziro is a captivating plateau and also the oldest towns in Arunachal Pradesh.
I say Ziro will make you speechless because of the imposing landscape of lush green forest, rivulets and elevated patches. Ziro is famous for paddy-cum-pisciculture cultivation. The area is renowned for the terrace paddy fields where the unique system of poly-culture and water management is practiced by the locals.
Aalo is a quaint valley at the conflux of Sipu and Siyom River. The valley is surrounded by hills and breath-taking orange orchards. It is an exotic nature getaway in Arunachal Pradesh and it is a perfect for sightseeing or nature walks. The hanging bridge in Siyom is a 70m long bamboo and cane bridge. Walking through it gives you the shivers and if you want more thrills, you can always go rafting.
This entire valley makes up for an unforgettable picnic spot and camping. The Siyom river right next to it does boost the appeal of this place massively.
Mechuka is a tiny hamlet located in the Mechuka Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, India. This valley is approximately 500 km from the state capital Itanagar. It is one of the most scenic destinations of the state.
Mechuka a.k.a. Menchuka, is derived from three words: “Men” means “medicinal”, “Chu” means “water” and “Kha” means “ice” in local language. The melted water flows here from the snow-capped peaks is believed to have medicinal values. This paradise on earth is still untouched and takes pride in its natural beauties. The spell binding landscapes, exotic tribes, beautiful lake, snow-capped mountains and Siyom River are the reasons which has made Mechuka a popular tourist destination in Arunachal Pradesh.
Namdapha national Park
Namdhapa National Park is the 15th Tiger Reserve of India. Namdapha National Park holds a unique moniker, it is home to the four big felines i.e. tiger, leopard, snow leopard and clouded leopard are found.
Bison, Samber and barking deer and a variety of snakes also inhabit the park. What makes Namdapha stand out is the topography of this park. It covers a wide range of altitude from 200m to 4500m. The upper reaches remain covered with snow during the major part of the year. The Noa-Dihing River meanders through the forest channelling out numerous tributaries being home to a diverse aquatic life.
Daporijo is a small scenic town where one can see suspension bridges over Subansiri River made from bamboo and cane – a testimony of robust tribal craftsmanship.
The Sigem-Daporijo Reserve forest and Kamala Reserve forest with its rich avi-fauna diversity are a definite visit. But what you cannot miss is the river rafting, angling and picnic prospects in the Subansiri River.
Well, this is not the end of the awesomeness of Arunachal Pradesh. There is a lot more to this place then one can ever fathom. I have lots to share about this place, so stay tuned here or here to be more surprised about this unseen side of nature – Arunachal Pradesh.