Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Tribal Homes of the Apatani Tribes at Ziro ~ Ziro Valley ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India

The State of Arunachal Pradesh is among the 29 States of India and holds the North Eastern most position in the Country. The most picturesque among the Seven Sister States of India, Arunachal Pradesh is a land of undulating hills and valleys, simple and hospitable people and Indigenous arts and crafts. A Land of colorful festivals, the name Arunachal Pradesh means the Land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains. In Sanskrit, it is also referred to as the Orchid State of India.

Arunachal Pradesh is a land of breath taking natural beauty with its snow clad peaks, towering mountains, roaring rivers, high altitude meadows and vast unspoiled sub-tropical forests. Arunachal Pradesh shares its International borders touching China, Bhutan and Myanmar. Arunachal has been endowed with a natural landscape that is awe inspiring and majestic with only a few other places in the world that come close its raw and rugged beauty. Arunachal Pradesh can surely be called as the wildest frontier of India. Falling almost entirely under the Eastern Himalayan landscape, Arunachal Pradesh is indeed a land of unmatchable natural beauty, heritage and ancient traditions. The forests of Arunachal Pradesh are considered to be among the best bio-diversity hotspots across the World!

Himalayan rivers and their major tributaries meander across the State of Arunachal Pradesh covering valleys which have remained disconnected from the rest of the modern world due to poor infrastructure and densely populated mountains giving Arunachal Pradesh its unique identity of rough and rugged natural beauty. Nine major rivers flow across the State that harbors a wide variety of flora and fauna. Across the single State, inhabit over a group of 40 tribes and their sub tribes who speak fairly over 90 languages. The rich culture and heritage of the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh makes the State one of the most sought after destinations for any offbeat traveller.

The first rays of the sun greets India in Arunachal Pradesh at Dong Village which is why Arunachal Pradesh is called the land of rising sun in India. Arunachal Pradesh is predominantly tribal and sparsely populated. There is a strong Buddhist presence in the region that border Bhutan with splendid relics of Buddhist art an architecture. Arunachal Pradesh shares its borders with China in the north, Myanmar in the east and the kingdom of Bhutan in the west. Almost 80% of the state is covered with a canopy of impenetrable deciduous forests.

Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, About Arunachal Pradesh, Hotels in Arunachal Pradesh
The Breath taking view of the Sela Pass in Arunachal ~ Sela ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India

Location, Climate and Biodiversity of Arunachal Pradesh ~ 

The State of Arunachal Pradesh is mostly surrounded by Mountain ranges. The Himalayan Mountain Range covers most of the State barring exceptions at Lohit, Changlang and Tirap districts that are covered by the Patkai hills. Kangto, Nyegi Kangsang and the Eastern Gorichen peak are some of the highest peaks of Arunachal Pradesh. The State is divided into five (5) river valleys ~ the Kameng, the Subansiri, the Siang, the Lohit and the Tirap. All these are fed by snow from the Himalayas and countless rivers and rivulets. The mightiest of these rivers is Siang, called the Tsangpo in Tibet, which becomes the Brahmaputra after it is joined by the Dibang and the Lohit in the plains of Assam.

The climate of Arunachal Pradesh varies with elevation. Areas that are at a very high elevation in the Upper Himalaya close to the Tibetan border have a cold climate the year around. Below the Upper Himalayas are the Middle Himalayas, where people experience a moderate climate and the areas at the sub-Himalayan and sea-level elevation generally experience humid, subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters.

Arunachal Pradesh receives heavy rainfall of 2,000 to 4,100 millimeters (79 to 161 in) annually, most of it between May and September. The mountain slopes and hills are covered with alpine, temperate, and subtropical forests of dwarf rhododendron, oak, pine, maple, fir, sal and teak.

Arunachal Pradesh has one of the richest bio geographical province of the Himalayan zone which is also classified as the biodiversity hot-spot. The State is endowed with diverse forests and magnificent wildlife that harbors over 5000 plants, about 85 terrestrial mammals, over 500 birds and a large number of butterflies, insects and reptiles. The vast forest cover of Arunachal Pradesh, as mentioned earlier, harbors a wide range of varied fauna species. Arunachal Pradesh is the only State in India where seven (7) of the wild cat species are found together viz. tigers, leopards, clouded leopards, snow leopards, golden cats, leopard cats and the marbled cats. The Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh is one of the best bio-diversity hotspots in the World and is home to the big four cat species. Some of the most unique primate species of India viz. Hollock Gibbon, Assamese macaque, pig-tailed macaque, slow lorris, rhesus macaque, stumped tailed macaque and the capped langur have made the forests of Arunachal Pradesh their home. Migratory bird species flock to various destinations of Arunachal Pradesh during the winter season making the State one of the most sought after destinations for bird watching in India. Rare bird species to be spotted in Arunachal Pradesh are the Indian Hornbill, Bengal florican, Mishmi wren, White winged wood duck, Termincks tragopan, etc. Smaller mammals like the squirrel, porcupine, civets, mongoose, shrew, bats, etc. are also to be spotted in Arunachal Pradesh. The higher altitudes are home to unique and exotic species like the Himalayan black bear, Red Panda and the Goral.

Most of Arunachal, including the Himalayan foothills and the Patkai hills, are home to Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests. Arunachal is also home to a large number of medicinal plants and within Ziro valley where 158 medicinal plants are being used by its inhabitants.

People of Arunachal Pradesh ~

The State of Arunachal Pradesh is home to many distinct ethnic groups, most of which are in some ways related to the peoples of Tibet and the region of western Myanmar. Arunachal Pradesh can be roughly divided into a set of semi-distinct cultural spheres, on the basis of tribal identity, language, religion and culture ~ the Tibetic area bordering Bhutan in the west, the Tani area in the centre of the state, the Mishmi area to the east of the Tani area, the Tai/Singpho/Tangsa area bordering Myanmar, and the “Naga” area to the south. Arunachal Pradesh is home to over 26 indigenous tribes and over 100 sub-tribes. Having a rich cultural heritage, these ancient tribes have dwelled Arunachal Pradesh for the past several hundred years preserving their age old customs and religious practices. The presence of a large number of tribes in Arunachal Pradesh has resulted in over 90 languages being spoken across the State.

The major Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh are ~

  • Monpas
  • Nyishis
  • Apatanis
  • Noctes
  • Wanchos
  • Galos
  • Adis
  • Singphos
  • Tai Khamti
  • Tangsas
  • Tai Phake
  • Chakmas
  • Buguns
  • Mishmis
  • Tagins
  • Sherdukpens

These tribes of Arunachal Pradesh are mostly an agrarian community. Unadapted to the major transformations of the modern world, these tribes mostly living in the remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh have been successful in preserving their age old religious beliefs, practices and customs. The tribal dresses and ornaments of the people of Arunachal Pradesh are very exquisite. For instance, the Apatanis of Arunachal Pradesh are characterized with special facial tattoos and nose plugs. The Miri men wear unique headgears while the women wear special blouses made of cane. Most the the people of Arunachal Pradesh are expert in handicrafts of bamboo and cane and weave out exquisite products made of bamboo. The unique bamboo bridges of Arunachal Pradesh are a sight to behold! The tribes of Arunachal Pradesh celebrate many traditional festivals which are characterized by different dance rituals and colorful rituals.

Arunachal Pradesh celebrates some unique festival across the year; Losar Festival (January/February) celebrates the Tibetan New Year. Losar Festival is celebrated generally for 5 days and on the 5th day evening people clean their homes to welcome the new year and say goodbye to the previous year. Losar Festival has a major influence of Buddhism, therefore during the festival days Buddhist scriptures are read. Losar is celebrated with great pomp and vigour at the Largest Buddhist Monastery in India ~ the Tawang Monastery.  The Torgya festival of Arunachal Pradesh celebrated at the Tawang Monastery is again a three day celebration and it signifies the destruction of evil spirits. The Saka Dawa festival marks Buddha’s transition to nirvana and is celebrated in the fourth month of lunar calendar. The Choekhor festival of Arunachal Pradesh is the festival of harvest and crop. It is celebrated in the seventh month of Lunar calendar with huge pomp and show.

Rice is a staple diet across Arunachal Pradesh and is usually served with vegetarian and nonvegetarian delights. The food habits of the people of Arunachal Pradesh have a tribal influence. The most famous traditional drink made from fermented rice or millet is Apong. The prominent feature of the cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh is indigenous herbs and meat.

Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Namsai Golden Pagoda, Golden Pagoda Festival Namsai
Tai Phake Tribes celebrate the Kathina Festival of the Golden Pagoda ~ Namsai ~ Aruanchal Pradesh ~ India. Credits ~ Arif Siddiqui

Places of Interest in Arunachal Pradesh ~

  • Tawang ~ Home to the Largest Buddhist Monastery in India, Tawang is surrounded by snow clad mountains the year around. Other places of interest at Tawang are the Madhuri Lake and the Jung Waterfall. Tawang also has many centers of Handicrafts and Handlooms
  • Sela Pass and Jaswatgarh ~ Among the highest motor able passes in India, the Sela Pass provides a majestic view of the Snow Clad mountains of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Bomdila ~ Has a famous Monastery and is a hub of Handicrafts and Handlooms of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Dirang and Sangti Valley ~ a Bird watcher’s paradise
  • Itanagar ~ the Capital of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Ziro Valley ~ the Land of the Legendary Apatani Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and home to the World’s Tallest naturally formed Shivalinga
  • Daporijo ~ the Land of the Tagin Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Namsai ~ Home to the Golden Pagoda Temple
  • Walong ~ the Land where India fought China in 1962
  • Dong Village ~ First rays of the Sun in India are received at Dong Village
  • Kibithu ~ the Eastern most part of India
  • Mayodia ~ Covered with snow clad mountains, Mayodia provides a picteresque view of the Patkai mountain range of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Anini ~ Home to the Adi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Miao ~ Center of Tibetian settlement in Arunachal Pradesh
  • Namdapha National Park ~ Home to the Big Four (4) Cat Species and the 3rd Largest National Park of India
  • Jairampur ~ The World War II cemetery at Jairampur is the only one in India that has burials of soldiers of the Chinese Army
  • Nampong ~ Host to the Pangsau Pass Winter Festival
  • Pangsau Pass ~ the Border of India and Myanmar. Every month on the 10th, 20th and 30th, Indian Nationals are allowed to cross the border and travel to the market at Myanmar
  • Stilwell Road ~ Built by the American Army during the World War II under the able guidance of General Vinegar Joe Stilwell
  • Lake of No Return ~ Dubbed as the Bermuda Triangle this Lake shot into fame during the World War II when Aircraft of the Allies disappeared mysteriously in the Lake.

On the banks of the Bhoroli river in Dirang lies Asia’s third largest orchid garden popularly known as Tipi. At Tipi orchard in Arunachal Pradesh, around 500 species of orchids can be seen. Bomdila, a breathtakingly beautiful town with an awesome view of the snow capped mountains of the Eastern Himalayas is the headquarters of west Kameng and has a large number of apple orchards. Sela Pass, the second highest pass in Arunachal Pradesh runs through a small ride along the paradise Sela lake. Most visitors to Arunachal Pradesh visit to sight the Buddhist Monasteries here. Tawang, popularly termed as the Land of Monpas is famous for the Tawang Monastery, which is the largest Buddhist Monastery in India and the second largest in the world after Potala in Tibet. The picturesque Ziro Valley is a tourist’s delight with its stunning landscapes and the Apatani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The Namdapha National Park is a famous tiger reserve accessible from Dibrugarh via its entry point Miao. The majority portion of the Namdapha National Park is mountainous and across its flows the majestic river Nao Dehing, Deban and the Namdapha rivers which paves way for a rich diversity of flora and fauna here at Namdapha National Park. This park in Arunachal Pradesh is home to the big four cat species of the likes of the tigers, the leopards, the clouded leopards and the snow leopards. An important pilgrimage center of Arunachal Pradesh is Parashuram Kund which is believed to be the place where Parashuram washed away the sin of killing his mother in the waters of Brahma Kund. The tribal hamlet of Tezu is located close by dominated most;y by the Mishmi hill tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Other places of interest across Arunachal Pradesh are Bhalukpong, Mechuka, Pasighat, Along, Roing, Mayodia, etc. Arunachal Pradesh is haven to explore Buddhism with many Monasteries being home here.

Among the northeasternmost State of India, Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most beautiful States in the Country. The first rays of the sun in India, touch the soil of Arunachal Pradesh at a tinsel village of Dong and hence the name Arunachal Pradesh in Sanskrit translates to the ‘Land of the Dawn Lit Mountains’. Many other feathers dawn the hat of Arunachal Pradesh in it being the Orchid State of India, the Paradise for all Botanists and also it being the largest among all the north eastern States in India. Arunachal Pradesh is one of the North East States that enjoys a temperate climate around the year and can be visited across the year. Covered with snowy mountains, steep cliffs, gorgeous rivers and glorious waterfalls, Arunachal Pradesh harbors a very diverse biodiversity. The widely scattered Archaeological remains across Arunachal Pradesh stands a testament to its rich heritage and glory. Some of the main Archaeological State of Arunachal Pradesh are Tawang Monastery, Malinithan Temple, Likabali, Dirang Dzong, Ita Fort, Dimachung-Betali, Bhismaknagar Fort, Tezu Fort, Bolung Fort, Gomsi Fort, Rukmini Fort, Naksha Parbat ruins, etc.

The State of Arunachal Pradesh is situated in extreme north east corner of India with close proximity to the border of China. Arunachal Pradesh is nearly 84,000 sq km in area and has a long international border with the Kingdom of Bhutan to its west, Republic of China to the north and north-east and Republic of the Union of Myanmar to its east. Arunachal Pradesh stretches from snow-capped mountains in the north to the plains of Brahmaputra valley to its south. Arunachal Pradesh is the largest state area wise in the north-eastern region.

The State of Arunachal Pradesh is a place of lush green forests, deep river valleys and beautiful plateaus. The land is mostly mountainous with Himalayan ranges along the northern borders criss-crossed with mountain ranges running north-south. These divide the state into five river valleys: the Kameng, the Subansiri, the Siang, the Lohit and the Tirap. All these rivers are fed by snows from the Himalayas and countless rivers and rivulets except Tirap which is fed by Patkai Range.The mightiest of these river is Siang, called Tsangpo in Tibet, which becomes Brahmaputra after it is joined by the Dibang and the Lohit in the plains of Assam.

High mountains and dense forests have prevented intercommunication between tribes living in different river valleys of Arunachal Pradesh. The geographical isolation thus imposed has led different tribes to evolve their own dialects and grow with their distinct identities. Nature has endowed the Arunachal people with a deep sense of beauty which finds delightful expression in their songs, dances and crafts.

Arunachal Pradesh is the Easternmost State of North East India and is a Land of rich culture and ancient heritage. The first rays of the Sun in India falls on the Lands of the State of Arunachal Pradesh and hence this State is often referred to as the Land of the Rising Sun in India. Nestled in the Border between the countries of India, Tibet and China, Arunachal Pradesh is among the most picturesque of the Eight Sister States of North East India!

Arunachal Pradesh has been bestowed and endowed with natural landscapes that is awe inspiring and majestic with only a few other places in the World that come close to its raw and rugged natural beauty. Surrounded by the Himalayan Mountain Range and criss crossed by the Siang and Lohit Rivers, Arunachal Pradesh enjoys a mild and temperate weather condition across the year, with snowfall to be sighted across the places of Sela, Tawang, Mechula and Mayodia. Being located in the Himalayan Zone, Arunachal Pradesh is a Biodiversity hotspot harbouring over 5000 plants, 85 mammal species, 500 avifauna species and a large number of reptiles and butterfly species.

Being a land of a large number of residing ethnic groups, the primary inhabitants of Arunachal Pradesh are the Monpas, Nishis, Apatanis, Noctes, Wanchos, Singphos, Adis, Tangsas, Tai Phakes, Chakmas, Buguns and the Mishmi Tribes. 

Festivals of Arunachal Pradesh ~

1| Losar Festival ~ Tawang Monastery ~ Tawang ~ Arunachal Pradesh

Celebrating the Tibetan New Year ~ Losar Festival ~ Tawang Monastery ~ Late February/Early March every year

Losar is the Tibetan word for ‘New Year’. LO stands for the semantic field ‘Year, Age’; SAR holds the semantic field ‘New, Fresh’. Losar Festival is a festival of the Buddhist Community in Tawang and it marks the Monpa New Year which is celebrated with great Splendor and Grandeur every year during the End of February or Early March at the Largest Buddhist Monastery in India ~ the Tawang Monastery.

The Losar Festival is believed to ward off evel spirits and welcome the arrival of the New Year filled with happiness and prosperity. Although the Losar Festival is celebrated every year on the first day of the first month of the Tibetian Lunar Calendar, the dates vary each year. The local people are busy with cleaning, painting and decorating their houses. The local Monpa community houses are adorned with different decorations and offerings are made known as LAMA LOSAR.

On the New Year’s eve, a traditional noodle soup is made which is known as Guthnk. It contains dumplings made of flour and water. The dumplings are stuffed with each of nine different fortune symbols that determine the fortune of the person for the next year. They also make offerings to the households shrine to pay homage to the Lord. This day is restricted to the immediate family only. On the second day, people move out of their homes and visit their friends and relatives. They exchange greetings and wish one another ‘Tashi Delek’ meaning Good Luck! In the evenings, people light torches and move around their homes warding off evil spirits from their abode. The third day is marked by visits to the Monastery, Shrines and Stupas. On this day, the Monpa people also donate clothes and foods to the Monks of the Monasteries.

2| Tawang Festival ~ Tawang ~ Arunachal Pradesh

The Tawang Festival ~21st to 23rd October every year

In the land of early sunrise, on India’s eastern most frontier, with China to its northern side, the land of Thunder Dragon Bhutan, to its southwest, and Myanmar to its Eastern side. Tawang is situated at 10,000 feet above sea level with snow capped mountains, monasteries & waterfalls.  A place where you might not find Nirvana, but the Experience will surely be like that if not less. Tawang is a place for those who search their Souls. With an initiative of showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the state, the festival also promote adventure tourism. It’s the festival, where you will not only witness the rich culture of Monpas the prime inhabitants of Tawang, but also of all other tribes of the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Tawang Festival was introduced in 2012 as a tourism festival after celebration of Buddha Mahotsova since 2004, with a three-day routine including cycling expeditions, cultural shows, Ethnic Fashion Show and a lot more.

In this festival, a mega fair is constructed to showcase the brilliant culture of the monastic tribes. With religious chants by monks from the Tawang monastery, folk dances, tribal dances, and other forms of culture it is sure to get peace and entertained. The Celebrations resonate the Eastern skies as colorful culture spills to the streets, there is an opera which in act street plays  based on Buddhist stories of ancient times. In the land of Last Shangri-La that only creates magic but engulfs one in an unending bond, one can surely be at calm and enjoy the warm hospitality of the people of Arunach Pradesh.

What you can do when you are visiting Tawang ~

  • You can visit the tallest road pass, the Sela pass.
  • Take a tour of the famed Tawang monastery (Largest in India)
  • Visit the popular Songa-Tser lake or see the Tawang War Memorial
  • Try the roadside delicacies like Momos  and Thukpa’s

3| The Ziro Festival of Music ~ Ziro Valley ~ Arunachal Pradesh

To what is described as India’s Greatest outdoor Music Festival, the Ziro festival of Music is held every year in the month of September at the tinsel town of Ziro in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. Situated at around 115 kms from the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar is the small town of Ziro. Even though this town is far atop the hills but people from across the world know Ziro as the place the hosts India’s largest outdoor Music Festival – ‘the Ziro Festival of Music’. Although this may suggest Ziro as a modern place where the parties and festivities cease to come to an end but it’s completely the other way around. Ziro is a quaint and silent place that is home to the ‘Apatani’ tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. It is only during September when the festival is held you see people from across the world coming to dance to the tunes of the renowned artists both local and global to an atmosphere very similar to ‘Sunburn Festival’ across the various Tier I cities of India!

The Ziro Festival of Music showcases the independent music scene in India. The festival was founded in 2012 by Bobby Hano and Menwhopause guitarist Anup Kutty, and has featured artists like Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley, Louw Majaw, Sha’air n Func, Indus Creed, Peter Cat Recording Co, Menwhopause, Guru Rewben Mashangva, and Barmer Boys among others. The festival is spread over four days and is hosted by members of the Apatani people in Ziro.

Ziro is primarily home to the ‘Apatani’ Tribal people of Arunachal Pradesh –friendly, simple and hospitable people with an interesting culture and legacy. They are a non-nomadic, agrarian tribe who share a responsible relationship with nature. ‘Apatani’ people cultivate permanent wet land cultivation instead of dry land cultivation which involves burning forests. Ziro valley is lush with paddy farms and is known for its unique paddy cum fi sh cultivation where using traditional irrigation methods, farmers rear fish in the knee-deep water. Keeping them company are the adorable, shy, and harmless Indian Bison. Around here, they are called ‘Mithun’ and considered auspicious and are very tasty too!

Back in the olden days, there was a strange custom of facial tattoos for ‘Apatani’ women and you can still see a few old women with tattoos. A highlight of this place and people and shy to pose for a picture and hence do ask for their permission before you take pictures.

4| Dree Festival ~ Ziro Valley ~ Arunachal Pradesh

Situated at around 115 kms from the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar is the small town of Ziro. Even though this town is far atop the hills but people from across the world know Ziro as the place the hosts India’s largest outdoor Music Festival – ‘the Ziro Festival of Music’. Although this may suggest Ziro as a modern place where the parties and festivities cease to come to an end but it’s completely the other way around. Ziro is a quaint and silent place that is home to the ‘Apatani’ tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. It is only during September when the festival is held you see people from across the world coming to dance to the tunes of the renowned artists both local and global to an atmosphere very similar to ‘Sunburn Festival’ across the various Tier I cities of India!

The ‘Dree Festival’ is an ‘Apatani’ agricultural rite. It involves the sacrifice of fowls, eggs and animals to the Gods – ‘Tamu’, ‘Metii’ and ‘Danyi Pilo’ (Sun and Moon God). The purpose of the festival is to appease these Gods so that famine could be avoided. This rite is observed by the ‘Apatanis’ in Arunachal Pradesh, the ‘Apatanis’, who inhabit a tranquil pine clad valley called Ziro at the core of Lower Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh, are famous for their unique practice of wet rice cultivation. One would wonder as to how the early ‘Apatanis’ had brilliantly discovered the magnificent irrigated rice cultivation without help of scientific technologies. Rice is the staple food of the ‘Apatanis’, as such for its bumper harvest the nature God and goddesses are prayed during the ‘Dree’ Festival from 4 to 7 July of each year.

Although ‘Dree’ is the festival of the ‘Apatani’ Tribe, it has gained in popularity amongst other tribes in Arunachal Pradesh as well. The festival takes place on July 5 each year; however celebrations associated with the festival begin from July 4 itself. ‘Dree’ is the biggest festival of the Ziro Valley and is celebrated to ensure a good harvest. During the festival, people offer prayers to their Gods and seek the blessings of the four mighty Gods who are thought to bring in peace, prosperity and fruitful harvest to the Ziro Valley. Traditional dance is performed and as a symbol of good harvest cucumber is distributed to all. Women brew wine and people also savor various delicacies and rice/millet beer.

5| Pangsau Pass Winter Festival ~ Nampong ~ Arunachal Pradesh

Pangsau Pass Winter Festival ~ a Conglomeration of the Legendary Tribes of two Nations ~ India & Myanmar

Amazing Arunachal Pradesh Tourism welcomes you to the International Border of India and Myanmar at the Pangsau Pass ~ the host to the famous Pangsau Pass Winter Festival of Arunachal Pradesh (January 20th – 22nd every year).

Located on the plains of the Lush Green Patkai Mountain Range, Pangsau Pass offers one of the easiest routes to Burma from the Assam plains through Jairampur town of Arunachal Pradesh. Also known as the Hells Pass from the era of the World War II, this Pass gradient came into limelight from the construction of the famous Stilwell Road (built by the American Army under the able guidance of General Vinegar Joe Stilwell) through it along with the presence of the Lake of No Return. The memoirs of the World War II can be seen here at War Cemetery at Jairampur (the only War Cemetery in India with burials of soldiers from the Chinese Army). A 2 hour drive by road from Margherita (the Coal Queen of Assam) across the scenic view of the Tirap River and the Patkai Mountain Range will reach you to the Pangsau Pass.

The Pangsau Pass Winter Festival is a global village event organized every year at Nampong in Arunachal Pradesh. Pangsau Pass Winter Festival is the Second most popular Tourism festival of Arunachal Pradesh organized and supported by the Department of Tourism ~ a Festival that is sure to allow you to fall in love with the moment, the place, the people, the food, and just about everything!

Pangsau Pass Winter Festival is a platform to showcase the rich Culture and Heritage of the Indigenous Tribes across the borders of the two Nations with a special focus on the Tangsa Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. This Festival provides a platform to promote their Indigenous Traditions, Culture, Handlooms, Handicrafts, Food habits, etc. It is a change for the tourists from across the World to savor their rich Tribal Cuisines and Local Beverages. In short, the Pangsau Pass Winter Festival unearths the magnificent isle of Culture of the Tribes, their Cuisines, the Exotic Countryside and Ethnic extravaganza of Arunchal Pradesh and Myanmar at Nampong and the Pangsau Pass.

6| Golden Pagoda Festival ~ Namsai ~ Arunachal Pradesh

The Golden Pagoda Temple at Choukham is a major tourist destination in the Namsai district of Arunachal Pradesh. Known as ‘Kongmu Kham’ in the local Tai-Khamti language, Golden Pagoda is one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in North East India after the Tawang Monastery.

The Golden Pagoda Temple complex is built in Burmese architectural design with a beautiful garden around it.The temple complex has a shrine hall which has a huge Buddha statue in meditating pose inside it.On four corners of the outer base of the main shrine are a bell,Vasundri or the witness to the offerings made in the temple, a monk and four deties. The Golden Pagoda complex houses a spacious shrine hall,a meditation hall,a multipurpose hall,a guest house,a library,a monastery to accommodate around 100 Bhikkhus and living quarter for the monks.

The Golden Pagoda Temple is host to the 2 famous festivals of the Tai-Phake Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh namely the Kathina Chibar Dena and the Poi Pee Mau Festival.

The Kathina Chibar Dena/ Poi Khating Festival (Golden Pagoda Festival- Namsai Arunachal Pradesh)

The majestic Golden Pagoda at Tengapani hosts the month-long Poi Khating Festival or Kathina Chibar Dena Festival from November 5. Buddhists in China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka celebrate it with traditional fervour. The followers at family level or community level weave new cloth manually and dye it overnight for offering it to the revered monk as per tradition. The Hindi substitute is ‘kathin’ or ‘kathina’ for the difficult process, ‘Chibar’ for making the cloth and ‘dena’ for offering, hence the name Kathina Chibar Dena Festival is into being. Tengapani which houses the Golden Pagoda is ready to celebrate the festival, where Buddhists from all over the country, particularly from North Eastern region take part. Aimed at promoting the rich cultural heritage of Tai Khamti, the centre is contemplating to reform its Khamti script.

Poi Pee Mau Festival (Tai Khamti New Year)

The annual New Year celebration of the Tai Khamti community in India is held at the festival ground in Nalung, near the Golden Pagoda of Namsai district. The Poi Pee Mau festival is celebrated by the Tai people worldwide marking the advent of a new year as per their lunar calendar. The attraction of the day is the traditional boat race where teams compete in the initial rounds in wooden boats which are manually crafted. The boats are a unique feature in this part of North Eastern India. The culture, cuisine and colourful Tai Khamti way of life are being showcased in the fest. Apart from the cultural displays, the delicious food is something to look out for. Poi Pee Mau – is the celebration of the advent of a new dawn for the community to usher a fresh era of socio-cultural development.

It usually takes place in November or December. The common platform in the form of Poi Pee Mau Khamti provides the youth with relevant change of mind-set and helped them see the brighter side of life. The Poi (festival) has in the true sense made the younger generations more acquainted with at least the names of different games and sports disciplines, and also rescued the Tai Khamti culture from the threat of possible extinction. The celebration of Poi Pee Mau is designed in such a way that it gives a platform to develop and display the talents of the budding artists and writers of the society. It gives exposure to the tourism potentiality of the area to the outer world and helps the unemployed youth get employment under the tourism sector.

It also sustains the prospects of tourism and ultimately helps in strengthening the society, the state and the nation as a whole. It represents the cultural ethos, providing sustenance to it and ultimately promotes tourism and provides continuity to customs, tradition and culture.

So why wait?! Plan your visit to India’s Land of the Rising Sun at the Amazing Destinations of the State of Arunachal Pradesh, Incredible India!

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Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal

Majestic Mountains and beautiful valley at Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India

Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
The tribal homes of Arunachal Pradesh ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
The beautiful valley of Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
The Bamboo Bridge at Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Tribal Homes of the Apatani Tribes at Ziro ~ Ziro Valley ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Apatani tribes at their Tribal kitchens at Ziro ~ Ziro Valley ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Homes of the Tribes at Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Tribal homes of Memba Tribes at Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
The Buddhist Monastery at Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Majestic Mountains at Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Majestic Mountains and beautiful valley at Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Tribal kitchens of the Apatani Tribes at Ziro ~ Ziro Valley ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Monastery at Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Snow clad Mountains at Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Mechuka, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Bomdila, Hotels Arunachal
Lush Green paddy fields at Mechuka ~ Mechuka ~ Arunachal Pradesh ~ India

Exploring Arunachal Pradesh ~

I had just completed my journey travelling across Assam covering most of the places of tourist interest and ended my journey at the beautiful countryside and mineral rich areas of Upper Assam. As I was halting at Margherita at my mother’s quarters so I thought to explore the places around this part of eastern Arunachal Pradesh where I would start exploring the Pangsau Pass at the border of India and Myanmar in Arunachal Pradesh, continue to the fourth largest National park in India (in terms of area) at the Namdapha National Park, continue to the eastern most destinations of India at Walong, Dong and Kibithoo and further to the other destinations in Arunachal Pradesh. I had some of the friends who were staying at Margherita as well as a few of the friends of my younger brother who agreed to accompany me to certain destinations around the area and as they had contacts with the people who had SUVs so this meant it would be easier to borrow these heavy vehicle to tackle the roads of Arunachal Pradesh which are yet to be fully built in these eastern fronts. I already visited the Deomali area in the Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh where I explored the beautiful countryside and visited the villages of the Nocte and Adi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, I also visited the Ramakrishna Mission at Deomali and the local market where I got to see some of the very fresh produce of vegetables and fruits that I had not seen earlier across Assam. It was a short visit to Deomali in Arunachal Pradesh but with my stay here extending I hoped to visit the place again soon.

The visit to Pangsau Pass and further up to Myanmar at the Pangsau pass market and the Lake of No Return was planned when my brother took me to meet one of his friends at Tipong Colliery township area and we were discussing the tourism potential in the area. Over a round of beer we decided to visit the Pangsau Pass after crossing Nampong in Arunachal Pradesh where we would visit the World War II Cemetery at Nampong that is the only war cemetery in India that had burials of Chinese soldiers from the Burma Campaign of World War II and this cemetery also houses a botanical garden here. Thrice a month on the 10th, 20th and 30th, Indian Nationals are allowed to pass the international border and travel to Myanmar via the Pangsau Pass and visit the Lake of No Return and the Pangsau Pass market. This is allowed to encourage and facilitate cross border trade and promote tourism activity at these places of rich historical interest. But visitors need to obtain valid permits and pay certain nominal entry fees to cross the place and the have to return back to India by later afternoon. I knew an uncle of mine who could help me arrange for the permission from the SDO office at Margherita and I approached him to help me arrange the required documentation for the travel of two people to the Pangsau Pass from Margherita. It was a quick process and the very next day, the uncle handed me the documentation and told me that a copy had been sent via registered post to the SDO office at Nampong in Arunachal Pradesh.

So the next day we started on our drive to Nampong in Arunachal Pradesh from Margherita. My friend had arranged for a Mahindra Bolero vehicle from his uncle and the vehicle was in a new condition and he came to pick me up from my house as he too was halting at Margherita since a few days. We crossed Margherita, Baragolai, Ledo, Lekhapani and finally reached Jagun in Assam. As mentioned in the blog on my explorations of Assam, Jagun is an important trade town along the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and lots of cross border trade with food supplies happens here and this is an offload point of various truck and busses that carry goods from locations like Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and as far off as Guwahati. The Marwari community inhabits the areas of Jagun and they deal in a lot of business options here bringing in goods and transporting them to other destinations with a decent profit. Numerous business establishments can be seen across this tinsel town and very remote as well. We stopped at Jagun to have our breakfast as we left home early as we did not know exactly how long it would take us to reach the Pangsau Pass and also the time needed to spend at the check gates for the verification of our documents. We stopped at a small hotel that was making some hot puri sabji and we ordered ourselves a plate each along with tea. The puris were hot and the curry was spicy a perfect combination for a morning breakfast and we quickly finished our plates and ordered for more.

Soon we left Jagun to take a right diversion to travel towards Nampong in Arunachal Pradesh. To our surprise the roads were in a good condition and with the occasional pot holes. We were driving a little scared because this places were earlier marred with terrorism activities and the main terror outfit of Assam ULFA had their camps in the villages around this place. But with the establishment of an army camp at Nampong after Lekhapani those activities reduced considerably and nowadays it is considered almost nil. Yet we felt a little scared because everywhere there was forest around with very less human habitation. These places in Arunachal Pradesh are inhabited by the Tangsa tribes and we could see their unique homes built with bamboo when we drove along. Shorty we reached the site of the World War II Cemetery cum Botanical gardens at Nampong and it was a sad sight to view it because the place had almost fallen into ruins with no maintenance as could be viewed from the outside. As we were short on time we decided to at first travel to Myanmar and later on our way back we could visit this place. We continued on our drive and in sometime reached the border check post at the Assam and Arunachal Pradesh border. There were three uniformed police personnel here and we alighted from our car and went in to their office to verify our documents before we proceeded further. This was at the entrance of Nampong town and we could finally see human settlements around and it was mostly an army area with a big cantonment area.

The policemen took our documents and cross verified the authority seal and signature and in some time they allowed us to cross the interstate border and pass into Arunachal Pradesh. This is a strict policy that no person without valid documentation is allowed to cross the border and we got proof of it as two boys who had come on their bikes without a valid documentation were not allowed to cross into Arunachal Pradesh even though they just wanted to cross the checkpoint and go to a friend’s home nearby but instead their friend had to come to the check post to meet them. After crossing the check post we headed straight to and a military base welcomed us to Nampong in Arunachal Pradesh. There were beautifully painted slogans on the walls of the buildings speaking of the bravery of the Indian soldiers who guard our frontiers across the toughest terrains and the harshest climatic conditions and a sense of patriotism dawns into a person after reading these slogans. A little further were stopped by army soldiers who checked our vehicle to see that we were not carrying anything suspicious in our vehicles and after making an entry they welcomed us to Nampong in Arunachal Pradesh and showed us the directions to the SDO office where we had to validate our documents and pay the nominal government fees towards our entry to the Pangsau Pass in Myanmar at the Lake of No Return from Arunachal Pradesh. The officials at the SDO office were yet to arrive to work as we were early at around 8 AM and it hardly took us about an hour to reach Nampong in Arunachal Pradesh from Margherita in Assam.

We were both wondering as to how long it would take for the officials to arrive and just then a man and a lady walked into the office and asked us our purpose of visit to Nampong in Arunachal Pradesh and we explained our purpose with the SDO Office letter in our hand. The lady checked the calendar and told us that she had forgotten that it was the 10th of the month and today visitors would be allowed to go into the Myanmar area and she immediately got to prepare our passes and we paid our fees of around INR 340 for the two of us. We were instructed to return back by early afternoon as the rule was permissible for visit only that time. We thanked the officials and started again on our drive to the Pangsau Pass. A little up ahead we had to drive atop a hill and here again we were stopped by army officials who checked our passes and asked us our purpose of visit to the Pangsau pass and I told them we were tourists who wanted to simply explore this historic place and also explore the Republic of the Union of Myanmar from India’s Land o0f the Rising Sun – Arunachal Pradesh. The army officials allowed us to pass through and shortly after we reached Pangsau Pass. The legendary Pangsau Pass was a route that was used by the mighty Ahoms to come from Myanmar to India and establish their huge kingdom here. The Pangsau pass is named after the local village in Myanmar where we were headed to and it is at an altitude of 3700 feet on the Patkai mountain range and is the easiest access to Myanmar from Arunachal Pradesh in India.

Pangsau Pass had shot to fame mostly during the times of the World War II when the American Army under the brave general Vinegar Joe Stilwell started the construction of the Ledo road aka the Stilwell road to connect India with China after the land route (Burma road) was cut off by the Japanese forces and this alternate route was needed as a supply route to China from India. The construction along the Pangsau Pass was one of the toughest instances faced by the American army along with locals as this pass had a steep gradient loaded with stony surface and mud and this caused them to called the Pangsau Pass as the Hell’s Pass. I couldn’t believe my eyes that I was standing at the historic Pangsau Pass and it also made me feel pity as many people didn’t have any idea about the history of this place that had once proved one of the prime factors that led the Allied forces march towards victory over the Imperial Japanese Army during the Burma Campaign of World War II. Just across it was a huge signage welcoming us to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The roads up to this place was in very good condition but a road block stuck us ahead when we saw that they were no roads and only a muddy stretch of road and with additional rainfall this stretch had become completely muddy and there was no way we could reach the other side driving our cars.

So we took time exploring the area as we were told that we could hire the services of dirt bikes that are operated by Myanmar locals who ferry passengers on these bikes across these muddy roads and help people to reach the other side of the border and bring them back to the Pangsau Pass in Arunachal Pradesh as well. As we walked around we could see a big market complex being built by Myanmar govt. that would allow the traders to setup shops here as at present the Pangsau Pass market was a temporary setup and people set up stalls in make shift stalls (this is came to know after visiting the market at Pangsau). In sometime we saw these dirt bikes coming towards us and the Myanmar locals were manoeuvring them easily with passengers behind them. We contacted one of these bike owners who agreed to ferry two of us in one bike meaning three of us would be sitting and travelling on one bike. At first glance I thought it was an impossible task but some of the local people here assured us that nothing would happen and this was a simple task for these riders and so we obliged and began our journey from Pangsau Pass to Myanmar at Pangsau market. It was simply amazing to witness the driving skills of this person as he drive across the muddy road bearing the weight of two bulky individuals behind his bike and drive along easily.

After driving for a while the mud road ended and we reached the International check post where we had to cross the Indian side where we were provided a token and this had to be handed over to the Burma side to the officials who would allow us to travel to Myanmar. Our passes were verified and we passed to reach the Myanmar outpost and here we were welcomed by the officials of Myanmar who accepted the token and gave us a piece of paper with the token number and asked us to take back the token on our way back. The bike owner picked us up again and we started to drive again to the Pangsau market. It was fascinating to us because just in a matter of 2 hours we had entered a different country without any passport or visa and it was an amazing experience. Shortly we reached the Pangsau market in Myanmar. We were dropped at the entrance of the Pangsau market and the bike owner agreed to drop us back to Arunachal Pradesh as well at an additional price and told us to come find him here after we were done exploring the traditional and vibrant Pangsau market in Myanmar. We told him that we would take much time and should be done exploring within an hour’s time because we did not have much to shop but only to look about. So we started to explore by at first viewing the Pangsau view    point from where we got a very clear view of the famous Lake of No Return that was once considered as the Bermuda triangle of the east as many had lost control while flying over the lake and got crashed in the process. It was also believed that an army of men too lost their lives while crossing this huge lake and were never heard off again. Though there have been many instances of such reports of men and machines disappearing but no one could explain the mysteries of the infamous lake of no return till date precisely. The entire area was looking so green and with the sunlight falling on the waters of the lake the place was looking absolutely magical and I couldn’t believe that the waters of this calm lake could prove so devastating to the troops who fought and battled their lives during the Burma campaign of World War II. We clicked our pictures here and later went to explore the Pangsau market which was more or less similar to any traditional market in Arunachal Pradesh with vendors selling all sorts of goods frim fruits, vegetables, electronic goods, cosmetics, knifes, daggers and most importantly booze.

It was hardly 9.30 AM in the morning and people were flocking to the shops that sold liquor and having a gala time drinking beer, whiskey and savouring on local preparations of meat and fish. One important thing that was to be noted at the Pangsau market was that women were mostly the shop owners and they were indulging in the day to day business activities pretty much similar to the culture in Meghalaya and Manipur and even some parts in Arunachal Pradesh where women area equally empowered as men in the society. We took small strides and examined the goods that were being sold in the market area and one unique thing we found we locally made knives and daggers that had very detailed craftsmanship put into it while designing the blade and handle of the knife. My friend was utmost impressed with this and he soon made a decision to purchase one of the knives. It was a good deal and it was interesting as the traders at the market accepted Indian currency happily. We walked across the market admiring the various local products and produce available and the sight was very unique. The motorbikes were all around and it looked to me that they were custom built in Myanmar and I must admit that these bikes were very powerful and could tackle even the toughest terrains. We are allowed to walk a little further as the Stilwell Road continued further into the heart of Myanmar and there was a local village ahead.

In the interest of time we did not go further and decided to try our time with some local beer from Myanmar along with the local savouries of pork meat. Women folks were busy in the meat preparations and the meat was being prepared in a unique process where there was a sauce broth and the meat chunks were pierced in bamboo skewers and allowed to cook in the flavour of the sauce. One lady was stirring the sauce occasionally and poured the sauce over the meat and it was a continuous process. We took our seats in one of the restaurants cum bar that was built completely with wooden planks and had various offerings from beer, whiskey, vodka and other drinks and on offering were the pork and some sort of dried fish with herbs. I wondered how the fish would taste and so we ordered a plate of the pork and the fish. I must admit that the food was not as flavourful as we have it in Assam because the meat was just placed to us without any garnishings of onions, chillies and coriander and also the fish wasn’t heated up and it were about 3 small cat fishes that was mixed with salt and some herbs paste and allowed to dry in the sun and perhaps stored some place and it was served to us just like that. The salt was a bit too much in the fish and a little too less in the pork. So with reluctance we had to leave these dishes unattended and we simply enjoyed the beer.

Although we had just ordered a small can of beer each, yet the beer was strong and I was already feeling a little high after finishing half of the can. We cleared the bill after finishing our beer and as I had heard that the coffee from Burma is very popular I bought a few packets to take back home. We came back from the market and looked for the guy with the motorbike and to take us back and he was waiting at the end of the market and he picked us up and we started on our ride back to Arunachal Pradesh thereby ending our visit to the Pangsau market and the Lake of No Return in Myanmar. It was around 11 AM and we crossed the check posts at both the Myanmar and Indian sides and reached the mud track to finally reach the Pangsau Pass and it was a sigh of relief at least to me to reach back safely on one of the deadliest track I drive across in my life. We paid the bike owner and thanked him for his assistance to ferry us across safely and finally boarded our vehicle to drive back to Assam from Arunachal Pradesh. We were yet to make our stop at the World War II cemetery near Nampong before heading back to Margherita. My friend asked me to drive the SUV this time as he planned on drinking more beer that we would pick up at the Nampong market. There was a wine store once we crossed the check post at Nampong and we stopped here to pick up a few beers for him while I would drive the vehicle back.

We shortly reached the Jairampur World War II cemetery in Arunachal Pradesh and as mentioned earlier this is the only war cemetery in India that had burials of Chinese soldiers who had laid down their lives during the World War II. The cemetery needed maintenance as it was not properly maintained with grass and jungle around and the graves barely being visible due to grass. Still some of the graves were visible and the burials here had larger tombs as compared to the other war cemeteries with the names of the soldiers and their cavalry mentioned. I went around the cemetery admiring the bravery of these young souls who laid down their lives so that we had a better tomorrow. As this place was also a botanical garden so there were numerous plants and orchid species around and while some of them had tags with their names on some didn’t have it. This marked the end of my visit to Nampong and Jairampur in Arunachal Pradesh and we headed on our drive back to Margherita in Assam. I was feeling hungry on the way and as I had not asked at home to prepare any lunch as well so we decided to have our lunch at the famous Gobinda hotel at Margherita. This place serves an awesome veg thali with accompaniments of meat or fish and is renowned for its mutton curry. We reached and ordered our food along with mutton curry and it was very delicious.. My friend dropped me home and this worked the end of our visits a different country, being a part of history at the Pangsau Pass and ending our day at Arunachal Pradesh.

Earlier I had planned on visiting Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh with one of my friend and as the best time to visit this magnificent rainforest and the third largest National Park in India was during the months of January and February so we had made our plans towards the end of January to visit the Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh. I was staying at Margherita and towards the year’s end I had five guests who were visiting the National Park and so I thought that I would go along first to explore the place before I could explore the place with guests. Many years back I had visited Deban in Arunachal Pradesh which is the last habitat before we embark in the dense jungles of Namdapha National Park and there is a forest rest house here and I had visited along with my family when I was young and I did not have much of an idea of what exactly a National Park was and certainly not a rainforest. We had been on a picnic outing by the banks of the Nao Dehing River at Deban in Arunachal Pradesh and we had spent a night at the forest rest house here. So it was decided that the two of us would be staying at the forest rest house at Deban and I asked an uncle to help us get a reservation at this place. As he was a good friend and colleague of my father’s he arranged for our reservations at the forest rest house at Deban and also our passes to cross the interstate border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh as well as the Inner Line Permit would take a while to reach.

So with the documents and reservations in place we also knew one of the local Singpho persons at Miao in Arunachal Pradesh who would assist us with our guide once we reached Deban and would accompany us on our trek inside the rainforests of Namdapha National Park and show us around this varied species of flora and fauna especially the birds that Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh is famous for along with the big five cat species. We packed our stuff needed for our three night stay at the place and as we would be camping for a night as well inside the forest reserves so we ensured to pack all requisites at this National Park in Arunachal Pradesh. I was told that the roads from Jagun to Deban were not in good condition so taking my small car would not be a good choice and I asked my friend to help me arrange for an SUV to tackle these roads and he happily arranged for a 4 x4 for us to drive along to Deban in Arunachal Pradesh. It was on a Thursday and we had planned on staying for three nights and be back by Sunday afternoon as this friend of mine had a job and he had to report to work on Monday at Tinsukia and so we started on our drive to Ledo where we would drop my car with my friend and pick up the SUV from his office and later travel o Deban in Arunachal Pradesh. It was quite early that we had started because the roads had to be tackled with care and so we thought it would be better to reach as early as possible as we would lose access to our phone networks once we crossed Miao and then to establish communication we would need to use the services of the phone present at the Forest rest house.

At Ledo, my friend who comes early to office welcomed us and he took my car to work and gave me his company SUV to take along to Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh. We continued via to Stilwell Road to go to Lekhapani and further to Jagun. At Jagun we made our stop for breakfast of puri sabji and this time we headed straight on our drive to Kharsang from Jagun. A beautiful forest cover greeted us once we crossed Jagun and the road conditions started deteriorating and our drive became quite slow. I was hoping the roads would have occasional potholes but here it was totally opposite as there was only the occasional road and more of potholes. We crossed one pot hole to land into another and one reason for this condition would be because it rains heavily across this place due to a tropical climate and the continuous movement of oil tankers and heavy oil drilling trucks takes a toll on the road especially during the monsoon times. The road conditions in these parts of Arunachal Pradesh demanded very good drainage facilities along the roads that was lacking and this was the perfect analysis to have roads that would last for longer duration in the eastern and mountainous parts of Arunachal Pradesh. We kept driving slowly and the beautiful forest cover was a sparkling way to rejuvenate a person’s body and mind and even though the roads were bad the nature around us drove us to keep continuing on our drive to Deban in Arunachal Pradesh. In sometime we reached the border check post at the interstate border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. As Arunachal Pradesh is a protected state and to protect the interests of the local people here, the government had deployed a mechanism of not allowing any outsiders to visit the state without a valid permit and this permit is issued for a fixed duration only and needs to be renewed. This document is called as an Inner Line Permit (for Indian Nationals) and Protected Area Permit (for Foreign Nationals). We had applied for permission from the SDO Office at Margherita and this is also valid as it’s a permission from a government authority to allow us to pass to visit the state of Arunachal Pradesh and come back within a stipulated duration. The officials at the check post verified our documents and then allowed us to pass into Arunachal Pradesh from Assam. We continued on our drive and shortly we reached the town of Kharsang.

In sometime we reached the township of Kharsang in Arunachal Pradesh and it is a nice little town known for its coal and oil reserves. The entire North Eastern region of India is blessed with hydrocarbon energy reserves and lots of coal and crude oil reserves is found here as can be predicted looking at the vast vegetation of the region that makes it prone to be turned into fossil fuels once they had died away. Kharsang in Arunachal Pradesh is the drilling centre of Oil India Limited and they have big drilling units here from where they extract crude oil from underground and send it across the refineries in Assam to produce the fossil fuels. Earlier CIL too had their operations under NECF here at Kharsang but due to man power constraints these coal mines were abandoned and now only the locals play a role in excavating coal in small amounts and selling it to local factories and for home use. A dominant population here were Christians and this could be figured out with the many number of churches around. We had got along sufficient cash with us because we were sceptical of being able to find an ATM in these remote places but to our surprise there was a branch of SBI at the Kharsang market area here in Arunachal Pradesh. We stopped here for a while to give the vehicle some rest after it helped us tackle the roads and we too took time to explore the Kharsang market and have some tea and snacks.

 

The Kharsang market is spread across a big area and it has traders from various communities selling traditional and modern goods. A lot of Nepali people are present here who own small shops and business establishments in this market. We took our seats at a small restaurant that was selling sweets, veg pakoras and tea and we ordered ourselves tea and pakoras by the time the car engine got some rest. The tea was very soothing and the hot pakoras cooked with cabbage and peas mix was equally delicious served with spicy green chutney. We would be stopping for lunch at Miao and so we did not overeat as it about another hour and half drive to Miao town and after an early lunch we would head to Deban. After spending some time looking around the shops at the Kharsang market in Arunachal Pradesh we started on our drive to Miao that is the last town along the eastern frontier of Arunachal Pradesh on this side of the area. The roads were now a little better and though it was narrow yet it was manageable to have a smooth drive. The forest cover continued along our way and we crossed the small places like ….. After about an hour of drive we reached the settlement of the Tibetan Buddhist colony here at Miao where they have a nice Tibetan carpet weaving and handloom centre that is famous across the area for manufacturing handmade carpets and people from across Upper Assam visit here to purchase these carpets.

We thought of visiting the place in Arunachal Pradesh but then again we decided against it in the interest of time and planned on visiting the place on our way back to Margherita from Miao in Arunachal Pradesh as that day we would have sufficient time in our schedule. Next up we reached the tinsel town of Miao in Arunachal Pradesh where a beautiful yellow gate welcomes its visitors to Miao and all around one can see people from various tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and other communities residing here at Miao with the dominant ones being that of Tangsa, Singpho, Lisu and Chakma people. Many of the people from these communities practice different faith and this can be witnessed as there are churches, monasteries and temples around the tinsel town of Miao in Arunachal Pradesh. We were schedule dot meet a person near the Miao market who was the uncle of one of my friend’s from Margherita and was a Singpho person who was an influential business person of Miao and he agreed to provide us a local person who would guide us across the Namdapha National park. The uncle called us to his restaurant that was located at Miao market and it was one of the most decent restaurants in the place along with this it provided lodging facilities at a nice huge building as well. Uncle welcomed us in to the restaurant and asked us for lunch and we thought it would be better to have our early lunch here because we did not place any food order at the forest rest house at Deban in Arunachal Pradesh in the afternoon.

Uncle ordered for two veg thali for us and along with it nice pork boiled curry with lots of vegetables. One thing about the food people eat in Arunachal Pradesh is that they mostly prefer boiled food with very less or no oil at all. This helps a lot in their metabolism and this is one reason that they have a lean body built though they consume large portions of rice. The ingredients they use in their food preparations are completely natural and with ingredients like pepper, lemon, ginger and garlic this aids in the weight loss and perfect metabolism of the body. The food arrived and the thali had rice, dal, veg sabji, a green boiled curry, lots of different varieties of spicy chutney and the boiled pork along with bamboo shoot and herbs and vegetables. It was a wonderful feast for us and by the time we finished lunch a local person arrived as well. His name was Babu and he would take us in to the forests along with certain gears that were necessary for our night camping. Exploring the forest reserves of Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh requires a lot of trekking as no vehicles are allowed inside the park expect the ones used by the forest authorities and so services of a local guide or an operator is necessary to tackle one of the densest forest reserves in India or rather the world with one of the richest biodiversity’s present.

Babu helped us to load the luggage into our vehicle and after thanking uncle the three of us started on our drive to Deban in Arunachal Pradesh. The roads were again bad and it was like driving on a pebble surface and the roads were narrow as well. The drive was a little scary as well as there were very few vehicles plying on the roads and there was a forest cover all around. Thankfully it was during the day time or else we would never have had the courage to drive on these roads during the night time. After driving for another hour we finally reached the Deban Forest Rest House at around 2 PM and even though the distance we travelled was not too far yet with the road conditions in these parts of Arunachal Pradesh we were thoroughly exhausted and we just went and checked into our room and took a shower. Later we stepped out of the Forest rest house to the banks of the Nao Dehing river that flows across Deban.

The beautiful river looked even more stunning with the setting sun’s rays falling on the crystal clear river waters and the stony banks had some of the most crystalline stones to be seen. We took a walk along the river bank admiring the sunset and the lovely bamboo bridge that was built on the river Nao Dehing here at Deban in Arunachal Pradesh. Babu became friends with a local fisherman and he went out on his boat for a fishing trip while we admired the beautiful forest cover all around us and the breath of clean and fresh air. It was around 3.30 PM and gradually it was beginning to get dark as we were more towards the eastern side with early sunrise and early sunset. We went back to the forest rest house at 4 PM and the dinner menu was some sort of fixed as the caretaker here goes to shop once in three days and brings along the supply of food that comprises mostly of rice, dal, veg sabji, eggs and fish and with no access to a big town close by it was lucky for us to be able to find this food itself. On our day it was mostly eggs and as we were the only guests this being a weekday we had the place to ourselves while Babu would spend his night at a dormitory meant for local guides and drivers who come along to Deban and Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh with their guests from across India and abroad. Dinner would be served early as there is literally nothing much to do in the evenings here apart from gazing at the stars, listening to the sounds of the insects and the occasional roar of a tiger or an elephant and also with no access to our mobile network we had to refrain ourselves from using our mobile phone which served as a boon for me at least because it was here I realized how addicted I had become to my mobile phone and kept staring at the small screen spending time watching various videos and also spending time on work as well.

Babu came back soon with a nice big fish in his hands. It seemed they were able to find quite some fishes in a small crevice in the river and they successfully caught some of the bigger ones with the net while allowed the younger ones to go back into the water so that the ecology is not disturbed in the area. It was nice to have people in such remote places know how to live in harmony with their surroundings and who did not believe in consuming everything in a single day. Babu got ready to setup a fire at the backyard of the place to roast up the fish and some pork that he had brought along with him and so now we would be having a grand dinner at the Forest rest house at Deban in Arunachal Pradesh. A nice fire was lit and as there were no other guests, the caretaker assisted us with the preparations as well. My friend had brought along some stock of rum and he kept it as a surprise for me and Babu too had brought some local wine along with him as he told us that this helps him to beat the cold weather in the winters and also help him to brave the stay in the jungle reserves. The fire was started and pieces of bricks were laid across it so that the fish could be put over the fire to be roasted along with the chicken meat. The caretaker of the forest rest house at Deban in Arunachal Pradesh helped to chop up onions, ginger, chillies and coriander for the garnish and the fish and meat were topped with little oil so that the surface didn’t get charred completely with the fire roasting. It is to be noted that slits were made with a knife on the body of the meat so that the heat would enter the meat pieces evenly and roast it to perfection. The people across Arunachal Pradesh have a different way of roasting the meat than the people in Assam who put them up on bamboo skewers while they have a metal mesh net placed on the fire and roast the meat while in Assam they roast it over bamboo skewers.

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