Travel like a backpacker in Arunachal Pradesh the heaven of East

  • Arunachal Pradesh the heaven of East

For those looking to explore the tribal culture and unmatched natural beauty, Arunachal Pradesh in the East is worth a visit. Let’s see below what’s there for a backpacker like you.

Travel Arunachal Pradesh - For those looking to explore the tribal culture and unmatched natural beauty, Arunachal Pradesh in the East is worth a visit. Let’s see below what’s there for a backpacker like you.

For those who are crazy about nature and wildlife, there is no other destination like Arunachal Pradesh, the far corner of India’s Eastern side. From snow-studded Himalayas to majestic valleys, diverse cultures, there is no end to this astounding beautiful land.

Widely referred as the Shangri La of the northeastern region, it asks to be explored, but is often overlooked. There could be several reasons behind this ignorance like poor infrastructure, improper connectivity to the Indian mainland, and others. Despite all these, those who’re in quest for something new, Arunachal Pradesh remains the most sought-after choice.

Before we proceed, it is important for you to know that there are two types of travel permits available for Arunachal Pradesh.

Protected Area Permit (PAP)

These are necessary for a foreign tourist. Valid for 30 days, costs $50, to be paid in rupees.

Inner Line Permit (ILP)

Required for Indian nationals. Costs 400 Rs if you want to pick up on the same day, 100 Rs if not.

Once you start reading below post, you will start falling in love with this magical land. So, let the magic start.

# Tawang

A quaint and picturesque town in the midst of the grand Himalayas, Tawang is full of bliss, beauty and wonders. Once here, you’ll altogether find yourself blessed. Its hills are scattered with more gompas (Buddhist monasteries) than you choose to count, and at nearly 2,700 meters, its steep hills are nothing less than a wonder! If you’re in search of good-looking vistas and a hint of Buddhist culture, Tawang is calling you.

Once served as the district headquarters of West Kameng district, the town became the district headquarters of Tawang district when it was formed from West Kameng. Tawang town is located approximately 555 kilometres (345 mi) from Guwahati and 320 kilometres (200 mi) from Tezpur.

Things worth exploring here

  • Tawang Monastery – The most reputed monastery of the town, and the second-largest Buddhist monastery across the globe
  • Giant Buddha – Reach to the hilltop Buddha early in the morning or in the early evening to watch people saying prayers as they circle the statue
  • Urgelling Gompa – A small monastery where the 6th Dalai Lama was born
  • Madhuri Lake – Initially known as Sangetsar lake, about 25 km from Tawang. Other nationals might not be allowed – confirm this before leaving.
  • Sela Pass – An alpine lake in a 4,175 meter-high (13,700 ft) mountain pass, noticeable on the way to Tawang
  • Iron bridge – Spans across the river between Kharsaneng and Mukto villages
  • T. Tso Lake – A tranquil lake to visit than Madhuri, just 17km from town
  • Bum La Pass – The common ground of India and China, located at 4,600 meters (15,200 ft). Only Indians can visit, if they have the proper permit.


# Bomdila

You can choose between Bomdila or Dirang for a lay over during your journey to Tawang. It is not a sparkling town, but you can’t miss a peaceful monastery here. You can choose to indulge in chat with locals and monks over a sip of the popular butter tea.

Though there is not much to explore, you can choose to explore following if you have ample time.

  • Upper Gompa is the biggest of the three (lower, middle, upper) in town, and provides awesome sights of the town
  • Eagle’s Nest Wildlife Sanctuary is located 20 km from the town, and a great place for bird watching
  • Apple orchards in Dirang Valley are really worth visiting during the winter harvest season


# Itanagar

Since it is the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, it is not that much steep but plain. Though there are not very enticing elements here, you can choose to visit the mysterious Ita Fort, whose 14th- to 15th-century brick ruins adorn a hill above the mushrooming commercial town. Itanagar is a is pretty green and verdant away from the thriving, beeping NH415, which runs across town from southwest to northeast. The bustling Ganga Market area is the approximate midpoint and town centre.

When here, do visit the gompa (Monastery) located at the top of the hill.


# Ziro Valley

Popular called the sequestered paradise of Arunachal Pradesh, this scenic town is located 115 km from Itanagar. Due to its untamed natural beauty, it has been shortlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nestled at an altitude of 1500 m above sea level, Ziro boasts of hills that are handsomely roofed with bamboo and pine trees, fenced with paddy pitches. The town is home to a very humble tribal assembly known as the Apatani tribe.

One great thing about the women of Apatani tribe is that they practice a ritual of getting tattoos on their face. The clement climate of Ziro during summer makes it a favored destination for peaceful break. Apart from the summer months of April to June, Ziro is moderately pleasant throughout the year.

What to indulge in

  • Take a walk to the nearby villages surrounding Hapoli and Ziro.
  • Tayiñ Lañpii in the forest behind Bulla village (near the Saint Claret College) is a serene rock formation that was a leper colony several decades ago.
  • The Talle Valley trek is expected to be amazingly beautiful, and leads to a wildlife sanctuary 32 km from Ziro.


# Daporijo

Located at a height of 600 m above sea level, Daporijo is a picturesque town in Arunachal Pradesh. A major tributary of the Brahmaputra River, the river Subansiri runs near to it. Bordered by the river Subansiri on one edge and lush green paddy fields on the other, and enclosed by the hills of Arunachal, Daporijo is like a heaven for your eyes.

Places worth exploring in Daporijo

  • Laila Manju, the meeting point of the two rivers, is where locals unwind and enjoy. You can swim, and the shack at the head of the path down to the river sells cold beer. It got the name from two lovers who committed suicide here. 
  •  Mengha Temple is basically a cave temple of Shiva, secreted in the forest near Mengha village. Allegedly it was misplaced for decades, until found by a local woodcutter. It’s located nearly 15 km out of town.
  • Various picturesque hanging bridges span the Subansiri river along the way to Mengha Temple.


# Along (Aalo)

Locally known as Aalo, Along is a small town you’ll visit en-route to Mechuka. There’s not much to see, but the Siyom river running past the town is quite attractive, and there are dozens of small villages amongst lush rice paddies surrounding the town.


# Mechuka

Fenced by plush pine forests, the tranquil hamlet of Mechuka is nestled in a scenic location in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. It is home to the splendid Mechuka Valley, also known as Menchukha, settled in the West Siang district, near to the Indo-China border. Moreover, the serene valley is a haven for nature enthusiasts and explorers.

Don’t forget to visit these:

  • New Gompa sits on a small hill overseeing the town. A great place to watch the sun set.
  • Old Gompa (Samten Yongta monastery) rests on a larger hill several kilometers outside of the main town.
  • Another gompa with a big Buddha statue in Darjeeling village, about 6 kilometers from Mechuka
  • Climb the Menchuka mountain to get the unmatched views of the town.
  • Mechuka Lake is a picturesque alpine lake in the region. It takes three days to trek there and back


# Pasighat

Also referred as the gateway to Arunachal Pradesh, is the eldest town in the state. Discovered in 1911 by the Britishers, Pasighat serves as the headquarters of the East Siang district. Located at the height of 153 m above sea level, Pasighat lies on the banks of the river Siang.

Pasighat is famous for its adventure sports and the attractive locations that are second to none. Waterfalls, suspending bridges and mountain cliffs make the place appealing and calming at the same time. Some of the tourist spots of the place include the Daying Ering Sanctuary, Kekar Monying, Komsing and Pangin.

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