Hello friends, hope you are fine, sorry for being MIA for so long. As you know I am a full time teacher, I was very busy in my professional life and hardly had time to sit on my laptop. Durga Puja is just over and now I am sure everyone is prepping up for Diwali, the festival of lights. Well, this Durga Puja we also had a thrilling, almost life threatening and adventurous trip to Arunachal Pradesh. We visited Bomdila, Tawang and on way back we had our share of heaven in Sangti Valley in Dirang which is a small town in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. That was quite a long journey and I have decided to share our experience with my readers in two parts. Here ‘Our’ includes, me and my partner in crime Mr Husband. He has been planning this trip since past few months. Our main destination was Tawang, the beautiful place of the Monpas. Tawang is also famous as it is the birth place of Tsangyang Gyatso, the sixth Dalai Lama. It is a religious place for all Buddhist people. Bhutan borders Tawang to the West and Tibet is to the North. As it is a bordering district you will see a great influence of the Indian Army.
Roadtrip to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh- A Travelogue (Part I)
How to reach Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh from Guwahati – To visit Arunachal Pradesh first you need to get your inner line permit done, you can get it yourself in the office in Guwahati or receive it at the checkpoint in Bhalukpung, generally it takes 1-2 hours depending on the number of tourist. For that you need a valid identity proof and two passport size photos. From Guwahati you need to reach Tezpur and from Tezpur you can either book a car or book your seat in a shared taxi. From Tezpur is 323.5km to Tawang. All taxis start very early in the morning from Tezpur to reach Tawang in time as the roads are not that in good condition. Guwahati is well connected by airways, roadways and trains to other parts of country.
Day 1 :29th Septeptember
Before I begin, let me tell you that we had planned this trip with the help of a travel agent based in Meghalaya. They basically organize adventurous trips on bikes, camping, trekking, etc. They planned our entire itinerary. If you need more details about our tour organizer feel free to drop your email id, I shall revert back to you with all your queries. Our tour organizer booked a Swift Dezire car for us as there were only two of us. We didn’t had much time in hand and to start the journey from Tezpur it is required to stay there overnight. To save our time we asked them to pick us up from Guwahati itself. Since our car driver was coming from Shillong it was easy for him to pick us up from home and on way back drop us there again. He came at 8am in the morning, we started at 8.15 pm. The Wheels rolled on and we reached Tezpur at around 12.30pm , had lunch in a Highway Dhaba. To reach Tezpur we took the road via Nagaon. From Tezpur we drove for another two hours and reached Bhalukpung , a small town located at the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and which is 52 km from Tezpur. The inner line check post is located here. You can get your inner line permit done here as I have mentioned above. We reached there at 3pm and it took almost two hours to prepare our ILP as our tour operator could arrange it for us beforehand.
It was almost evening when we started from Bhalukpung. Our next destination was Bomdila. We had our hotel booked in Hotel Hil Plaza in Bomdila. It was 8pm and we were about to reach Bomdila just 20kms away when there was a huge landslide, it was raining heavy and the roads were getting worst and worst, at some point the road was so risky that we were scared of any kind of mishap taking place. The landslide was getting worse, there we few more cars, trucks and bikers stuck along with us. The road workers could not clear the road as fresh mud was falling off the mountains so that night we had to sleep in the car instead. The workers said that next day early morning they would clear the road. This landslide was just a teaser as a bigger landslide was waiting for us. So that night our hotel booking got cancelled. Thank God to the huge stock of dry food and water I carried, it helped us very much.
Day 2 : 30th September, 2017
Early morning as promised they came and cleared the road, the raining has also stopped by then and the view was very charming. Clouds were playing hide and seek but still we were in a high rick zone nevertheless the morning view cheered our dead spirit of adventure. Well after the roads opened we decided not to halt anymore in Bomdila instead reach Tawang as soon as possible. On way we stopped by a small restaurant, had hot thukpa and tea. While we were in Bomdila we visited the Bomdila Monastery, it was very beautiful, clean and calm. We sat there for sometime and asked God to help us reach Tawang safely. So we started again but just as we crossed Bamdila town, it was not even 6km away, again we met a landslide, this time it was huge, a big portion of a rocky mountain had fallen off the road. It was all over a stretch of 500 mtr, an army jawan told us. They said it was impossible to open the road the same day, may be next day but they were not sure. We were so disappointed that we decided to return Guwahati from that point. But some locals said that this kind of lands keeps on taking place and all we need now is patience. By then all hotel rooms were booked, we decided to return to to the town and search for a place to stay at that night. After quite a long search we found one hotel.
Day 3, 1st October, 2017
So we lost one whole day from our pre-planned itinerary. Next morning some locals said that work was going on in full pace and the road might open by 12.30. We had light breakfast and went to the spot. It was 10am. There was a long line of vehicles standing ahead of our car and from the distance we could hear sounds of blasting. Our Border Roads Organisation Jawans worked very hard to clear the road as fast as they could.
At around 01.00 pm the roads were finally cleared not completely but still at least for a car and trucks to pass. We reached Dirang at 3pm. The weather was fine by then, the sun shone brightly and we enjoyed the beauty of Dirang valley. But at some places the roads were so narrow, we had to stuck badly at traffic jams. It was around 218 kms from Dirang to Tawang. We had lunch at a hotel named Sanjana, it comes just after you cross Dirang. They serve descent Rice and Dal. lAlong with us lots of tourist were also there.We reached Tawang at 8pm. We had wasted one whole day of our total itinerary.
So when you are planning to visit Tawang be prepared for the worst, the roads from Bhalukpung to Tawang is not at all safe, some places are well pitched and some muddy. Either its the rain or snow both are equally dangerous. Please drive safely, be very careful near the areas of Shooting stones, as we saw with our own eyes huge rocks falling off the mountains. Keep your itenerary flexible so that you can make necessary changes when there is any kind of landslides or other problems on the road. Well stay tuned for my remaining part of my Arunachal diaries. I shall also write a detailed post on Things to remember while you are on way to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.