Arunachal Pradesh −in the Northeastern part of India − unfortunately one of the lesser known and seldom-explored states has suddenly come into the limelight to my delight and pride as it is one of the most beautiful places in the world that I have been fortunate enough to explore!

 

I would frequently muse about the anonymity of so many beautiful places in the Northeast and be dismayed by the complacence and tardiness of the government and other organizations in making a special effort to unearth the hidden jewel – ‘Exotic Arunachal Pradesh’ and lure tourists here. So, when I happened to read the article in Northeast Today about the Dong Valley project in Arunachal Pradesh, I was thrilled and reminisced about a trip I had made once to this delightful Haven on Earth with friends, which I would be sharing with you in a moment.

But first, I must mention the visit to the Lohit Valley, an important part of my numerous sojourns in the Northeast, which lies in the extreme eastern corner of India. The mountains here, eroded naturally by the gushing waters of the River Lohit seem virginal − pristine and arresting to the naked eye. We were lucky to bump into a team of professionals who were on an expedition and they pointed out to us that the river was in a phase of transition − the normally deep turquoise hues taking on an almost muddy red tinge. The sky was a beautiful blend of grey clouds pregnant with rain and we spotted dots of fresh blue between them. However, the roads were muddy and there were potholes on the way from the town of Dibrugarh in Assam.

Photo Credits: Travduck
Photo Credits: Holidify

We spent the first night in the town of Hayuliang. It was the clearest night I had ever seen − the sky seemed cloaked in a blanket of a million stars! It was a kaleidoscopic range of color playing havoc with my imagination. Next morning, however, the sky turned gloomy and we drove towards Minzong where the River Chalum joins the Lohit. The wilderness was exactly what we were looking for after the stress of mundane office work. In this sparsely inhabited, intensely remote, yet comforting serenity, we found the tiny settlement of the Mishmi people very warm and hospitable. Unlike town people, these are simple, uncomplicated people, generously offering us a guest room. We enjoyed to the utmost, their innocence, simplicity and happy disposition. The simple meal they laid out for us was delicious and basic amenities were available − a cozy fireplace in our room and even hot water from solar power − though during the rainy days this was not to be enjoyed. 

The ambience was simply out of this world. The raindrops drizzling and beating a steady staccato on the roof, the warm fire, comforting rum in our glasses and interesting conversations amongst us all were a potent combination. According to custom, an elderly Mishmi remained in the background, an ever-present, mysterious, yet comforting apparition which made it all the more interesting. Every time, one of us awoke from our drowsy slumber, he would be there, bursting corn in the crackling fire, a cheerful presence enjoying the corn himself occasionally. What an interesting night we all had to our delight! The houses were interestingly built on huge rocks and the whispering sound of the trees swaying gently in the wind made a soothing murmur in the stillness of the night and lulled us to a refreshing and dreamless sleep.

To find out about the rest of this amazing trip you have to wait for Part 2 of "Exotic Arunachal Pradesh − a trip to remember for a lifetime!"

Photo credits: Banner Left–Indiafilings.com; Banner Center– Unusualtravler.com; Banner Right – lostwithpurpose.com