Arunachal Pradesh- India’s Very Own Land of the Rising Sun


Come May, and the scorching Mumbai summer takes us to faraway destinations, and this year, we travelled across the breadth of our country, from the West Coast to the Easternmost Tip, the mountain state of Arunachal Pradesh. Our North East sojourn.

Nature has blessed Arunachal with all its glory. You find yourself surrounded by the Himalayas, with mist gently rising off the snow-capped peaks, cool gentle breeze, fresh air, and friendly smiling faces.

To get to any place in the North East, the city of Guwahati serves as the gateway. After a 3-hour flight from Mumbai, we spent our first day in this city of the massive Brahmaputra. We covered the famous Khamakhya Temple, had lunch at one of the eateries outside the temple, clicked pics at the viewpoint, and proceeded to Balaji temple. A sunset cruise over the Brahmaputra is a must do, the waterfront offers many a cruise option, with food and drinks served onboard.


Fig: Khamakhya Temple

It was on our Day 2 that we began our ascent from Assam to Arunachal, our first stop being the quaint village of Dirang. Yes, the distance is long, and we reached Dirang by evening, but the day wasn’t wasted. Because the journey, the drive along green mountains and forests, is more relaxing and rejuvenating, than the destination itself.

Dirang is a sleepy town with plenty of kiwi and peach plantations, the Dirang river gurgling in the middle of the town, the majestic Dirang Monastery, and some hot springs. The sun rises as early as 4:30 am in Arunachal, so we set out for a walk along the river before breakfast, Dirang is scenic, like a dream. There’s something to click, wherever you turn the camera.

Later we set out for Tawang, which is at a higher altitude, so there are hours of climbing up the winding mountains along the famous Sela Pass. Sela pass is covered with fresh snow, and the beauty is breath-taking, with the frozen Sela Lake and white mountains. There are small tea shops with tea, Maggi and clean washrooms.

The fourth Day of our journey happened to be the most eventful, the visit to BUMLA Pass, the Indo-China border. Having started as early as 7:45 am. a 1-hour ascent brought us to the Army checkpoint, where a permit had to be generated. One more hour, and we were at Madhuri Lake (Madhuri Dixit’s song from the movie Koyla was shot here). The lake is vast and scenic with many picture-perfect views. We spent 30 minutes at the lake and proceeded to Bumla Pass, which is at an altitude of 15200 feet. Now Bumla is the Indo- China border, it’s extremely cold, very beautiful, and totally covered with snow. The soldiers take you to the border in groups and talk about the past wars fought in Tawang.



Fig: Madhuri Lake and Bumla Pass

Tawang city in itself is worth spending an entire day with the massive Tawang Monastery, Giant Buddha statue, the prayer wheels and the War Memorial. Tawang market is lined with pretty little gift shops and cafes. The War Memorial also hosts a Light and Sound show in the evenings, enriching the audience with information about Indo-China War and Tawang. We were informed by the locals that October too is a good time to visit Tawang, the vibrant Tawang festival with traditional and live performances happens then.

Fig: The Giant Buddha

Three days in Tawang but the heart still yearned for its natural beauty. On the 6th day, we began our descent, to the town of Bomdila. The newly inaugurated Sela Tunnel falls on the way, there was fog all around, and I have to say, more than the destinations, the journey in Arunachal is worth all your money and time. Our chauffeur was kind enough to take us on a detour to Sangti Valley, an orchard village, and not to be missed.

The town of Bomdila has a monastery, the marketplace is huge, and so we spent our post-lunch evening time, just walking along the marketplace, shopping for little gifts, having tea and pastries.

Fig: Sangti Valley, Bomdila Monastery and Bomdila Town

For returning to Mumbai, we need to arrive at Guwahati again, post an 8 hour picturesque drive from Bomdila. And thus ended our Arunachal Sojourn.

The months of March to May are supposed to be summers in Arunachal, hence the best time to visit. June to September are heavy monsoons. October to February should be good too, when Tawang sees snowfall.

Arunachal Pradesh is a must-visit; neat, and beautiful with smooth roads, winding hills and the friendliest people. Arunachal will forever be etched in my mind and memory.

Preethi Warrier