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Thread: Exotic Travel-Known and Unknown Western Arunachal and Nameri-Assam

  1. #1

    Exotic Travel-Known and Unknown Western Arunachal and Nameri-Assam

    Amazing Exotic Western Arunachal-Tawang, Dirang, Bumla/Lumla, Zemithang, Eagle Nest Sanctuary , and Nameri[Assam]


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    2008-09 year's-end travel was one of the most memorable one - a totally untravelled forest, an exotic place and journey; Along with a villager as a guide, we were awestruck as we neared to the source of River Jonk and a blue turquoise water with the whitest of sand beach in the middle of an unexplored forest. Any other place it would been a million dollar resort or backyard of a corporate but then this is the unbridled joy and satisfaction one gets going unknown exotic places.

    The journey to River Jonk source


    The secret beach - in the middle of an unknown forest


    So again a "new" year-end [2009-10] and we had around 10 days because of son's Christmas-New Year holidays and we reasoned like it must be some place exotic, less known, less travelled place just like last time. And what better place than the North East. We had been previously to Shillong and Guwahati by train and had seen those places but though we liked the surrounding places, it sure was not that lesser known.

    Arunachal comes into picture straightaway and came up with two options - Western Arunachal [Tawang and all] and Namdapha National Park - the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and is located in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh in Changlang District.

    Due to work situation, the departure date likewise was not certain and hence with no future booking or planning possible - it was Western Arunachal as Namdapha requires at least some planning beforehand to pull it off smoothly.


    Long well before, the hyderabad guys [AP2AP] had it all planned for a Tawang tour and with at least some part of our journey being commong from Siliguri, it was something new to look forward to and meet up with them!


    With a child and with no booking, Safari VTT-TMT as usual was filled up to the brim!


    And what we had in there!

    1. 2 Suitcases

    2. 4 Bags.

    3. 1 bundled wrap blankets [white misshaped cloth covered one at the top]

    4. 1 Folding Camp bed

    5. 1 Stove

    6. 1 Portable Fireplace

    7. 20 L Mineral Water jar

    8. Towing rope and battery jump start cables.

    9. Oversized umbrella

    10. A sack of few utensils, and rice and dal ration if emergency stuck situations/days.

    11. Small items like hand bags, flask, etc.

    Thats the power of a Safari's back. It gobbles everything up.
    And so what followed for the next 10 days was lifetime trip - amazing places and most helpful amazing people, [even though that person whom we asked may be only person around!], the every friendly Army men and one big maximum driving experience!

    Along the very less known Eagle Nest Sanctuary trail, Western Arunachal



    An absolutely less known trail beyond Sela Pass that we found, going by frozen streams and small lakes


    So thats it for the intro, over the coming days will be putting down the travel story and of course reliving that wonderful journey!


    contd...

  2. #2
    Day 1 and day 2 were the transport section.

    Started at 12 noon around from Calcutta, reached Siliguri Central Plaza at 2:00 am after some huge jams and all. A quick hello at that late night to Ravveendrra, crashed onto the bed for some quick nap of 3 hours. My plan was to go via Guwahati - as it would have been already 34 hours of driving with 3 hrs nap in between. - and so if felt tired, to halt at Guwahati for the night and then go to direct to Dirang, Arunachal, the next day.

    Cross posting pictures from nazim- almost all that morning's photos are from Nazim - again thanks for these wonderful pics particularly of on-the-run Safari photos.

    Early morning we along with the AP2AP team [fellow travellers from Hyderabad - team-bhp], first off we went forward to my cousin sister's house in Siliguri for a sumptuous breakfast.
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    And then we all met Sutripta-da [an amazing person, member of team-bhp] who had taken time out to meet all us, shared some good road info and it was good short get-together.
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    On the road pics from Nazim's [pulsar56] post - Beautiful state road, one point we were touching the Bangladesh fencing border.
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    Before I continue the next day journey out of Tawang, I must share some great on-the-run Safari VTT pics that Nazim [pulsar56] had put out in Picasa. Thanks again Nazim for link, definitely the clarity of the pics is amazing

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    India-Bangladesh fenced border








    At the local blockade at Cooch Behar, whiled away our time and we were again all go after 2 hours.

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    But again at the Bengal-Assam border we were in a massive jam, lost quite a bit of time out here. As we crawled forward, someone directed us to take a by-road, and soon we were again moving through some village roads to move back on the NH, bypassing the border checkpoint.






    As the AP2AP team then moved forward fast for Tezpur, and me, being the sole driver and thus feeling the effects of a long journey as I neared Guwahati - it had been 34 hours of driving from Calcutta with that 3 hours of fast nap in between, I after some time located a hotel at Guwahati. We had a good dinner late night, have to thank the hotel owner himself who arranged the food at that time and soon all of us were fast asleep.

    At Guwahati, an early morning rise - we are all ready to move into Arunachal - onward journey to Dirang.



    contd...

  3. #3
    Day 3 - Guwahati to Dirang [Arunachal]


    So now the journey begins, the day we enter Arunachal. After an early morning rise, we cross the Bhramaputra Bridge out of Guwahati



    The road to Arunachal from Tezpur soon narrows down and the surely and soon the emptiness and scenery changes gradually.


    At Bhalukpong, entry to Arunachal, permits shown, this soldier came forward to check the VTT and seeing a West Bengal number plate - soon a brief but warm conversation follows - he was from Birbhum district from West Bengal.


    Soon we were on our way on the one and only narrow highway to Tawang


    A truck among the trucks!




    We caught up with the AP2AP team over at the Durga Mandir, for a break






    We made frequent but brief stop and one of the interesting stops was this hanging bridge over Kameng. Just beside a small settlement with a balmy afternoon sun, it was a good place to stretch for sometime.


    It was a rickety bridge and just like in the movies as it shows, it was swinging wildly and wife and abandon their cross to the other side.







    And we have company at that place. A local lady was most welcome to take a lift to some place in between. With local transport sketchy in hilly regions, this is a common feature in all hill regions.








    And the journey continued Bomdilla to Dirang. We first thought of stopping at Bomdilla but made it to Dirang late evening night.









    Just before entering Dirang, in the all the darkness, saw the Pemaling, the most known hotel, and took the up road to the hotel. But just beside that is the Govt Tourist Lodge and luckily they had a room, for 800 it was almost a third price of Hotel Pemaling.

    Finally at Dirang, a proper stop, not a worry now to start early, its all slow pace from now on. Wife and child in high spirits - got to salute them - it had been 46 hours of Safari journey from Calcutta to Dirang including the short 3+5 hrs [Siliguri+Guwahati] of night rest in the preceding 2 days.



    contd..

  4. #4
    Day #4 - Dirang to Tawang via Sela Pass



    Around 140 km from Tawang. Dirang lies in the West Kameng district. Dirang is ideal for Trekking and hiking and the attractions of Dirang include Kalchakra and Ngingmapa Monastery, YakResearchCenter, Sangti Valley, kiwi and apple orchards, hot-water springs et al.
    It's a great sunny morning next day, a good hot bath, and I find son taking all the sun possible!


    And I join him as we say "good morning" to the AP2AP team. The next 2 pictures from Nazim's [pulsar56] post



    Dirang early morning from our hotel parking



    Had heard Sangti Valley being a great place to laze about and kept it for the return journey as will be going through Dirang again.




    And journey continued through some good empty roads, fresh air, and totally in midst of nature






    Nyukmadong War Memorial

    The Battle of Nyukmadong was fought on November 18, 1962 between 62 Infantry Brigade and the Chinese forces. The 62 Infantry Brigade was carrying out a tactical withdrawal from Sela under the command of Brig Hoshiar Singh while the Chinese forces had infiltrated from both east and west across Sela. As many as 12 units (both major and minor) formed part of the withdrawing force. A fierce battle ensued with the enemy. In the general area of Nyukmadong, a small village on the Dirang-Sela road, several officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks made the supreme sacrifice after inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.

    A memorial existed at Nyukmadong for many years. However, it was felt that it needed renovation and re-modelling befitting the enormous sacrifice made by the Army. The Ball of Fire Division commenced work on the re-modelling and renovation in November last year and it was completed in a record time of four months. The Nyukmadong War Memorial, located in almost 1.5 acres of land, overlooks the famous battle ground. It is unique in several ways.

    The War Memorial is nestled on a hill-side in three tiers, sprinkled with beautiful coniferous tree. The main memorial is in the form of a 25-feet high Chorten conforming to the local ethos and traditions. The two entrances simulate the main access ways of a monastery in typical Buddhist style. Care has been taken to ensure that the environment and natural beauty is preserved.










    The journey towards Sela Pass continued and some brief stops were made just to enjoy the place and drive



    We were climbing up now towards Sela Pass at 13.5 k feet height and soon the snow line started





    As we neared Sela, weather was changing and it was all misty but again it tempted us to have some breaks and just walk around feeling the coldness and all.


    Safari VTT 2.2 snap


    It was already late afternoon and now the visibility was exacerbated by the mist also as we neared Sela Pass.



    contd...

  5. #5
    Day #4 - Dirang to Tawang via Sela Pass -- contd..


    As said, with mist increasing and one close shave with a truck coming down plus black ice skids, it was best now to stop with almost zero visibility. As soon as it cleared up a little we moved forward again.








    Sela Pass was all cloudy and misty and with no one around. We were also the late in coming, as we had stopped quite a few times in between. Stopped briefly and walked around at the main gate at Sela Pass,hoping to have tea at that one and only small shop at Sela, but it was closed too.









    As soon as we cleared the heights of Sela, the weather was much more clear that side, so its kind of windward-leeward funda!



    Sela Lake was all that was visible, with so much mist around and late afternoon everything else was all hazy and out of sights. Anyway stopped at Sela, got down, walked around on the lake albeit very gingerly.





    But there is no worry of missing any sight as this is the same road through which we come back, and we will cross again around morning time when the views are much more clearer. This is how Sela Lake looked while going back 3 days later, more of the return pics later.



    We were already late behind the optimum time due to stoppages and the only thing that worried me is of finding a hotel and suitable accommodation [since no advance bookings were done] at Tawang as definitely it would dark by the time we enter the town.


    contd...

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