The north-eastern states of India are known for its impeccably beautiful landscapes and pleasant weather. The scintillating Tawang valley in Arunachal Pradesh would definitely find a place in the wish list of any travel enthusiast. Before setting out on a dream journey to the north east India, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a travel agent who could secure the various permits including the military permission to enter the Bum La Pass, 37 km from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, on the Indo-China border.
Tourists from other states need an Inner-Line Permit (ILP) to travel around Arunachal Pradesh. The ILP is also required to travel to other North-Eastern states like Mizoram and Nagaland. The government has introduced the ILP to regulate the inflow of tourists to these places which are home to some of the unique tribal cultures.
Foreign tourists require a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to travel to these areas. One can apply for this permit online by visiting the website: www.arunachalilp.com
Guwahati, the largest city in Assam could rightly be called the gateway to the north-eastern states. The small airport here which is decorated with beautiful paintings gives a glimpse of the rich tribal traditions of the area. The city is generally clean and the lamp posts are all LED lit. The 'Himalayan Phoenix' in Shantipur is one of the popular bike rentals in the city, and most of the travellers who set out on bike trips through the north-east hire bikes from Ravi Mal, the owner of the firm. The Baruah Bhavan guest house is a quaint little two-storey building which exudes elegance. This is also a great eatery where one can try out some of the most authentic north-eastern dishes which have bamboo shoots as a main ingredient.
It is at the north-eastern part of India where the first rays of the morning sun hit. There would be good sun shine even as early as 5 am. Darkness too sets in pretty early in the region.
The Guwahati-Tezpur highway leads to Bhalukpong, a border town in Assam, which is 216 km from Guwahati. Beautiful sceneries on both sides of the road treat the travellers who are taking this highway to reach Arunachal Pradesh. The Kolia Bhomora Setu bridge over the Brahmaputra River is near Tezpur. (It is named after the Ahom General Kolia Bhomora Phukan.) The 3 km-long bridge is one of the longest bridges in the country. At some places in Assam the mighty Brahmaputra has an overwhelming width of 16 km, and this river is the main source which nourishes the lands in the north-eastern states.
The north-astern states have many beautiful hamlets which are blessed abundantly by the nature. The lush green fields, small rivulets and the villagers’ huts add to the rustic charm of the areas. These perfect idyllic settings draw hundreds of travellers to enjoy the tranquillity that surrounds here.
There would be checking by soldiers at the borders which are extremely sensitive areas, and the vehicles from Arunachal Pradesh won’t be allowed to pass the Bhalukpong check post to Assam after 6 pm.
India's own land of the 'rising sun'
The Kameng River which is a tributary of the Barahmaputra is fascinating. It attracts river-rafting enthusiasts from all over the world. One has to travel through the wild forest paths to reach the Bomdila Pass, which connect Arunachal Pradesh with Lhasa (the capital of Tibet). Landslides and snow would create obstructions at many places in this forest path. Beyond the forest path, beautiful mountain valleys where tribal populations inhabit can be seen. They live in large families in box-like houses, raised from the ground on four pillars. When visitors are spotted here, children would gather around them asking for chocolates.
The extremely beautiful Sela Pass is mostly snow covered and it connects the Tibetan Buddhist town of Tawang with Dirang in Arunachal Pradesh. Tawang monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in India. One of the mostly visited places in Arunachal Pradesh, the monastery houses some of the valuable Buddhist scriptures at its library. Exquisite Buddhist paintings too can be seen adorning the walls of the monastery where visitors experience the spiritual tranquillity and peace of mind.