The ‘land of the dawn-lit mountains’ is one of the least explored states though it is rife with natural beauty and history. Located at the north-eastern tip, the state borders Bhutan, Myanmar and China. You can spend 7-8 days to explore the scenic hills, wildlife and monasteries, or indulge in adventure activities. Remember to apply for an Inner Line Permit (https://arunachalilp. com/index.jsp), which is a travel document needed for entering the state.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
HOW TO REACH FROM DELHI…
The fastest route from Delhi is a flight to Dibrugarh or Guwahati in Assam, and taxi to Itanagar or your chosen destination. You can also fly to Jorhat or Dimapur. The cheapest option is train, which takes around 40 hours, but cost much less. The closest railway station to Itanagar, about 15 km away, is Naharlagun.
Cost by air + taxi
Rs.6,527 (Delhi-Dibrugarh, 3 hrs)
Rs.5,000 (Dibrugarh-Itanagar, 5 hrs)
Cost by train
(Delhi-Naharlagun, 38 hrs)
*One way, per person. Flight cost on Skyscanner on 21 Sep.
WHERE TO STAY…
While you are unlikely to find any fivestar luxury accommodation, there are plenty of home-stays, holiday rentals, and 2-3 star hotels and resorts in popular destinations like Itanagar, Tawang and Ziro. Check Airbnb.co.in and Booking.com to find the option that suits you.
COST: Rs.21,000 for 7 nights;
(Rs.1,000-5,000 per night)
WHAT TO EAT…
Much like other parts of the country, the staple diet here comprises rice, meat and vegetables, but the difference lies in the varieties of rice as well as the spices and herbs used. Among the most popular dishes that you must try are pika pila, which is made from pig fat and bamboo shoot; lukter, which is a combination of cooked dry meat and chilli flakes; chura sabji, a soup or curry using fermented cheese of yak or cow milk; thukpa, a noodle soup; momos; papuk, made with fermented bamboo shoots; pasa, a traditional fish delicacy; koat pitha, a popular sweet; pehak, a spicy chutney using fermented soya bean and chillis. Among beverages, you can try the butter tea which has yak milk butter and salt, and apong or rice beer, made from fermented rice or millet.
COST: Rs.500-1,000 per person, per day
WHAT TO DO…
You will have to pick the top tourist sites depending on whether you are travelling east or west. Many of the renowned sites are in the west while the east part has more remote and quaint villages.
FLORA & FAUNA
Namdapha National Park
Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary
Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary
Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary
Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
LAKES & FALLS
PEAKS AND PASSES
If you have 6-7 days, you can visit either the western or eastern part of the state, depending on which Assam airport you arrive at. From Guwahati, you can travel west and cover Bhalukpong, Bomdila, Dirang and Tawang, and via Dibrugarh, visit Pasighat, Aalo, Anini, Changlang and Mechuka. To cover the entire state, you need at least two weeks as it takes a long time to drive.
DAY 1: Itanagar Fly to Dibrugarh. Take a cab to Itanagar, which will take 4.5 hours. Visit Ita Fort, Craft Centre & Emporium, and the Ganga lake.
DAY 2-3: Ziro Visit Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary early morning and drive to Ziro in the Lower Subansiri district, famous for its Ziro Music Festival in September. Visit the Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, pine and bamboo groves, Tarin Fish Farm, Meghana cave temple, Haploi, and Dolo Mando.
DAY 4: Bhalukpong Either drive back to Itanagar from Ziro and spend the night or drive straight to Bhalukpong, which will take around 7 hours. Visit the Tipi Orchidarium.
DAY 4: Bomdila Drive in 2.5 hours to Bomdila, known for Buddhist monasteries and trekking trails. Visit the Bomdila monastery, Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, trek up to the RR Hill, with scenic views of Tibet and Bhutan. Shop and eat at local markets.
DAY 5: Dirang Drive to Dirang in 1.5 hours, a small village perfect for long walks. Go to Dirang Chu river, trek up to Kalachakra gompa, visit Thupsung Dhargye monastery,and tribal areas of Dirang Dzong. Visit hot water springs and Sangti Valley.
DAYS 6-7: Tawang Drive to Tawang in 4.5 hours, via the Sela Pass, the second highest motorable road in India. Stop at Nuranang falls and the Jaswant Garh War Memorial. Visit Tawang monastery, Urgelling monastery and Taktsang gompa. Also check the Gorichen peak, Bum-la pass, Sangestar Tso or Madhuri lake, and shop at the Tibetan Settlement Market.
DAY 8: Drive to Guwahati and fly back.