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Arunachal Pradesh- India’s very own LAND OF THE RISING SUN.

The month of May has been unimaginably scorching this year, and I am glad, we took a week off to the North East of India, a sojourn from the west coast to the easternmost tip, the beautiful state of Arunachal Pradesh.(May7-May13, 2024)

Oh, it’s natural beauty is magical. 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.

Here’s presenting our itinerary(7d6n), the permits, modes of travel, things to do, and things to shop.

The Route (7 Day Itinerary)

Day1: Mumbai to Gauhati.

It takes 3 hrs from Mumbai to Gauhati (The starting point to anywhere in the North East) by flight. We landed at noon, so it was too late to travel to Arunachal on the same day. We spent our day at Gauhati, I have to say I really liked the city. It was drizzling sporadically, so the weather was pleasant. We covered the famous Khamakhya Temple(entered and circled the premises and offered the Chadhava, didn’t stand in the main queue which takes 4-5 hours to move, and the main Darshan could take a full day). Had lunch at one of the eateries outside the temple, clicked pics at the viewpoint, and proceeded to Balaji temple. By 3 pm, we were at the Brahmaputra riverfront, for the cable car ride and the 5 pm sunset cruise over the magnificent Brahmaputra. Post the one-hour cruise (Alfresco Grand) where they served food and drinks (they even had a dj), we checked in to our hotel and rested for the night.

Note: The sunset cruise has to be pre-booked online. Alternately on Day1, you could drive for 4-5 hours, and reach Tezpur or Bhalukpong which are closer to Arunachal Pradesh, but we are glad we could spend time in Gauhati.


Day2: Gauhati to Dirang (10-11 hours)

This day was the most hectic of all, as we started from Gauhati before 9 am, and reached the town of Dirang at 7 pm. It’s a distance of 300km, that’s exactly why I mentioned breaking at Tezpur.

But the highway is smooth, there’s hardly any traffic, plenty of decent eateries offering good food and clean washrooms, plus the jungle view is awesome, especially once you enter Arunachal Pradesh and begin your ascent.

As soon as you enter Arunachal Pradesh, you have to present your passes, to get the permits.

Day3- Dirang to Tawang via Sela Pass (5 hours)

As it was past sunset by the time we reached Dirang on the previous day, our Dirang sightseeing began on Day 3 post breakfast. It’s a hilly, sleepy town, with plenty of kiwi and peach plantations, a 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 quaint, like a dream. There’s something to click, wherever you turn the camera.

After checking out at 9 am, we visited Dirang monastery, Dirang Hot Springs and finally proceeded to Tawang, our dream destination. Tawang is at a higher altitude, so there are hours of climbing up the winding mountains. The weather gets really chilly as you approach the snow-capped Sela Pass.

Sela pass was covered with fresh snow, and the beauty is breathtaking, with the frozen Sela Lake and white mountains. There are small tea shops with tea, Maggi and clean washrooms.

2 more hours, and we entered Tawang. Checked into our hotel and relaxed for the evening.

Day4- Tawang to Madhuri Lake, Bumla Pass and back (5-6 hours)

We were advised to start a little early that day, we were ready by 7:45 am. After a 1- hour ascent, we arrived at 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, a small café, and a gift shop.

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 there, very beautiful, totally covered with snow. The soldiers take you to the border in groups and talk about the past wars fought in Tawang, and why Tawang has an army presence almost everywhere.

There are only certain places where photography is allowed, and for the sake of National security, you are advised to abide by the rules. You can spend a good 35-45 minutes at Bumla, and then it’s a straight drive to Tawang. We reached our hotel by lunch.

In the evening, we set out for gift shopping to Tawang city centre, you can purchase almost everything here. Tibetan gifts, souvenirs, water, umbrellas, jackets, it’s a bustling market.

Note: To visit Bumla Pass, you need to hire a local Arunachal taxi. So your Gauhati driver won’t be accompanying you that day. Your tour operator/ hotel will arrange for a different vehicle. This driver will get your pass and permit done. Plus, you need to pay a fixed amount of Rs.5500, cash to this driver. This won’t be included in your initial amount you pay the operator.

Also, it gets pretty chilly at Madhuri Lake and Bumla Pass, carry all warm clothes, in fact as many possible, even masks.



Day 5: Tawang sightseeing

This was a comparatively relaxed day, we started late after breakfast. Our first stop was the massive Tawang Monastery, with it’s huge Buddha, the prayer wheels, and a museum with pictures from the early life of His Holiness Dalai Lama. Cool-weather and tea go hand in hand, so we had tea and pastry at a little coffee shop at the monastery. Then there’s the Giant Buddha statue, the war memorial to visit. We then halted at the market for lunch and indulged in some more shopping. Later in the evening, we visited the war memorial once again for the Light and sound show. That was very informative, talking in length about Twang, its’ culture, festivals, and of course the Indo-China war and the brave martyrs.


Day 6: Tawang to Bomdila via Sangti Valley (5-6 hours)

After 3 days in Tawang, 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.

Sangti Valley was not mentioned in our itinerary, but I had heard a lot about it’s beauty, so I requested the driver and he was kind enough to circle us around the valley for like 45 minutes. Sangti Valley falls right on the way to Bomdila from Tawang, so we could pretty much stick to our schedule. Now this, is a valley with lots of agriculture and plantations. Apples, oranges, kiwi…oh so many. There’s a river flowing right in the middle of the valley, the climate isn’t very chilly, in fact, Sangti looks and feels very different. It’s not exactly on the hills.

An hour more, and you reach Bomdila. This town has a monastery, and not much more. The marketplace is huge, lined with cafes and shops. So we spent our post-lunch evening time, just walking along the marketplace, shopping for little gifts, having tea and pastries…


Day7: Bomdila to Gauhati (9 hours)

Well, this happened to be our last day in Arunachal Pradesh, and the journey from Bomdila to Gauhati took long, but the route was picturesque. We commenced the last leg of our journey at 9:00 am, and by 1:00 pm, we reached the banks of the Brahmaputra river, where we did some boating and dolphin spotting (This is not a part of the itinerary, it’s optional and you have to pay upfront).

We touched Gauhati at 5:30 pm and shopped for some Assamese saris and sweets. Checked into an airport hotel to catch the early morning flight to Mumbai, on the next day.


The Permits

There are 2 points where we need to produce the permits. One, when we enter Arunachal Pradesh, and second when we start ascending towards Bumla Pass.

So before we start, we need to mail our photos and scanned ids to the tour operator.

They generate the passes and hand them over to the driver, who then presents the permits wherever needed. The process doesn’t take much time, just 2 weeks.


Time to Visit.

April and May are supposed to be summers but trust me, Arunachal was really chilly in May, the temperatures in Tawang dropping to 10 or 12 degrees by night. December- March are the winters, July- September are the monsoons. We were told, October and November are good to visit, as Tawang sees many vibrant cultural programmes during the period, and the weather is also very pleasant. Also, even if it’s sunny in the morning, the weather might change suddenly by afternoon. It’s better to carry umbrellas with you.

And so this means, carry lots of woolen, whatever time you visit.

Things to do  

Apart from the tourist attractions, just walk around the markets and shop for rare and cute Buddhist Tibetan dragon paintings, ceramic tea mugs, prayer bells, T-shirts, key chains, etc.

Also, you could go for long walks along the winding roads. There’s greenery on both sides, the paths are beautiful, and refreshing for the soul.


We had absolutely no difficulty finding Dal chawal, subzi, roti, pulao, khichdi… the usual dishes, all around Arunachal Pradesh. Most restaurants serve all kinds of Indian food and were neat and clean with washroom facilities as well.


Again, absolutely no problem, as everyone here speaks Hindi and English.

 People of Arunachal Pradesh

Warm, and extremely helpful, the people of Arunachal go out of the way to make sure you feel comfortable.

Tour operators

We visited in May, and we had completed our bookings in March. Our trip was organized by Paradise North East. They were very good, our journey was immensely smooth and hassle-free, with no hidden charges of any sort. I would recommend them to anyone who desires to visit the North East.

Paradise Northeast: Northeast India’s Local Tour Operator and Holiday Planner





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