Pasighat is the oldest town (established in 1911) of the extreme eastern state of the country- Arunachal Pradesh. Situated at the banks of river Siang, this is a fairly small town surrounded with lush green beauty of Himalayan Mountains. The town is not exactly in the mountains… it is actually at the foothills hence the weather is pleasant here both in summer and winter.
How do I reach?
Hmm… interesting question. The nearest airports are at North Lakhimpur (Assam) and Dibrugarh (Assam). But you have many options…
A 16 hour bus journey directly from Guwahati to Pasighat.
An 18 hour train journey from Rangia (Assam) to Murkongselek (Assam). Murkongselek is 35 km from Pasighat and you get plenty of local transport from Murkongselek to Pasighat.
Take a flight to North Lakhimpur (250 km from Pasighat) and from there you get bus and hired taxi services.
There are also Helicopter flights from Dibrugarh and Itanagar to Pasighat.
The Last but the most enjoyable option(my vote!) is to take a flight to Dibrugarh and then a ferry ride upstream on river Brahmputra from Dibrugarh to Oriam ghat or majherbadi ghat and then you get local conveyance from any of the ghats.
NOTE1: The train journey is the most hopelessly boring option of all… that’d be last in my options list.
NOTE 2: You need an inner line permit (ILP) to enter the state Arunachal Pradesh- they are checked at the check points located on Assam- Arunachal border on every road (yeah, cry irony all you want, but you need a permit to roam around in your own country). You can get an ILP made from the Liaison offices situated in Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, North Lakhimpur and Jorhat.
Where do I stay?
This is a tricky one. Because tourism is not an industry here, the hotels in Pasighat are pretty ordinary. So if you’d want a little more luxury, your only option is the govt. guest house- Siang Guest House. I’ve read on some websites that accommodation is available on three places- Siang Guest House, Circuit House and Inspection Bungalow. Don’t get misguided by this fact- all the three are the one and same (Ha Ha!). The booking for the room at Siang Guest House is done at DC office.
Ok tell me some more…
You can visit almost any time in the year except for the rainy season and I can assure you that the weather will be among the best in the country. The Rainy season is a problem because it rains extremely heavy… it rains continuously sometimes even for a month in this season. Well, even if you plan to visit Pasighat in Rainy season, you won’t be able to make it till here because all the routes are flooded at that time.
As I said earlier, tourism is not established as an industry here. So much that you may not even get a guide to show you around. This may be a drawback of this place but this also is its USP. You get to enjoy the beauty in its Virgin form- unaltered by the inherent hazards of tourism industry like environmental destruction. Also you see what you like… not what the selectively permeable spectacles of a guide show you.
The place is full of scenic beauty… Go to river Siang or its countless supporting streams any time of day and you get a photographer’s paradise. Arunachal Pradesh is known for its sunrise which is the first sunrise of whole country everyday so make sure you get up early enough to catch it (nearly 4:45 am in summers and 5:30 am in winters). If you are into wildlife, you can visit Daying Ering wildlife sanctuary. The Sanctuary provides domicile for a variety of animal species like leopard, civet cat, leopard cat, sambar, barking deer, Wild boar, Porcupine, Stripped squirrel, Jackal, Python. The sanctuary is also home to a number of endangered birds like the Indian skimmer and spot-billed Pelican. It also hosts quite a few migratory birds.
You can also see the hanging bridge- made up of bamboo it is a marvel of tribal engineering. You can also go to Pangin to see the point where river Siom meets river Siang presenting a spectacular sight. If you have come here in winter, you can also visit Rangin- a place famous for its orange farms.
If you like adventure sports, Pasighat is the place to be. The River Siang is ideally suited for rafting, fishing and angling. Trekking also another very good option to explore that the natural beauty that this place beholds and also to get a closer look at the tribal lifestyle. If you are more of an indoor person, you might as well stay in the guest house- enjoying the brilliant climate, sipping the famous Assam tea and romancing with books ;).
Since tourism is yet to find its niche as an industry here, visiting Pasighat will provide you a fresh experience- different from your typical hill station. The calm and serene beauty of this place provides a perfect refuge for an escape from helter –skelter, run here- run there life style. The added bonus of this place is that because it is situated in the foothills, the climate here is gentle and the weather remains pleasant even in winters implicating, you can even visit and enjoy the place in winters.
Below are my humble attempts to capture the natural beauty of this place.
PS: Due acknowledgements to Mani Padma who motivated me enough to write a travelogue, which, I never thought I could write
Bring the mouse to the bottom portion of the slideshow for the details on the picture as well as the control keys for slideshow