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
Hi! I am back with the next JITC for you and though our jewel is a tiny one – all of 25 sq km compared to Delhi’s 1484sq km, it is quite strategically located. The hill station, at 1220 m altitude, in the Aravallis, the only one in Rajasthan is more of an oasis and has been quite popular with the tourists from Rajasthan and Gujarat. But rather than being famous as a conventional hill station it is more famous for the Dilwara Jain temples and in recent years as a headquarter of Brahmakumari’s spiritual centre. Not to mention the World Spiritual University and of course Ekta Kapoor made it famous in her daily soap Kasamh Se
Reaching Mt Abu is no problem as it is really well connected , with butter smooth roads nor is the accommodation, with havelis turned into hotel or conventional hotels and guesthouses
As I always say, there is no lack of information of this small town, as you will always get enough both from hearsay and the net, I will just attempt to bring before you my own personal observations ( which you can say tips)
As it is a small area, it can be covered in just a day and half , so you can club it with your trip to Udaipur, the beautiful lake city just 185 kms away
The roads are simply lovely and if you are a learner (learning to drive) then the roads are best for some smooth practice.
If you are a nature person, then don’t get fooled by the Hill station tag. It is beautiful in its own way, an oasis among the sandy rugged landscape, but it is not a hill station with alpine forests and winding twisting climbing roads
The Guru Shikhar Peak is the highest peak.
Don’t be tempted by the road conditions and attempt to drive in at night as there are unconfirmed reports of robbery in the highway leading up to Mt Abu.
Dilwara temples from 11th -13th century are its primary attraction, but photography is not allowed inside.
Other than that of course, there is the hot favorite for strolling, boating and shopping – Nakki jheel or lake. It’s a point you will not miss nor can miss it.
There are other tourist points like the sunset point, the Achalgarh fort, the famous Trevor’s Tank, Adhar Devi temple and many more.
You will find the strange rock formations lining the road , an interesting sight ( some of which you will find in the slide show)
While there don’t forget to try the Dal Bati chorma – a local dish- the trademark Rajasthani dish in fact- quite unique.
Shopping for Rajasthani block print cloths and lehenga choli is a must. They are rightly priced and affordable- one that will bring a smile to the women of your family.
You can go for camel riding and have a feel of being in the Desert State.
What I found quaint was the hand carts type of thingy near the Nakki Jheel used to transport to and fro the market and up to your hotel. You can ride in one just for the experience.
Being in Mt Abu is an experience in itself, which cannot be measured in words. Here I have attempted to portray Mt. Abu through the images that struck me, while there! Other wise Mt Abu is of course much more than these.
Its winter and to top it, its the festive season so I have picked one of my favorites as the Jewel in the crown , the crown being India, for this issue. I hope you like it. Its Manali in HP, India.
When I googled Manali, the results showed was-1910000. Huge isn’t it? So there, you wont find any lack of information in the net but that doesn’t mean that I will not feed in any detail. Of course I will , but these will be my very personal tips, tips that I had accumulated after visiting and observing Manali 6 times in 4 years.
I won’t go into a detailed description of its beauty and spoil the magic with my words, rather let the photos speak.
So lets get on to our journey to one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Reaching Manali is the easiest and the road to Manali boasts of amazing vistas. So how do we reach Manali. Ok easy way out is to take the flight to Bhuntur, Kullu from Delhi, but you will miss out on the beautiful scenic drive. The roads are in good condition, you can drive yourself as we did. … even at night, NO bendy mind blowing gravity defying curves . And you have so many picks to take from. Like?
You can take the conventional route via Chandigarh- Bilaspur- Sundernagar- Mandi –Aut- Kullu or you can experiment for some adventure through Shimla-Naldehra-Tattapaani. Extreme adventure- then go for the drive in from Leh, Ladakh or try the Buddhist circuit of Shimla Rampur –Kinnaur-Kaza(Spiti) –Lahaul-( Details about Lahaul Spiti in my coming posts). Unconventional one- then try through the Jalori Pass.If Religious then visit – Viashno Devi or Dharamshala and proceed on to Manali through Kangra-Mandi, So the options – there are many. You can go by train. The nearest station can be either Joginder Nagar or Pathankot but again from there you have to ascend up by a car or bus, So better to take a vehicle from Chandigarh or Delhi itself.
Best Season. You can go to Manali in any season you want. If you like snow then go in the winters. Want to try the river rafting and stuff then go during spring or Autumn. Apple Orchards? – Late monsoons. The roads will cooperate with you through out the year. Winters are cold but you can take your kids without any hesitation. That’s the reason I submitted a copy of the snap of the Baby seated comfortably in the Snow in Rohtang Pass, The altitude BTW there is quite high.
Hotel Reservations, bus reservations. Yes everything can be booked previously through the internet. Even a bus if you want, through the Himachal Pradesh tourism website. Their Hotels are run professionally – better than the other State Govt. run hotels and you get quite a range. I mean 2 budget hotels. 4 deluxe hotels and I premium hotel- All economical-efficient and Govt. run. (psst! They have bars too). Of course you have the private ones too, like Club Mahindra. Holiday Inn etc etc. I had read a news item that HP govt. was offering a discount of 10% in Hotel Reservation for Parents of girl child, but I am yet to check that.
You will be spoilt for choice.
There is a strong possibility of finding snow in Rohtang Pass. Just 50 kms from Manali and a popular destination. You can go for snow tubing, skiing. Tobogganing. There are snow mobiles/bikes for a ride.
You can go for Parasailing, Zorbing, in Solang valley –another popular Hotspot
Hot Air Balloon, River Crossing, Rappelling or simply go for a hike.
During the hotter months you can go for river rafting in Kullu.
By the way, the Maggi though expensive is most delicious in Rohtang Pass
In the evenings you can go shopping for handicrafts, pubbing, discotheque, or plain Bird Watching of the other Kind. An advice – they may offer you Chingu- a blanket made from Shahtoos- Don’t buy it , its fraud. Buy only if they give you a hefty discount
If you like temples or architecture, then you have Hadimba temple, Valmiki temple and the Gurudwara at Manikaran. The Langar food or prasad in Manikaran is simply tasty, but you have to follow some rules in Manikaran as it’s a Gurudwara- nothing scary, just cover your head and ask a sevak or directions, If you want then I can fill in the rest but that is if you want, You can visit Naggar Castle- Now a premium hotel for its architecture .
Then as mentioned there is Rohtang Pass, Solang Valley, Kullu Valley. You can easily avail the tours from your Tourism Hotels or hire a cab. They also rent out snow suits. If you don’t have the proper attire and there is snow, better to hire it. The last time I had taken was at 100 Rs per piece. Or if not snow suits take boots at least. BTW if any body has vertigo or motion sickness better stock up on domperidone and cinnarizine before proceeding onto Rohtang Pass
So that’s all I can remember at present. And Now you can proceed on to the visual treat. Just remember .one trip is not enough for Manali. Manali is much more than these photographs which are just random shots of Manali as I see it.
Hi friends I am back again with yet another in My JITC series (though a bit delayed) and the Jewel being portrayed from our Dear Crown India is Guwahati from North East India- Housing the political capital of Assam Dispur,
It is well connected by air, railways and roadways. it’s a picturesque city situated between the eastern flanks of the Himalayas and gateway to the seven Northeastern states of India. Besides being the Biggest City in Assam and a vital tourist point ,it is an attraction on its own
It is a perfect blend of the Old and the new , of the occult and the modern. A city on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra, abundant in natural beauty with its pristine sand banks, verdant countryside and blue hills
Though its full tourism potential was not developed earlier due to insurgency, now everyone has woken up – from the grass root level to the upper echelons of the administration ( The GOI has announced special LTC schemes), so I think its time we gave the people of Assam a chance to show us their hospitality.
I have tried to bring to you the essence of Guwahati in these few random snapshots but as always I will only say that Guwahati is much more than these.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank my friend Dr.Jayati Nath who has captured Guwahati in her photo lens and allowed me to share it with the world