By: Saif Khan
As a travel enthusiast I often explore various virgin tourist destinations of Northeast. The scenic state of Arunachal Pradesh has been in my bucket list for quite sometime. The wish was fulfilled recently, when I got a chance to visit Bomdila during the much-talked about Buddha Mahostava festival. It was almost like a dream come true to see the much talked about buddhist monasteries of Bomdila along with their equally popular apple orchards!
Situated at a height of about 8000 feet, Bomdila is surrounded by beautiful snow-clad mountains of the Himalayan Range.The best time to visit this charming little town is between April to October. With its pleasantly chilly climate, affable people and beautiful apple orchards, Bomdila, which is the headquarters of the West Kameng district, has a lot to offer.
A little monk in Bomdila carrying out his daily chores
The Buddhist monastery of Bomdila, a repository of culture, is the primary attraction of the area. It has a tourist lodge, a craft centre displaying local crafts and a shopping centre where visitors get to know and experience a little of the Himalayan Buddhist life.
During your visit, some of the best places to go sightseeing are Dirang valley and the famed Sela Pass (13,700 ft MSL) through which you can reach Tawang. It takes around 6 hours to reach Tawang from Bomdila. You should also never miss R.R. Hill while there, as it is Bomdila’s highest point.
Bomdila provides mesmerizing views of snow clad mountain peaks such as Kangto Peak (picture above) and Gorichen Peak (highest peak of Arunachal Pradesh).
Apart from that, you should also make a point to visit the National Research Centre on Yak at Dirang. It houses a yak farm with more than 150 yaks of different varieties. The Orchid Research and Development Station at Tippi and two other orchid conservation sanctuaries located at Sessa and Dirang are also worth visiting.
An aerial view of the Tawang road from R.R Hills
How to Reach: You can take a bus or sumo from Guwahati. It takes around eight hours. While a bus will cost you around Rs 420, a sumo will come around Rs 600. If you want to travel by air, the nearest airport is Tezpur (Assam). From there, you have to take a bus or car.
Essentials: One essential thing that you will need when visiting Arunachal Pradesh is an ILP, which is short for Inner Line Permit. You also need an ILP to visit other Northeastern states like Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland. You can get ILP made at Arunachal House Rumkini Gaon, Guwahati and ATDC Office Paltan Bazaar for Rs 30 per person.
Where to Stay: You can stay at the Circuit House. There are also many good hostels and tourist lodges for visitors. Hotel Siphiyang Phong, located near the DC office is a good option for travellers. Some other hotels that you can look at are Hotel La and Hotel Sweet.
Photo Courtesy: Saif Khan