‘Pristine’ is the closest word to define Arunachal Pradesh. The scenic beauty and unique culture are too much to take in for a single trip. I grew up in a hill station and have been to many hill stations, but Arunachal Pradesh is completely different from all of them.
Most people have the notion that all hill stations are the same, but having lived most of my life in different hill stations, I know the difference between them.
The mountains are too steep for any cultivation but occasionally you could see yellow patches of jhum rice field dotted amidst a sea of green forest.
Sometimes the journey is as important and beautiful as the destination, Arunachal Pradesh in exactly that place! There are beautiful villages and places you wished you could stop and spend a day or two.
Normally at this time of the year the ripened autumn air invades the forest and turns the forest a dull brown. Here in the mysterious land of Arunachal Pradesh, the forests are as green and vibrant as they are in the summer. Between the stretch of mountains from Salipathar to Along, there are no big trees but evergreen plants like plantain, palm trees, ferns and creepers. The warm but damp sub-tropical climate supports this kind of forest.
People don’t live in small patches on the highway; they stick together in villages and in communities. It has a lot to do with the tribal warfare and culture of protecting one another. Along the 140km ride from Salipathar to Along we passed through villages such as Garu, Dila and Bansar. Bansar is one of the bigger villages; it is a nice valley with ATM facilities.
A little further from Salipathar, a border town of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh the road begins to slither upward and the mountains get steeper and sharper. The mountains seem to jut out of nowhere and are beautifully festooned with exotic plants and animals. You can see some of the most pointed mountains here; the tips are jagged and no trees grow on it. It looked like a scene straight out of Avatar.
The mountain terrains made the journey difficult and it took more than 6 hours to reach Along from Salipathar.