Dirang: Arunachal Pradesh’s Hidden Magical World - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Monday, September 20, 2021

Dirang: Arunachal Pradesh’s Hidden Magical World

View of Dirang Town from on top of Dirang Dzong

It is a paradise for nature lovers, trekkers, birdwatchers and photographers. It is home to orchards of apple, orange and apricot and farms of kiwi. It is one of those places that is perfect for a rustic, quiet and blissful time in the lower reaches of the Eastern Himalayas. I am talking about the village of Dirang in Western Arunachal Pradesh that is surrounded by lush forests and gorgeous mountains of the Eastern Himalayas.

Scenic setting at Sangti Valley

Located at an altitude of 5,200 feet above MSL, Dirang is a picturesque valley between Bomdila and Tawang. It shares its traditions and heritage with Western Bhutan and it mainly comprises of the people from the Monpa tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. In addition to its spectacular natural beauty, it is known for its hot water springs, apple orchards and Yak research center.

Hill streams join to form Dirang river

The top tourist attractions in Dirang include:

1) Dirang Dzong: A 19th century stone fort strategically located on the top of a hill and that is home to houses made of stone and wood

2) National Yak research center: for those who wish to see yaks up close and know more about them

3) Fruit orchards: Spread across Dirang are beautiful apple, apricot and orange orchards and kiwi farms that decorate the landscape with their fruits across the year

4) Hot water spring: Known for its curative properties, this medicinal sulphur bath is ideal for those seeking to relax

5) Sangti Valley: Seasonal home, feeding and breeding site of black-necked cranes that migrate to the valley in November and December from China before returning with their young ones in April and May every year

6) Madla Phudong: A fabulous trekking and birdwatching location

7) Kalachakra Gompa: A beautiful Buddhist monastery overlooking the valley

Classic Setting near Sangti Valley

Dirang has all the ingredients to be called Arunachal Pradesh’s hidden magical world. Most tourists heading to Tawang either stop here for a brief pit stop or at most spend a night here. But, Dirang has so much more to offer to all nature lovers, birdwatchers, adventure enthusiasts and for those who seek solitude in a pristine ecosystem. Its indigenous tribal culture adds to the charm for those who wish to spend a longer time here. I cannot rave enough about this place. You will know when you see it for yourself up close and in real.

Native Women at work - Sangti Valley

How to reach there:

The nearest airport with the best connectivity would be Guwahati (312 kms away). The nearest railway station with the best connectivity would be Chaparmukh junction (282 kms away) or Guwahati (312 kms away).

The best way to travel to Dirang would be through your own mode of transportation, but if you really want to get a local flavour, you can catch a bus to Tezpur –> Bomdila and then to Dirang. The journey will take you a long while, but it will be very cheap and you will get to spend time with the local people. For sightseeing around Dirang, you can hitchhike, rent a bike or hire a cab.

Corn house

Best season to visit:

Dirang is beautiful to visit all year round as the temperatures stay fairly moderate.

If black necked cranes are on your agenda, visit between November and April.

If fruit orchards are on your mind, visit between August and December.

If you want a hill station like vibe, the summer months would be ideal.

And if you want the entire place to yourself, visit Dirang during the winter months.

Traditional Stone and Wood Houses - Naturally insulated and ideal for very cold weather

Where to stay:

One of the oldest hotels in Dirang is Hotel Pemaling. It commands a great view and is a mid-range hotel. A hotel in a similar price range is Awoo resort. Both these properties are located a bit outside the town and command a good view. Hotel Sangeyla, Green valley lodge and Hotel snow lion located in the town are good budget options.

House inside Dirang Basti

Where to eat:

One can either eat at the basic restaurants in Dirang town center or eat at your place of stay. Some places might want you to order in advance. Fruits and snacks can be easily bought from the markets of Dirang.

View of Dirang Basti

Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) Sangti Valley: A gorgeous valley that is the also the breeding ground for the migratory black necked cranes

2) Bomdila: Headquarters of the West Kameng district and home to a massive Buddhist monastery

3) Sela Pass: A scenic high altitude pass located at 13,700 feet above MSL that is home to some exotic Himalayan birds

4) Tawang: India’s true Shangri-La and a 10,000 feet high hill station that is home to the largest Buddhist monastery in India

5) Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary: Birdwatcher’s paradise in the Himalayas

6) Nameri National Park: Assam’s wildlife haven

7) Bumla Pass: A high altitude mountain pass on the India-China border

8) Tongpen la view point: A 15,150 feet high panoramic mountain vista

9) Tak-Tsang Gompa: A remote Buddhist monastery located at 13,000 feet

10) Sangetsar Lake: A 12,000 feet high mountain lake that presents abundant mountain vistas

11) Jung Falls: A gorgeous waterfall located 35 kms before Tawang

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