I am currently in a small town of Arunachal Pradesh called Dirang In case you missed the last episode, here’s a quick recap- After an adventurous 10 hour roadtrip, we made it to Dirang which is enroute to Tawang. Yesterday we explored Thembang Heritage Village, had a special local lunch and saw some amazing local handicrafts. Today is going to be very action-packed and I will tell you what you can see in and around Dirang. After a quick breakfast, we left for the first spot of the day 30 km away from Dirang- Mandala. The visibility was negligible in the intense fog, so how does it matter if I say ‘Switzerland’ or ‘Swiss cottage in Dirang’? Mandala is a popular bird watching destination. Bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts from around the world come here for bird watching early in the morning specially in the winters. But we were here at mid-day during the monsoons And it’s really cold At Mandala you can only spot this We spotted a lot of plastic on the way What we bring along, why can’t we take back with us instead of littering? How is this going to get disposed off here? So I’m here with two other cool people who are desperate to meet you -That was a little too much -We are not desperate at all FYI -But you definitely want your channel links in the description so people can subscribe to them -Yes, absolutely! -It’s really cold here -You aren’t wearing anything!? -How can you say that Ms.Chitnis? -Okay, that’s enough -I’m not wearing anything warm. -That’s what I wanted to say.
-We can see that! Since we couldn’t see anything from top of the pass, we drove down 4-5 kms to this spot, so we could sit in peace and enjoy the views for some time. If you are coming here for bird watching, the best time would be to be here immediately after sunrise or some time before sunset. If you want you can also stay overnight in the few homestays or lodges located here. This is absolutely epic What a view this is! That right there is Sangti Valley which is 7 km from Dirang. but we are not going there due to our limited time. Sangti Valley is famous for its fruit orchards. Here you can take long peaceful walks, and sit near the stream and enjoy the beauty of nature. After relaxing for a while, we returned to Dirang’s National Research Centre on Yak which is located right in the center of town. Right now we weren’t here to meet the yaks, but for the Future Forum event by Outlook Responsible Tourism. The event focused on empowering the local communities in and around DIrang so that they could grow economically in the ever growing tourism industry by making use of sustainable and responsible ways. There are several Buddhist monasteries around Dirang But the one that stands out from the rest is located close to the Yak Institute. Like all modern Tibetan monasteries, this too is very colourful and is decorated with several intricate designs. You can sit and meditate for some time at this prayer hall- which is the centrepiece of the monastery. Every morning at 6, there is a prayer ceremony here which you can attend and learn about the practices of Mahayana Buddhism by interacting with the monks. Since this monastery is located at a strategic location on top of a hill, it can easily be spotted from across Dirang. And just like us, you can stand on top here and enjoy the panoramic view of the entire Dirang town. -Should we leave? -Last spot We are going to a prison since I got to know about the tourist spots here After spending some zen moments at the monastery, we left for the final stop of the day- Dirang Dzong (fort). which is located right on the highway and when you are entering Dirang, it’s on the right side. Although no one was able to tell us exactly how old Dirang dzong is estimates suggest that the houses here are at least 500 years old. And people still live in these cold-proof ancient houses. We were welcomed here by these kids who were highly intrigued by us and our camera gears. This used to be a fort and they used to keep prisoners here. Although you can’t see anything on this board, if you ask around, the villagers will tell you a lot about this place. -This had fallen -It’s all broken on this side Yeah this fell down even if they repair it now, I doubt it wil stand for long Prisoners with bigger crimes were kept on this side and petty crimes were imprisoned on that side Right now we can’t even enter the jail, it’s locked and there is nothing inside. This dzong is 400 years old and the monastery right next to it so you can go inside the monastery too It’s a small monastery but apparently it holds a lot of riches. The sun was setting, so we spent a few minutes next to Dirang river and then went back to our hotel where we got to saw some traditional and folk dances of Arunachal First was Aji Lamu Folk dance which is traditionally performed by the people of the Monpa tribe Right now they were depicting a scene from the Ramayana. Next was the famous Yak dance in which dancers perform wearing yak masks and costumes Finally we saw this entertaining dance of the Galo tribe and joined the dance to end the day. We thought two days were too less to see all of Dirang If you are planning a short trip or a trip to Tawang, try and stay for at least two days in Dirang and explore the regions around here. This was my first ever trip to the North East of India and I’m eagerly looking forward to explore more such unexplored gems. If you have any place suggestions, do leave a comment below to let me know.