Hey guys, how is summer treating you? It’s unfair to even ask with the ever rising temperatures. But with summer vacations and weekends, we always try our best to get away for a while, to enjoy the vacation or to escape the intolerable heat.
I must say I had an amazing time this summer, a totally unexpected trip to one of the most remote place on Earth. Yeah, you heard that right, no connectivity with the rest of the world. And I enjoyed every bit of it. Sometimes you just have to do it. You know, cut yourself off from the world and immerse yourself on the lap of Mother Nature. I had the opportunity to do it and I didn’t regret for once.
The beautiful town of Mechuka
I had an entirely different plan for this summer. I wanted to escape the heat and enjoy nature just near the city. So I extensively planned our stay.
A little back story on how I reached Mechuka
So we decided to hit the Brahmaputra Jungle Resort, near Sonapur just an hour drive from the city of Guwahati. But alas, with so many plannings and activities I laid out to do at the resort, we met with a huge disappointment that push me into depression. We were not age appropriate for the resort, as couples younger than 25 are not allowed.
It’s best suitable for family, group of friends and married couples. Though we were bit disappointed, if you happen to go their with family and friends, you will absolutely love this beautiful resort amidst a jungle. Beautiful cottages with stunning views and variety of outdoor activities provided by the resort won’t disappoint you.
After the sad encounter at the resort, my boyfriend tried to reassure me by planning a trip to Arunachal Pradesh. It was supposed to be an all guy trip but I was so upset he decided to include me on the trip. I got super excited and was happy all over again.
The Journey from Guwahati to Mechuka:
Our journey started from Guwahati traveling to Naharlagun by train where we will meet all his friends and together head for Mechuka.
One step at a time. Before reaching Naharlagun Railway Station.
We didn’t get out much as it was so hot, but we went to Itanagar before leaving for Pasighat. Had an awesome evening at the Senki View point.
Where we stayed in Naharlagun:
We stayed at the Hotel Riverview, not too far away from the railway station. The hotel has comfortable rooms at reasonable prices and bonus point has a Spa too. I went for the Aromatherapy for 60 minutes and which cost me 2500 bucks. There is a shopping mall, Sohum just across the hotel, you can do all the shopping there.
Naharlagun to Pasighat:
Our next stop was Pasighat. We stayed at Hotel Pane, rooms were good enough, amazing food though.
Getting on a Hanging Bridge:
We all went out for a night drive located on the outskirts of Pasighat (don’t know the exact place) where you can see the mighty Siang river. There is a hanging bridge all the way down the mountain that connects the small village on the other side. We decided why not cross the bridge? It was night time, rainy and very slippery but we were very determined. The road was so narrow at some places it will make you want to leave the place and return to the surface immediately. But we went all the way down, crossed the hanging bridge and came back. We even met a few locals who were going back home, and this bridge happens to be their only of way of transport. They immediately got to know we were tourist and even gave us quite a hearing about wandering there at that time of the night.
The Joy of getting back in one piece
It was my first time getting on a hanging bridge and the feeling I had, my heart was racing and I squeaked every time I felt like the bridge is swaying too much. But the feeling of doing something for the first time and knowing that you did it, is a whole another level of euphoria. You feel so overwhelmed, so motivated, all the fear that was about to engulf you vanishes and you only remember the victory.
Haeding to Our Final Destination: Pasighat to Mechuka
On a rainy afternoon, we headed for our final destination, Mechuka. But luck was not with us, we had two major incidents on our way. Just outside Pasighat in the middle of nowhere, our vehicle broke down. Our driver had to go all the way back to Pasighat, to bring back a mechanic. We passed our time idly for almost 4 hours on the roadside, sightseeing, capturing photographs and other stuffs. Finally our driver came back and about 30 minutes later we were again on the road. Our schedule was changed and it was evident we will reach our destination very late.
We couldn’t have get this beauty captured if our car didn’t break down.
Enroute to Along. A solitary tree stands like a fighter when the valley is covered with Mist
We reached Along at around 1 am in the morning, and reached the West Siang district at around 5 in the morning. We first got the glimpse of Mechuka, on a sign board that said ‘Mechuka 89 kms‘. Every one was energetic again, for traveling more than 12 hours can pretty much mess you up. With the destination nearing our face lit up again. The road to Mechuka is pretty amazing compared to the potholes covered road leading to Along. What a journey it was. Never have I encountered such road before, but this shouldn’t let you down for what lies ahead will completely blow your minds away. I promise!
Siko Dido Waterfall, this mighty waterfall will certainly take your breath away and is on the way to Mechuka.
Experiencing the aftermath of a Landslide:
The next incident, we faced was a landslide, it’s a first time for me again. Most of the time during landslides road remains close for more than a week or so but we were very lucky as the Army Commissioner was on the other side, and the road must be cleared. After a wait of nearly 4 hours the road was cleared and we started our journey again.
Machines and Men working together to clear the road
We were still 2-3 hours from our destination and after a tiring 24 hours journey we entered Mechuka, we first witnessed river flowing, then short grasses covering the mountains, with evergreen trees subtly touching the windshield of our car. I was shocked as the scenery is completely different from those we have come across on the road. Finally we could see ourselves surrounded by bright green mountains, and a town lies ahead of us. Seeing people and a town completely took us aback as we could see no souls on our way here. It completely blew my mind away, just thinking so far away, so remote there is a human civilization, a town of merely 500 homes just near the Indo-China border. With a sore 24 hours traveling the sight of this beautiful, mesmerizing town felt like Amrit to our souls, divine, healing our bodies and a relief to our sore eye sights.
Mechuka, also known as Menchuka is the last town of India, near the border. About 30 kms from the town lies the Indo-China border. Having come to a place so remote gives an ethereal feeling. Like you are in an another planet. No any cell reception is available here. Only a weak BSNL network is available. We stayed out of connectivity for 5 days.
We were a group of 9 people, and I was the only female in the group. That didn’t create any problems for me because as long as everyone in the group shares the same value and passion as myself I can get along very well. I have met so many people on my trips, they were all strangers at first but at the end of the trip we return back as friends.
Our lovely Homestay “Gayboo’s Traditional Lodge and Homestay”
Where we stayed: Gayboo’s Traditional Lodge and Homestay
Our accommodation was the highlight of our trip. We stayed at the most well known homestay in Mechuka, Gayboo’s Traditional Lodge and Homestay, a little two storied aesthetically pleasing homestay at the center of the town. The name as suggested is truly traditional with modern amenities such as heaters, a washing machine so you won’t be disappointed living in this lodge. Our host welcomed us with big smile and their hospitality made us feel like home even though we were so far away from home.
Summer is the best season to enjoy the lush greenery and flowers on full bloom. Our homestay has come up with innovative ways to recycle plastics as seen in the photographs.
Even when you enter the gate, you will see the lodge is so beautiful, there are variety of flowers at every corner of the lodge. Every thing has been used to grow these flowers, from water pipes to tires you will find great diy flower pots. I greatly appreciate their recycling items that is usually thrown away.
Now that we have finally arrived, it’s time to put on our best adventure’s spirits. But first rest, eat and get some good sleep. Food cooked in our lodge was excellent from chicken, egg to pork everything felt like home cooked, we ate to our heart’s content. Later in the evening we went out shopping to get some warm clothes as it is very cold even in summer. After returning we all played cards, had wine and dinner. After dinner we all prepared for bed as the next day our adventures starts.
Day 1. Trekking to Dorjeeling Hilltop aka Menchuka La Trek
We all needed a good day’s rest, so it’s evident we got up pretty late. I was the only person to wake up first, (I am an early bird). As I was all along I took the opportunity to click many photographs of our beautiful homestay.
The two storied Homestay has a beautiful balcony overlooking the mountains. An original bear skin is spread out on a hammock to keep lodgers warm in the chilly weather.
At around 2.30 pm we finally came out, did some food shopping, the boys got a foot ball from the shop and we headed for our very first adventure. Trekking to the Dorjeeling mountain. The trek name is also known as Menchuka La Trek and it starts from the Bumjipanga bridge just outside the main town towards the Dorjeeling Mountain.
Bumjipanga bridge is the starting point of the Mechuka mountain trek.
One could see a very clear resemblance of Mechuka to the famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. A huge sign “MENCHUKA” is engraved at the top of the mountain similar to that of HOLLYWOOD.
It’s barely visible during Summer due to the surrounding green mountains, after a lot of efforts I could finally get one good photograph of the humongous sign.
Everyone can trek to that mountain and see for themselves the huge sign. We too decided to trek our way to the mountain.
The view from the foothills
The mountains are only covered by waist length grasses and is very easy to trek however as we were ascending we got tired very soon.
Halfway through the trek, View of the Mechuka town.
After trekking for 3 and a half hours we finally reached our destination. We were all standing on the last letter, A of MENCHUKA Sign. It is made of concrete laid on the mountain and painted in white. So I was pretty disappointed, my expectations were quite high but much praise for the strength and passion of the people of Mechuka for building this sign, something to be proud of.
The last letter, A of the sign painted in white.
And standing there, feeling elated, I was only thinking about how an hour ago I almost gave up but now I’m here.
Encountering an unwanted guest on our journey to the Top
We were surrounded by mist, couldn’t see more than 100 meters. We got completely wet on my way up and as I was just enjoying myself having reach the top, and then I met with my biggest fear. Leech!! Ahh right on my stomach, I gave out a scream as I am very scared of leech and anything that don’t have legs. It give me creeps. My friend removed the leech and I was frantically searching for these bloodsuckers all over my body. I got bitten more than 5-6 times on my way back. With subsequent encounter my fear completely vanished. It is a good feeling though.
Listening to music and enjoying our very recent feat.
We listened to music, drank wine, ate some food sitting on the top of the mountain. And finally it’s time to get back. The most difficult part of the trek was walking horizontal on the mountain, so there is this steep mountain on one side and a narrow trail and then there is nothing, if you slip you will end up at the bottom. I was so scared, I just wanted to give up, but I got help from my friends and safely pass that difficult phase.
Enroute to the the top
Heading Back to the Town
Now going down a mountain is very easy, but as it was rainy, chances of getting slipped is very high. I luckily didn’t slip even once. It took us 2 hours on our way down. And another 20 minutes to reach our lodge. We were tired and freaking out, all were rushing to the bathrooms to clean themselves up and check for leeches. Many brought back leeches with them. (Haha) It was scary.
Also Read: Easy and Must Do Trek in Mechuka
First time in so many months I felt alive, though completely exhausted I was so happy to able to do it, to conquer the mountains even though it was enduring the feeling you get when you are at the top, the feeling you have when you realized you did it, all the hard work, the moments you felt like giving up, everything vanishes as you reach the top. The feeling can’t be described but can only be felt. The best time I had, forever will be in my mind. Exhausted we retired to our beds early.
Day 2. Fishing and Exploring the nearby places
The second day of our exploring Mechuka town started around 2 in the afternoon, after having fried spicy Maggie for lunch which was very delicious, I still yearn till this day.
A house under construction
Exploring the Town and Fishing
We decided to go fishing in the Yargyapchu river that flows through the town, (Siang in Pasighat and Brahmaputra in Assam) and also crossing over to the other side on a hanging bridge. The boys made traditional fishing bamboo rods that were available on the bank of the river.
Pretty busy in Fishing
Instead of fishing I went to the hanging bridge sat idly on the starting point of the bridge (too scared to start on my own) waiting for the boys to come by. The hanging bridge was quite stable made of wood, unlike the one near Pasighat which was entirely made of bamboo and quite slippery.
I took pictures of the hanging bridges, of the boys fishing, little wild flowers that were growing abundantly near the river bank.
A local crossing the wooden hanging bridge, connecting the small village with the town.
With fishing rods on our hands we crossed the hanging bridge, he kept asking me , “Do you see anything unusual?” Honestly I didn’t see anything unusual, I was too focused on not tripping and falling into the river. The boys continued fishing on the other side, The Menchuka Sign is quite visible from this spot and is way closer than the Bumjipanga bridge. The boys spent hours fishing but couldn’t catch a single fish, only thing we caught was Leeches. (Ouch) Before leaving, we gathered some dry twigs and branches and started a fire, when it started raining again.
A photo op on a hanging bridge? Hell yeah!!
Hanging Bridges can be Scary
A very scary and unusual thing happened to me when I was crossing back on the hanging bridge. My fear has gone away and I could finally see through the spaces when I felt something, I felt like the bridge is moving away at an unbelievable speed, and I started screaming, “Oh god, Help me, Where is this bridge going? Please make it stop” I closed my eyes and held on to the ropes so tight when I heard my friends laughing. I was like, ‘what is happening?’ He explained to me, ‘It’s more of an illusion. When you stare down long enough, you will feel the wind is carrying away the bridge in opposite direction and any second it will flip and you all will fall down into the river.’
When I finally got back my breath, I remembered the bridge scene from Final Destination 5, I was scared out of my mind but was laughing at myself so hard. I had mixed feelings, both scared and very happy. I will never forget this incident in my life.
Pretty little wildflowers growing on the bank of the river.
And we played Football
After crossing the bridge, just near the river, there are spacious plains where one can play football. The boys chose a place where there was certain diggings, symbols made out of cane, twigs and one of my friend, Jamo thought it was a burning site for dead bodies and got so scared, he refused to stay even a single second. There were a few passerby, and to make his fear go away they asked them, ‘Is this some kind of cemetery?’ None could answer our questions. After much persuasion he finally gave in, cursing everyone, saying this is not good, if anything happens tonight, you all will be responsible. I found it pretty funny, after a good game of 30 minutes, we all return back to the town. All exhausted but the search for leeches never stopped. During dinner time, we asked our host the lingering question, and to a great relief it is just a popular picnic spot by the river.
Day 3. Visiting the New Gompa and Exploring the town.
The beautiful mountains and the town of Menchuka from the New Monastery on a Hilltop.
Our last day in Mechuka, we started out quite late in the afternoon, around 3 pm to visit the new Gompa, situated on a hilltop that overlooks the town. It can be seen from our homestay too. We didn’t take any guide with us, so it was clear we didn’t know the way and had to climb our way up the mountain to reach the Gompa.
The New Gompa on a Hilltop, 2 kms away from the town.
Samden Choling Gompa
The Samden Choling Gompa is a newly build monastery that gives unparalleled view of the town. We were lucky as it was sunny, and we could clearly see everything, the town, the military airstrip, the beautiful wooden houses. It was so peaceful there, apart from our group just a few other people were there. We took a tour of the monastery and sat at the edge of the mountain. It was a lucky day for us, with continuous rain for the past two days, the sun was shining bright on the third day and we could see all of Mechuka. We could also see the military airstrip from the top.
We finally saw the way to the monastery and return back. We strolled through the town going back to the field for a last football game.
Exquisite isn’t it? Little Wooden Houses with brightly colored roofs and walls is a common sight In Mechuka.
Beautiful little wooden houses with prominent roofs was a delight to see. Different shades of Red is the most used color in Mechuka. Every house though small, was slightly different then the next one. With the beautiful mountains behind, the view was surreal.
Kids playing football, Football is the most preferred sport in Mechuka.
Wherever your eyes laid, there is always something to admire, something to leave you mesmerized. As the town is small, you can easily walk from one point to another on foot. And with the beautiful houses, I highly recommend to talk a day off and just stroll through the town.
This mischievous little kid forcing the other kid to pose for the camera. He even did some dance for us, so cute!!!
On our way back to the field, we could see so many kids coming back from playing football. Wearing jerseys of their favorite players and some even donned crazy hairstyles, they were not afraid to experiment their looks. With big smiles in their faces, teasing each other they pass by.
A Token of Love on our last day in Mechuka
When we reached the field, the last group of kids was about to leave, when the boys invited them to play with them. They happily accepted and a friendly match began. I sat their watching them play and behind them I saw the most beautiful rainbow. It was huge and everyone stopped to see it. I believed it was a parting gift from Mechuka to us as next morning we were leaving. A wave of sadness swept through my entire body, I didn’t want to leave. I wish I could stay there for a few more days.
A perfect evening!! The local kids and the boys playing a friendly football match.
After returning from the field everyone met up, and we talked. It was our last day of our trip, after reaching Pasighat everybody will go on their separate ways.
Nightlife in our beautiful Homestay
It was hard to let go off that feeling of separation, we had so much fun together. I had the most amazing time with my new friends. They were so kind and humble, they made me feel like their own sister, helped me out if I got scared on my way, even took out leeches for me, well friends do that stuffs for you. I am utterly grateful to find such beautiful friendship and I thank them for everything. I consider myself very lucky to have met beautiful people in my every trip and making our journey more wonderful.
I had the time of my life in Mechuka, the experience was out of the world. Mechuka is not only beautiful for it’s breathtaking views, the people of Mechuka with their beautiful smile and heart made my heart filled with overwhelming gratitude. Spending a few days in the most beautiful place in Arunachal Pradesh, made it very hard for us to return. We started our journey back very early.
Mechuka will always forever remain very dear to our hearts.
With solemn faces and beautiful memories etched to our hearts, we bid Mechuka goodbye.
This trip undeniably made to the top of my list. Untouched and unexplored Mechuka has so much to offer, and if you ask me I will come back again and again to this beautiful valley.
Best Time to Visit?
Summer to experience the beautiful landscapes, full of life and also to beat the harsh cold of winter.
Winter for the thrill seekers, as Mechuka festival offers wide range of adventure sports in the month of November. And for snow seekers, it become a winter wonderland in the months of December and January.
Travel tips to smoothen your journey and to make sure you have an amazing time in Mechuka:
1. Always carry your ILP (Inner Line Permit) wherever you go, if you lose it you will have to pay a fine of 400 Rs.
2. Private sumos or shared Sumos are available from Pasighat and Along. Private sumos are expensive, if traveling from Pasighat, it may cost around 15-16,000 Rs only on one trip. Shared sumo from Along to Mechuka will cost 500 Rs for a single seat.
3. Make sure to you have enough stock of water and food while traveling as there are no hotels on the way.
4. It’s quite cold even during summer so warm clothes are a must.
5. No hotels are available in Mechuka, only Homestays.
6. Carry cash if possible, only one ATM is available in Mechuka.
7. Other than a weak BSNL network, no other cell reception is available.
8. People who are adventurous and loves challenges, this is a getaway to Heaven.
If you have reached reading till here, I’m ever grateful for your patience and putting your trust on me to tell you guys my story.
I hope you like this post, I have poured my heart in this post. Feel free to share it with your friends. I will come back again with many more travel stories, till then
Take care, Travel Safe and Explore More!
I love sharing my stories with everyone. A huge Thank You!! See you again.
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For booking Home stays and Other details regarding Mechuka : www.mechukatourism.com