Best Trek in Mechuka to see the Magnificent Mechuka Valley

Hey guys, how are you? It’s officially winter and just a few more days to New Year. Can’t believe it’s already 2019. I had a fun year and towards the end of the year I got the blessing to go on a trek in Mechuka.

As you may already know, back in summer I went to this remote magical place Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh, and I have already posted a blog all about it. Click Here to read my previous blog on Mechuka. 

This winter we decided to go back to Mechuka for the Adventure Festival and also exploring the outskirts of Mechuka and going on treks around Mechuka. We did explore a lot and found this beautiful places right outside of the Town, which left me speechless. I mentioned before I loved Mechuka in Summer but winter in Mechuka is beyond beautiful.

I will do another blog on the sightseeings outside Mechuka Town. In this blog, I will share my trekking experience to the beautiful mountains of Rinjinling which is outside the town and it’s one of the best trek in Mechuka, which you will know as I write more.

One fine morning, after the Adventure Festival, we finally got ourselves into Gayboo’s Traditional Lodge again and we asked Mr. Gebu to make arrangements for us to go on treks.

Click Here  to know more about the Trekking activities in Mechuka.

Why we chose Rinjinling Trek?

We came back mostly to go on treks. Unfortunately, it is winter and most of the trek routes are closed due to snow in the mountains and the Pasang Sonam Tso Lake Trek is closed due to some security problems, we didn’t know the exact reason why it is closed to the tourists.

We were disheartened to know the treks being closed. Mr Gebu helped us so much by arranging a trek to the Rinjinling mountains and we agreed to go.

About Rinjinling Trek

The mountains of Rinjinling is easy and the best trek in Mechuka which provides an exceptional views of the Mechuka Valley and an experience of a lifetime with beautiful sunrise and sunset at the top of the mountains, among the clouds.

On 26th of November, we got ready for the trek. A minimum of 6 people is required to go to the trek, a sum of 3500 Rs per person is to be paid for the tents, food and porters. But we were just two, my boyfriend and another guy from Bombay. We had to pay extra 500 bucks for the trek as we were just three people.

DAY 1

Driving to Dorjeeling Village

Our journey started from Mr Gebu’s Lodge at around 10.30 in the morning. Mr Gebu couldn’t come with us but he dropped us to the Dorjeeling Village in his car. We packed everything necessary, even got a ball in our way to play in the mountains.

We haven’t been to the Dorjeeling Village before and the ride to this village is a beautiful one. One can also trek from Mechuka to the Dorjeeling Village. It takes an hour to complete and most of the locals prefer trekking instead of driving to the village.

The beautiful village of Dorjeeling

We made a stop at a house, a close friend of Mr Gebu Sona, they dropped us here and we got our bags, bid good bye to Mr Gebu and started our trek.

Kiran, our little brother who works at GTL was the main guide, along with Kiran, Dachi and Panden were two other older gentleman who came along with us as guide and helpers, who carried most of the baggage.

Passing through the plains of Dorjeeling Village

Heading to the Best Trek in Mechuka, Rinjinling Mountains

We started our trek by walking along the plains of Dorjeeling village, beautiful morning, pleasantly warm. The mountains in front of us, golden grasses on both sides of our road, little vegetations can be seen too. A good pleasant walk through this countryside and little streams in our way, we finally reached the foothills of the mountains.

On our way up

As we were ascending, we could see the entire Dorjeeling Village. We climbed the mountains for two hours taking little breaks, hydrating and eating snacks. We stopped in between to take in the views, the gorgeous mountains, the green forest hiding in between. You can see mountains till your eyes meets the horizon. It’s completely isolated and pristine. We really loved it. As afternoon came by, the winds grew stronger, I was about get to blown away by the winds. After climbing for 2 hours we finally reach the last stretch of our trek, and as we looked back, we could see the Town of Mechuka from the top.

The last stretch of our trek

Beautiful Views from Rinjinling

We reached our trek in the afternoon, and it was exhausting but refreshing to be surrounded by such gorgeous views. My eyes couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The Mechuka town far away glittering in the sunlight, the Dorjeeling village to the right felt so little compared to Mechuka Town. To the left snow peaked mountains can be seen, and on the back undulating mountains can be seen with only two houses. It was amazing, sitting on the top of a mountain and getting mesmerizing views from all side, I felt immensely blessed.

The lonely Shed House

While taking in the gorgeous views, our helpers set up the tent. The Bombay guy was quick to snap photos in his camera. He was stunned just like us.

Where to Set up Camp?

Our guide led us to a plain cleared area on top of a mountain. This is the site for camping. There were signs of camping here. The grasses were cleared up, ashes from the last bonfire could be seen. Our guide and porter set up the camp.

Where to Eat?

After setting everything up, we went downhill to one of the Shed House, where our lunch and dinner will be prepared. It is the shed house owned by the old gentleman back in the Dorjeeling village. During summer, he and his family comes to stay here to make local dairy products from the cows and return home in the winter.

Lunching scenes in our Little Shed House

The shed house was all to us, and I felt grateful to be near fire and inside, as the afternoon winds are dry and very chilly.

What to expect for Lunch?

A quick lunch consisted of Maggie, we added chips by ourselves. After lunch our party got divided.

My boyfriend, Priyangshu, the Bombay guy and Dachi bhaiya went back to the tent to gather woods for the fire. I stayed back with Kiran and Panden bhaiya to help them bring back water from a nearby stream. I carried 5 liters of water uphill and couldn’t feel my back for hours. It was worse than the whole trek. Even Kiran and Panden bhaiyya swore they found this more exerting than the whole trek.

Found this beauty near the stream

Panting and swearing my way up (a lot), we finally reach the shed house and I threw myself in the floor. We took a good 30 minutes rest before heading back to our tents.

In winter, night falls very soon, around 4.30 in the evening. I decided I can’t go back to the shed house to eat dinner. It’s too risky for me. I don’t want to trip and fall after having a full tummy. That would be shame. So, me and Priyangshu just stayed back while the others went back to prepare dinner.

The snow peaked mountains to our left

Beautiful sunset from Rinjinling

Spend the Night Stargazing

It was one of the most beautiful night I have ever seen. A night full of stars. We stare gazed for hours, we saw a few satellites, we even named a gaint cloud, as it changed it’s shape after every 30 minutes. The genie lamp of Aladdin and a Dragon among a few (haha).

It was amazing, there was no scented candles or cute throws and pillows to make it a romantic camping night. We were in the middle of nowhere, with temperatures rapidly going down, but it was very romantic for me to connect with someone who could imagine the same thing as I’m in the exact same moment. The feeling, it was out of the world. The best feeling one can have with their loved ones.

Camping under the stars, counting the stars, the unknown feeling to what lies ahead, it’s very raw. I highly recommend couples doing it. It’s the best.

Bonfire and A full Moon Night

Our friends finally return after a period of two hours. They brought back dinner. We all had tea, little wine. The Bombay guy went crazy over the stars. He said he has never seen this amount of stars altogether, it was endless, billions of stars. It was therapeutic for him. He played old Hindi classic songs and we played modern songs, it felt great, the trip was very therapeutic for all of us.

Eat Dinner under the sky full of stars

We had dinner around 9, rice with egg curry and veggies. I was not a huge fan of the food as I was craving for chicken, but it was delicious. The moon finally showed up around 9.30 and it was beautiful, another half an hour of chatting and we retired to our tents.

Beautiful sunrise, first sun rays hitting our tents.

DAY 2

Early morning, I woke up around 5.30, too lazy to get out of my sleeping bag. When I heard the other guy calling us to see the sunrise.

Amaze yourself to the captivating sights from your Campsite

As soon as I unzipped the tent, the rays came bursting in, the very first rays touching us. And I looked back and time stopped for me. I was looking in awe what was in front of my eyes. A sea of fog floating above the Town of Mechuka, I couldn’t breath for a few seconds. It was such a beautiful sight. I was screaming at my boyfriend to come out and look. I wanted everyone to just witness what I’m looking at.

Mechuka Town at 6 am in the morning (above), Mechuka Town at 8 am in the morning after the fog has cleared.

Have Breakfast with beautiful views from Rinjinling

We were the first to see the sun light while the town of Mechuka is still covered with fog. We took many pictures, we saw the fog slowly disappearing while sipping tea on our grand seat on top of the mountain. It felt like a theater, so beautiful.

Our little guide, Kiran posing for the camera

*You can have a full breakfast right here.

After finishing up our tea, the guys decided to play football nearby. It’s not quite plain and they finally lost the ball down the mountain when Priyangshu kicked too hard. It was funny and a sad situation. They tried to search for the ball but couldn’t get it.

Heading Back

It’s time to head back. We were to have our breakfast in the old gentleman’s house. We packed up our tent, took a few minutes to say good bye to this gorgeous place.

The view of Dorjeeling Village from Rinjinling

The Bombay guy taking his time to bid farewell to the mountains

After walking for an hour we finally reached the plains, looking back at the mountain top where we camped, it couldn’t be seen from the plains. I wanted to sleep on the grasses, it would be so peaceful to sleep there for a few hours while the sun is still bright and before the strong winds return.

Fell in love with these beautiful golden grasses

Vegetation in Dorjeeling

We had Ghee Chai and snacks when we reached back to the house. Dechi bhaiya cooked us Maggie and eggs for our breakfast. We went backyard to the green house and brought back small peaches, they are different from the ones we eat in the plains, sour and quite delicious with a pinch of salt.

Tea with my favorite person

Ghee Chai (above) and Chaang, a traditional millet wine (below)

Life in the Dorjeeling Village

Our conversation with the old gentleman started with Chaang (traditional Millet wine) who is originally from Tibet, he told us about the trades between India and Tibet before the roads happened. They brought back Traditional Tibetan utensils and various other things from Tibet and they would sell various things they grow in their village. Now, it is not possible after the war of Indo-Sino in 1962. The old gentleman now 81, reminisces his childhood days with us.

We wanted to trek to one of the religious caves from the old gentleman’s house but later decided to just explore the Dorjeeling Village.

With pocket full of sweet peaches, and a little tipsy after drinking the wine, we bid the old gentleman good bye and headed out to explore the rest of the Dorjeeling.

Requirements for the Trip:

6 people minimum

Price: 3500 per person (includes food, tent and helpers)

Time spent: 2 days and 1 night

Travel Tips:

  • It’s best to carry your own tent and food, and hire a guide otherwise it will be very expensive if you think of going on other treks too.
  • Carry Water
  • In summer carry raincoats.
  • In summer take precautions like a pinch of salt to keep the leeches out.
  • Carry a torchlight/portable lamp.

I will write more about Dorjeeling and other places nearby Mechuka in my next blog. Hope you like this post, like and share it with your friends.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Love,

Nancy.

A Trip to Mechuka- The Untouched valley of Enchanting Rivers and Majestic Mountains

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

Reaching Mechuka

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.

About Mechuka

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.

The Countryside

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

Bidding Goodbye

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.

Overall Experience?

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.

Follow me on Instagram: escapades_of_syrah

For booking Home stays and Other details regarding Mechuka : www.mechukatourism.com

A Weekend Getaway to Cherrapunjee: Exploring the offbeat Arwah Caves

So, are you a party-goer or a back packer? I’m definitely the second one. I’m not much into clubbing, I would rather get out, pack a few stuff and disappear for the weekend to a secluded place and dive into mother nature. But I’m obsessed with EDM though, if you get me a ticket to an edm concert, imma lose all my shit. I went to a few edm concerts, Sunburn was the highlight of all and I absolutely loved that experience, one of a kind it was!!

So this year I exactly did that, packed a few stuffs and went away. I know we are already half way into 2018, since I started my blog only in March so you guys have to bear with my late posts.

And also sincere apologies for not able to produce photographs much in this post, as I hate distraction while traveling (phones are a huge distraction). There are a few, please bear with me this too. So let’s get started!!!!

A Weekend Getaway to celebrate New Year

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For this new year, we planned on visiting Cherrapunjee and the Arwah Caves. I have been to these places before but nothing beats the chance of visiting these places with zero restrictions. So me, my boyfriend, Priyangshu and his friends (3 to be exact) started our journey late morning as I have already mentioned in my previous blog, my boyfriend is a lazy ass. We were suppose to leave at around 7 in the morning but we left around 11. We hired our own private vehicle, a Tata Sumo and left for Cherrapunjee.

In between Barapani and Guwahati, I don’t exactly know the place, near the highway, we stopped to have our breakfast at Sardarji De Dhaba, which served excellent Butter Rotis and Tandoori Chicken. I absolutely loved the food but was disappointed when I got to know they don’t have Lassi.

Next we stopped at Shillong to get another ride to Cheranpunjee, but as it was new year we didn’t have much option so we took the same Tata Sumo to Cherrapunjee. The sky was bright pink that day and it was a lovely journey with good music, my friends and obviously the enviable view of Meghalaya.

Beautiful Sunset on New Year Eve’s

We arrived late at our hotel, we stayed at the Seven Sister View Inn, just at a walk able distance from the Eco Park.

Got Acquainted by going on a Little Hike:

Our activities started right after we got into our hotel. We freshened up and went for a small hike just at the back of our hotel. It was my first time there but not for the others. So they knew the place well, it was really dark, we crossed a little river and went deeper into the jungle. It was a knee length grasses with sharp leaf blades rubbing against our face and body kind of hike night. After crossing the jungle we ended up on a field, there was less grass and huge stones and clear sky. The huge stones were Monoliths and the upright ones symbolized male warriors and the ones on the ground symbolizes female warriors.

It was very chilly but it was such a very beautiful night with stars shining bright. We stayed there for a few minutes and started back our journey to the hotel and we almost got lost. (Sorry didn’t got any good photographs due to the dark).

We got back to the hotel, all our clothes were soaked due to the long wet grasses and don’t even ask the condition of our shoes (smh).

 Ending the year with friends and a Bonfire

After getting back we requested a bonfire and the staff were very helpful with that. With the bonfire lit outside our room, warm and fuzzy under the night sky, it was really, really awesome. We ordered food, ordered Roti again accompanied by chicken. We leisurely enjoyed our fire till midnight when it was finally New Year. We went out again to the resting place just outside the hotel, near the road. It was on the edge and we could see lights everywhere, music all around. People passed by us and we wished each other New Year.

When we went back to our hotel, the staffs who were very friendly invited us to dance with them. It was almost 2 when we retired to our beds. We were all excited for the big next day, when we get to visit the Cave.

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Cherrapunjee

It’s finally 2018 and I was the only person who woke up early. So I went on a solo walk around the hotel. It was a cold, but a beautiful morning. I checked the river we crossed last night and also visited a nearby cemetery. The sky was the highlight of the day. As if it was welcoming 2018 with beautiful structured clouds, the sky was a painting on New Year Day. After my solo venture, I came back and woke the others. We again went to the view point which was on the edge, I was so scared (your girl got phobia for heights), I was sitting all the time, thinking if I lose my balance, I’d fall into the nothingness below.

Morning sky above the cemetery View from the Edge

After clicking photographs, we headed back. We had our breakfast and finally got ready to visit the Cave.

Accommodation

Hotel: Seven Sister Falls Inn

Service: Good

Staff: Friendly and very helpful

You can also visit Eco Park which is near the hotel we stayed.

We hired a Bolero, that will take us to Arwah Caves and back to Guwahati. Finally we had a vehicle with really good sound system (haha)!

Arwah Caves

Most tourist don’t know about this cave because of the hype around the more popular other cave in Cherrapunjee which is Mawsmai Caves. Though fairly hidden and above everything it’s not populated which makes its perfect for our little band to explore the offbeat Arwah Caves with mesmerizing views of the valley and the waterfalls on its way.

Where is Arwah Caves?

Arwah Caves is situated just outside the town of Cherrapunjee (Sohra), before entering the town. It took us more than 15-20 minutes from our hotel to reach there. As we traveled from the town we got a good glimpse of the little town, it was like entering another country, the houses built on the hills were a sight to see. With the cold wind teasing us and looking away into the fields with golden grasses made it a surreal experience.

Reaching Arwah Caves is a bit tedious as the condition of the road is not good with dust all around. But don’t let that get into your head as what lies ahead is soon going to be the best thing to experience. It will make your mood better to know that at the end of the road, you will find proper parking with restaurant and restrooms. Also a well built viewpoint looking into the valley. We got our tickets from the ticket counters and started our way towards the Caves.

The Beautiful Walkway to Arwah Caves

The walkway that leads to Arwah Caves is a beautiful wooden bridge. From this very point, you can forget everything and embark on an experience you never had before. As soon as you step into the bridge, you are transported to another place altogether with the views of Khasi Hills and the waterfalls cascading down. It is very beautiful, nature at it’s best. It is also home to the largest group of insects. Tall tress with many insects in their natural habitats, if you will listen closely you can actually hear many different sounds given out by the insects. There is also a resting place on the way to the cave, where you can stand and enjoy the view, click pictures or get on the swing.

Enroute to the Arwah Caves

View of the Khasi Hills from the Resting Area

We finally reached the entrance of the Caves. You are will be welcomed into the Caves with a flight of stairs which will take you to another flight of stairs which indicates the start of the Cave, getting our flashlights we descended into the cave. It is as usual dark, but be very cautious as the inside of the Caves is abundant in Limestone, which makes everything slippery. Plus you will find little streams of water everywhere, so please be very careful and be alert all the time.

Note: Please don’t wear heels and enter the Caves unless you want yourself to trip over and hurt yourself. Comfortable Shoes having good ridges are excellent for exploring the Caves.

Entrance to the Caves

The cave is only half discovered or full discovered, I don’t have that information as some of the sections are off limits to the tourists. At my first visit we only covered a very small portion. But with this trip I have all the freedom and so I led the way to the deeper parts of the Caves. Soon other tourists followed us too. As we went deeper the passage became narrow, as I am very tiny and short it was perfect and no fuzz leading the way. We went very deep until none of us could fit anymore. We found a lot of limestone structures inside the cave, they are all wet and some even dripping down.

Arwah Caves is a little different from the Mawsmai Caves as you can actually go through the cave and get out from the cave. Arawah Cave doesn’t have an exit so we have to come back through the same path.

Besides the joy of exploring a cave, and the thrill of descending into the unknown, Arwah cave is a hub to many beautiful limestone formations which makes it otherworldly and fossils cravings inside the walls of the Caves, fish bones and mollusk shells are the most prominent fossils you will encounter.

Little stream of water run throughout the CavesFossils seen on the walls of the Caves

Dwan Sing Syiem View Point

After satisfying ourselves with our little cave exploration, we finally headed back. Our last stop was Dwan Sing Syiem View Point, it is located on the way to Cherrapunjee and provides breathtaking view of Mawkdok Valley. We brought Bhutta (roasted corn) from a road vendor and entered the view point. The viewpoint give magnificent view of the lush green valley.

A secret Waterfall

We also went through a side stairway on the left of the main viewpoint that took us to the bottom, well not the bottom to the end where there is a beautiful waterfall. It’s my first time down there and although the stairways took all my energy, encountering such a beautiful pristine waterfall, made me feel super happy. The water is green in color and so clear, as it was winter it was shallow but still deep. We washed our face and hands in the cold water which send a shiver down our spines. We clicked a few pictures there and headed back.

Waterfall at the end of the stairs Looking back; The beautiful Mawkdok Valley

If you really love offbeat and less crowded area this waterfall is for you. As many end their sightseeing at the main viewpoint. Very few make the effort to go further below. I bet you won’t regret climbing stairs to have a look at this hidden waterfall.

Now getting down a stairway is very easy, getting up is a whole different level of pain in the ass. My good friend, Dip counted the stairs and it was 220 all total. Getting up really got me, I ran out of breathe every 5 stairs and had to take a tree branch to stabilize myself or else I would break my head and die probably rolling down the stairs.

Ended the trip with piping hot Soup

It took almost 20-30 minutes to get back, with my lungs exploding every step I took. Finally reached the surface, had Momo and chicken soup at the restaurant near the view point. Momo wasn’t up to the par, but gravy Maggie and Chicken soup was so good. Right from sitting down at the restaurant I could feel my hands and legs screaming in pain. I couldn’t eat my food properly due to the pain and I got depressed (because I’m a huge foodie).

There are other cafeteria to grab a quick meal, souvenir shops and restrooms. You can also click photographs wearing traditional Khasi attires just before taking the stairs.

It was almost dark when we got back into our car and started our way back home. I fell asleep on the way to Shillong and woke up to find my hands and legs totally beat up. I couldn’t move my hands and legs at all. Climbing all that 220 stairs brought this hell to my body. I just patiently sat in the car and was praying to get home soon so I can finally lay back and get a good night sleep.

I was sleeping all the way back and we reached back at around 10 pm. It got really late, and I was in so much pain, when I got back I even didn’t have my dinner and slept directly. It took me a whole day to get over my pain and finally to my senses.

So this was our little new year trip to Cherrapunjee and Arwah Caves.

And this is not only for a new year trip, you can go anytime, a weekend getaway is perfect for couples or family or group of friends. If you want to explore Cherrapunjee extensively, might suggest more than a weekend.

Hope you like reading the blog post, if you have any queries, feel free to ask in the comment section.

Stay tuned, for more travel posts are coming.

Love,

Nancy.