Arunachal Pradesh is a wild, remote area in the eastern foothills of the Himalayas in the extreme north-eastern India, bounded by China and Myanmar, the Mishmi Hills and the Patkai Range, populated by predominantly animist tribes.
This trip can not be carried out individually due to the necessary permits and lack of tourist infrastructure. We need jeeps and our own catering and many local contacts. Many helpdesk people who are consistently involved in organizing environmentally and socially responsible tourism projects in the Northeast organize everything. Raj, the good soul of the company, will accompany us, which we are very pleased with, because he can give us connections, like no other.
We have an exciting start from Guwahati to Dibrugarh into the Mishmi Hills. We leave the train shortly after 4 o'clock and drive for a day in a remote camp on the banks of the Dibru River. We overcome our tiredness and are more than rewarded when we observe a Hoolock gibbon during an excursion to a nearby nature reserve and in the evening we observe the sunset and a river dolphin through a boat trip across Brahmaputra.
We cross the Arunachal border to the Mishmi Hills to the Idu Mishmi. From the Mayodia Pass we see the snowy mountains, with the place itself full of snow, which is reminiscent of similar scenes in Tawang. There are only handful of places to stay in the whole area, which are mostly homes on high plateaus with fantastic views of the deep plains in cooperation with the Mishmi. Hot water is cooked on an open fire, and kerosene lamps give us light.
Then the internet and mobile connection collapses, and for the next few days we remain cut off from the entire world. The women from the village start cooking for us, after we offered them a bottle of brandy. They also bring the Mishmi Jhul, a local rice wine, as ahead is a long cold night.
One of the highlights of this trip was the stay in simple tent camps, which was located between two ferries at a slightly elevated place on the Lohit River. The incredibly wild nature and the fantastic round-trip as well as the culture of Khamtis attract us again. We were one of the first guests to camp here this season. That is why the shaman comes to the end in the evening to show the negative forces within the half-hour ceremony under the highest tree, which could cause damage.
Once again we ride on elephants across clear mountain rivers and go back to the camp with a boat after a picnic and bath on an island. When visiting the weekly market, all heads turn to us. Here people have seen very few tourists.
For 2 days we raft across ferries, which change their location depending on the water level, and bridges, which have to be rebuilt year after year and can only be temporary. After a hike over Parshuram Kund, the mythological place of origin of the Brahmaputra, and Wakro, a Mishmi settlement in the midst of orange plantations.
We walk along a beautiful narrow road along the mountain slope through rice fields, bamboo forests and jungle-covered valleys towards Namdapha National Park Border near Myanmar. In one of the valleys we are surprised by a whole swarm of rare wood ducks.
It is already dark when we arrive in the village of Deban, where the road ends. Our jeeps now have to drive a six hour detour, while we change to elephants that take us through the rushing river to the park headquarters on the other bank, where we stay the night. It is a beautifully beautiful place. In the evening a constant wind blows from the high mountains through the valley, and in the distance sounds the gibbons.
The next morning the elephants are saddled again. Since they cannot cross the landslide, they have to descend down the steep slope through the jungle. It requires a lot of experience and training to cope with such a way without someone hanging in the bent bamboo, tearing the arm at the sharp spikes of the rotan or striking the head at one of the low branches. After two hours, we reach the lower checkpoint of the national park, where we are thankful for the much more comfortable jeeps.
After the travels across the wild and the unknown, we head again to the modern world of Shillong and detox on a beautiful lake in over a thousand meters high altitude.