Tag Archives: Arunachal Pradesh


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23 December 2017

Journey of a lifetime, an epic bike ride to the ‘Seven Sister States’ of India

Having completed many bike trips, here is a breakdown of Ankit Negi’s ‘North-East India Bike Trip’ from earlier this year.


All excited for a trip to the ‘Seven Sister States’, he wakes up early, packs his stuff and is ready to roll! He sets-up the luggage on the bikes. Since it is Day 1, organising stuff becomes a hassle. The first halt is none other than Kaziranga National Park, the roads to Kaziranga are exceptional, with few initial ghats entire stretch is in plains with good quality of roads.


In no time, its time for breakfast, desi style mutter paneer, paratha, omelette and a glass full of milk at a roadside dhaba!


Trip meter reading is approximately 250 km on the NH715.

An evening jeep safari for the National Park has already been booked. A perfect timing of the year to spot wildlife, the guide mentions spotting a full-size Royal Bengal Tiger a day before!


The safari is successful, he spots greater one-horned rhinos, wild elephants, several species of antelopes and deer.


Day 6, approximately 310 km on the odometer, Ankit bids farewell to Assam and gears up for Meghalaya. After covering about 270 odd kilometres, he finally reaches Umiam Lake around 4.30 PM. The sun was about to set over the lake.

Almost dark, we leave the lake, Shillong is only about an hour ride from the lake.

Not a normal hill town, there is traffic everywhere, some complex to one-way streets with no parking to be found anywhere

Riding across from one street to another in search for some reasonable hotels, however, Shillong proved to be pretty expensive.  A guy on a ‘Hero Impulse’ bike spots him and helps in finding a budget hotel in the expensive town.


Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh


Majuli Island, Assam



Caves of Meghalaya




Photos by Ankit Negi


Travel Day 7, the odometer now reads 650 km, a long day, today Inner-Line Permits for the remaining North-East States (Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh) is secured!

Now the main challenge, riding back to the Shillong city!

The Sun is down and the temperature dip is significant, riding back in a single layer of clothing with freezing hands and feet is fun too.



Travel Day 8, 710 km, next location is Cherrapunjee!

The route from Shillong to Cherrapunjee highlights the dense rain forests, amazing waterfalls of Meghalaya.

The month of March and it has already started raining here, well it’s Cherrapunjee! The hike starts, the target is to reach Nongrait Village, where lies the infamous Double Decker Living Root Bridge.

First Living bridge!

The forefathers of Khasi tribe were the original architects of living root bridges. Khasi tribe is one of the prominent tribes of Meghalaya.


Day 9, trip meter reading crosses 700 km, the most challenging part of the trek is to climb more than 3000 vertical stairs! This is achieved in around 2 hours, less than average time is taken, not to forget!


Next day, reaching the underworld, heading for some serious caving exploration. There are many caves in Meghalaya, it also has the largest cave network found in the Indian-Subcontinent.

However, Mawmluh Cave is a network of 7 km of natural underground tunnels. We climb a bit to enter the underworld. We have no idea what awaits us!

Waist height water crossings, a bit of rock climbing, crawling narrow passage to move any further as well.

And to add, there are large water holes throughout the patch, one wrong move and you’re stuck!

The day is not over yet, a visit to the tallest plunge waterfall in India, ‘Nohkalikai Falls’, Cherrapunjee.


Leaving for Dawki, it is famous for its boating in crystal clear waters of the Umngot river. 900 km down, he reaches Dawki in the evening and finds the place too crowded, later realising tourists from Bangladesh visit too!


Planning to camp on the riverside, a secluded place away from most of the tourists. Shnongpdeng around 10 km north of Dawki proves to be the perfect place for camping! A local named James takes cares of everything, homemade dinner, bonfire, starry night and the soothing sound of the river.


Day 14, Unakoti, Tripura which is famous for its rock structures carved on hills! Many folk stories associated with it nonetheless.

Unakoti’s name refers to the number of Gods turned into stone by the angry Shiva. i.e one less than a crore.

Allowed to pitch tents in the tea garden of Tripura, next morning is made to explore the tea gardens.


2280 km, somewhere in Mizoram, an interesting observation, the number of kids spotted on the entire journey.

Day 22, offroading into Mizoram makes one tired pretty quickly, and what else is required than fresh fruits to regain the energy?


One suggestion from everyone right from planning days was never riding after dark in Northeast India.


Day 24, exploring the local market of Myanmar and a beautiful local monastery! 3 days later, Nagaland, leaving for Dzukou Valley trek which is one of the scenic treks in North East India. Surprised to find a fully functional rest house at the top of the valley, it starts raining heavily, a glass of hot milk with an omelette sandwich couldn’t have been any better at that stage!


Majuli – largest River Island in the world, day 30!

Situated in Assam, a river island in between the mighty Brahmaputra River and the only ‘Island District’ in India.

Owing to its remote connectivity from the external world, it’s a different world out here. Rich in its cultures and old traditions, this place is gold-mine when in terms of community or culture-based tourism!


Travel Day 32, approximately 3700 Kms, Ziro Valley, a place where one will find a unique culture of ‘Facial Tattoos’!




Travel Day 35, 4250 Kms, en route the Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh.

Suddenly, a clicking sound, the bike loses its power, the chain has broken! This is the first mechanical issue since in 30 days of riding! The day is saved with the help of Indian army and a returning biker group.

Now is day 36, Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh. Icy roads, skiddy tyres and chilly winds, managed to reach the notorious Sela Pass and take shelter in the Indian Army Cafeteria as the weather turns bad!


Travel day 40, 4485 km down, a quick selfie from the other side of India, Bumla Border Area in China.


It is day 44!

Trip meter reading is exactly 5127, Ankit Negi reaches Guwahati, loads his bike on the train and catches a flight back to Mumbai. The ride has been intense and also one of the most epic journeys of his life!


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10 June 2017

ZIRO VALLEY – Arunachal Pradesh’s best kept secret

In the mighty state of Arunachal Pradesh, where the sun’s rays first reach India, where more than 80% of the land is under forest cover, rests the pristine valley of Ziro. This lush valley is home to the Apatanis, a photographer’s muse and a subject of absolute fascination for anthropological and agricultural researchers alike. It has even spiked the interest of UNESCO but is still waiting cold to be declared as a World Heritage Site.

Ziro starts to intrigue you right from its name to the unmistakable facial tattoos and its internationally acclaimed ingenious method of paddy cum fish farming. If you didn’t know these facts yet, then this is probably the time you pause and sigh!

Now, farming practices and anthropology may not interest the casual traveller whose eyes are used to over saturated and photoshopped images of best destinations in the world. So does that mean Ziro’s invitation is limited to researchers and curious backpackers? This article may have the answer to that, and you as a reader will decide.

Lavish green paddy fields cover the valley’s land for the most part of the year and even when harvesting is over, one’s eyes are still treated to the oil painting-like backdrop of the pine trees that occupy the hills around the valley. Barring the roads within Ziro which are as good as non-existent and interrupts your meditative gaze at the beauty on offer, everything else seems to be in a state of artistic trance. Like the blue of the sky, the sun focussing its rays on certain patches of the forest cover with the help of its accomplice the clouds, so that the forest lights up in different hues of green, and to top it all off, the abundance of local brews ranging from plum, peach, kiwi, rice and millet that ensures even teetotallers don’t go back thirsty.

You need to hold steady and not let nature intoxicate you too much, for a walk into the villages of the Apatani people is still pending. This is when you find out how they live, what they eat, who/what do they worship and how is their Hindi so damn good! Walking through a village in Ziro also contributes to your quota of being mesmerised as their homes made of bamboo and pinewood invite you into their black and brown existence. The fascinating aspect of Apatani homes, like many other homes of Northeast Indian tribes, is the centrally located kitchen which is the centre of activity in the house. Every family member, guests and even the pets gather around for a cup of tea or a choice of local brew.Talking about drinking, if you aren’t comfortable eating rice, then you may find it difficult to palpate the locally grown thick rice which acts as a staple meal served three times a day, with generous portions of meat!



As a consequence of their animistic faith, their belief in the Sun and the Moon and other forces of nature, the people of the valley celebrate a lot of festivals and perform ‘pujas’ which revolves around rituals conducted by the priest and animal sacrifices. These festivals have become of interest to the tourist in the last 5 – 7 years like the Murung puja in January, the Myoko festival in March and the Dree festival in July.

Even though Ziro has been the way it is for centuries with a road connectivity established more than 40 years ago, the recent popularity of the Valley can be attributed to a certain music festival called the Ziro music festival started in 2011 after a touring band got hypnotised by the aura of the valley and decided to come back with more bands. This year the festival is scheduled to take place from the 28th of September to the 1st of October, just in time for the paddy fields to turn golden, right before harvesting. If this piece motivates you then visiting the valley during Ziro Festival might be the best journey of your life.

Words by Nishant Sinha


Photos by Javed Photography // ChaloHoppo


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28 March 2016

Rising sun of Arunachal : Lobsang Nima

Arunachal Pradesh is said to be the land of rising sun, Lobsang Nima as the name goes by is no less than a rising sun for his home state and also for his homeland Tawang. Lobsang, who is just 14 year old, has already set a huge benchmark for the youth of his state. He belongs to a heavenly place of Tawang, located at the Indo-Tibet-Bhutan border. Lobsang was discovered by Art for Cause, a charitable trust based in New Delhi when they organized 15 days camp in Tawang district on various creative art fields, which included photography also. Ishu, the founder of Art for Cause and also a photographer and filmmaker discovered his passion and extraordinary vision for capturing the moments. He was than awarded scholarship by the same trust to provide him extensive training in photography during his summer vacations which gave him a lifetime opportunity to travel various places like Ladakh, New Delhi, Dharamshala etc under the mentorship of Ishu who gave him his camera since last December to learn and experiment. Lobsang Nima, who now studies in 10th grade in one of the government school of Tawang, use to do odd jobs to support his family, where mother works in PWD and father just lost his government contract based job, plus he has three more siblings.








Ishu has adopted Lobsang since last year and is taking care of his all expenses and also promoting him as the face of Tawang to make this heavenly land popular through his work. Lobsang now feels great on being recognized as the youngest photographer in whole  Arunachal. Lobsang’s work really surprised   everyone at recently held Tawang Festival where Art for Cause displayed his work.  Art for Cause recently concluded it’s second Tawang Autumn Camp just like last year, but this year Lobsang proudly joined the team as the mentor and taught various kids of his district. At the same camp, he was felicitated by the trust as the official youngest photographer of Arunachal and in upcoming Metropolis festival he will be launched as the youngest photographer from whole North East. Ishu is planning to take Lobsang to either USA or Germany in year to host his first international exhibition for which he needs financial support.






“I see my own reflection in him, he is more like my son and I am sure soon he will even cross my footsteps in photography. He is getting what he deserves. His journey has just started which has no limits”,said Ishu.

Lobsang Nima, now, wants to study outside Tawang for his higher schooling and wants to become professional photographer and  filmmaker to make his family, homeland and mentor proud.

“I still remember Ishu sir said in our very first class that keep your eyes always open, look around and discover, you will never know when an angel will come and change your life. I never thought this can come true and he is no less than an angel for me, I feel safe and happy with him, he can change anyone’s life”,said Lobsang.


05©Lobsang Nima

Lobsang wants to travel and capture various moments and show people great things. He loves to travel, loves nature, people, street photography and one day wants to try  underwater photography also.