For most tourists making a trip to Arunachal Pradesh, the travel checklist has Tawang, Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, Bomdila, Ziro, Itanagar, Pasighat, Sela Pass, Dirang and Roing. But imagine yourself in the middle of breathtaking green valleys, meandering rivers, and majestic waterfalls with no WiFi. As you sip on a hot cuppa coffee and leaf through your favourite book, you can hear the dashing rivers cutting through the valley. Seems like a scene from a Yash Chopra film? Well, just visit Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh and live the dream.
Arunachal Pradesh has many such places, which are yet to be made popular by vloggers. Dibang Valley is Arunachal’s one such best kept secret. But why keep it a secret when it can take your breath away. This offbeat destination is ideal for adventure seekers, backpackers, nature lovers and those travellers who are looking for solace.
Interestingly, this largest district of Arunachal Pradesh has the lowest density of population in India. Home to the Idu-Mishmi tribe, the lone inhabitant tribe of Dibang Valley, it is located in the north easternmost corner of Arunachal Pradesh. Idu-Mishmi tribe are of mongoloid race and have a distinctive dialect of Tibeto-Burma language.
The best time to visit Dibang Valley is from November to March because the temperature can reach even minus degrees in the winter. But then, you can also visit Dibang Valley in early February to enjoy the Reh festival. Celebrated on February 1 and 2 every year, Reh is an important festival of the Idu-Mishmi community and god and goddess Maselo-Zinu and Nani Intaya are worshipped.
If you can’t manage time in the first half of the year, then you can drop in during end-September too. Ke-Meh-Ha is another important festival of Idu-Mishmi, which is celebrated on September 24 every year. This festival is celebrated after the harvesting of rice and celebrated with traditional pomp and gaiety.
Not in Amazon forest but in Dibang Valley pic.twitter.com/IAP18VpUES
— Apeda Rondo (@rondo_apeda) July 19, 2022
Now, you might ask me why you want us to travel to Dibang Valley, which is bound by Lower Dibang Valley in the south and Upper Siang District in the south-west? But do you always need a reason to travel? Sometimes, doing nothing and having no itinerary is the best way to travel. That’s Dibang Valley for you.
This is the place where you don’t need to plan your schedule. I know it’s hard to stay away from social media these days. But if you are at Dibang Valley, expect the network not to be in your favour. You need social media to get your attention, but at Dibang Valley, the absolute calmness and immense natural beauty will distract you from you.
Tired of sweltering heat? Visit a slice of paradise ~ Jaru Valley in Dibang Valley district.
Green carpet, amazing snow-capped mountains and majestic water falls are ready to welcome you.#AmazingArunachal beckons you. Please do come.
— Pema Khandu པདྨ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་། (@PemaKhanduBJP) July 20, 2022
Here you can watch the sun rise and set, walk miles and soak in the beauty of nature. You can bathe in the cascading waterfalls or the natural lakes. Yes, there’s no Eiffel Tower or Big Ben to take selfies with. But then, there’s plenty of time to eat, pray, love, sleep and travel. This is the life we all secretly desire but cannot achieve.
Dibang Valley gradually becoming known as the Land of waterfalls.
This is MAWU Waterfall.
You can check up on this stunning waterfall in 20 minutes from ICBR, Road. pic.twitter.com/c3U1kNLbbx
— Theko Tayu (@Thekotayu) July 12, 2022
Get up, close and personal with the Idu-Mishmi tribe, which still maintains deep-rooted aesthetic values in their day-to-day life with great pride and honour. Traditionally, Idu-Mishmis believe in animism. Do you know they make beautiful items with bamboo and cane? Well, their aesthetic sense is reflected in their handlooms. And don’t miss the home brewed rice beer.
For the adventurous souls, you can go trekking, river rafting and birdwatching in Dibang Valley. Here are some nearby spots you can travel from Dibang Valley:
Anini: The headquarters of the Dibang Valley district, Anini is a small, unexplored town, situated on a small plateau between two Dibang river tributaries, the Dri and Mathun rivers. In the North East, Anini is one of the most loved destinations for trekkers and hikers. Chopper service is available from Itanagar to Roing. If you want to reach Anini via train, the nearest railway station is Tinsukia. You can also avail car services to reach Anini from Roing and Tinsukia (Assam).
— Pema Khandu པདྨ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་། (@PemaKhanduBJP) January 12, 2020
Athupopu: Considered as the sacred place of Idu Mishmi, you can trek to Athupopu. The Idu Mishmi tribe believes in life after death. According to their mythology, after death the soul of a person makes a journey guided by their priest (igu or shaman) to attain the new life and Athu-popu is one of the holy places where the departed souls take rest on their journey towards eternity. Situated at Kayala Pass on the Indo-China Border, it is approximately 120 km from Maliney. Maliney is the last motorable village in Dibang Valley district, which is at a distance of about 200km from Roing, the district headquarter of Lower Dibang Valley.
Sally Lake: If you are interested in a picnic in the most scenic spot, then there’s no place better than Sally Lake. Situated at a distance of 3.8 km from Roing town, Sally Lake is surrounded by lush green forest and overlooks a majestic valley below and the flowing Dibang River, which branches in all directions. If you want to enjoy the magnificent mountains and clear water lake, you can book your stay at the stunning Sally Lake tourist lodge.
Bhismaknagar Fort: Located in Lower Dibang Valley, the remains of Bhismaknagar are generally ascribed to the rule of the Chutias, a Bodo-Kachari (Tibeto-Burmese) ethnic group who ruled over the region of Sadiya from 11th to 16th Century CE.
Mehao Lake: Located within the Mehao wildlife sanctuary at a height of 3000 feet and 14 km away from Roing town, this lake has absolutely clear water and attracts a lot of seasonal birds. You need to trek to reach the lake through the virgin woods, which is quite a thrilling experience. A photographers’ paradise, the lake has no fish. However, the surroundings of the lake are rich in flora and fauna. A part of the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary, this natural stretch of water is considered to be one of the most beautiful spots in Arunachal Pradesh.
Those looking for adventure can go for river rafting too. In fact, the White Water River Rafting event was recently organised by Mishmi Takin Adventures at the Dree River in Dibang Valley. The MTA is an adventure company established with the aim of promoting responsible tourism.
This place called Chigu in Dri valley in Dibang will not fail to amaze you with its beauty. Some tourists have compared it's beauty with that of Yosemite National park of the USA.
Heaven on Earth.@dcdibangvalley @MyGovArunachal @arunachaltsm @rondo_apeda @SajaniMipi pic.twitter.com/epF56A0iwa
— Anung Lego (@anunglego88) July 14, 2022
How to reach
The nearest airport is Mohanbari in Assam. You can take vehicle service from Assam to Roing or from Dibrugarh, via Tinsukia to Roing. Then from Roing, you can take the car to Dibang Valley.
Chopper service is available during summer: Naharlagun via Pasighat/Mohanbari/Roing to Anini
Tourists visiting Arunachal Pradesh are required to get an Inner Line Permit (ILP). ILPs can also be applied online at www.arunachalilp.com
Foreign tourists can obtain a Protected Area Permit from all Indian Missions abroad, Home Ministry, Govt. of India and Home Commissioners, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar.