We visited Bomdila and Tenga Valley during our visit to Arunachal Pradesh. The most unique thing in my entire north-eastern journey, if any, is the unique beauty of Arunachal Pradesh and the simplicity of its people, which is rare elsewhere.
Road trip to Bomdila – Arunachal Pradesh
Bomdila is a small hill town whose main reason for its fame is that it falls on the road leading to the famous Tawang Vihar. Most tourists visiting Tawang have to stay either at Bomdila or at Dirang, which is located a short distance from Bomdila at night. This is what makes Bomdila a great tourist destination. The markets here are always crowded and along with it there are many places to see. You will also find good hotels to stay here.
Located at a very high altitude, this city gives you beautiful views of the surrounding valleys which you do not get tired of admiring. Like a true tourist, while walking on the streets here, you see fruit and vegetable vendors as well as dry fish sellers on both sides. Apart from this, there are also small shops in which plastic colored shoes are sold which are used for walking in the snow. Women here like Jhansi’s queen tie their children on their backs with clothes and continue their day’s work. And elderly women in their traditional attire are seen gossiping with each other.
Vihara of Bomdila
There are two viharas in Bomdila, one of which has been recently built and the other one is quite old, which will probably be 300 – 400 years old. This ancient vihara is situated at the end of the main road of Bomdila, which is not difficult to find. It is a small vihara, which still has a fragrance of ancient times. The local people come here to worship God in this vihara and spend some peaceful time in their shelter. The architecture here is similar to the architecture of any good Buddhist vihara.
Government handicraft center
There is a government handicraft center at Bomdila, where craftsmen are seen shaping local artifacts based on traditional methods. These artworks are produced and sold at this center. Many items such as masks, home furnishings, metal artefacts are made here, and weaving and embroidery work is also done. You can see the production process of all these items with your own eyes and if you like any of these artworks, you can also buy them there.
Here we were told that these artisans are greatly assisted by the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in relation to artworks. The institute has also helped these artisans in providing them with intellectual property protection for traditional creations and weaving. There are some old Thangka paintings at the entrance of this center, which still looks quite new.
You will be surprised to know that Bomdila also has a museum. It is located in a government school near the only school in the city. Surprisingly, no one in this city is aware of this museum. Even the students of the nearby school are unaware of this. We somehow reached the museum after all. There we met two young women who were looking after the management of this museum.
Seeing us there, both of them asked with some surprise, what do we want to see there? To this we replied that we want to see everything that is displayed here. They probably did not understand us and with little hesitation they allowed us to visit the museum, but we were not allowed to take pictures of the objects displayed there. We visited the entire museum but most of the exhibits there were closed. When we asked the young men about these rooms and requested them to open these rooms, they told that the man who has the keys to these rooms has gone out and if we have to see those rooms, then we Will have to wait for an hour.
Read more – Visit the Tenga Valley of Arunachal
After a while we were shown a book sale book from where we bought some books. This may have made those women feel that we are really interested in this museum and they opened all the rooms of the museum for us. One of them came with us and gave us detailed descriptions of many things. But in reality she could not understand what is so special about these things that one can take time to see them.
I explained to him that all these things are new to us, because such items are not used in us. That is why we want to know about these things to understand the local culture. His gesture seemed like he did not believe our words. But later he explained to us in detail about many things and also about which tribe these items belong to and what is the importance of these ritual items in his caste. I enjoyed this little conversation. Due to this we both got to know each other a little bit.
On our return from Bomdila, we stopped to visit the Nag temple on the way, which is situated between Bomdila and Bhalukpong. There are many snake temples in this area, which point to the serpent cults living here. But due to this Nag temple being situated on the main road, we thought it appropriate to visit it. A river also flows near this temple. Like all other things in Arunachal, this temple is also very simple. To reach this temple you have to go through stairs. The windows of this temple, located at a great height, give you a beautiful view of this valley surrounded by hills, the river flowing through it makes it even more attractive.
The town of Bees is situated on the hill immediately opposite this Nag temple. There are thousands of honeycomb bees. Of all the open spaces on that hill, only those hives are seen in all those parts. If a person had not told us about it and would not have stayed here and asked to see the beautiful scene, then we might not have seen this unique scene. I am still thinking about how these people must have collected all the honey from those hives situated on such a high and almost straight steep hill.
Dense fog and cloud on the way
There is a place between the Nag temple and Bhalukpong which is quite famous for the thick fog that prevails there. These mountains are always surrounded by an army of clouds, due to which you meet these clouds all the way. Sometimes these clouds are so dense that it becomes very difficult for you to see the modes ahead or the trains. Going through this dense fog was exciting but also very scary.
Trips to Arunachal are similar, which are uncomfortable but at the same time very beautiful and exciting. All the way here you find small shops, which look like small holes made in wooden walls. And the shopkeepers add to their beauty even more by sitting in them graphically.
This whole trip was a very encouraging experience for us. We left Arunachal with lovely memories and hope to come back here and travel to the rest of the places.
To get any information about Arunachal Pradesh, please read the official webpage related to it.
I am very grateful to Song, who made our visit to Arunachal so memorable.