Siyom River. Photo: Shutterstock
An immersive journey into the heart of Arunachal Pradesh with the state’s lesser-known wonders.
Arunachal Pradesh has long been known as the ‘Land of Dawn-lit Mountains’. These hills are cloaked in dense forests and wear a crown of snow-capped peaks as they stretch towards the Tibetan border, inviting adventurous souls to discover their hidden treasures.
When travelling in Arunachal Pradesh, remember that every trip is far from conventional. The state boasts 12 tourist circuits across 83,743 sq.km, and each one offers something new and exciting to the traveller. One such circuit is the Aalo-Mechuka but you can make it a little more interesting by starting your trip in Likabali followed by Basar and then heading to Aalo.
History Lesson at Malinithan Temple, Likabali
Arunachal Pradesh undoubtedly stands out as one of India’s most enchanting states, with its captivating beauty and remarkable landmarks adding to its awe-inspiring allure. Among these treasures, the Malinithan temple holds immense archaeological and mythological significance in the region. Archaeological findings shed light on the unique construction of the temple, as it was crafted using granite stones, a departure from the more commonly used bricks in other temples across the Northeast. These granite sculptures, which are believed to date back to the 14th-15th century, offer a captivating glimpse into the region’s rich heritage. Among the remarkable discoveries are sculptures depicting Indra astride his mount Airavat, Surya, the Sun God, riding a chariot, Mayurasan adorned with over 100 gods and goddesses, graceful dancing Yakshis, images of affectionate twins adorning the arch, and a monumental Nandi bull.
A trip to Lakabli is worthwhile if you stop by and spend some time with these intricate and beautifully preserved artefacts.
The Hidden Gem: Basar
A 2-hour road ride trip from Likabali, right through the majestic vistas of Arunachal Pradesh, is Basar. Basar, the administrative hub of the Leparada District, is an unexplored gem at the heart of the state.
Dozens of trekking trails, caverns, and dense jungles are concealed within the state’s core. Basar’s allure extends beyond its breathtaking landscapes; it’s the warmth and hospitality of the Galo people that truly enhance the experience. Some of the must-visit attractions in and around Basar include the Basar Galo Baptist Church, the Dali Waterfall, just a short walk from the highway, the Bat Cave (Tapen Penru) in Padi Village, which involves a trek through enchanting forests and bamboo bridges, the sacred pool known as Joli, and the Sago Waterfall. Basar is great for a quick stopover before you hit the main circuit of Aalo-Mechuka.
Relaxing Times in Aalo
Aalo, nestled in a picturesque valley where the Sipu and Siyom Rivers converge, is a captivating nature haven in Arunachal Pradesh. It will take you at least three days to explore this tinseltown.
Enveloped by rolling hills and enchanting orange orchards, Aalo provides all essential amenities for travellers. For those seeking sightseeing opportunities, Aalo offers an array of attractions, including the Ramakrishna Mission Campus, Patum Bridge, Bagra Village, and the Donyi Polo Temple. A highlight in the vicinity is the Kamki Hydropower Dam, which offers a beautiful outing. Aalo, often called Along, is adorned with these lush and bountiful groves, offering a fragrant and colourful experience for visitors.
Meandering in Mechuka
After enjoying the beauty of Aalo, it’s time to embark on the next leg of your journey, taking you to the charming hamlet of Mechuka. Setting out early from Aalo is advisable, as the road journey to Mechuka will consume approximately 7 hours, and you’ll undoubtedly want to pause along the way to capture the natural splendour of Arunachal Pradesh.
Mechuka, a hidden gem nestled at an altitude of 6,000 feet within the Mechuka Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, India, beckons travellers with its untouched allure. Located roughly 29 kilometres from the Indo-Tibet border and 500 kilometres from the state capital, Itanagar, Mechuka boasts both religious and historical significance. Its name, sometimes spelled as “Menchuka,” derives from the local language. “Men” signifies “medicinal,” “Chu” means “water,” and “Kha” represents “ice.”
As you explore Mechuka, you’ll be captivated by the meandering Siyom River, which enhances the valley’s allure with its spectacular views. The primary inhabitants of Mechuka Valley belong to the Memba, Ramo, Bokar, and Libo tribes, adding rich cultural diversity to the region.
From Aalo to Mechuka and Everything In-Between
From the quaint town of Aalo to the valleys of Likabali and Basar, and culminating in the remote haven of Mechuka, Arunachal Pradesh unfolds as a treasure trove of experiences. The heartfelt hospitality of the Galo people in Aalo, the orange orchards, and the meandering beauty of the Siyom River etch unforgettable memories. These destinations collectively weave a tapestry of experiences that unveil Arunachal Pradesh’s awe-inspiring natural beauty, rich cultural diversity, and concealed gems.
In Partnership with Arunachal Pradesh Tourism
Although she is a copywriter by profession, Ishani loves writing longer sentences and harp on all kinds of details. She has worked with multiple brands for social media strategy, written longer editorial pieces as well and would ideally love to quit it all to travel the world. Until she can, she believes, “ words are all I have..”