Travel Experience

A Place Where I Found My Lost Self: Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh

A Place Where I Found My Lost Self: Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh
Last Updated: November 14, 2019 / First Published: 13 Nov, 2019

The blog is contributed by one of our readers Sumit Misra who had recently visited Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh. This lesser known destination in Northeast India boasts its surreal landscape, unmatched tranquillity, and a number of exciting activities. The blog takes us on remarkable sojourn and compel us to plan a trip as soon as possible.

Running for basic needs and managing things on my own, millennial responsibility took on me and I lost my passion for almost everything I loved. Travelling, writing, and exploring nature became the last things I could give my time to. But after watching Facebook videos of travel bloggers, my conscience pricked me and I had to convince myself to pack my bags and tick off from my travel bucket list the offbeat location in Arunachal Pradesh, “Mechuka-The Land of Magical Water & Snow”.

The Planning

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It all started with a call from one of my travel buddies who called me a few months back and asked me to plan a trip to this lesser known destination of Northeast India. After hundreds of calls and discussions we finally decided to pack our bags and did all the necessary bookings of 5th to 9th October 2019 to cover every place in Mechuka.

The day finally arrived and we were uber thrilled for the trip. But as we all know ‘plan k hisab se kuch nahi hota (things don’t go as planned)’ is a true story, we struggled when our cab driver cancelled the trip at the last moment. So, what was planned turned to unplanned one. The inner me didn’t want to give up, so we enquired about other cabs and drivers and finally found one in the afternoon. And as it is said ‘jo hota hai, ache k liye hota hai (everything happens for a reason)’ our driver Sameer was the best thing that could have happened to our Mechuka trip and the journey began.

Note: We booked a cab from Dibrugarh (Assam), which charged us INR 20,000 for 4 days.

Day 1:

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We started our journey from Dibrugarh (Assam) on the 5th of October at around 1:00 P.M and reached Jonai (Assam-Arunachal Border) from where we had to obtain the ILP (Inner Line Permit) which is a must for everyone whoever wants to enter the state of Arunachal Pradesh. ILP can be obtained at all the check gates from where one can enter the state and also can be obtained online from the official website of Arunachal Pradesh. After the ILP was handed to us, we headed towards ‘Aalo’ for an overstay at the hotel. Once the check-in formality is done, we unwinded ourselves and enjoyed some traditionally cooked local food.

Day 2:

After having our morning tea at one of the tea stalls, we were back on the road for Mechuka. Travelling for a few hours, we enjoyed the breathtaking landscape, clicked pictures and took selfies. Soon we reached a place called Tato around 1:00pm and by then my stomach was growling and my eyes saw a stall, where hot Maggie and tea was being served. After having the hot bowl of Maggie, we spent some good time at Siko Dido waterfall which is located at a distance of aprrox 50 meters from the stall. Falling from great height, this majestic waterfall was truly mesmerising.

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Trust me, the above picture of the waterfall I have shared is not doing justice to what I saw. After witnessing these pretty midway falls, we again headed to our destination. The surroundings got prettier with each mile and we knew that we are closer to Mechuka. The moment we reached the entrance of this beautiful destination, we were blown by its ethereal greenery and hills covered with clouds. While we were busy sightseeing, we forgot that we had to arrange a new homestay because we started our journey late and due to the last-minute cancellation, the hotel rooms which we booked were also cancelled. Hence, we all got into the cab and our driver with all his past travel experience made us visit the nearby homestays and hotels in Mechuka. We enquired but unfortunately, they were almost full for the day. This made us bite our nails wondering what would happen next.

Sameer, our driver turned out to be our saviour here as he took us to yet another place to stay- the Yargepchu Homestay and luckily, we found a room. The homestay is situated at the bank of River Yargepchu and is owned and managed by a couple Lakma Sona and his wife. This was our home for the next three nights.

Day 3:

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How can someone miss to witness the sunrise when you are in the land of rising sun and staying at a place situated at the river bank was an added perquisite. So, we woke up early and got to witness an incredibly mesmerising sunrise and with this we started our day to discover the best of Mechuka. After getting ready with some heavy breakfast we headed to visit the tourist attractions of Mechuka.

Stop 1: The Hanuman Face

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Said to be centuries old, we witnessed the majestic Hanuman Face which is naturally etched in the mountain. The features of a monkey face is clearly visible and we were thrilled to identify each feature and parts of the Hanuman Face.

Stop 2: The Yarlung Camp

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Once done with witnessing the Hanuman Face, we headed to yet another point of interest, the Yarlung Camp which is situated at the height of 7394 feet from sea level. The gate of the camp is the last point where civilians are allowed without any special permission. Just about 20km from the gate is the Indo-China border where we were obviously not allowed but were lucky enough to meet our soldiers of the camp. They offered us tea but I was a bit hesitant and then my buddy said ‘army walo ki chai bade nasib se milti hai bhai, mana mat kar’ to which we all smiled and had some ‘Chai-pe-charcha’ with our heroes.

Note: Clicking pictures and shooting videos is restricted in the area, so I couldn’t provide any picture of the Yarlung Camp. The picture above was shot on our way to the Yarlung Camp.

Stop 3: The Gurdwara and Taposthan

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It is said, 400 years ago when Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was on his way to Tibet through Mechuka, he meditated on these two spots, one-is known as Gurdwara which is taken care of and managed by Indian army and the other is called Taposthan which has an interesting story. It is believed while Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and his disciples were meditating, a wild bear attacked them. A boulder lifted to save Guru Nanak and today the impression of Guru Nanak’s face can be seen on the huge boulder.

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Going forward in the Taposthan, there is a beautiful waterfall where the Guru is believed to have taken a bath.

Stop 4: Dzogchen Samten Choeling Monastery (New Gompa)

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Situated not very far from Mechuka town, the new Gompa or the Dzogchen Samten Choeling Monastery is home to a 10 feet statue of Guru Lhuhe Rigzin making it yet another reason to visit Mechuka. Upon reaching atop the monastery, the view of the Mechuka town can be beautifully seen.

Stop 5: The Dorjeeling Village

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Crossing the Yargepchu River, the Dorjeeling Village is located approx 5 km from Mechuka town. This small scenic village with tiny little wooden houses and a small Monastery, is not actually a tourist spot but I would suggest you to make a visit where you can sit for a couple of hours and embrace the picturesque surrounding landscapes.

Stop 6: The Hanging Bridge

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This is a common sight all around the Mechuka. These wooden hanging bridges held by steel wires are used by locals to cross the river at different parts of the town for daily conveyance to their respective villages. We crossed one such bridge and saw horses all around the field. This very sight was incredible in itself.

Return to Homestay

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Our journey of 3rd day ended here and we headed back to our homestay. The mesmerising sights of Mechuka’s exploration occupied our hearts. After relaxing for a while, we went straight to the kitchen where Lakma was waiting for us and he introduced us to the Memba style kitchen. The chef in me couldn’t control and I wore the virtual hat and jumped into cooking in that folk style kitchen. Great food, good music, chilly night along with chilled beer summed up a great end of the day.

Day 4:

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This day was all about a lazy start since we covered most of the important locations in Mechuka. Since our friendship with Lakma grew strong last night we took his Fascino and explored the local places of Mechuka in the cold morning with a little drizzle. After enjoying the chilled morning ride, we came to our hotel and decide to brew a cup of morning tea.

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Without any further delay we got ready for the most awaited trekking expedition to Samten Yangchag Monastery also known as Old Gompa. Situated in 14kms away from Mechuka, the monastery is about 400 years old. One can only reach the spot only by trekking since driving cars on narrow and unconstructed roads are risky. The trek was quite long but my travel buddies and their jokes kept us moving. The best part about the trek was witnessing Mechuka with different angles as every step made us see the mesmerising bits of the town.

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The moment we reached the spot, the very famous adage ‘best view comes after the hardest climbs’ displayed right in front of my eyes amidst lush green landscape with clouds covering the hills and little drizzle. We reached there by 11:30AM and the caretaker of the monastery did his daily ritual of serving juice and snacks to the visitors without charging anything. This was much-needed after the trek. The view kept us engrossed and I was enjoying every bit of it along with having some intra personal communication. I realised how the hullabaloo of big cities and daily routine numbs a person’s soul.

After spending more than an hour and gaining all the positive vibes we trekked down and reached our source. We had half a day more which we spent by relaxing and strolling in the town and interacting with the locals. The people here are very friendly, they have a lot to enlighten tourists with their culture and tradition. After all these explorations, we went back to our homestay where Lakma welcomed us with chilled beer, good food and endless conversations.

With this our journey to Mechuka came to an end and went for a goodnight sleep. The next day we were all set to face the daily challenges but with utter positivity, because there’s always more to every good thing and there’s always more in the world yet to be explored.

Where is Mechuka?

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Located in Shi-Yomi district of Arunachal Pradesh, Mechuka is approx 29km from McMahon Line that separates India from the Tibetan region of China. This surreal town of Arunachal Pradesh is known for its pristine natural beauty and landscapes. So, if you are looking for the most picturesque places to visit in Northeast India, you should consider visiting Mechuka at least once in a lifetime.

People in Mechuka

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The mass in Mechuka are largely known as Memba tribe. The folks here mainly survive on fishing and agriculture and serve the fantastic version of it to the travellers. When in Mechuka you breathe and eat everything FRESH. The hosts of every homestay serves a variety of locally made liquors such as Ara, Chang, Sen Chang (local beer) along with tasty local cuisines. In addition to this, people here preaches Buddhism, Doni-Poloism and Christianity.

How to reach Mechuka?

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As it is an offbeat destination in Arunachal Pradesh, there is no direct air and rail connectivity. The only best possible way to reach Mechuka is by road.

Nearest Airports: You can board a flight to Dibrugarh and from there book a cab to reach Mechuka covering a distance of approx 436 km.

Lilabari Airport or North Lakhimpur Airport in the Lakhimpur district of Assam. From here, you can hire a cab to reach Mechuka Valley covering a distance of approx 487km.

Activities to Do in Mechuka Village

When in Mechuka, you should indulge in some of the exciting activities like camping, trekking and river rafting.

Best Time to Visit Mechuka

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The weather remains pleasant from September to March. If you happen to visit Mechuka in the month of November, you will get an opportunity to witness the Mechuka Adventure Festival. This event invites tourists and offers various adventures and authentic food. It snows in the month of December and January making Mechuka look more beautiful than ever.

Where to Stay in Mechuka?

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Since Mechuka is one of the less travelled destinations in Northeast India the tourism here is not must developed. Currently there are no hotels or resorts in the town but the locals fulfill the purpose by providing homestay facility in Mechuka (ranging from INR 800/- to INR 2500/- per night) to the visitors which I believe is a great deal.

You can find a list of homestays in Mechuka and other parts of state from the official website of Arunachal Pradesh.

Other Tourism Places in Arunachal Pradesh:

So, this was all about yet another magical land of Incredible India. The beauty of Mechuka is something that needs to be felt once in a lifetime. I have done my part, but there are still more to embrace and admire, which I would surely do on my next trip. If you too are looking forward to visit the gorgeous offbeat destination of Arunachal Pradesh, please pack your bags and head to Mechuka to witness the hidden beauty of India.

If you have already been to Mechuka, do share your experience in the comment section below. Also, don’t forget to share the blog with your near and dear ones, as it might help them plan a trip to Mechuka.

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