I fully agree. Arunachal has some of the most heavenly places in India, untouched by mainland tourists yet. But the obstacles are too many. Bad connectivity and lack of infrastructure are the obvious ones. Besides, an Indian has to procure an inner-line permit to enter the state, a British legacy—they wanted to segregate this area from the mainland—that we have inherited.
(The author is editor, Panchajanya.)
Remains of our ancient past can still be encountered in this extreme northeastern state. Besides the Bhishmak Nagar ruins of Rukmini fame, Parashuram Kund is another place of interest in the state. The kund was destroyed in an earthquake some years ago, but the spring is still intact and is a pilgrimage centre for thousands of tribals and non-tribals from other states. We were scheduled to start back on January 30, but as luck would have it, flights got cancelled due to bad weather. To make good of my prolonged stay, I hired a taxi to visit the kund, against everybody’s advice. (The road passes through Dibrugarh tea gardens, an ulfa hotbed.)
We reached Wakro at 7.30 pm and halted there for the night. The journey to Wakro was a chilling experience. I had never seen such darkness. Nothing was visible. The cloudy skies had become one with the jungle by six in the evening. As our jeep wound its way through the thick forest, Mars seemed to be the destination, till we reached the inner-line permit checkpost. Twelve hours later I saw an indescribable morning at the kund, in the beautiful backdrop of mountains and a serene Lohit flowing by.
Walong was like a dream. Shrouded in clouds. One is reminded of Kalidas’ Meghdootam here. The Lohit flowed in its emerald-green splendour. The mountains were enveloped by the evening’s silky silhouette. Mithi is game for the lensmen, allowing many of us to click his photographs on Lohit’s banks. The girls, who had come from the nearby villages, giggled endlessly seeing the chief minister pose. There is an army camp and suddenly I spot Col Sanjiv, a friend from the Sindhu Darshan days. It was unthinkable to see him at a place like Walong. How long does it take to reach Tezu, I asked a lady from Walong. She replied impassively, "Approximately 12 hours and Rs 120." Unimaginable or ‘incredible’, whichever way you like to look at it.
The Brahmaputra, together with the Sindhu (Indus), has been a symbol of national unity. Both the rivers have their origins in the Kailash Manasarovar region (western Tibet). While the Sindhu goes northward, the Brahmaputra takes an eastern path. Both are ‘male’ rivers in the Vedas for their sheer vastness and ferocious flow. The Arunachal government sends a cultural troupe and a vessel of Brahmaputra water to be poured into the Sindhu every year during Sindhu Darshan in Leh, a symbol of national unity. Farooq too had brought Sindhu waters for the Brahmaputra.
Fashion shows based on the local sartorial traditions, thanks to the young Arunachali niftians, are a rage in this border state. It rained heavily during one such show, but the chief minister stayed glued to his seat till last, along with hundreds of locals shivering under their umbrellas. It was amazing to find impeccable melodious voices and rhythmic dancers in tiny Tezu.
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