Tucked away in the North-Eastern corner of our beautiful country, are the rainy, misty, and beautiful slopes of the Mishmi Hills of Arunachal Pradesh. This virgin territory is a geomorphic wonder, where the mighty Himalayas takes a turn southward. It is the magical land where the ice-capped peaks of Himalaya taper down to meet the soft, lush floodplains of the mighty Brahmaputra. The bio-diversity of this area is a matter of legends. The land is home to 6000 plant species, 100 unique mammal species, 681 species of birds, 500 species of orchids, 52 species of rhododendron and a large collection of butterflies. In short, it is a place lifted off of fairy tales. Whether you plan a trip to the Mishmi Hills to witness the gorgeous landscapes or watch for the incredible flora and fauna of the region, it definitely deserves to be on your bucket list.
Preparations to Visit Mishmi
All domestic visitors need to procure the Inner Line Permit (ILP) issued by the Secretary (Political), Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar and respective Deputy Commissioner and Additional Deputy Commissioner of the Districts. The ILP allows tourists a max of two weeks in the region.
Foreign tourists can obtain a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from all Indian Missions abroad, Home Ministry, Govt. of India and Home Commissioners, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar, for a period of up to 10 (ten) days for a group consisting of a minimum of four and maximum of 14 tourists at a time. Application for RAP should reach Commissioner Home, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar, one month ahead of the trip.
The easiest way to enter the Mishmi region is to fly into Dibrugarh airport in Assam. From Dibrugarh, jeeps are the most preferred transportation towards the rough terrains. Please note that the inroads into the territory are anything but a comfortable ride. In fact, some of these places listed below still don’t have electricity. So, brace yourselves for the bumpy and the beautiful.
Dibang River and Birds of Roing
Roing is one of the most coveted stops for bird-watchers in Arunachal Pradesh. Many tourists prefer to stay at Tinsukia for a night before making the journey. Thankfully, the Dhola Sadia bridge over the Brahmaputra river, the longest bridge in the country, was inaugurated last year, connecting Assam to Arunachal. Before that, the journey involved driving on rugged terrain and crossing the river on rickety ferries. While it’s not all peaches and cream even now, the bridge has definitely made things easier.
The first thing one notices in Mishmi hills is the spectacularly clear skies. Be prepared to be amazed at the stars shine brighter than you have ever witnessed them.
One can camp at the Dibang Valley Jungle Camp in Roing. The views of the gorgeous Dibang river from this site in worth all the trouble.
The Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary is situated near Roing, where the picturesque Mehao lake is located. One can boat on the lake while watching the wonderful ducks and birds of the area. The place is flush with foothill species of birds like Black Eagle, White-browed Piculet, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Red-headed Trogon, Long-tailed Broadbill, White-throated Bulbul, Daurian Redstart, Slaty-backed Forktail, Spot-throated Babbler, Beautiful and Long-tailed Sibias, Hill Blue Flycatcher, Sultan Tit among others.
Even if bird-watching is not your cup of tea, you are sure to be mesmerized by the snow peaked mountains, the gorges and rivers, the awe-inspiring waterfalls and the wonderful people of Roing.
Roing also has the Nehru Van Udyan, on the banks of the Deopani river, which is house to exotic cacti and orchids. It makes for a wonderful afternoon.
Mayudia Pass is nestled at 2666m, only 60 km from Roing. It is a snow paradise in the winter months, a haven of such outstanding beauty, that its recommended to visit between December and February. Mayodia Pass got its name from a Nepali girl, Maya, who vanished in the snow and could not be traced. Locals revere her and honor an offering in her name every year.
Mayudia is home to the famed high-altitude Sclater’s Monal, a bird-watcher’s holy grail. It is also one of the few places where species like the Blyth’s Tragopan is regularly encountered. Many other rare bird species like Darjeeling Woodpecker, Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Ward’s Trogon, Grey-sided, Spotted and Black-faced Laughing thrushes, Gould’s and Rusty-bellied Shortwing, Fire-tailed Myzornis etc can be found here.
Hunli and Anini
The Hunli town comes on the way from Mayudia to Anini. It is a small village really, inhabited by the friendly Mishmi people. One can base at Hunli and undertake the two-hour trek to the Temple Cave at Kupunli.
Anini is even more remote than the other places mentioned in this piece. Besides being breathtakingly serene, secluded and beautiful, it is close to the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary of Arunachal Pradesh. Rare mammals like Mishmi takin, red goral, musk deer, red panda, Asiatic black bear, occasional tiger and Gongshan muntjac roam the lush slopes around. The exotic Mishmi Hills Giant Flying Squirrel also calls this magical place home.
Mishmi hills are undoubtedly one of India’s best-hidden gems. From its incredible landscapes to its amazing flora and fauna, from its adventures to its people, Mishmi Hills can make your next trip an experience to remember forever.
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