We reached Dibrugarh by 7 am. The road journey was smooth but I was not prepared for the AC bus. So I could not sleep well because of chilliness. We were welcomed by Vaivhav’s family. We finished our morning routines and by 9 am, we were ready to proceed. As Neil and Vaibhav both had not seen this part of the AR earlier, both of them were coming with me. So we were four people, including the driver. We had a Mahindra Bolero and the vehicle looked to be in good condition.
We hit the NH37, which goes to Arunachal Pradesh through Tinsukia district. The road is in good condition and scenic. On the right side, we have railway track and on the left, we have tea estates. We travel miles and miles, but the scene does not change much. Vaibhav tells me that, majority of these tea estates are owned by Eveready (battery industry fame) and by Khaitan (fan fame). Some are owned by Tata also. He also tells me that the top 8-10 grades of tea are exported and never enters the domestic market. Even the locals can’t get it. Only the last few grades are released into Indian market.
The law and order situation is quite peaceful now days, but some sporadic instances of violence does take place here and there.
We take a right turn at Dum Duma, and then enter Arunachal. Here our inner line permit cards are checked and we are allowed to proceed. The road is desolated and we hardly come across any type of vehicles. There is no government-run bus service in Arunachal Pradesh, at least in this part. We come across some small villages and human settlements here and there.
On the way, we saw some people parking their vehicle and climbing some steps to go up. Our 6th sense told us to follow them, and we did. Oh God, it was just a coincidence that we were there.
There we saw a Golden Buddha Temple, which was constructed in Thai style. The sight was truly majestic. The atmosphere was quiet, cool and calm. We enjoyed every moment here. It is a temple not to be missed at all.
Then we proceeded further and came across a board which welcomed us to Anjaw district. The district is known as orange district of Assam. True to its name, we find lots and lots of orange gardens on the way.
We stopped at many places and bought fresh oranges. They were natural and organic. In fact, I have never tasted such lovely oranges in my life so far. Back home, in Bangalore, we call it as Nagpur oranges. When I was in Nagpur around two years back, I did check up for oranges, but was told that the season was over. But these oranges looked similar to that variety. They contain more of flesh than juice. The colour is truly bright orange.
We move forward and now the scene changes from tea gardens to orange gardens. We see many orange gardens here and there. The farmers keep oranges in front of their gates and sell them. The cost! Be hold! Just Rs. 2 per piece! Vaivhav tells me that they are exported to Bangladesh.
Then, by 1.15pm or so, we reach Parashuram Kund. It is the place where lord Parashuram got rid of his sins. We thought it to be a lake or a something similar, but it is a place/ghat on the banks of the Lohit River. We had to climb many steps which goes down to another side to go to the ghat. The river, water and place were really beautiful, but if you are not aware of this place, then you might miss it. Since, there are no special signboards that may inform you about the place.
The mighty Lohit River looks very beautiful, and the water is crystal clear. The water is cool but is not chilled. We could not take a bath since the place had no facility for bathing, so we came back.
We had our lunch in a nearby dhabha, and proceed further. We start climbing Hawa Pass. It is 4 pm now and the sun has already set. Another 10 minutes or so, it is pitch dark! So, by 4.15 pm, we were feeling that as if the time is 8 pm. We cross Hawa Pass, and the road diverts towards Tezu to left, and Hayuliang to right. I checked up all the maps that I had got, including the Lonely Planet map. With regard to AR, we cannot rely on any maps. All are wrong. One has to personally travel and experience the places to know the correct route.
By 7.45 pm we reach Hayuliang, after travelling 300 km since morning. We search for a lodge but could not find any. I had read in Ajay Jain’s kunzum.com about his experience about this place, so we proceed back, and go to Khupa, located a few kms away. It had a nice guest house run by and for the AR govt. Initially the watchman tells us that all the rooms are booked and he can’t give it. Then I tell him that “I am the friend of Ajay Jain, who had come here two years back. He only told me about your place”. He vaguely tries to recollect Ajay, and allows us to spend the night here.
The guesthouse is quite well managed and in excellent condition. The watchman cooked food and served it at 10 pm, that too with a smiling face. We all thanked him and of course Ajay, for his info on his blog, and went to bed.
* Written by :- Mr. B P Bhat