Central Arunachal Pradesh Tour – Day 5,6 – Mighty Valleys Of The Siang River

An Adi Tribe elde

Continued from here.

Day 5 & 6

We woke up to a beautiful and bright sunny morning. The bad weather of the past few days had disappeared, making for a blue sky. Low on money, we first went to an ATM which is the only working machine in the all of Along. There was a long line of patiently waiting people and I joined them in their wait. It took one and a half hour to reach the machine, and by the time I got the money I was walking like a zombie; bored to death and irritated. Following the plan for the day, we left for a six hour drive to Pasighat which would take us back to the plains of the Brahamaputra valley. The road all along was in horrible condition – muddy, bumpy, crooked and broken down. I don’t remember passing even a meter of well laid road. But the dissatisfaction of travel was downcast by the spectacular scenery we crossed on the way. All along, the Siang River in all its might and beauty followed us. We passed beautiful and quaint villages of the Adi Tribe who inhabit the valleys here. They practice terrace farming high in the mountains. These farmlands form noteworthy landscapes and are perfect for a photographic frame. The clear blue sky filled with massive cloud formations, combined with the greenery of the Siang Valley, came as refreshing and soothing. The road though, was never satisfying. Apart from bulldozers and slippery mud, we even passed waterfalls which were falling right in the middle of the highway. The river grew wider as we descended more and more towards the plains. From the foothills, we saw the river turn wide and become the mighty Brahmaputra River upon touching the plains. Somewhere before dusk when we were almost about to reach Pasighat, we came across mountain traffic, caused due to a horrifying accident that occurred a few hours before our arrival. A car had fallen down the mountain and rescue operations were being performed to get the car out. Eventually, the road was opened and we soon reached Pasighat to end up in a superbly built four lane expressway. Back in the plains, the temperature was hot again and I missed the coldness of the blissful lands of Ziro, Subansiri and Siang. The journey was over but my mind still lingered in those remote Himalayan lands I had just crossed. We found ourselves in a budget hotel which had decent rooms for affordable prices. Fortunately, the manager of the hotel warned us that entire Pasighat suffers acute power shortage and the nights never have electricity, so when the current actually went off at eleven O`clock, we were drunk enough to pass out.

The next morning, before we left for the last drive of the trip, which would take us back to home, Nino, an Adi friend, invited us to come over for brunch as he and his were having a celebration. The day was sunny, the sky was deep blue and Pasighat looked all green and fabulous; a rich countryside settlement from where the Himalayas rise to their majesty in the east. We reached Nino’s aunt’s place after getting lost in Pasighat’s maze of unnamed roads. There was a celebration of some kind going on, which had begun at five in the morning, when they sacrificed a mithun. Since blood of this animal is regarded as tasteful by the Adis, they do not cut the throat; rather, hang the animal to its death to ensure no blood gets wasted. When we entered, we found ourselves part of a huge feast, the tribal kind. There were two dishes made from the mithun’s meat, one dish of pork, one of chicken, and to ensure the meat passed smoothly through our throats, there was a delightful beer homemade from rice, sweet in taste and blackish in color. We ate and drank a lot, had a nice conversation, and eventually got high. Afterwards, the world all around seemed brilliant and peaceful – Fresh Mountain supplied winds, the greenery and quietness of Pasighat, a satisfied stomach, the small kick of the rice beer – it was like a perfect relaxed Sunday. We left when it was about time. We drove for two hours to the river-port of Bogibeel, through lush green farmlands where beautiful country women walked on the shade of their umbrellas. Bob Marley was playing in the car speakers, “We’re jammin’, we’re jammin…And I hope you like jammin’, too.” We joined him in chorus, crossed the mighty Brahmaputra River in a ferry and arrived home just before sunset. I was still jammin!

Where is this? Garden of Eden?
Terraced farm fields of the Adi Tribe.
The mighty Siang River
Evening mist covers the mountains.
A sunny day in rich countryside.

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For details on our tour to central Arunachal Pradesh, see here.