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Name : samarendra kumar saha  [On Feb 19, 2011]

State : AR

Title : A TRIP TO ANINI

Article :

All on a sudden our Sumo came to a halt.

“Anything wrong?” I asked the driver.

‘No, we have reached Amuli’.

Here the bridge on the Dibang river has been washed out in the flood a couple of months back. Recently a makeshift hanging bridge has been erected with bamboo and rope. We would have to cross the river and board the waiting car and travel another 10 km. to reach Anini, the capital of upper Dibang Valley.

It was very dark outside, nothing was visible at all. In this part of Arunachal Pradesh there is no electricity. I was waiting for my luggage when I noticed some people walking down the gorge and disappearing into the darkness

 “Are they taking any short cut route to reach their village?” I asked.

 ‘No, they are going near the rope bridge and we have to approach the same way’ someone from the crowd replied.

How can we negotiate this unknown narrow, muddy, slippery slope almost 90º down the hill in this darkness? I asked myself. But I had to take the plunge, almost literally.

Yes, I made it and so did the others, but the nightmare of that terrible moment - descending down the hill slope with zero visibility and  having no idea about how long we have to get down and the thrill and excitement of crossing the undulating rope bridge over the torrential Dibang, will haunt me for a long time.

    This autumn I deliberately decided to visit Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh as tourist do  not frequent this odd route. Accordingly I boarded an Indigo Flight from Kolkata on Maha Astomi morning. Within one and half hour I reached Dibrugarh and another one and half hours drive from there took me to Tinsukia, a small but busy business town of Assam bordering Arunachal Pradesh.

Next day early in the morning I boarded a bus bound for Roing, the capital of Lower Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh. After about 90 minutes of journey we reached Dhola Ghat, where we had to cross Lohit River, a tributary of mighty Brahmaputra.

Crossing Lohit River by mechanized country boat was a wonderful experience. Although the river was very wide but the water level was so low that the boat frequently kept changing its course to remain afloat. In fact I was so confused as to which direction would we take to reach Sadiya Ghat, the other side of the river. It took us about two hours to cross the river. On the way we found many boats, trapped, as those were sailing through shallow water with huge goods on it including small cars. What was most amazing, although some of the boats were trapped in the middle of the river, I found some of the people trying to pull and push the rudder of the boats to put them in the main course standing on knee deep water. I heard from my co passengers that it is a regular feature in this part and sometimes it takes hours to cross the river because of low water level. From Sadiya Ghat it took us about 2 hours by bus to reach Roing, the land of the Mishmis.

The Dibang valley district is divided into Lower and UpperDibangValley. The head quarters of the districts are Roing and Anini respectively. Roing is in the plains close to the Lohit river. Anini is at an elevation in the mountains and is close to the China border. The district rises from the Himalayas foothills to the middle ranges with the highest point of Mayodia pass. Snow-capped peaks, turbulent rivers, deep valleys and abundance of rich flora and fauna are the main features of the district. The district is well known for its large cover of thick green forests.

 In the afternoon I went to the local market to buy Sumo ticket for going to Anini. There was a small fair in the market place on the eve of Durga puja. To my astonishment I found that most of the locals including women and children were busy gambling openly, even I was offered to join. It was a new experience to me. However, women are highly regarded and respected in this part. Every shop in this locality is run with the help of the women.

The next morning I started for Anini. After two hours of journey we reached Mayudia, about 56 km away from Roing. This place receives snow fall during the month from December to March. Thick cover of snow adds exquisite serenity to this place. After traveling for another 35 km we reached Hunli-a picturesque town nestled in a beautiful valley. The circuit house located on a ridge giving splendid view of the valley will ensure that you would cherish every moment of your stay at Hunli.   At about 2:30 we stopped at Ralli to have our lunch in a small road side restaurant. I did not find any eatery on the way till we reached Amuli in the evening.

By the time we reached Anini it was about 8 p.m. The forested and isolated Anini  situated on the Chinese border is a land shrouded in mist and fog and noted for its unparallel natural beauty and panoramic views of the mighty Himalayas. The sleepy town is so isolated and under developed that until recently; it was largely dependent on the Indian Air Force for its supplies. Anini is such a small town that one can easily cover the entire place on foot in about  3 hours . The Circuit house is beautifully located in a calm and quiet place. People here are simple, polite and very friendly. Anini is an ideal place for those people who love to spend a few days forgetting everything of the outer world.

This travel story will be incomplete if I do not mention the name of Mr.Jibi Pulu, a Panchayet member of Roing. On my return from Anini I stayed back at Roing for two more days. One fine morning I was loitering in the village where I met Mr.Jirome Mena. He was kind enough to offer me a cup of tea at his residence and also posed for family photograph wearing traditional Mishmi tribe outfits. On hearing that I am a tourist from Kolkata and photography is my passion he talked to his brother in law Mr.Jibi Pulu, who happened to run a resort. Within one hour I was in Mr.Pulu’s car and he drove me to his dream resort, “Mishmi Hill Camp”, amidst the greenery in a secluded place, on the bank of river Deopani, a typical Mishmi Hut. Our next destination was Sally Lake. It is a peaceful water body teeming with fish. The surrounding is equally serene. There is a beautiful Tourist lodge in this place.

I also had the opportunity to visit the Huts of some Mishmi Tribal courtesy Mr.Jibi Pulu. These people are fond of hunting and love to decorate their huts with the skulls of those hunted. These are like the valuable medals they have won hard fought.

Then we went to the ‘Mishmi Hill Camp’ again. It was a moonlit evening. The calm and tranquility were prevailed everywhere. The only sounds we could hear were the sounds of the flowing water from the silvery river Deopani and the gentle rustling of leaves. We were sitting in the open verandah. Mr.Pulu was talking about the problems of the locals, their economy and education and was lambasting the governments’ decision to submerge the villages for Hydal projects. He was worried for the future of the locals. I was hearing but not listening. I wanted to savor every moment of that evening. It was already 7:40. Our Dinner was ready. The moonlit dinner with Chapatti, Dal and Vegetable was probably the best Dinner I have ever had in my life.

 For Trekking and Tour to Mishmi Hill Areas, contact:

  Mr.Jibi Pulu 

 

 Mishmi Hill Camp, Ezenggo, Roing, Lower Dibang Valley, Arunachal Pradesh, Pin-792110

 

 E mail:  j_pulu2002@yahoo.co.in

 

 Phone No: 91-9862856981

 

 Copyright © Samarendra Kumar Saha