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Old 30th August 2012, 19:14   #61
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

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Originally Posted by adc View Post
............
An awesome log, as usual.

I am wondering about one thing. If one knows bengali, how easy/difficult is it to communicate with the local people in Arunachal? Or it doesn't matter at all?

I could just about manage in Assam, how is it in Arunachal? Especially in such remote places?
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Old 31st August 2012, 00:24   #62
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Amazing images, experience and information that you are sharing ADCda, It looks like for people here in down south its just a dream to do these places!! At least we are getting to know our country, states and people. I'm amazed, the way you mix-up with the local folks, give them ride with you, exchange information etc, I guess that's one very important factor here to know the area and people you are venturing and you are very good at it! Based on what I have heard about North, sometimes, its difficult to have so much of trust in the people in an unknown place. Rated this one as well and I'm sure I'll keep coming back to enjoy the wonderful experience and images. Thanks for sharing. Drive safe!
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Old 31st August 2012, 10:48   #63
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Tuting to Gelling, Upper Siang, Arunachal - and back to Tuting.


The day at Tuting started with some drama. Tuting has a patchy BSNL mobile connection. With my haste departure for this trip, i get a call from one of my good friend that my work situation is not good, a main client cannot contact me for long now and things were going down. My good friend said he would manage my mail for a day or two, but I had to be on the internet for something more substantial. And so as the situation has developed, had to cancel the 3 days that I planned for Tuting - wanted to do a trek to the most interior yet magnificent Bishing falls.

As things stood then, today we drive to Gelling, come to Tuting, leave early tomorrow for a massive drive direct to Pasighat and hopefully get a GPRS connection and save the work - after all something has to be there to get going again! So Bishing and its trek would wait for another travel.


After some overcast days, it was a great sunny morning at Tuting. Safari VTT in front of circuit house.
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And we set off - being a forward post area - some interesting lines on the boulders.
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Quote:
Some of the words seen: Trust but Verify. Be innovative. Know your Enemy. Stand firm Strike hard. Stick to the Basic. Bring Glory in War. Karo ya Maro. Practice Frugality. Naam Namak Nishaan. Respect all Suspect all.


Siang between Tuting and Gelling
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And a tiny village enroute
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No lizards, but the name is interesting.
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And we moved on..
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And sure this was once an interesting meeting place with all the chairs and tables!
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Gelling almost there as we could Siang straight ahead as it entered India behind those mountains.
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Quote:
Gelling is the last Circle HQ, which is attached to the International Boundary of China. The famous MacMohan Line touches this circle. It is 34 KMs from Tuting. Half of the road has been converted into all weather road by BRTF and rest half is to be covered by foot track. River Tsangpo enters here from Tibet and is locally named Tsang Chu, which is further named river Siang in the South and Bramhaputra in Assam. Memba, a Nyingma Sect. of Mahayana Buddhist inhabits Gelling Cricle. Lossar, Torgya, Dhruba and Tsobum are the main festivals of Memba's. The festivals are celebrated according to the Buddhist Calendar. During these festivals, BARDOH CHAAM popularly known as Mask Dance is performed at the Gonpas. Dancers wear the mask of animals. The prime theme of the dance is to depict victory of good over evil and also to show the importance and preservation of all living creatures.

There is a 5 hours trekking from Gelling to Bishing where a series of beautiful cataract falls down from mountain above 300 feet. The remnants of Kapangla Pass is still present near Gelling. Earlier, this pass was the main trade route for Adis and Tibet.
The road ends at Gelling, and we come across the first citizen of this tiny border village.
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Bishing falls from Gelling village. This I was supposed to trek to, it takes a whole day journey to go and come back - as said had to leave it out due to work situation
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We were almost at LAC. Siang enters from India after the turn behind from the first row of mountains. The far mountains are of Tibet, China.
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At Gelling, last village on the India-China LAC of Upper Siang.
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Gelling village, the MacMahon line is just beyond this mountain. Army people trek up to the forward posts of LAC
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Gelling helipad
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Had a great discussion with a local gentleman about Gelling, LAC, Bishing and Kapangla pass. Its a bit long but with bits of information about the various geographical points






So again with no trek to the falls, but definitely will be back here once again for that, we depart Gelling for Tuting again after one last look of River Siang.
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As we leave this village and see the Army jawan searching for a mobile connection for a talk with home, I cannot but think again about how badly now I need a gprs connection by tomorrow to save my work situation!
Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_8408.jpg


contd...

Last edited by adc : 31st August 2012 at 11:10.
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Old 31st August 2012, 13:20   #64
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Gelling to Tuting



After that halt and end of road at Gelling, we head back to Tuting. We are accompanied by a local and a school girl as the once-a-day Sumo service was not running due to that river bank collapse at Yingkiong.

Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_8413.jpg


Soon I spot another swinging rope bridge over the Siang and we stop.

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Previously while coming back from Nacho [page 2], i had spotted and did go up the bridges, one I went little forward and another almost half. It was an exhilaration experience. No one was there at that time and so no one talked about falling or anything, in fact ignorance was good then.




Now with the local, I move out to check out another rope bridge. These suspension rope bridges are a good 100+ feet above, and this one had the raging Siang and boulders and hard rock for its bank.


This one I had the camera on as long as possible, but seeing planks missing and at the start with the local saying that people do fall off right through, had to again concentrate fully on the grip and step. Went half of it and returned back. Plus with wind it was swinging a bit.



As wife looks out...
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I head off with the local to cross the suspension rope bridge over Siang in Upper Siang district. Rope bridge is known as Zampa in local dialect.
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And a video of some part of that cross, before I let go the camera. It does have some interesting conversation!







Done to that, we head off to Tuting and its monastery

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The newly inaugurated Tuting Monastery
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So as we watch Bambi play with the caretaker's small son and as the sun sets, we realize this fantastic travel is coming to an end. Tomorrow we make big journey through all those road again to Pasighat via Jengging.

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contd...

Last edited by adc : 31st August 2012 at 13:35.
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Old 31st August 2012, 20:26   #65
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
I am wondering about one thing. If one knows bengali, how easy/difficult is it to communicate with the local people in Arunachal? Or it doesn't matter at all?

I could just about manage in Assam, how is it in Arunachal? Especially in such remote places?
Arunachal has a lot of local dialects as there are no. of tribes. So in a way Hindi is also used between two tribes of Arunachal - had no problems communicating out there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketan View Post
I guess that's one very important factor here to know the area and people you are venturing
Absolutely, a travel without an interaction is sterile. Also we do rely on local people for all the info which we gather along, since I dont carry a GPS and particularly when taking all the unknown roads - and needless to say in all our travels would not have been possible without the common yet fantastic people that we have met all throughout whether be at Arunachal or Chhattisgarh and other whatever states that we journeyed till now to.
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Old 31st August 2012, 21:06   #66
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Once again a class apart are these ventures of yours. Is it allowed to go upto the border to the point of the Siang's entry into India as you depict in your pics below? Are any permits required to go there? And is it motorable upto near the LAC or trekking is required?



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Old 1st September 2012, 11:51   #67
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Quote:
Originally Posted by parsh View Post
Is it allowed to go upto the border to the point of the Siang's entry into India as you depict in your pics below?
What you see from the pics it enters around that point itself from behind that hill. At exactly where it enters one has to trek and plus whether that exact point can be reached is doubtful as it is all forest track definitely with bunkers of both countries on the hill side.

A Bishing waterfall trek would have given me that opportunity to go more closer to the LAC.



Quote:
Are any permits required to go there? And is it motorable up to near the LAC or trekking is required?
Permits are required for any part of Arunachal.

The road ends at Gelling and from there it is 3 hr trek up that nearest hillside to LAC.

Last edited by adc : 1st September 2012 at 11:53.
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Old 1st September 2012, 14:35   #68
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Tuting, Upper Siang, to Pasighat, East Siang, Arunachal - via Jengging and Pangin -- approx 200 km


So with the trek cancelled due to work situation and with the intention of getting the Airtel gprs connection of Pasighat, we start early morning for the big journey -- with mountain roads more scarred by continuous rains for the last 7-8 days, it would take time we knew. This journey we did not have the luxury to stop so much. We did not want to enter Pasighat by night fall as would have to search for a hotel plus if no gprs an internet cafe for that work mail.

But then things seldom go according to plan... Cant help but stop in the travel though it was brief and the road all through was quite bad, particularly thought the Pasighat road will be good but due to road widening work going on. We reached Pasighat at 10 in the night.



Early morning start from Tuting on a clear weather day.
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Exotic wild banana flowers - not fit for human consumption but.

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And a kingfisher[??] en route

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It was a perfectly clear day, as we leave the mountains of Tuting behind and going back to the plains.

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Gayal or Mithun is the State Animal of Arunachal
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Another rope bridge or Zampa over Siang.

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and the journey continued through the mountain road back for Pasighat.
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We were nearing the other side of Yingkiong, remember we got the boat ride while going from Yingkiong to connect to this road on the other side.

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Yingkiong does have major slidezone and the town is cut off frequently due to heavy rains. We could now see that massive slide zone from the other side of Siang. We were lucky that day when entering Y'kiong as it landslide was cleared that day itself..

Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_8657.jpg



Every mountain State does have a Pagal Nullah! Before Jengging there is also a blockage, which got cleared just few days ago too.
Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_8646.jpg


Diesel had almost run out when we just about reached Jengging and we tanked up. We though had some 10L in the spare fuel can.
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I managed my work situation for another day, since that was vital as could make out that we would be reaching Pasighat late night and also was not sure if airtel gprs was there or not. In fact that exactly what happened but the wrong decision was that we could have halted here at the PWD house and not driven in the night in absolute darkness and not a single vehicle or anything.


So with a last view of the fantastic wilderness of Upper Siang and of course my new fascination, the rope bridges, we descend down to the plains of Pasighat

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As said, should have stopped at Jengging as it was a full suspense drive in the night with no one around to Pasighat. In fact it was pitch black with only part of track lighted up.
A video grab image of the night hours

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We reached Pasighat at 10 in the night, the whole town was in darkness due to load shedding and just could not make out which way to go for a hotel. Anyway after roaming around the town and taking whatever turn that came, found myself on a road that had some hotels. Checked into the first one that looked good from outside and got a room. Relief was overwhelming - fully hungry, dead tiredness and plus the late night hours in Arunachal town is not quite a good combination. We should have stopped at Jengging... this was too close a call.





contd...

Last edited by adc : 1st September 2012 at 14:59.
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Old 2nd September 2012, 03:15   #69
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Pasighat, Arunachal - Dibrugarh, Assam, - Guwahati - Monpong, W Bengal [Siliguri] - Kolkata [ The return journey over a period of days.]


Early morning at Pasighat, fresh and we today head for Dibrugarh and journey of around 8 hrs which also has a cross of River Bhramaputra at Bogibeel.

Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_8701.jpg


And we soon leave Pasighat outskirts, it has been a brilliant journey in Arunachal

Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_8707.jpg


Soon we leave Arunachal and enter Assam towards Dibrugarh
Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_8727.jpg



On the ferry again. Crossing the Bhramaputra at Bogibeel

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Two things we do at the end of a overwhelming successful and tough journey, a> We check into a good hotel to relax, no budget hotel now for a day. b> Food we gorge on after days of untimely food hours. And personally I celebrate with a single malt
Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_8769.jpg



Next we leave for Guwahati, stop among some great tea gardens

Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_8811.jpg



And stopped over in this tea garden to check out some handwoven cloth material made by the tea workers families
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And this bought this bedsheet which was to our liking
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We pass Kaziranga and as luck would have it a rhino with its baby in tow had come out of the core area out to the grassy wild growth beside the highway and a few boars and birds were there enjoying the evening sun.

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So, had a glimpse of Kaziranga too on this trip - super duper success travel still continues!

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Next day we leave Guwahati, early morning, for our 600 km journey for Siliguri, West Bengal, now via the Boxirhat border.

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Boxirhat border as usual had huge truck jam. Dont worry, there is a rural road that goes through the villages and all private cars take that and enter Bengal, so at end no one is stuck other than the truck drivers.


So finally again in West Bengal now, and we stop at this roadside tea shop.

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And we head towards Siliguri now.
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WB Forest Department has some beautiful small cottages at Monpong, just this side of Sevok bridge. We thought of spendingcouple of days over here before we head off to Kolkata. A spot booking was done after a request to the forest ranger, much thanks to him. Amazing how sometimes things just do fall in place!

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Mongpong is brilliantly located, overlooking the Teesta, and a halt/day can be spent over here rather than Siliguri for someone making a Sikkim or NE drive
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It overlooks a train track that enters the forests near Mongpong

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Another brilliant coincidence happened! Mr Sajoy Ghosh and Mr Chandramohan Mukherjee of BCMT, both travellers in their own right, coming to the cottage at night after sightseeing, spot our Safari VTT with Wanderers written, and immediately got the hunch that we were there. Needless to say we had great gossip and interchange of travel ideas that night.
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Next day we go out to just drive around the North Bengal forests of Murti and Chapramari

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Towards the road that goes to Bindu and Jhalong, there is a small checkgate in the middle of the forest. This has always been our favourite spot to just spend some time away. All so quiet with a narrow road and a railtrack going through the forest and a lone guard manning it.

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and as a goods train comes in, Bambi does get an experience of a lifetime, waving the green flag - its a big wish of any kid coming true!
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Later night we leave Monpong for the night drive to Siliguri along the horrendous NH34. Early dawn as neared Kolkata on NH34
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And for a coincidence Kolkata teambhpians were having a meet, and we drop by!!! It was great to catchup with old and the new bhpians.

Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_9079.jpg


And to say still more of coincidences, in the last Arunchal trip [ http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...eri-assam.html (Safari VTT-TMT Exotic Tour - Known and Unknown Western Arunachal and Nameri[Assam]) ] - the transport part of the trip was done with teambhpians pulsar56, absynthguzzler, and Ravveendrra


Seen here at my cousin sister's house in Siliguri, as we leave for Guwahati after hearty breakfast - in Dec 2009 during our Western Arunachal trip





We were also joined en route to talk about some of the routes by Sutripta-da. December 2009







Home at last finally after a huge and fantastic exploratory expedition trip. Safari VTT-TMT has brought us back to the safely each and every time from distant and remote lands, whatever be the situation we may have been. There is a reason why we would never sell this Safari, it is a part of the family now.

Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition, 2012-img_9083.jpg


So that's it, till the next trip or journey. Thanks much to all the readers and the appreciation. It does make the sharing worthwhile. Thanks again!


End

Last edited by adc : 2nd September 2012 at 03:45.
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Old 2nd September 2012, 12:31   #70
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Awesome. Bambi green flagging the train is the picture of the trip . Imagine the amount of surprise the guard on the rear of the goods train must have had when he spotted a kid flagging it green. Both the pictures of the train are very well executed. Eagerly awaiting your next trip.
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Old 2nd September 2012, 13:28   #71
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Wonderful travelogue, ADC!

Enjoyed the narration and the photos; our country does have tons of amazing places to visit - if only one takes the time and effort. Thank you very much for taking time out and sharing these with us.

I would strongly suggest your get these travelogues published. Seriously.
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Old 2nd September 2012, 14:13   #72
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Fantastic. Gone through the entire thread. A definite must plan. Please share some details on Mongpong. Seems to be an exciting stopover or a destination in itself.
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Old 2nd September 2012, 14:24   #73
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Fantastic writeup ADC da. Was waiting for the travelogue to end before I penned down my thoughts!

I have been to a few places in Arunachal myself and your pictures did bring a lot of memories back! And seeing what a 4X2 Safari is capable of is quite heartening when I wait for the launch of the Storme.
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Old 3rd September 2012, 10:50   #74
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
At the end would you please make it a point to specifically write the places you need permits for or a single permit for the entire AP will do from Tezpur?

Arunchal Pradesh is a restricted entry state and permits are required for the State. For Indian citizen, a Inner Line permit or ILP is required. They are given for a max of 15 days for a particular region of Arunachal.


Know more about it and from where you can make the permits through this link - http://arunachalipr.gov.in/ILPEntry.htm


In Kolkata it is impossible to get a permit in the same day itself and it normally takes around a week minimum. Due to the sudden travel this was out of question. The main rush in Kolkata is due to the number of officials and contractors that go due to the dam work and other construction activity going on over there

We took the chance at Tezpur and in these offices it is done within the day itself. Similar should be in the other towns of Assam from where permits are given.


Also for the circuit houses, we were plain lucky - to get a room and places in Daporijo, Koloriang, Nacho, or Tuting turning up just before dusk - there is no other accommodation other than those PWDs and houses. The correct procedure would be to call the circle officer of that district [phone nos. are on the district websites] at least a 15 days before a travel, and remind them off and on by calling again. Nothing works verbally, so get the official sanction of rooms notice pasted on the circuit house board - so that the caretakers also knows that you do have a booking.

Mechuka as a private guest house other than the circuit house.





Quote:
Also is it safe to camp outside in these regions? seeing armed hunters is there dangerous wildlife very common? But please continue your excellent narration.
This travelogue should point out the great misconception that one may have of Arunachal. Despite the wilderness and the long travel to interiors we never felt threatened or uncomfortable. In fact as seen and like any other of our past travels, we got some of the most amazing help from the locals there, surprised they were to see a WB number plate roaming around that area but again opened up as we stopped and talked.

Camping would be difficult as most othe roads cut through tropical jungles and it would not be advisable to camp, in fact not much camping ground is available with the hills on one side of the road. and the deep gorge of a river on the other. There is not much of a flat clear ground.

However for camping best place would be in Mechuka. As said, It has the "Ladakh feeling" but with all the greenery and pasture lands of Himachal. it is one of the best places in Arunachal, never miss a trip to this land.


One does come across intermittently BRO officials and workers are there on most of the routes as the forward posts depend upon supply from the plains.

And the only caution I would keep is - do not drive in the night in Arunachal for local as well as logistic problems. And also on the flip side, as said in the first page, if you bang up a bike or car in the interior parts of Arunchal, you buy them a new bike or car!!




Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Fantastic. Gone through the entire thread. A definite must plan. Please share some details on Mongpong. Seems to be an exciting stopover or a destination in itself.
Monpong is around 35 km from Siliguri across the river Teesta via the Coronation Bridge after a drive through Mahananda WLS. So one is just some 45 mts away from Siliguri yet not in the bustle of a city but surrounded by beautiful sounds of nature and green forests.

You can book online and know more about it via this link of WBFDC . Room rates are 1000 and 1200. There are 4 cottages, AC and non AC.

http://wbfdc.com/ecotourism.asp#





Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Awesome. Bambi green flagging the train is the picture of the trip . Imagine the amount of surprise the guard on the rear of the goods train must have had when he spotted a kid flagging it green. Both the pictures of the train are very well executed. Eagerly awaiting your next trip.
He was and smiled as he passed by us. The lone guard himself called Bambi up and gave the flag. It was a huge thing for him, he still sees that video recording often.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
I would strongly suggest your get these travelogues published. Seriously.
I could not even get the wanderers website up in the last 4 years. Plus so many interesting video clips are there. Publishing is far away but someday surely may be!



Quote:
Originally Posted by neel385 View Post
And seeing what a 4X2 Safari is capable of is quite heartening when I wait for the launch of the Storme.
With controlled acceleration and intuition one does get quite a bit out of a 2wd. But, but and but if you can afford, always go for a 4wd. There is no heroism or "saw that" feeling doing all the antics with a 2wd. I am just pushing my luck with every trip - sooner or later would get stuck.

Plus a real snow trip like what Tanveer does is not of the question, a 4wd may come into play once in a while but when it does one is glad to have it - and not bump around or slide around precariously.

So all said and done, without a 4wd, I do feel that I have not ventured enough still.



PS: Attached is the word document that has information collected from the different government websites. I just dumped the information as searched and as we left for Arunachal in a hurry. No GPS tracks or data, as do not have such. Anyway most of the places have a single road leading to a location and highways in the plains are marked well.
Attached Files
File Type: doc arunachal printout.doc (918.5 KB, 1195 views)

Last edited by adc : 3rd September 2012 at 11:17.
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Old 3rd September 2012, 15:02   #75
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Default Re: Safari 2.2 VTT-TMT -4500 km self-drive Central Arunachal exploratory expedition,

Thank you for this brilliantly detailed travelogue and the useful travel advise that you have posted. Have gone through all your posts and now I am just waiting to get back on land and go through the pictures. The only thing that's bothering me is the room availability at the circuit houses. Do you think we can camp at the circuit house and use their facilities in case their rooms are full?
Although I haven't posted much on this forum, I can imagine what it's like to want to go exploring and not have a 4wd. The only reason we sold our CRDe and purchased an M-Hawk was to get a 4wd.
Wish you the very best for further adventures.
Regards, Drive Safe.
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