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Old 8th August 2011, 15:54   #211
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Dear Merwyn,

I have been to some of these remote and beautiful places while serving in the Army.

But to be there on your own with minimal logistic support, with only your Wanderlust dictating the route and your concerted effort to mingle and be a part of the local culture...

Respect friend. May your tribe grow.
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Old 8th August 2011, 16:04   #212
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Hi Merwyn,
Bravo! I chanced upon your thread today and it was chicken soup for my soul.
This is something i long to do..but maybe lack the courage to. For the time being i shall live it through you..
Needless to say you have a place to stay and rest up whenever you are in Delhi next.
Do keep the posts coming as there is a lot of very useful knowledge contained within..many lessons to learn also.
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Old 9th August 2011, 01:20   #213
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Originally Posted by BulZire View Post
Hey Merwyn, Hope you are one among the top six finalists in CEAT's Biker of the Year contest .
My heartiest congrats on reaching the finals and wish you all the best to win the title.
You surely deserve it man, Good Luck
Hey, thank you or the wishes, I did not win the title but i did get more than what i needed.
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Old 9th August 2011, 06:45   #214
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Originally Posted by Roadinc View Post
Hey, thank you or the wishes, I did not win the title but i did get more than what i needed.
Thats great Merwyn, I am glad for you. I was waiting for a call/ PM for your logistics, but I guess you didnt have much time in Pune itself.
Whats the next destination?
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Old 9th August 2011, 10:13   #215
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Thats great Merwyn, I am glad for you. I was waiting for a call/ PM for your logistics, but I guess you didnt have much time in Pune itself.
Whats the next destination?
I am currently in Blr, will be headed up to the himalayas in a few days, not yet decided which part of Himalayas though ! Arunachal is back on the cards before christmas, but currently contemplating between Kashmir and Himachal.

I wished i had enough time in lonavala, and hoping to see some team-bhpians around, But guess i will have to wait..
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Old 9th August 2011, 10:31   #216
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Originally Posted by Roadinc View Post
I am currently in Blr, will be headed up to the himalayas in a few days, not yet decided which part of Himalayas though ! Arunachal is back on the cards before christmas, but currently contemplating between Kashmir and Himachal.

I wished i had enough time in lonavala, and hoping to see some team-bhpians around, But guess i will have to wait..
Sad that i was not able to catch up with you. Do PM once you are back again in this part of the town and you have my number as well now.

All the best for your Himalayan sojourn. Do keep updating the thread.
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Old 18th August 2011, 12:00   #217
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After the Vijaynagar trek I stayed back in Miao for some time making new friends and understanding the socio-culture aspects of the tribes in eastern Arunachal.

After spending ample time with the Lisu tribe I decided to move west bound in this humongous state. Next tribe i spent exploring was the Mishmi tribe which led me to Glow lake (the account of which is available in my previous posts).

It has been pinching me to know that after almost 3 months after arriving in the land of the dawn lit mountains I have still not ventured into the higher mountains though I have been into deeper jungles through endless river and strenuous uphill climbs……. Yet I was still hovering around the foot hills of the Himalayas. There has been a lot of thoughts and advice given to me by the local tribes about the timing of my journey heading into the mountains. It seemed I may be walking on a thin line taking a chance with nature as the pre-monsoon showers were on the charts soon. However, while coming down from Glow the weather was unbelievably clear, I could see the snow peak again at a distance. Sighting clear skies I tuned up the bike and rode into Anjaw district. By now the only thing I knew was Kibitoo which has an army post patrolling the china border but no idea how I was going to reach there …. May be..

My ride started from Wakro saying good byes to the host family. 17kms away was a calm Parashuram Kund, calm because the last visit here the wind almost blew my tent away. Further up After climbing ‘Hawa Pass’ and ‘Lohit View’ the road then winds down the Lohit River through few hanging bridges, one of them connects the 2 districts which are dominantly the Mishmi territory.

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The climb till Hawa pass is special. On one side you can see the Lohit river flow through beautiful gorges and spreads into the plains of the Kamlang forest, the river branches out in the plains and meets again at a distance to further branch out in the horizon. The other side of Hawa pass is land of the mountains, a larger extent of the Mishmi hills, from here it feels like the snow peaks are just a leap away. The 2 districts are connected with the ‘tedding’ bridge made out of steel and wood.

Anjaw has pristine thick tropical forest with small Mishmi bastis on either side of the mountains, connected through roads maintained by the BRO. Hayuliang is a big head quarters 100kms from wakro, this is where you will need to tank up and carry fuel to make it to Kibitoo and back. This is your best chance to get phone network after that communication becomes rare. The road can also connect to Chaglagun and Goiliang. Further up from Walong a diversion will take you to Hawaii a high mountain place with pine forest and snow.

To meet the tribes one can venture on foot into tracks on either side of the tarred road into the mountains and to find Mishmi settlements. Their houses are made of bamboo, built on stilts with identical rooms built in a row connected by a passage. The no. of rooms will depend on the no. of families live in the house out of which the first room is reserved for the guests. In the center of every room is a Chowkha (fire square) which is used for cooking and keeping the place warm. The no. of people living under one roof can go up to 40, if the no increases a new house will be built for the new couple and another family from the old house will have to share the roof.

It’s a joint family system and seems it works perfectly fine in this environment. Kids are looked after by one another, each family cooks their own food, primarily they only make rice and boiled vegetable mainly leaves, all sorts of leaves which they translate in Hindi as jungli patta all of the food is made without any spices known to us, sometimes it is accompanied by ‘Mithun’ meat which is only available if there is a Pooja in the basti or in the family outside the basti. The only ingredients they buy from the market is salt, sugar, and tea. Men in these tribe spend their time in Farming, Hunting, collecting firewood from deeper jungle and fishing. Women collect firewood; help out in the farm and cook.

The day I arrived in Anjaw, the skies which were clear and bright started growling and throwing some flashes, it was the beginning of monsoon (pre-monsoons). I rode 12kms further from Hayuliang to Supliang, a small village of about 30 households. Here I found a school compound and started inquiring about pitching the tent. The ice was broken pretty soon and I got invited to stay in a Mishmi house which shared the same compound of the school. (These Mishmi houses are different from the once I stayed in Lohit district)
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As I enter the house, a passage wall sported the sacrificial remains (skulls and horns) of various animals like the Mithun, deer, cow and a few I could not identify. These are displayed as a status symbol of the family and all take pride in their display. As soon as I settled in that house the rains came down full power and how? It never stopped for days. The rivers rose with a muddy color, land slides ensured that the roads got blocked, no way of any communication, and no electricity. The sound of thunder almost made you deaf and the cold does not allow you to leave the fire site in the house. This was my introduction to Anjaw district. Stuck at one place in cold and darkness, I used this time to take as much rest as possible till even that became restless. Now I was willing to do anything even if that meant I had to step out in the rains, it was time to experience this region the way it is.

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On the seventh day a tribal friend and I headed towards a village deep into the mountains for a tribal ceremonial pooja which was organized for good health of the 3 yr old kid. The route was a 4 hr steep climb in the rains with mud sliding down the slopes to make its way to the already turbulent river streams in the valley. On the way there are gates built to stop Mithun's from venturing too far in the forest. The village(Barfu) on the top is mostly surrounded by cardamom fields and by the time we reached there the light had already faded.

This pooja looked more like a party, groups of people sitting around the fire and drinking Apom (rice beer) in huge bamboo mugs that can contain a litre and a half of the beverage. The men and the elders where also occupied in the ritualistic consumption of opium which is an important ingredient in any mishmi ceremonial ritual. The Actual pooja was taking place only in the first room as you enter the house. Every guest is given a huge chunk of sacrificial Mithun meat, mostly its raw you can decide what you want to do with the meat. Some cut it into small pieces and roast it on the fire, some pack it in leaves and take it back home. The host ensures everyone is having a good time. This party goes on through the night. I preferred to sleep after the tiring trek but not before they cud pick on me and my sleeping bag which was a topic of amusement for many that night as they has never seen anyone sleep in a bag.
That night I could feel the thunder right above my head and it felt like lightning could strike anytime. Eventually I put my guard down and went to sleep, not sure if i would see the morning skies again. The thoughts that came into my mind are well put by an author when he was travelling the Himalayas. ‎"why is death so much on my mind when i do not feel i am afraid of it? Between clinging and letting go, i feel a terrific struggle. this is a fine chance to let go, to "win my life by loosing it."

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Next morning ,the sun did show up but for a short while, all the guest started to leave the house and were contributing money, silver jewelry and pots to help the host cover the cost of the pooja. The next 48hrs the host will stay inside the house with no visitors allowed during this period.

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After arriving back to the village I was put up I stayed for a couple more days and went fishing till the roads cleared up but the skies never were in a mood to take a break. So the first opportunity I got I headed to Tezu in lohit district which was in the opposite direction to get some charge in my laptop and camera. Here I decided to take a break from the mountains and wait till the rain eases out.

The break from the mountains brings me to the south in Bangalore, guess it is the ideal place to spend monsoon and also work towards setting up a remuneration structure that will keep me on the move post the monsoons.

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My heart is heavy as I am leaving the Himalayas, but will have to get back during Christmas to honor the invitation of the Lisu tribe. And this time I am thinking of bringing some light to the eastern most villages in India.
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Old 18th August 2011, 12:11   #218
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A great narration roadinc.Thanks for showing us our own India.
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Old 18th August 2011, 13:15   #219
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A great narration roadinc.Thanks for showing us our own India.
So true Waseem Bhai. I eagerly await Merwyn's updates and the moment I see his update in the thread, I am sure it would be worth the read. It takes real courage and guts to do what Merywn's doing right now. Not everyone gets a chance to follow and do what they wish to do. Merwyn's setting the bars higher for others.

I am eagerly waiting to see, if this travelouge and experience turn into a Full Fledged Book, which I would surely love to buy and read every word it it again and again.
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Old 18th August 2011, 15:19   #220
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Whoa Roadinc, you just keep taking the wanderlust to higher levels mate! There are real great accounts of tribal life and I feel enlightened. Carry on exploring!
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Old 23rd October 2011, 16:30   #221
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Namma Bengaluru:
Bangalore oh Bangalore!

I remember thee, the times you gave me shelter, stability and friends.

I am in Bangalore, meeting old friends and making some new ones. It is surprising to see the response from people about my ventures on the move. On one hand it is exciting to meet new people and on the other hand it is difficult to explain what I do and why? The common questions I have been asked is :
What do you do?
How long will you do this?
How do you sustain yourself?
It appears that my lifestyle have put a few people to think seriously about an alternate way of life

Looking back, it has been over a year that I started this journey and now it has become a lifestyle. For now I can’t imagine of being in the grind again. The first few days in city was disorienting enough, searching for mountains in distant skies, street lights lit skies simulate the evening skies of the north east. Everything is valued in money: good air, clean water, safe roof, healthy food. You a pay a price for everything, you even pay a price for not having these in the form of sickness and medicines. Money here is an integral part of the DNA of living.

Unlike my other destination this pit stop in Bangalore has a purpose:
Structure a regular minimal income: in the regions I have been exploring one can work in farms and get food and shelter but you may not be able to earn fuel and other excesses for which you may need currency.

Revamp the website: A new logo that will define the experience of further and beyond as a journey.
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Network: Meet as many people as possible, and share experiences.
Structure content: catalogue experiences that I have collected over the past one and a half year and archive it.

Fix the bike: My only constant companion on this journey, need to give her the attention.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 17:01   #222
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^^ Looks like you got your bike painted! Looks nice!
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Old 23rd October 2011, 17:20   #223
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Cave explorers:

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What started as a regular road trip with friends to Kukkal in dindigul district of Tamil Nadu, culminated into a vision of being on the move where the road paved the path for experiences, Rajiv and I were quick to jump in and so the idea of Further and beyond was born. In the initial years we used kukkal as a playground. Frequent treks in the annamalai forest, trying out different ways of being efficient on the move, rationing food and water, learning to pitch tents in the right place and testing ourselves in extreme weather till the time we were ready to take a bigger step.

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A visit to Kukkal was a must as I was in the south, a sacred ground where we can revisit the origin of our dream. We put a few friends and equipped ourselves to go further into the forest which was once inhibited by the Palani tribe who stayed in the kukkal cave about 800yrs ago. The trek to the cave is about 20 kms through leech infested shola forest, mountain ridges, lush meadows and wild life.

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It is easy to get lost in the maze of bison trails to find the cave if you are not with a local forest guide. The cave is formed by a huge piece of rock jutting out of the mountain wall. The temperature in the cove is relatively moderate from the outside; there are naturally formed partitions which separates the kitchen from the living space.
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Once we were there it was back to the basics find water, gather firewood and cook food. The other time was spent in gazing into the skies and spotting the bison and wild boars on the opposite mountain, making popcorn and roasting marsh mellows.
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We have had our eyes on the caves for at least for 4 yrs, finally we were here and like any of our other trips our visions now were going beyond the caves. Beyond the cave is what the locals call it Chinna mudi periya mudi, 2 hill tops where we were told a 360’degree view of the entire range.
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A week later Rajiv and me found ourselves headed in that direction. We came back to the cave rested for the night and next morning started another 20 km hike on the ridge of the mountain range. Our tents were left behind in the kukkal cave and we hoped we would find shelter in another smaller cave our guide had suggested but it was not to be, Our local forest guide had been this deep in the forest some 4 years ago and by now the landscape had changed with fresh grassland with tracks made by bison’s and one of the tracks we encountered a bison head on. This was enough for our guide to get disoriented , getting back seemed to be the safest option, he was not sure where the cave was and since the jungle had grown significantly and he feared there could be tigers not too far away. So without much thought we headed back 20 kms while the light was fading quickly on us. That night as soon as we reached the cave cooked a very simple meal and passed out. The next day we stayed in the cave as we were too exhausted to venture out.

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Old 23rd October 2011, 17:23   #224
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^^ Looks like you got your bike painted! Looks nice!
Yes i did, wanted a change for the bike, it had broken down couple of times and since i was in Bangalore it was the right place to do so.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 23:26   #225
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@roadinc
On a different site I followed your trip upto Chandigarh. After that I lost touch until I joined team-bhp.
Great to read about your journey to Arunachal and your wanderlust.
rgrds

Last edited by Amartya : 24th October 2011 at 00:06. Reason: Kindly try and type in full and proper English.That means "I" instead of "i" and capitals at the start of a sentence etc.
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