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Old 30th November 2018, 11:29   #1
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Default Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

We visited Sangti in Arunachal Pradesh in September, 2018. Some pics of the trip to start the log.


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Hold my hand and lead me home

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Lost in thoughts?

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Peaceful mornings

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A place to stop and ruminate

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House of prayers

I will try to give a short account of our trip in the following posts
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Old 30th November 2018, 11:38   #2
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Background:


As parents of a 1.5 year old boy, we were on the lookout for a destination with the following in mind:

1. The place should not have too much tourist rush.
2.The drive should not be too challenging.
3.Good accommodation facilities.

On our last few visits to Shillong and nearby places, we were completely turned off by the huge traffic jams caused by tourists from Assam. With Shillong and other usual suspects like Sohra ticked off the list, we started researching for some other places.

I read this excellent log from bhpian dhanushmenon which contained great details regarding the new road to Tawang via the Kalaktang route. The link:

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...need-know.html (Holiday in Tawang: All you need to know)

Even though we decided that Tawang would be too much for our baby, the log gave us confidence to travel someplace in between.

The name Sangti had been on our minds for some time and we decided our destination to be the same.

Preparations:

The weekend prior to the trip, I made a trip till the Arunachal border, Balemu with a friend just to be sure about the route. At Bhairabkunda, we filled up cheap diesel from the nearby Bhutan town.

Prior accommodation booking was done as I would be travelling with my wife and baby. Generally, people halt at Bomdila while travelling from Guwahati. But I felt that would be a long drive and we searched for stay options to reduce the driving distance. After a bit of research, we found a homestay at Shergaon which is 250 kms from Guwahati. We also booked our stay at Dirang at Gonpalok homestay.

Vehicle:
My trusty Bolero LX 4wd. I will pen down a short review of my vehicle at the end of the log.

Last edited by gunin : 1st December 2018 at 18:07.
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Old 30th November 2018, 12:07   #3
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Default re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Day 1: Guwahati to Shergaon

Distance: 250 kms

Road conditions: Poor to Good (In Assam), Good to Excellent (in Arunachal)

We started around 6 am from Guwahati for our destination of the day, Shergaon. The route for the day was Guwahati- Sipajhar- Rowta- Kahibari- Bhairabkunda- Balemu- Kalaktang-Gyoto monastery- Shergaon.

We had breakfast in NRL Dhaba at Sipakjhar with warm puris and tea. The friendly staff at the dhaba wished us a safe journey.

The roads in Arunachal from Balemu to all the way up to Shergaon is in very good condition except for some small patches.

Some pics:

Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-393.jpg
Welcome to Arunachal Pradesh

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Misty Foggy Fresh!

The Kalaktang route is slowly gaining more popularity among travellers going to Tawang. There are a number of good restaurants on the way now. Construction work is going on now in the alternate Bhalukpong route and there are specific timings when the road is opened for travel. It is better to avoid the Bhalukpong route for the time being.

Some pics of the beautiful roads:

Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-398.jpg


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Rumbling along

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One for the road

I was happy to note that our son was enjoying the journey. We had previously taken him to trips to Pakke Tiger Reserve, Shillong etc. But as this was his first long trip over a few days, we were a little apprehensive.

Beautiful scenery usually makes up for bad roads but on this route even the roads were good. And the traffic is almost non-existent. We enjoyed trundling along at a leisurely pace and stopping wherever we liked.

Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-406.jpg


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Say your prayers and carry on

We stopped for lunch at a dhaba in Tenzing gaon. Menu was momo, thukpa and rice thali. We opted for veg thali as the chicken and pork were over. We bought some local apples from the Dhabas. We were not aware that apples are grown in the valley and though they don’t look very shiny and nice, the apples were very sweet. In fact, the areas near Tenzing gaon and Shergaon have a lot of vegetable and apple cultivation.


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Dhaba

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Cultivation near Tenzing gaon

Some pics from Shergaon Valley:
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Beautiful roads leading to Rupa and beyond

We had a little difficulty in locating our stay for the night, Lamuzuki Homestay. An elderly gentleman directed us uphill towards the market which turned out to be two small shops. The homestay is located near the circle office of the village. It’s a beautiful house with all the modern amenities and a very welcoming and genuine gentleman as our host. Our son was almost immediately running around with the two huge dogs of the host.

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Lamuzukhi Homestay

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Son with his new friends

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View from the Homestay

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Clean and comfortable interiors

After freshening up, we went for a walk around the small town/ village of Shergaon. I love these small villages of Arunachal- Khupa, Mechuka, Anini and now Shergaon. The people are friendly and nobody seems to be in any kind of rush. No mobile connectivity is the cherry on the cake.

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Exploring Shergaon

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Apple orchards


In Arunachal Pradesh, people generally keep a traditional kitchen for smoking and drying meat etc. In the evening, as the weather grew cold we were invited for dinner and drinks in the kitchen. The fireplace was lit up for our comfort and the host even invited the neighbour’s kid to play with our son. Food was excellent with rice, pork, chicken and fish over discussions about the local way of life. The host insisted on trying some local rajma dish for dinner which we declined. I mean pork vs rajma? No chance. But we were underestimating the rajma.

Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-img_20180904_195011.jpg
Son making some more new friends

The homestay is the only residential house in the area. After dinner, we retired for the day.

Last edited by gunin : 1st December 2018 at 18:10.
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Old 30th November 2018, 12:40   #4
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Default re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Day 2: Shergaon to Dirang

Distance: 100 kms (via Bomdila)

Road condition: Very good


There is an alternate route from Shergaon via Mandala pass which will land one directly at Dirang bypassing Bomdila. However, our host said that the road was in bad condition and is better avoided. Going by the traditional route via Bomdila also gives one a chance to visit the beautiful Chillipam monastery.

Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-488.jpg
Good morning Lamuzukhi Homestay

We had a heavy breakfast of rotis and rajma. The rajma was absolutely delicious and we understood why it was being insisted on. The kind host did not charge us anything for the food and wished us a safe journey. The stay at Shergaon was easily the best one we had during the entire trip. We decided to stay there during the return journey as well.

Our first stop for the day was Chilipam monastery. One needs to take a diversion from the main road on the right and a climb up what looks like a broken uphill road. The broken part is only at the beginning of the road and the rest of it is in an acceptable condition. Incidentally, google maps shows this route instead of the main highway for going from Shergaon to Bomdila via Rupa. The road is very narrow and luckily we did not encounter any vehicle on the way to the Gompa.

On the way, we saw some rocks sliding downwards on to the road just in front of us. We heard some shouting from above the hill and by the time we could cross the place, a huge boulder hit our car. It was not a landslide and was the work of construction workers clearing something above the road. I inspected the vehicle but luckily the rock sliders took the hit and nothing was damaged. I gave the workers my regards but I think they were too far above to acknowledge it.

We continued on our way and came across this beautiful waterfall.

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Break time

We soon reached the Chillipam Gompa and what a beautiful, peaceful place it is. It has wide, open lawns where we could unleash our little gazelle and off he went running. It is one of the most beautiful gompas I have visited.

Some pics:

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Chillipam Gompa

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Lawns

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View from the top

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Wife and kid enjoying

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Father and son

Some pics of the Bolero:

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Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-567.jpg

We had some food in the lawns of the gompa and spent some time just lazing around.

We continued on our way and reached the town of Rupa. It seemed like a busy little town with petrol pumps.

From Rupa, we joined the regular Bomdila route from Bhalukpong. The roads are much improved from my previous visit in 2015. We had to wait for one hour at a place a few kms short of Bomdila where some road clearing work was going on.

We had booked our stay at Gonpalok Homestay, Dirang. It is located on the other side of the river and the easiest way to find the place is to follow the signboards leading to Norphel Retreat, the biggest and best hotel in Dirang. The homestay has beautiful and clean rooms and very friendly people. We had a late lunch and slept off for a bit.

Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-568.jpg
At Gonpalok Homestay

In the evening, while the missus rested, my son and I went for a stroll. There were some kids playing and my son was soon running around with them. There are a lot of kiwi and some other kind of fruit plantations in the vicinity. Strangely, the weather was warmer than in Shergaon where we had to sit by a fireplace.

Dinner consisted of rice and chicken made with cheese the traditional way. It was good. Tomorrow we go to Sangti.

Last edited by gunin : 1st December 2018 at 18:14.
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Old 30th November 2018, 13:14   #5
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Default re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Day 3: Dirang to Sangti

Distance: 7 kms

Road conditions: Bad


The previous night, we had discussions with the hosts of Gonpalok homestay about stay options in Sangti. We learned there are a few homestays available in Sangti and also got the contact number of one of the homestays. But Sangti being so close to Dirang, we did not pre-book the homestay in Sangti as we could always fall back to Dirang in the evening.

We took a stroll to the riverside which is visible from a distance. There were lots of kiwi plantations.

Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-588.jpg

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Walking to the riverside at Dirang


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Kiwi plantations

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Some fruit

Some pics from the riverside:

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Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-599.jpg

After a heavy breakfast of roti and vegetables, we started towards Sangti and encountered the first bad roads of the trip. After a bumpy trip, we finally arrived at Sangti. To be honest, we were a little underwhelmed by Sangti in the beginning. It is a beautiful place no doubt but we were comparing it to Shergaon which is an equally beautiful place. Also, we were surprised at the warmer weather at Sangti.

We found a signboard of a Letro homestay which is a campsite by the river. After booking our stay in one of tents we went off exploring Sangti valley. If Shergaon had apple orchards, Sangti is full of corn cultivation. There were stacks of corn in almost every house there. We were slowly appreciating the beauty of Sangti valley.

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Letro Homestay

Some pics from Sangti Valley:


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Off to see the valley

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How green is my valley

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Bolero Lx 4wd

As evening fell, the weather grew cooler and we could see how beautiful the valley is. The river flowing nearby added a lovely touch to the setting. Our son was busy playing with owner’s dogs as we sat and watched. Some kids from the neighborhood also came over and started playing in the homestay campus.

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Kids enjoying

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Peaceful evening


Dinner was cheese chicken cooked in traditional monpa (the local tribe) way and rice. Tomorrow, we return to Shergaon.

Last edited by gunin : 1st December 2018 at 18:17.
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Old 30th November 2018, 15:00   #6
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Day 4: Sangti to Shergaon

I woke up a little early and went off exploring the valley. The sun had just risen and Sangti had me completely mesmerised. If stay options are improved, I believe Sangti will evolve as a not-to-be-missed destination.

Some early morning pics:

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Good morning Sangti

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Baby was up and running too

We started soon for Shergaon, our destination for the day. My wife and I had been Tawang in May, 2015 previously and we remembered having a great lunch at a dhaba located in a place called 6 mile near Bomdila. We somehow recognised the same dhaba and ordered our breakfast cum lunch. Although the place looked a little shabbier than before, the food was good and the people were warm. After food, I remarked to the owner that a lady and a kid were there the previous time we visited. The owner, a simple person said with great sadness that she was his wife and that now they were separated. She took the kid also with her. Now, I could understand the shabby and disheveled looks of the dhaba, the signboard of the dhaba- named after his wife ripped apart. We all have our trials and tribulations.

We reached Bomdila and visited the monastery there. Some cleaning work was being done on the day of our visit.

Some pics from the monastery:

Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-658.jpg

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Prayer wheels

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Posing

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Warm clothes on

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Foggy

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Watching over the baby flower plucker

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Nope. My old man takes better shots

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Enjoying

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Lets go

We stopped at Rupa for a bit of shopping. Wife was looking for shoes and son was looking for JCB toys. We asked our way to Shergaon via the main highway (as opposed to going through Chillipam monastery) and found the right road. One has to ask for the road going through stadium/ field.

From Rupa, once again it was smooth sailing to Shergaon. We had already informed the owner of Lamuzukhi homestay and he was very happy to see us again. He wanted to take us to the nearby apple orchard but we slept off and by the time we woke up, it was already dark. If on our previous visit, the food was great this time they prepared a feast. Pork, chicken, the rajma, roti, dal, rice- sit and eat the fireplace by the kitchen. Shergaon will be a destination for us now if we get three days in our hands in the future.

Tomorrow, we return to Guwahati.

Day 5: Shergaon to Guwahati

We wanted to see the apple orchard but decided against it as the journey to Guwahati would be a long one and we did not want to stretch it further. Breakfast was roti and rajma. Once again, the host refused any payment for food saying we ate so less. We said farewell to the wonderful hosts at Lamuzukhi homestay and tanked up at the Shergaon fuel bunk.

We bought some apples from a small shop on the way. We relished driving on the beautiful road and enjoyed the views. Just before reaching the Assam border, we had lunch at a dhaba. We also encountered heavy fog in some places.

The rest of the journey was uneventful and we reached our home in Guwahati in the evening.

Thanks for reading

Last edited by gunin : 1st December 2018 at 18:20.
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Old 30th November 2018, 15:13   #7
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Default re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

A few words about my Bolero:

At present, my Bolero has done around 46 thousand kms since I got it two years back. As I don’t see myself starting an ownership thread anytime soon, here are some thoughts about my 2016 Bolero LX Di Turbo 4wd.

Likes:

1. Go anywhere vehicle: The Bolero may not do hard-core off-roading like jeeps but it has taken everything we have thrown at it in its stride so far. I don’t have to worry about road conditions anymore when deciding upon a destination. It has seen a lot of rough roads and sometimes no roads and has always got us through.

2. Modification friendly: Bigger tyres, rock sliders, Aux lights, aftermarket dampers, longer shackles etc.- one can modify this vehicle without much adverse side effects.

3. Easy to maintain: The spares are cheaper compared to other vehicles from the Mahindra stable. For example, the fuel filter is cheaper in the DI turbo compared to the M2DiCR powered Bolero. Also, there is no need for frequent alignment.

4.Reliability: It does not have niggling issues. It can be attributed to lack of any features but the net result is an extremely robust and reliable vehicle I can trust.

5. Looks: I love its looks without any curves and sophistication. Pesky autos and other irritating creatures of the road also are generally more tolerable when I am driving the Bolero.

6. Low-end torque: The torque makes city driving and hill driving a cakewalk. There is no need to slip the clutch. I regularly stall my father’s petrol Swift as I am so used to the torque of the DI turbo.

7. Good cruiser: In our neck of the woods, the roads are relatively less crowded allowing the Bolero to build up a comfortable cruising speed. 90 kmph feels comfortable on my Bolero.

Dislikes:

1. Very uncomfortable: It has leaf springs- front and back. The ride comfort in the middle and last rows is especially bad with a very strong whiplash after going over a hump. The ride gets worse on undulating concrete roads. I have installed rear Innova dampers recently and the initial impressions are positive.

2. Noisy engine: There is no way around the noisy diesel clatter. On a positive note, I don’t have to honk at people in narrow lanes as people get out of the way hearing the engine sound. It has LET (Loud Engine Tech)

3. Under-powered: Overtaking has to be carefully planned. It can be a pain in busy two lane roads.

4. Cramped interiors. With the front seat adjusted for a 5’10 driver, there is hardly any leg room for middle row passengers. I have pushed back the middle row and removed the last row jump seats. This has given some additional leg room for the middle row passengers.

5. Rust!! My Bolero has rusts in the frame below the windshield.

6. Lack of features: People laugh at me when I say I got AC installed on my Bolero. For example, I don’t want very high end features like the doors locking with a beep sound with the press of a button but even a simple one like in my alto where all doors can be locked via the driver door knob would have sufficed.


7. Fear of theft: There are so many stories of Boleros getting stolen. I park mine very carefully in well-lit and busy areas if I get the choice.

8. Braking is poor on my Bolero with the wheels locking up easily on sudden braking even at moderate speeds. The braking has improved after I upgraded to Continental Crosscontacts AT 235/75 R15.

Overall, I am satisfied with my Bolero as I was aware of its shortcomings before purchase. It meets my requirements of travelling in relative comfort to difficult-to-reach places. When I am having tea at a roadside stall, I look back at my bolero and go- Nice choice!!


A couple of pics of my Bolero:


Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-938.jpg


Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-940.jpg


Thank you for reading.

Last edited by gunin : 1st December 2018 at 18:24.
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Old 3rd December 2018, 07:36   #8
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Default Re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd December 2018, 07:48   #9
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Default Re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

What a beautiful place! When we all tend to think, every thing is done and dusted, there comes another!
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Old 3rd December 2018, 19:26   #10
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Default Re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Beautiful photos and narration Gunin!!! Really enjoyed this travelogue. Thanks for those beautiful pictures!
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Old 4th December 2018, 11:30   #11
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Default Re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

An excellent travelogue with amazing photographs.
I must say Arunachal have a lot to offer. Thanks for Sharing. Keep travelling, Keep writing.
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Old 4th December 2018, 12:51   #12
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Default Re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
What a beautiful place! When we all tend to think, every thing is done and dusted, there comes another!
Thanks a lot. Indeed, there are lots of places yet to be covered .

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrodoOfTheShire View Post
Beautiful photos and narration Gunin!!! Really enjoyed this travelogue. Thanks for those beautiful pictures!
Thank you for the appreciation and kind words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJM1214 View Post
An excellent travelogue with amazing photographs.
I must say Arunachal have a lot to offer. Thanks for Sharing. Keep travelling, Keep writing.
Thank you. I will definitely keep posting more.
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Old 4th December 2018, 20:42   #13
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Default Re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Captivating and breathtaking snaps aided with wonderful narration , brings back fond memories.

I recall that there was a Sheep breeding farm at Sangti that was very picturesque and the Sheep dotting the countryside made for picture postcard photo opportunity. The valley is very scenic , reminds you of Swiss Landscapes.

Sharing a few old snaps , hope you don't mind..

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Old 5th December 2018, 10:07   #14
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Default Re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

First of all thanks for sharing your experience with all of us, it brought back very beautiful memories of our AR trip. Plan to visit AR and the adjoining States again.
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...uster-awd.html (Hyderabad to Arunachal, Assam & Meghalaya in a Duster AWD)


On the way, same spot we stopped too.
Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-img_3875.jpg

From Sheep breeding land.
Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh-img_20171219_101137.jpg

The pictures of Bolero look superb.
Keep traveling and sharing such wonderful experiences.

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Old 5th December 2018, 14:43   #15
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Default Re: Road-trip to Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Quote:
Originally Posted by gunin View Post
[b]It has wide, open lawns where we could unleash our little gazelle and off he went running.
For a second, I was wondering if the gazelle was your son or the Bolero

I love Rajma!
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