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Old 9th December 2023, 15:31   #1
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To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.24.14-pm.jpeg

"Which is more important?" asked Big Panda, "the journey of the destination?"

"The company." said Tiny Dragon.




Nov 26, 2023:
I remembered these exact words, when bhpian @prakritij had been saying about this group of 8 people, who were huddled up near a bonfire on a chilly November evening in the remote village of Kaho in the Eastern Himalayas. "Yes, absolute gem of a company we have here", I said. As we were slowly welcoming the night while witnessing a wildfire on a mountain peak at the Indo-China border, I knew that these 8 people, few of whom were strangers till some days before, were there to make lasting memories.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.38-pm-2.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.36-pm.jpeg



One week before that:
Bhpian @hirihito had recently got himself a new Jimny MT; and when he called, I was eager to accompany him to a trip that he was planning to the remote Vijaynagar area of Arunachal Pradesh. Vijaynagar, situated near Myanmar border, though connected through helicopter services, is yet to be connected to the mainland via proper roads. Only it has been an year or two that people have been able to visit this place using capable offroaders.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.33-pm-2.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.33-pm.jpeg

You'll know more on that later by the man himself, as I have asked him to pen down the Vijaynagar part of this thread. Now, it so happened that one fine morning, he and I along with his long-time friend jumped on to the Jimny for a 2000 km long trip, which might take more than a week's time. Our plan was to join another group of bhpians who were on their way to Walong, Kibuthu and Kaho (in Arunachal Pradesh, Indo-China border), and then to head over to Vijaynagar on the way back.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.32.57-pm.jpeg

After a 600 km drive from Guwahati, we caught up with bhpians @prakritij, @chiranjitp, @devonwheels and others at Dibrugarh. The fun fact was that some of us knew each other for long, but were meeting in person for the first time. The people and cars that assembled in Dibrugarh:

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.05.14-pm.jpeg

Tezu:
The two cars that went ahead for the next part of the journey were @hitihito's Jimny and @prakritij's Fortuner. We finally moved ahead to cross the interstate border to Arunachal Pradesh. It was almost dusk by then.

We halted for the night at Tezu, a lovely town situated on the plains, with modern amenities available. It was a eager night, with the anticipation of what was to come:

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.57-pm-2.jpeg



Walong: Nov 25
Early next morning, we moved on to Walong, a place of 1962 war significance. Walong, along with the border mountainous villages of Kaho and Kibithu, have a significant war history, but not so widely known.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.28.00-pm.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.41-pm.jpeg


Perhaps a better person to provide more insight to the 1962 War aspect is @hirohito who is researching on this particular area. Till he writes his part, let us move ahead to more picturesque aspects of Walong and nearby Tilam and Dong hikes.

Next: more on Walong, Kaho and Kibithu.

Last edited by BhaskarG : 10th December 2023 at 00:30.
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Old 9th December 2023, 21:59   #2
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Exploring Walong: Tilam, Dong

Exploring Walong: Tilam, Dong



After a long day of driving we arrived at Walong late in the evening, only to find that this sleepy little town was closing up for the day. As you go deeper into lesser explored places, finding proper accommodation gets more and more difficult. There was some issue with the place that we had intended to stay, and so we started to frantically search for an alternative. Luckily, we got a nicer place some kilometers ahead of Walong, at a place called Tilam. Since the night was getting chilly, we gathered around an bonfire. @Hirohito, having experience with camping, is an expert in kindling a fire. @Prakritij is a good cook. Together we prepared the best dish of smoked meat. The music and the vibe began to set in, and it continued long into the night.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-8.47.41-pm.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-8.47.42-pm.jpeg

But the vibe continued for so long, that nobody could wake up the next morning for the intended hike to see the sun rising at Dong. Traditionally people visiting Tilam take on a customary trek to the Dong Valley at 2am in the morning to witness the (so called) first sunrise of the country.

Not us. We took to bed past 1am. The next morning this was all we could manage to see from the balcony:

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-8.48.23-pm.jpeg

By this time, two of us wised up. We decided to do the trek, at least attempt it, post sunrise. On the way we came across some healing hot springs,

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.58-pm-2.jpeg

and some scenic trails to a hanging bridge.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.40-pm.jpeg

We crossed the beautiful Lohit river with all its turquoise waters that reminded me of Jhelum of Kashmir:

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.40-pm-2.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-9.24.45-pm.jpeg

We came across beautiful meadows with horses grazing:

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.58-pm.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-9.26.34-pm.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-9.57.09-pm.jpeg

Yes, we missed the famed sunrise. So we did not bother trekking any further. No regrets now as such, since nature had filled up our hearts with peace nevertheless.

Next: Towards the East of the East: Kibithu and Kaho.

Last edited by BhaskarG : 10th December 2023 at 00:33.
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Old 9th December 2023, 22:09   #3
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Up Along the Lohit River (to Kibithu and Kaho):

Up Along the Lohit River (to Kibithu and Kaho):

I cannot help but spell it again, river Lohit is mesmerising. Here are some of our snaps, as we take on the journey farther up the river on our way to Kibithu, and then further upto Kaho:

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.05.34-pm.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-9.57.10-pm.jpeg


The easternmost road:

The road that we were on now, that is, from Walong to Kibithu/Kaho is claimed to be the easternmost road of India. However, this title will not be for long, once the roads to Vijaynagar are completed. Nothing is further East to Vijanagar!


The roads were dusty at places, bumpy and rocky at some others, but that is expected when you take on such journeys. Also, both the cars were built for such terrains and were capable of handling anything the road had to throw at them. So we did not bother much.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-10.20.55-pm.jpeg




Kibithu:

Kibithu is primarily a settlement at the Indo-China border. It is a Military Area which requires exclusive permission to enter. Good news it that permit can be obtained on the spot. The area open to the public is very small with very, very basic amenities available. However, you can see the Chinese camps and villages with bare eyes from Kibithu.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.53-pm.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.36-pm-1.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-9.57.11-pm.jpeg




Kaho:

On the other side of river Lohit, lies the proclaimed first village of India, Kaho. Kaho is a small, remote settlement consisting of only 17 families. Though surrounded by snow capped mountains, Kaho does not see much snow as it is protected from winds from all sides.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.38-pm.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.57-pm.jpeg


Since we wanted to go for some offroading, it only made sense to stay for the night at Kaho itself. As you already know by now, in these remote places, the facilities you get as a visitor are very basic, but hospitality sometimes cannot be matched by even big hoteliers.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.38-pm-1.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.54-pm-1.jpeg



Off to the Lohit River:

Having pursued the Lohit for so long, finally it was time to meet it in Kaho. We decided to take on a trail to the turquoise river till our vehicles allowed, and then to continue on foot. We lit a fire by the riverside and stayed till we were engulfed in darkness, and pierced by cold.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.59-pm-2.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.53-pm-1.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.54-pm-2.jpeg
To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.55-pm-1.jpeg


We were a group of 8 people, who were huddled up near a bonfire on that chilly November evening in the remote village of Kaho in the Eastern Himalayas.

"Which is more important?" asked Big Panda, "the journey of the destination?"

"The company." said Tiny Dragon.


I remembered these exact words, when someone exclaimed what a journey it was, what a cohesive group we have assembled! "Yes, absolute gem of a company we have here", I remember to have said. As we were slowly welcoming the night while witnessing a wildfire on a mountain peak at the Indo-China border, I knew that these 8 people, few of whom were strangers till some days before, were there to make lasting memories.

To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh-whatsapp-image-20231209-1.27.38-pm-2.jpeg

Last edited by BhaskarG : 10th December 2023 at 00:40.
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Old 9th December 2023, 23:40   #4
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To Vijaynagar

To Vijaynagar



If you remember, I had started this trip intending to go to Vijaynagar in the Jimny. Unfortunately, I could not do it due to some work related uncertainties. So bhpians @chiranjitp, @devonwheels and I put on a 24 hour non-stop drive from Kaho to Guwahati to be in our respective offices the next day. It helped that all of us drove!

However, @hirohito and his friend continued ahead to Vijaynagar in the Jimny without me. Once this post is moved out of the Assembly Line, @hirohito will continue this thread to include the Vijaynagar leg of the trip that I was originally a part of.

Thank you for being a wonderful reader!

Last edited by BhaskarG : 9th December 2023 at 23:42.
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Old 10th December 2023, 05:06   #5
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Re: To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th December 2023, 08:17   #6
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Re: To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh

Wonderful and comprehensive account @bhaskarG. My Zero touched 10,000 kms during our return journey. And finally heading for the scheduled servicing today. Will be happy to share my Vijoynagar experience in the days ahead. 🙏🏽
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Old 10th December 2023, 22:16   #7
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Re: Exploring Walong: Tilam, Dong

[quote=BhaskarG;5677103]

Exploring Walong: Tilam, Dong



Your thread has brought back many wonderful memories for me. I have stayed in Dibrugarh for two years and explored all these places. Northeast especially Arunachal has untouched natural beauty. Beautiful scenary at every corner , rivers and streams with crystal clear water mountain fresh air, I some times feel that it's silly that people throng only to leh for adventure when north east offers equally beautiful if not better scenic experience. But then I think it's good that tourism has not penetrated too much into the northeast else exploitation and damage of resources would pick traction there too I hope you have taken loads of kiwis and oranges back along with great memories from the trip
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Old 11th December 2023, 07:42   #8
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Re: To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh

Amazing. Arunachal has the most beautiful and scenic locations. Every location, village, district is beautiful. Infrastructure has developed like anything in the last couple of years. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12th December 2023, 19:37   #9
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Re: To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh

Amazing write-up Bhaskar. I have nothing much to add as you have pretty much covered all the aspects. Thank you. Wish we had more time to explore the East of East.
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Old 25th December 2023, 08:23   #10
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Re: To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh

Congratulations on a successful journey to the eastern most part of India. It's hard to believe that bhpians have gone so far where only few have been before.

The pictures are breathtaking of the terrain, the natural beauty and particularly the Lohit river. It becomes huge after it enters the plains and ultimately merges with mighty Brahmaputra river.

One question : what special permission you need to take before going to such remote areas in Arunachal Pradesh
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Old 25th December 2023, 18:40   #11
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Re: To the Easternmost "Road" of India: 4WD cars explore Walong and Vijoynagar in Arunachal Pradesh

Quote:
Originally Posted by SidTheChamp View Post
One question : what special permission you need to take before going to such remote areas in Arunachal Pradesh
The Inner Line Permit (ILP) will suffice for most locations. However to enter border areas under military supervision, you might need special permits. Procedures differ. For example, to visit Bum-La, you need prior permission from DC office. To visit Kibithu, you can obtain permit on the spot.
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