The calm and peace of Dirang

Cool rivers & clear skies make for a perfect getaway

Tourism

August 4, 2021

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The calm and peace of Dirang

The Thupsung Dhargye Ling Monastery inaugurated by Dalai Lama is the main tourist attraction among the visitors (Credit- Northeast Guide)

Dirang, a small village tucked away in the district of West Kameng in Arunachal Pradesh, has in recent times upgraded from being a layover to the destination the tourists hope to reach.

A quaint little quiet village set amidst lush green trees, cool little streams set against high mountains could be straight from a picture-perfect movie set of a Disney production. And Dirang may well be just that. A small village planted in Arunachal Pradesh, North-East, just east of the border with Bhutan and on the foothills of the famed hill station of Tawang.

Home to the Monpa tribe, the only nomadic tribe in all of the north-east, their culture has evolved to be unique and distinct, which gives the village its very individualistic identity.

“It was probably one of my best touring experiences yet,” says Almas Wasim, a medical student based in Silchar, Assam. “The scenery, the people, the culture, everything at the end added to our two-day stay at the village.”

Till recently, Dirang was mainly considered as a layover destination by most tourists enroute to Tawang. However, as some have begun discovering it, Dirang actually makes for a quiet and intimate stay with family and friends.

“I went there with my friends in last October,” says Nyago Ate, a 26-year-old student from Pune, “our destination was Sangti valley but instead we decided to stay in the village because of network issues and let me tell you that was the best decision I could have made, as my experience turned out to be amazingly vivid.”

The scenic beauty of farms, hot water springs and apple orchards bring in the tired travellers like no other. The most distinguished activity in the area is perhaps, bird watching in winter when migratory birds, notably the black-necked, Siberian storks visit the north-east.

“It is one of the most visited places in the state,” says Atashi Bapu, a tour operator in Arunachal Pradesh, “that maybe because it’s the halfway point between Assam and Tawang, but in the last few years, tourists have started to come for longer vacations, with the sole purpose of staying here for the whole trip.”

Bapu also informs Media India Group that the best time to visit Dirang is from November to February during the winter.

To reach the place though, it is better to rent a car, because the public transportation in the area can’t be trusted, says Bapu. He tells Media India Group that to have a vacation at Dirang, one does not need to plan way before ahead, “Most tour packages to Dirang are highly customisable and cut out to fit people’s convenience.”

Ate says it is safe to keep a budget of around  INR10,000. “That way you will be able to get the full experience, especially the food. The local cuisine is unique to the village and hence, can be costly,” adds Ate.

Other than its cuisine, the biggest architectural attraction in the village of over 9,000 people is its Grand Monastery, Thupsung Dhargye Ling. Built in the image of Tibetan-Bhutanese Buddhism, the designs and the paintings that adorn its walls leave the visitors mesmerised. What makes it even more special is that the monastery was inaugurated in 2017 by the Dalai Lama himself.

However, some tourists say that the real gem of Dirang is Khastung Gompa, a temple hidden away in the mountain slopes. Over 500 years old, the traces of culture, history and learnings are still etched into the leather-bound prayer wheels in the temple. Even after all these years, the Buddhist monks come to make pilgrimage to the worn but still proudly standing temple.

For nature lovers, Dirang is a goldmine. Surrounded by mountains, visitors can camp out under the stars and beside the cool riverbed, away from the hustle bustle of the city. “We camped out all five nights that we were in the village, it has to be one of the most surreal experiences one can have,” says Ate, “We were under the clear sky, with the stars in clear view, and the weather was cool, which led to the rivers freezing. If I could I’d sleep like that every night.”

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