Catching Up with Offbeat Charm – Dirang Valley
I won’t stick to cliché lines, not that I do it all the time, for my short yet memorable stay in small Himalayan hamlet Dirang. But, are you tired of the notorious monotony and slumbers conspired by invisible shackles of never ending routine? Imagine weeks or months of planning to visit an offbeat destination and you end up terrified by the number of tourists hounding the place like a mass of falling avalanche – you sure have no control on it. So with this blog on Dirang, let me give you a taste of offbeat, unconventional and countryside, all in one platter.
Imagine old school town rimmed by Jia Bharali River, picturesque monastery nestled in the lap of Himalayas, conventional style of house architecture lined on both sides of the street, 90s Bollywood music blaring from speakers and mesmerising Sangti Valley – For people on lookout for rustic corner of the country to visit, Dirang Valley is a good place to contemplate on. 🙂 🙂
About Dirang Valley
Dirang Valley is a teeny tiny place in Arunachal Pradesh, surrounded by the majestic view of Himalayan range at an altitude of 4900 ft approximately. Situated on the banks of Jia Bharali River, walking on foot and visiting the nearby Sangti Valley will open even the most elusive corners of your mind. My personal favourite that ran my imagination into layers of fascination was Dirang Monastery, standing tall overseeing the mighty Himalayas. Imagine walking up to the soulful hymns of Buddhist chants early morning, it is like opening the most stubborn corners of the heart to let light and love pass in.
How to Reach Dirang Valley?
Although I have written in details about how to reach Dirang Valley in my Tawang Part – 1 blog, writing a little more definitely won’t hurt my fingers. Reaching Dirang depends on how you want to start your journey. Assuming Guwahati is the starting point of the journey.
Guwahati to Dirang – There is direct shared cab service from Guwahati to Dirang that not most of the people know about. The route taken by the cabs plying from Guwahati to Dirang and vice versa is as sumptuous as your favourite plate of food. You will get the cabs from Paltan Bazaar at Zam Zam Travels Counter and price per person is around Rs 700/-. It will take around 8 to 9 hours to reach Dirang.
Phone Number for Zam Zam Travels – 09435196981.
Tezpur to Dirang – If you are planning to take the Tezpur route, there are daily cabs that ply from Tezpur to Dirang at Rs 500 per person. Make sure you make the booking a day prior you leave as the cabs start at 5.30am as they leave for Tawang. There are the number of counters near ASTC Tezpur from where the bookings can be done.
The last option is taking a day off at Dirang while returning from Tawang. I strongly suggest you club Dirang with your Tawang trip. Follow the Tezpur – Bhalukpong- Tawang plan and reach Tawang. While returning from Tawang, get down at Dirang as an extension to your vacation. You will reach at around 12.30pm at Dirang from Tawang. If you are planning to leave for Guwahati, I recommend not taking the Tezpur route and take a cab directly to Guwahati from Dirang.
In short, there are cabs that ply directly between Guwahati and Dirang and vice-versa, so that you can plan accordingly.
Accommodation Options in Dirang
There are limited accommodations in Dirang but you will find decent ones depending on your budget. I stick to a budget so I choose the ones which do not burn a hole in my pocket. However, if you have a decent budget, you can choose from good accommodation options.
Hotel Pemaling – It is one of the oldest and most popular hotels in Dirang located on the main road. If you choose to stay there, it is better to get the advance booking done. It is located a few kilometres ahead of the main town.
Awoo Resorts – If you are looking for something cosy, picturesque and naturally blissful, Awoo resorts is the best option. The exquisite wooden work and cosy architecture is a steal for your vacation.
Buddha Hotel – If you are on a budget and do not intend to spend more than 600 to 700 Rs per day on accommodation, go for Buddha Hotel located in the main town. It is decent and cheap with extremely friendly people as owners.
Suggested Itinerary for Two Days
The itinerary is completely flexible and you can plan it according to your choice. However, it is suggested one as I followed it and was able to cover nearby places of attraction.
Reach Dirang by around 12.30pm and immediately check into a nearby hotel before planning the day ahead. There are certain alterations I recommend you make and instead of staying in Dirang, stay at Sangti Valley. The second half of the day, I planned to visit nearby Sangti Valley which is around 10- 12 km’s from Dirang. There is no public transportation for Sangti Valley and unwillingly you have to hire a cab.
This picturesque little valley on the banks of Jia Bharali river will definitely leave you mesmerised. As far as your eyes can take you, the green paddy fields rimmed by crystal clear water of river banks are a sight to cherish. There is so much to delve your imagination into and explore the place beyond horizons. I strongly suggest staying a night in Sangti Valley instead of Dirang to get the taste of local life. The place has a lot to offer including Kiwi farms, river bank silence, exquisite country life and all the peace you sought for. Oh! Not to forget, Horse and Pony Lovers, you get a chance to look at these beautiful creatures throughout. The cottony clouds hovering across the clear blue skies is an exotic addition to the panorama offered by Sangti Valley.
Since you do not have a lot of public transport option and hitch-hiking is something none of us is sure about – Contact Kumar for Cab – 8794349936. He is a genuine and extremely well-mannered person.
There are two homestays in Sangti Valley and I recommend you opt for Sangti Valley stay. One of them is Lanjom Homestay. You may contact them at – 8258827576/9436225154
Two days are enough for Dirang because there isn’t much to explore as all hell broke after Apple farms caught fire and were completely burnt (sob sob). Keep the second to explore places in and around Dirang. You can alter your schedule as per your convenience but this is just suggested an itinerary and covered almost everything in and around.
Hot Springs – Frankly, this is not as exciting as it sounds and hounded by dozens of tourists throughout the day. No time is good as the small pool of hot spring is filled with half naked bodies all the time, clumsily enjoying hot bath. I woke up at around 4.30am and made a move, hitch-hiked in a tempo and reached in the wee hours of that beautiful morning. Alas! To only find it occupied by 5 locals. I had no option but to stare at the faraway mountains, colourful pieces of paddy field and head back to my hotel.
Dirang Monastery – This place is by far the most peaceful experience in my two days small halt at Dirang. Not many people go there and it captures all the splendid of nature and pockets them in one place. The monastery overlooking the gorgeous Himalayan range, punctuated by floating clouds and fog is definitely a visual treat. Damn! I could feel each cell of my body breathe as I opened my soul to this grandeur of nature. The blend of architectural wonder with an abundance of nature could melt even the most stubborn hearts. I spent almost 2 hours appreciating and drooling over the place before I walked back listening to the Buddhist chants.
Dirang Dzong – Since you are only about 5kms away from this place, a visit to this place will not hurt anyone. The place was a central jail once upon a time when kingdoms, empires and kings flourished but now a village with stone houses on banks of the river. The stone houses in the Dzong are untouched despite the bargain of civilisation that makes the place antique and extravagantly rustic. A little in a dilapidated state, this place will remind you of bygone eras as it takes pride in its existence amidst partial ruins.
Day – 3
Two days is enough to cover all of the places in Dirang and Sangti Valley. Depending on your plan, you can head back to Tawang, Guwahati or Tezpur on the 3rd Day. Make sure you have your bookings done at least a day prior if you are using public transport. It is a small town and you will be able to spot taxi services easily.
So, with this, I wrap up my short but offbeat trip to Dirang which obviously I clubbed with Tawang. However, it is a great place to be if you are seeking some peace and want to take a day or two off far away from the maddening crowd.