The breakfast was good, after which, Vaivhav asks the care taker of the circuit house, “Sir, I am a tour operator. I will be bringing tourists here in the future. Can you please give me your telephone number so that I can reserve this accommodation whenever needed?.” The in-charge replies, “Saab, there is no mobile signal here. And we don’t know our land line number. It is used by the government officials to call and inform us that they are coming. Hence only they know this number. We never use this phone. Moreover, even if you book any room and if a officer is coming on that day, then your booking will be cancelled and the room will be given to them. So, there is no point in booking. If you arrive and there is any vacant room, then I will give it to you.” Frankly speaking, this statement holds good for all the Arunachal Pradesh Government managed lodges, inspection bungalows, circuit houses or anything similar. One has to always depend on luck or be ready for the worst circumstances, as at many places, it is hard to even find a place to sleep at.
There is one more point to remember when traveling in these areas. Supposing you get some place to sleep, there is a chance you will only be getting a bed and nothing else, like bed sheets, toilets etc. So, without proper tourism facilities it is difficult to visit these remote places of Northeast India.
We started from Walong and took the same route back. Of course, there is no other route. The journey took less time as we had already seen the places and had taken photos already on our onward journey. We stopped at Hayuliang for a cup of tea, and by 1.30 pm, we reached Udayak Pass. This is one of the highest passes in this route and it’s at a height of 5400 ft. After taking few photos, we moved towards Parashuram Kund, and on the midway, we came across the “Lohit View Point”. From here, one can see the Lohit River flowing in the plains. And if you are lucky enough, on a clear sunny day, you can see the Lohit joining the Brahmaputra far away in the horizon and creating a vast floodplain. The Lohit River, which is just one or two hundred meters wide at most stretches in the mountain valleys, spreads out on touching the plains and the width becomes more than three to four kilometers in this part!
We reach Parashuram Kund, have our lunch and proceed further. We come across a place called Wakro, from where a left turn would take us to Deban in Namdapha National Park, the same place from where we have to start our trek in Namdapha. We were very sure that it will help cut down time and distance, but none of us knew any detail about the route. And there were no one else around to answer our query. Also, as this route is not available in any maps, we were not aware of this and thus were ill prepared. We decided to proceed to Tinsukia as per our scheduled plan, and take a left turn from there towards Digboi. This is NH 38, and it is in very good condition. One can notice more traffic in this road.
Vaivhav tried his good links to accommodate me in a tea estate at Digboi. It was the Krishna Tea Estate, managed by Mr. Umesh Tyagi, a friend of Vaivhav’s father. It is a 300 hectares tea estate, employing around 750 employees in total. We were their guests for the night. We had a lovely chat with Umesh and his wife for a couple of hours. The food offered by the couple was really fantastic, that too at a very short notice and at around 9 pm. We were extremely grateful to them and called it a day.
Written by – Mr. B P Bhat