Arunachal Pradesh is the remotest state in India yet its beauty has tourists flocking to its towns throughout the year. It receives the country’s first sun rays, has the largest monastery in India, and the Apatani cultural landscape is included in the Tentative List for UNESCO's World Heritage Site. It also hosts the popular outdoor music festival—Ziro Festival of Music.
Mechuka is a remote valley located 29 km from the China border. Its untouched natural beauty, evident in its dense virgin forests, undulating meadows, pristine rivers and lakes, and deep gorges, is what makes it a fantastic destination for those seeking unexplored havens. Mechuka is characterised by its colourful houses, handing bridges, the curvy river Siom, and surrounding snow peaks.
HOW TO GET THERE
By air: The Donyi Polo Airport in Itanagar is the state’s only airport opened in 2022. The other 2 nearest airports— North Lakhimpur's Lilabari Airport and Guwahati's Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport—are located in Assam. There’s also a helicopter service twice a week to Mechuka.
By rail: From Guwahati Railway station, take a train to Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh, then onwards by road.
By road: The state is connected to the rest of India by NH 52. Drive or take a bus to Aalo from Guwahati or Itanagar. From Aalo, hire a Sumo Cab to Mechuka.
Mechuka may be an offbeat destination but there are stay options ranging from hotels to budgeted cottages and tourist lodges to homestays.
Hotels: Vamoosetrail Menchukha | The Myst Hotel | Anvayins
Homestays: Gebu’s Lodge | The Memba Pine Retreat | Gayboo’s Traditional Homestay | Dhondup Homestay | Potala Homestay
TOURS AND ATTRACTIONS
Mechuka is not only beautiful but a place to seek adventure, especially outdoor sports. Hanging bridges, found all over Mechuka, are both captivating and risky but worth the views.
Tourist attractions: Samten Yongcha Monastery, Guru Nanak Taposthan, Hanuman Point, Dzogchen Samtan Choeling Monastery, Yarlung Army Camp, and Dorjeeling Village.
Local market: Mechuka’s local market is brimming with woolens, souvenirs, handicrafts, and ceramics. There are also a number of wine shops where you can buy local alcoholic beverages such as ara and rice beer.
Outdoor activities: Paragliding, downhill biking, kayaking, and angling.
Hire a Sumo cab to go around Mechuka as there aren’t any buses and share vehicles within the town.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
March-May and October-February are the best months to visit Mechuka. The town receives snowfall in December.
November is when the annual festival Adventure@Mechuka takes place, which attracts adventure junkies from all over the country and overseas.
FOOD AND DRINKS
Local traditional food: Momos, thukpa, chowmein, and the staple fare of rice, dal, veggies, and meat.
Drinks: Ara/chang and rice beer
Where to eat: The main market has a number of eateries and cafes. You can also visit Kunsang’s Café near the airfield for a delightful experience.
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