Dong: Where the First Sunlight of the Day hits India

By Sayantan Khamaru

Arunachal Pradesh the Land of Dawn Lit Mountains is the Eastern most state of India. The state got its name from the fact that the first sunlight of the day touches this state among any other state of the nation. But, the Village Dong is the place from where the Sun starts to light up the nation. Dong is located at the Tri-Junction of India, China, and Myanmar on the confluence of River Lohit and Sati or Chayu, Lohit is a very important tributary of the river Brahmaputra.

The village has only about 18 people living in 3-4 huts, it can disappoint some due to the availability of Luxury and facilities but, when you are 5140 feet or 1240 meters above sea level, surrounded by Snowy mountains and umbrageous jungle, your bliss of solitude can be the most enjoyable luxury you’ve had in a few years.

Reaching Dong valley is a hard task to perform. The best route is to going from Tezu. One can easily reach Dong by driving on NH 13 or Trans-Arunachal Highways; covering the distance of 204 KM. The time for travelling is now reduced up to 6-7 hours due to the newly built Dibang River Bridge, currently being the second longest river bridge of India. Sisri Bridge or Sisar Bridge over the river Sisar is currently under construction, it will reduce the need of Assam for reaching any part of Arunachal Pradesh in the upcoming years by at least 4-5 hours, as it will be connected with NH 52.

One can go directly to Dong from Tinsukia or Tezu but we beg to differ, as we believe, keep the best for the last and in the following travel plan, you can enjoy the trip in a better and efficient way.

The trip mostly covers the Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh and the entry point is Dirak. On the first day of tour, you can visit Namsai, the sub-divisional headquarters. It has a large number of Buddhist Viharas in the Khampti settlement area locally called ‘Chong’. The Chong of Namsai and Manmao are major centers of Theravada sect in the state.

Later in the afternoon or in the early morning, you can visit the Namsai Reserve Forest. It has various rare species of Tropical and Sub-tropical medicinal plants and other Flora and Fauna.

Apart from that, the Piyong Reserve Forest is also worth visiting.

On the Second Day, you can go to Chowkham, it is the nodal point for Manabahum and Tengapani Reserve Forest. It is quite famous for its bio-diversity.

Then you can go to Wakro. There are a lot of places to go.

The Kamlang Reserve Forest and Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary could be your next destination after arriving at Wakro. These are two of the densest forest in the region and home to some rare flora and fauna. You can find rare animals like Hoolock Gibbons, Tigers, Takins and many more here.

Parasuram Kund should be your next destination, it is situated at the middle of Kamlang Reserve Forest area and is surrounded by dense forest of Ruddhraksha trees. It is one of the highly sacred places of Hinduism. The description of the lake was described in several Purana and Mahabharata. Every year during the Makar Sankranti, hundreds of pilgrims arrive here. It is just 48KM from Tezu.

Now, if you are a worshipper of natural beauty the Glow Lake should be your next destination. It is one of the most beautiful high-altitude lakes of the world. In recent times, the local authorities and private ventures are preparing this place for adventure tourism to attract more people.

Hawa Camp is also in the road to Tezu where one can enjoy the panoramic view of the magnificent Lohit valley. The Sunrise and Sunsets are ready to mesmerize you.

On the Third Day of your tour, you will be on your way to Dong. But, there are many places you can stop and take some time out to embrace the work of Mother Nature.

You can spend the day doing local site seeing such as Tezu Museum, Tezu Botanical Garden, Tezu Park, and workshops of local handcrafts. After lunch, you can go to Hayuliang or leave very early on the next day, it is a township in the way to Dong. It is 106KM away from Tezu. After reaching Hayuliang you can go to Chaglagam, it is only 14KM away from there. It is on the left bank of River Dalai. Apart from its natural beauty, Chaglagam also offers various adventure sports for the enthusiasts.

On Day 4, you will be at Walong, just a few kilometers away from your most waited destination, Dong Village. Before, going to Dong, you can enjoy a number of places on the road and Walong is full of it.

There are various spots are allocated for viewing the Himalayas with a closer view.

The Walong War Memorial is the most attractive place to visit. The memorial is full of records of the Indian War heroes who fought the invading Chinese forces in the war of 1962.

We suggest that you spend the night at Walong and leave very early for Dong on Day 5. In summer the sunrise can even take, place on 03:30AM IST and it takes about 90 minutes for an untrained hiker to reach Dong from Walong. So, please calculate your time of arrival and sunset and embark for the best Sunrises of your life. You can also visit Dong in the afternoon of Day 4 to witness one of the best Sunsets of your life. After witnessing the glimpses of amazing Arunachal Pradesh, it will be your time to come back home.

There is one more way; you can explore the same places by backtracking. After arriving at Tezu or Tinsukia, you can go directly to Dong and drive back towards Tezu or Tinsukia as per your plan of return.

While visiting Arunachal Pradesh, always remember to taste the local cuisines. The local food and beverages have a large number of varieties to offer. The locally made Sake or rice wine, Dumplings made of various types of meat and spices, Rice Cakes and many more you can enjoy in this trip.

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