14 days 2000 km and a dozen homestays... travelling with some fun people!! Great driving trip organized by Adhiraaj Singh of Blacktop & Beyond. Fabulous experience; read more about it here.
Some things to remember before entering Arunachal or Nagaland:
1. Every Indian citizen needs an ILP to enter these beautiful states. Get these online or at designated places prior to entering.
2. Roads are tough...they are non-existent in many places...and yes, it takes much longer to get to places but this again is the charm of this place. Be patient!
3. Network connections (except BSNL) weren't available in Mechuka (Arunachal) and there will be drops. Find a connection with the nature...drop the mobile connection!!
4. Food - All kinds of food are available with Dal, rice and vegetables the standard fare. While I eat everything, my wife is a vegetarian and she had no issues. Maggie and good tea is always available.
5. Stay - We stayed for the most part in homestays. These are humble abodes of some very warm beautiful people. In some places, beds were very hard while at others they were very soft and hot water was only brought to the room in buckets in certain places.
We are not always going to spend times in such scenic beauties...so let just learn to pause and enjoy it. We can always get back to our world and speed through while browsing the fast internet!!
When we told my friends and family that we are going to Arunachal, Assam and Nagaland....the response had the following words..."Be Safe"!! They didn't just mean drive safe..after all, we go on so many driving expeditions!! The safety being a concern is something that I am intrigued with....what about the word northeast makes people think first of safety and NOT fun...after all we chose to go on this trip...so it was fun that drove us..isn't it??
So how was the experience?? Mind-blowing .....in every way....fabulous hosts, breathtaking views, exotic cuisines, beautiful people, gigantic rivers....and safety was never an issue. We saw people welcome us with open arms...genuine, honest, loving people. Always curious about what we thought of them, how we felt the stay was. And yes in some homes, we even found some who have studied in different parts of India including Chennai!!
Now let's look at it from their perspective. Every Arunachali expressed his pleasure in being part of India. Their kids and they themselves study/studied in other parts of India. Last time I was here to now I see a change in thoughts in the Nagas...roads are being welcomed any they want jobs...like most of us!! How well do we know this area, their history, the people or their culture?
Next time we see someone who looks different, is Chinky or Chinese the first word that comes to your mind? We would love to come back to this region.....the roads(sic) are tough and there aren't many fancy hotels....but there are the pleasures of simple living in beautiful surroundings that are just tough to beat!! India is a huge country with so much diversity...let's take the time to understand and appreciate this and then hopefully next time we will hear
"Have fun in Nagaland, Arunachal in North East India!!"