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Tenga Valley: The Lesser Known Beauty of Arunachal at 6500 Feet

Tenga Valley is a heaven for mountain mongers. The serenity of the valley will take your breath away. It is one of the few places in India that will surely give you a break from your monotonous life in the city. The calming crackle of the freshwater streams running by and the alluring view of the mountains is just what a traveller’s heart needs. With Buddhism entrenched deep into the culture of the locals, Tenga Valley has some remarkable monasteries that one can go! The patriotism of the Indian Army personnel who are standing day and night to protect us, into the freezing cold is something that will inspire and make you proud. Here’s an insight to Tenga Valley as a travel destination.

Tenga Valley is a small and strategic military base camp and town of which the beauty is breathtaking. Providing some magnificent views of the mountains, there is a striking stream that gurgles and smashes the rocks coming in between. It’s just a marvel to watch it. The famous ‘Z-turn’ is beautiful to look at. And the best part was the Z-turn was right outside our place of staying- Army Quarters. And behind it was the sweet sounding stream!! One can go many places from here. Some of which are Bomdila Monastery, Chilipam Monastery, Sangti Valley and Craft Centre and Ethnographic Museum.

Tenga Valley

When the mountains call, just be there. Photography by Tage Takar

Tenga Valley: An Overview

Location North-East India
State  Arunachal Pradesh
Best time to visit March to May and September to November
Weather conditions During peak season, the weather is pleasant (inclined towards the cooler side).
Nearby places Tezpur, Bhalukpong, Chillipam Monastery and Bomdila Monastery
Mode of Travel By buses or cabs
Accessibility By road
Nearest town Tezpur
Highlights The stream, the gates and passes and the monasteries
Cost of entire trip 08-10K  for two people (3 days)
Food Options Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian are available. Street food is delicious.
Travel Tips 1)      Carry warm clothes

2)      Do not drive on your own

3)      It’s difficult to find latest newspapers etc there.

Safety for women Since, Tenga valley is a strategic base for military purposes, it is pretty safe for women and men. However, one must take precautions from animals like snakes etc. 



Mountains to the Rescue

While contemplating upon the ideas to travel, my first instinct was to go to my father who has traveled extensively owing to being in the Indian Army. So, after his suggestion, I decided to do backpacking in Arunachal Pradesh and to be more specific- Tenga Valley. 

An interesting thing to mention here is that I didn’t need any permit because I went there on Army Quota, where I stayed at Army camps and Army settlements, but I will tell you the entire procedure of how a civilian can go backpacking in the mountains of Tenga Valley.

Tenga Valley

Tenga Valley is a place where beauty meets quietude. Photography by Dhruv Ashra

Permits Required to Visit Tenga Valley

 When travelling by  car, you need an Inner Line Permit which can be obtained from Arunachal Bhawans situated in different states in India. On receiving the permit, two people can travel for a maximum of 15 days.  Though they give the permits after 3 days of applying for it but to be on a safer side, apply a week before or so. The permit is made available at a very nominal cost. 

The roads in the valley are very narrow . It takes an expert driver to travel through the area. I would recommend people to not go by their own vehicle.

Tenga Valley

Having a permit for Tenga Valley is mandatory. Photography by Prashant Dahiya

How to Reach Tenga Valley

In order to reach Tenga valley, the nearest domestic airport is Salonibari Airport at Tejpur and the international airport is Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport. If you want to enjoy the full experience, one should take the road transport to the Tenga Valley. A lot of local buses which are state owned or privately owned are run till Tezpur. And from Tezpur, one can always get a mini bus or cars and SUVs to ride in.
Tenga Valley

Take the road for reaching Tenga Valley. Photography by Manish

Arunachal Pradesh: The Land of the Rising Sun in India

It is tiring to reach Tenga valley  but along the way when the beauty of mountains engulfs you, it’s an amazing sight. One gets to see mountains on the side and a stream running by, deep in the valley. All of this is not it. You can also see the difference in timings as compared to the rest of the country. You will realize why Arunachal Pradesh is called, “Land of the Rising Sun”. The sets in pretty quickly and rises very early.
Tenga Valley

Arunachal Pradesh – The Land of the Rising Sun in India. Photography by Krish

On Road via Bhalukpong- Tenga Valley- Tawang Route

As told you already, I went to Tenga Valley with the Indian Army. So, right from Tezpur, the journey was eventful and fun. Lot of jokes and games were played in the mini buses. Tezpur is a cantonment, which is a military town. The road is the only road, which we took once we entered the Himalayan ranges were rough. The roads are narrow and because of that, only one vehicle can pass. The exhilarating experience was to see the convoys passing. The convoy is led by radar jammers and the civil vehicles have to wait till the entire convoy passes by.

The roads are very narrow and they go up the mountains twirling around them. The valleys are very very deep. In case of accidents, which are usual, it gets difficult to look for survivor. The route also has Bhalukpong, which is famous for its ruins of King Bhaluka’s palace , who was an ancient ruler of the region.

Tenga Valley

Bhalukpong. Photography by Biki Naren Gurung

Monasteries at Tenga Valley

The best aspect about monasteries in Tenga Valley is is that they are located high up in the mountains. Not only do you get to experience Buddhism first hand but also soak the divinity of the environment around.  A lot of fog surrounds these monasteries. It’s just breath taking. Chilipam Monastery is one such place to be visited. .
Tenga Valley

Chilipam Monastery. Photography by Xzing Dinglo

Food Haven in Tenga Valley

Looking at the gastronomic history of Arunachal Pradesh itself, it has influences of traditional North Eastern dishes with a blend of Monpas. The best form of food can be found on its street, which is rich, flavourful and most authentic. Tenga Haat can take you on an amazing food ride with the best of food, they serve.

Food Item Description
1)      Zan It is a spicy porridge which can be eaten with vegetables or smoked meat. The indigenous spices add a very tasty flavour to it.
2)      Thupkas The famous Thupkas are undoubtedly delicious thing to go in stomach. With its roots in Tibet, Thupkas has a noodle base that is available in Vegetarian and Non vegetarian versions where meats or vegetables are shallow fried with strong flavours like ginger, garlic and spring onions, making it perfect for winters.
3)      Gyapa Khazi ThenGyapaKhazi is another version of Biryani with fermented cheese, chilies and dried fish or prawns.

 

4)      Khura As dangerous the name sounds, it is actually a pancake that is taken with tea. It is made from buckwheat (kuttu), fermented alcohol and water kept overnight to make a batter. It’s taste intensifies with butter!
5)      Momos The very well-known momosare made by stuffing minced meat or vegetables into dough and then steaming them in a steamer or frying them. Served with chili garlic sauce, momoare delicious snack. The pork momos were the best I ever had.
Tenga Valley

Thupka. Photography by Emma Gallagher

Cost of a 3 Day Trip for 2 People to Tenga Valley

For a trip of 2-3 days (excluding the commute to Tenga Valley) it costs 8-10 thousand very easily (which includes commute, food and stay for two).

 Tenga Valley is a must visit for everyone because of the beauty, serenity, calm, peace and quiet it offers. With the views that are no less then heaven, and a weather that can encourage Imtiaz Ali or Aditya Chopra to make a movie! Excited adventure lovers, mountain mongers and nature lovers should book their tickets and go now!

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tenga Valley

Satbhan Singh

Satbhan Singh, a student of Journalism, is a passionate traveler who wants to cover as many locations as possible. He has written for newspapers such as the Pioneer and the Hindu. He has worked for Times Internet for food journalism and blogging. Coming from an Army background, he has traveled to most parts of India. He is aspiring to be a Television Anchor for news media channels.

Tenga Valley  Tenga Valley

 

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