Great Himalayan Drive Day 30: Notes from Daporijo in Arunachal Pradesh

A bird's eye view of Daporijo in Arunachal Pradesh from a hill before the town
A bird's eye view of Daporijo in Arunachal Pradesh from a hill before the town

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I reached Daporijo from Ziro on day 30 of the Great Himalayan Drive – the experience in this town was a mixed one. Here go some of the impressions:

* For starters, it turned out to be a much bigger settlement than I had initially imagined. A bird’s eye view from the road on a hill leading to the town gave a fair idea of its size.
* Surprisingly, I came across a lot of cars full of people coming from the opposite direction as I approached Daporijo. And they all seemed to be a ‘happy’ lot going by the crazy way they were driving. They were all members of a marriage party – from the groom’s side – and going to the nearby village called Don to get the bride.
* I was booked to stay at a lodge in the tourist village of Ligu, located just off the main highway before Daporijo town. The lodge was built from funding received from the Government to promote ethnic and rural tourism. While the setting in the middle of a village was great, the lodge itself was a bland, straight line concrete painted structure totally incongruous with its surroundings. Even as the rooms were clean and the proprietor (a lady) served excellent meals, one missed a traditional structure.
* It was quite a pleasant village to walk around in. There was the usual livestock roaming freely; a mother pig almost got upset me when I got too close trying to shoot her family. The views of the river and mountains around were highly soothing to the soul.
* We were recommended to go the Menga caves located a few miles off the highway when going to Aalo, my next destination. It was supposedly promoted as a labyrinth of caves with a Shiva temple too. When I reached there, it was no more than a single cave – more like a cavity on the rock face – and nothing beyond that. The Shiva temple here was badly designed with white tiles – whoever came up with this idea? On the whole a disappointing visit. To make matters worse, I backed into someone’s car and broke his headlights; all the locals saw in it an opportunity to extract money from me. I eventually gave Rs. 1,000 and settled with the owner.

Would I recommend a visit to Daporijo? Needs to be explored more to make a case for it.

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