Great Himalayan Drive Days 34-38: Stuck! Scary Landslides and falling rocks leave me stranded in Arunachal Pradesh

The beautiful landscapes on the road to Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh
The beautiful landscapes on the road to Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh

Feeling like I had conquered the North Pole, I thanked the Army officers for their hospitality at Kibithu (the eastern most motorable settlement in India) and started back in the rain. And then the troubles started.

Rocks of all sizes were having a free run, plonking themselves at alarming regularity on the highway. One big fellow stopped me in my tracks at Walong one hour later, forcing me to spend the night in an Inspection Bungalow (I was lucky to have got one, and the rooms were very comfortable). But it was a cold, long night – and it seemed even more so with the uncertainties of what lay ahead.

Walong is famous for some of the bloodiest battles between Indian and Chinese troops in the 1962 war, with the former covering themselves in glory before eventually conceding defeat. If you go exploring, you can still find remains of helmets and other equipment in the peaks and forests around.

With a prayer on my lips, I set out the following morning – falling rocks had been joined by landslides. The Border Roads Organisation was trying its best to clear the roads with manpower and dynamite and I was lucky that I could keep moving forward, even if slowly. The fear was two-fold: being struck by a rock, and getting stuck on the road between two landslides.

Just when I started breathing easy with Hayuliang only 17 km away, a fresh landslide blocked my way. With darkness setting in, and weather getting worse, the prospect of a night in the car did not seem inviting. And this is when you start believing in the existence of the Almighty – I found a contractor with a JCB earth mover in a remote village of all the place. He agreed to help clear the way – and I reached the comfort of the Circuit House.

The following morning I set out to Dibrugarh with the weather and road conditions no better. But as the altimeter reading dipped, I could breathe more easy. I reached Dibrugarh in the plains – where even the heat was welcome. It was time to spend two nights in a comfortable hotel before setting out further.

This trip was sponsored by and

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  1. Hi, ajay…
    how r u…
    having lots of fun.. !!
    i really do appretiate the efforts of the photographer for these amazing photos…
    hope to see more beautiful photographs….

  2. Hi
    Great posts..and NE is beautiful..have visited Tawang and loved the place…any more pics of NE? Also would suggest a drive from Dibrugarh to Tinsukhia..lovely road alongside the train track

  3. Ajai..
    You are travelling through all the places which i wanted to..
    After seeing the photos, I am badly stricken by wander lust..
    One day soon i will follow you..
    take care.
    God Bless You.

  4. Thanks Daisy. My recommendation: don’t wait too long. The best time to travel is now. Even if it is discovering your own city. Don’t let life’s tugs and pulls hold you back. Am I being too preachy? Happy travels…

  5. Hi Maithili, will keep posting more pics of NE as I process them (so many of them). And yes, I did the drive from Tinsukhia to Dibrugarh: it was a wonderful experience. Not been to Tawang though.

  6. Yeah will share the NE pictures with you as well..also try the drive through the Karbi Anglong Ditrict in is 40 kms from Dimapur and about 120 Kms from Guwahati…When do you come back to base camp? (Delhi)

  7. Hi,
    I want to see the First Indian Sun Rise at kibithu.
    Can you please tell me the cost & time of the trip that is required to go from dibrugarh to Kibithu and back to digrugarh.
    Also how many members are essential to go that place or a person can go lonely.


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