Arunachal Pradesh, located in far northeastern corner of India and close to border of China, is among the less explored NE states. There are several enticing and serene regions in the hilly state that are ideal for tourists weary of urban life. Located in West Siang district, Along or Aalo is also the district headquarter. Located in a valley encircled by mountains, it is adjacent to Yomgo River, which is tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra River. It makes for an ideal weekend destination for any tourist exploring Arunachal Pradesh.
Reasons to visit Along in Arunachal
Along or Aalo will appeal to different types of tourists. The natural bounty and serenity is there and you also get the chance to have a glimpse into the tribal life and culture in the region. The tribal villages allocated near the town are serene and beautiful- to say the least. The area is also famous for Orange harvest. The rivers are ideal for angling and scope for river rafting is there. The landscape of the region has ample scope for trekking as well.
Things to do in Along
After reaching Along, you can explore the sightseeing options. There are plenty of things for you to do.
• Patum Bridge- There is no shortage of bridges and tunnels in the hilly states of North East India. However, the Patum Cable Bridge located in Along is a major sightseeing spot for visitors. The 146 meter long Cable Bridge is built on the Yomgo River. It was set up in 1997. From here you can enjoy awesome panoramic view of the city and at night it looks even more enticing owing to the glittering lights.
• Darka Village- Located close to Along, Darka Village is a must visit destination if getting insight into tribal life is on the agenda. The village is inhabited largely by the Galo tribe. It is great if you visit the village during the Mopin festival–a major harvest festival celebrated by this tribe. The lush green vegetation in the village is the result of crossing of three rivers- Sipu, Hiri and Hisum. You can hire cab from Along and exploring the village on foot is the best option.
• Kazu village- Inhabited mostly by the Adi tribe, Kazu is a beautiful and small village located near Along town. You will need to take permission from the head of the village beforehand. The loghouse architecture of the tribe is fascinating to watch. The wooden stilts on which the houses are built safeguard the residents from flood and the base can be used to keep livestock. The tribes still adhere to their age old norms and traditions and so you should be careful before taking their pictures.
• Donyi Polo Temple-The temple is an example of the tribes in Arunachal clinging to their pagan religious roots despite conversion to Christianity. The Donyi Polo Temple, set up in 1989 is meant for worshipping Donyi- denoting the sun and Polo. The temple has meditation hall as well as prayer room.
• Hanging Bamboo Bridge, Pobdi- Located around 15 km from Along, the Hanging Bamboo Bridge is quite a spectacle for the tourists. The 70 meter long hanging bridge is built with cane and bamboo. Built by the tribals, it overlooks the Siang River. The scenery is amazing and a lot of people resort to angling in the river.
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• Local market- Your tour of Aalo will not be complete if you do not explore the local market once! The market is owned by local women and a lot of them sell locally harvested oranges. In fact, you should also visit the beautiful orange orchards. The tribal women sell dried mouse and squirrel in the market and these are deemed as exotic foods here.
Tips for tourists heading to Along/Aalo
The ideal time to visit Along is between the months April to June. There are a few small to mid-sized hotels in the town. These are not much lavish but you will get basic amenities.
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Reaching the town is not tedious from either Assam or other areas of Arunachal Pradesh. It is connected to capital city Itanagar by road and APSTS buses ply between two cities regularly. It is also connected to Pasighat by bus. The nearest railway station is Assam’s Silapathar which is about 1547 km from Aalo. Only the Arunachal Express has a stop here and taxis can be hired from the station to reach Along. The nearest airport is at Assam’s Lilabari- approx 242 km away.