The remote hilly state Arunachal Pradesh still remains largely unexplored by tourists venturing into North East India. The lack of transport facilities had been a prime cause behind this. If you prefer spending a few days away from city and in lap of nature, Bomdila is where you should go. Located in a remote part of Arunchal, Bomdila is not a typical tourist destination. The small town, situated in a spot surrounded by lofty snow clad mountains offers a chance to unwind and rejuvenate the mind and body. You can enjoy unspoiled natural splendor, serenity, observe the tribes, do trekking and explore the cultural aspect of their life.
History and nuances of Bomdila
The origins of this beautiful hill city in Arunachal are somewhat obscure. In the medieval ages, it was a part of Tibet. Even tribes from Bhutan lived here from time to time. The region was invaded by British forces in 1873. The place has also remained a matter of long standing dispute between China and India. However, that has not affected tourism prospects of Bomdila adversely. The city like most places in Arunachal Pradesh, has a predominant Tibetan and Buddhist influence. Apart from traditional Buddhist festivals, the Bomdila festival is being organized by the state government in recent years.
When and how to reach
The winter months are pretty cold owing to high altitude and so you should ideally visit the hill city in summer months. Tezpur in Assam is the nearest city from where you can reach Bomdila. Bus services are available between two cities. Capital city Itanagar is also connected to Bombila by road.
You need to get the Inner Line Permit to visit the city while foreigners need to procure the Restricted Area Permit.
There are several accommodation options available for visitors coming to this Arunachal city. There are a few mid range hotels. The Bomdila Tourist Lodge is also good as is the Government Circuit House.
Related: Top Hotels in Arunachal Pradesh
Things to see and do at Bomdila
Once you arrive at Bomdila, there are plenty of things to do and explore!
Bomdila Monastery- The major tourist attraction here is undoubtedly the Bomdila Monastery. Set up in 1965, this Buddhist Monastery is located in proximity to Tipi Orchid Research Center. Its structure resembles that of South Tibet’s Tsona Gontse Monastery. There is a nice temple of Lord Buddha inside the monastery. There are also prayer hall and residential setups for the lamas. It is also called GRL Gompa. The main gompa has three sections- Lower Gompa , Middle Gompa and Upper Gompa. The monks at the monastery follow Mahayana school of Buddhism. They celebrate Buddhist festivals like Losar, Saka Dawa, Torgya, Lhabab Duechen and similar major festivals.
Bomdila View Point- If you want to enjoy majestic view of the snow clad mountains surrounding the region, the View point in Bomdila is where you should go. This high altitude point gives you great views of the West Kameng Valley. Similarly, you may head to R. R. Hill for some nice photographic opportunity.
The beautiful Apple Orchards of Bomdila are famous and they are spread over large areas. If you want to see Apple orchards in all their glory, visit the place in winter. You may buy apples at amazingly low rates too.
Craft Centre and Ethnographic Museum-The Craft Center and Ethnographic Museum lets you get an intimate peek into the lifestyle and culture of tribes living in this region. The traditional masks, hand crafted carpets and thangka wall hangings are mind blowing. You may also purchase a few craft items as souvenirs.
Eating out at Bomdila
To taste authentic food at Bomdila, you may head to the roadside eateries on mountain roads. They mostly serve delicacies like thukpas and momos. These dumplings are served both fried and steamed, and taste best when they are hot. Pork and cabbage are used a lot to make these dishes. There are a few cafes too.
Sightseeing options near Bomdila
Bomdila may not be a very big town but after exploring it, you may head to the nearby tourist attractions too.
The Tipi Orchid Research Centre is only a few kms from Bomdila and it is located on Bharali river banks in Arunachal’s West Kameng district. The orchid center is encircled by lush green forest. There are more than 500 species of lovely orchids that you can witness here including some local and rare variants. Now, it is rated as the third largest orchidarium in entire world. There is a pond in the region with a fountain, adding to the beauty.
Another nearby attraction is the Sessa orchid Sanctuary, set up in 1979. The 100 square km sanctuary in the Himalayan foothills is now a protected area. Trekking routes made by the department of Environment & Forests give adventure opportunities for enthusiasts. You can witness valleys and deep gorges while vesting the sanctuary. There are more than 200 beautiful orchid species to explore here. Apart from the orchids, the sanctuary is also home to pheasants and red pandas.
Related: Enticing Birds of Arunachal Pradesh
Adjacent to the Sessa Orchid Sanctuary there is the beautiful Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. Spanning an area of 217 sq km, the sanctuary is home to wide range of animals and birds. You can see birds like hornbills, pheasants, kingfishers. Animals found here include Asian elephant, red panda, and black bear. More than 165 species of butterflies are also seen here. Along with the awesome wildlife, you can witness the amazing views of waterfalls.
Dirang Valley is located about 41 km from Bomdila. This amazingly picturesque valley has a nice climate too. The high peaks are ideal for trekking and shutterbugs will have a gala time. Dirang is also known for its hot water springs. Some rare medicinal plants are found in this valley. 150 year old Dirang Dzong , a fort is also a major tourist draw in the region.