This needs to be said about Arunachal Pradesh. We expected the most beautiful scenery, friendly culture but as we uncovered the region layer by layer, we unearthed hidden gems. One such was the Sangti Valley, Arunachal Pradesh. On the way to Tawang, travelers often either pass by or stay one night at Dirang to rest, because for most people, Tawang is the destination. We encourage all you travelers to take a slight detour and you will not be disappointed. You will be presented with such natural beauty as never seen elsewhere. We are talking about the spectacular Sangti Valley, in the Dirang district.
Sangti Valley Region
Sangti Valley Sheep Farm
The detour to Sangti Valley is just after crossing Dirang Dzong, the 9th century village. Once we crossed the Dirang River, the route was scenic beyond words and soon we arrive at the Sangti Sheep Farm on the left side. It is about 7.5 KM from Dirang Dzong. We strongly suggest that you should visit the sheep farm first as we will explain in a bit.
This is a government run sheep breeding, research and shearing facility that has over 300 sheep. The vast expanse of the gradually rising pasture reminded me of Europe. We were not fortunate enough to see any sheep or any shepherd for that matter. We conjectured that perhaps it was sheeps’ special day and they had all been taken to the higher reaches for grazing.
It was not only a sheep breeding place but also a regular farm too. Not having spotted a sheep, we crossed a couple of small streams and kept walking North till we reached the edge of the hill. And then the magic happened. The entire expanse of Sangti valley, with all its village, houses, hills and river came into view. This is the foremost reason (Apart from sheep, of course) for stopping by at the Sheep farm.
The word picturesque just about begins to describe the breathtaking view. I am sure the curators of children’s painting book were inspired, looking at this very scene. It was so very copybook. My friend, Sange, says, if you ask any kid to draw a village, hill and river, she or he will have this in mind.
There is no better painter than Nature…….
And I agree. 😊
What caught my eye, on way back was a few wooden prayer-wheels, which looked very old., making me wonder why they were there. Were they the protection for the farm?
Sangti Valley, Riverside Picnic
The ride becomes a bit bouncier as we climb down from the Sangti Sheep Farm to the riverside. We pass by a few houses and school children who wave at us gleefully. We wave back equally cheerfully as I remembered my own childhood and the fun of innocently waving at total strangers. People always waved back then! Except that one time when this gentleman got off his motorbike and scolded me. It was the festival colors, Holi, time and this guy apparently thought I was throwing a water filled balloon at him. Hahaha. Coming back to the current story….
After negotiating another 4 KM or so we reach plain ground and make our way towards the Dirang riverbank! Oh! What a sight! I was speechless!
The weather was perfect for a picnic and folks from Holiday Scout, who had organized our Arunachal experience, efficiently spread the table full of goodies, while we were busy imbibing the intoxicating sights and taking photographs occasionally.
After a bellyful of delicious food including noodles, rice and vegetables and then washing them down with hot tea… the feeling is indescribable 😊
Now to hit the snooze button! …………
Other things to do in Sangti Valley
There is at least one more thing to do in this region which we could not do for paucity of time.
The valley has many fruit orchards (apple, apricot, kiwi, orange, persimmon). The surrounding hills are full of coniferous trees. There are also many local hiking trails through the mountains and villages for the adventurous people.
Camping is also possible on the banks of Dirang river, if you want to spend more than a day in the valley.
During the months of November and December, Black-necked cranes can be seen in these parts. However due to increased human activity , the arrivals of these beautiful migratory birds are fewer and fewer.
Other things to do in Dirang
Dirang Valley needs 2 or 3 days to explore.
- Early morning strolling to Dirang Riverbank for energizing self !
- Dirang Dzong, the village inhabited since 900 AD.
- Khastung Monastery, dedicated to Dolma or devi in Hindi.
- Manadala Top, with 108 stupas.
- The brand new monastery at Dirang town, the Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery.
- National Research Centre for Yak
- Natural Hot Springs
- Kalachakra Gompa
- Chug Valley
- Learn to make momos
- Visit a weaver’s home
- Visiting fruit orchards
- Trekking around Dirang. In fact, there is a hiking trail to go to Sangti Valley from Dirang Dzong.
We spent 3 days in Dirang region to experience many of the above attractions.
Useful information about Sangti Valley
How to reach Sangti Valley?
Sangti Valley picnic spot is about 12 KM from Dirang Dzong and 15 KM from Dirang town.
The Sangti Sheep farm is about 4 KM ahead of the picnic spot.
Best way to travel would be to hire a cab or use your own vehicle as there are very few other options. You could get a shared Sumo but may not be quite convenient.
Nearest Train station and airport is Tezpur.
However Guwahati is the biggest airport near here and is connected to all parts of India. Guwahati Airport is about 320 KM by road.
What is the best time to visit Sangti Valley?
Sangti Valley is almost a 365 days destination, barring a couple of months of rainy season. Summer could be too hot on some days. We went in September and the weather was perfect.
We were told that the black-necked cranes arrived in November and December to breed here. That would make it a unique experience.
Where to stay?
There are many options for accommodation in and around Sangti Valley and Dirang.
We stayed at Dirang Cottages which is on the banks of Dirang River , near Dirang town. However several homestays have sprung up at Sangti Valley itself.
It is also possible to set up tents at Sangti Valley.
Tips for Sangti Valley
- It is better to apply UV protection cream, becasue UV may be quite active because of the altitude and Sun.
- Not very sure if swimming is safe. The river bed is quite rocky.
- Temperature may drop towards evening.
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