For nearly 2000 years, the notion of an earthly paradise or Shangri La is hidden among the peaks of Asia has captivated the human imagination. Western explorers combed the region in search of this hidden land of bliss and nectar described in ancient Buddhist texts as the Pemako or the Lotus land.
According to Buddhist tradition Pemako is one of the 16 earthly paradises, a promised land free of worry, the ultimate hidden haven. The place is where, it is prophesied that the seed of humanity will thrive at the end of the world in famine and calamities.
In the beginning of the 20th century, many Khampas from Tibet made the long, arduous trek to Pemako in quest of succor and refuge. They are one of the major inhabitants of the region, along The Adis, Mishmis who were the original inhabitants here. The region is a melting pot of different tribal cultures, where all the tribes exist in complete harmony among themselves and the nature. Walking through pemako one can see Adi, Memba, khampa and Mishmi villages with their distinctive culture, faith and lifestyle.
The Pemako is consecrated to the female divinity of Dorje Phagmo and its sacred geography is mapped to the body of this sleeping Goddess. Her head is the Kangri Kangpo, her two breasts is Namche Barwa and Gyala Peri respectively. The lower part of her body lies in Yangsang or the innermost pemako which is the upper Siang region of Arunachal Pradesh. In the confluence of Siang (Tsangpo) and Yangsang is the sacred triangle Kila Yangzom the vulva of Goddess Dorje Phagmo. This the supreme of sacred lands is now open to the world to discover and marvel.
Every year pilgrims traverse the area on Kora (circumbulation). Covering the sacred Devakota, the gathering place of Dakinis, The holy Titapori mountain, Pemashree and Riu Tala (Eko Dumbing for Adis).
After an arduous trekking of 4 days one reaches the sacred Titapori Mountain at 14,000 ft. The landscape here forms a fully opened lotus. In the lake of Danakosha there is the Citta Island, ‘the heart of the world’. According to ancient pemako guide book; upon merely seeing this place ones obscurations of knowledge will be cleared and negative Karma accumulated over a thousand eons will be purified.
From here one have breathtaking view of the majestic Himalaya range with Namche Barwa peak and Kondu Dosem Potrang the mythical palace of Dorje Sempa in the north, the Pemashree and the Eko Dumbing or Riu Tala of the Abroka range towards west and south respectively.
It is a treasure trove of flora and fauna with all kinds of medicinal and aromatic plants and rare flowers. It is also a Rhododendron fairyland. 44 new species was discovered here in 2005. Wildlife: Goral, Takin, Musk deer, Snow leopard, Tiger.
The Adi hunters come to the high mountains in an annual expedition to collect aconite poison and offer their prayer and homage to the Deities of the mountain.
The region offers very challenging trekking opportunities for pilgrims, plant enthusiasts and bird watching.
The nearest International Airport is Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati. It is connected with the major cities like Delhi, Imphal, Kolkata, Agartala, Aizawl, Dibrugarh, Lilabari, Silchar, Dimapur, Jorhat and Mumbai.
The nearest railway station is Naharlagun/Itanagar. There are daily trains running from Itanagar to Guwahati and Rajdhani express which runs twice a week.
You can book a car or travel by public transport.
The best time to visit is in the months of September and October
Things to keep in mind before traveling
- Every tourist visiting Arunachal Pradesh needs to obtain an Inner Line Permit and a Protected Area Permit which can be collected from Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati or Tezpur airports.
- The weather in the north-east is pretty unpredictable, so be prepared to have delays due to the bad weather.
- Roads that lead to Tawang, especially from Bomdila onwards, aren’t in the best shape.
- Locals are friendly and helpful. Be patient as not everyone will know fluent Hindi or English.
- Most cell phone networks don’t work well, so inform your family or friends about your whereabouts whenever possible.
- Don’t forget to carry some ready to cook food packets or instant noodles if you’re strictly a vegetarian.
- Carry extra batteries, power banks and most importantly warm clothing.
- Keep at least a couple of extra days in hand in case of any problems like landslides and bad weather on your way.
Day 1: Arrive at Guahati /Dibrugarh airport
Day 2: Drive to Pasighat. 7 hrs
Day 3: Drive to Jengging (2690 ft) 7 hrs
Day 4: Drive to Tuting (1493) 9 hrs.
Day 5: Trek to Kuging village (2786 ft) 5 hrs
Day 6: Trek to camp Mabi (7205 ft) 6 hrs
Day 7: Trek to camp Yungchak (7925 ft) 3 hrs
Day 8: Trek to camp Kanebenga (10795 ft) 5 hrs
Day 9: Trek to camp Pao Lipik (11959 ft) 6 hrs. On a clear day you can see the Namche Barwa mountain with its whole range.
Day 10 : Danakosha (13123 ft). The sacred lake with the Tseta(heart) Island
Day 11: Kora (circumbulation) of the 5 sacred lakes, each of which as believed, will give you Tantrik powers. On a good weather we can see the Kududusempedrong-the abode of Vajrasattava,Rinchinpong and the Beyul range etc
Day 12: Trek to camp Wangchen Phukpa (13225 ft) 7 hrs.
Day 13: Trek to camp Dungchen Droma (12500 ft) 3 hrs.
Day 14: Trek to camp Tashi Droma (4663 ft) 8 hrs.
Day 15: Trek to Tashigang village (4961 ft) 4 hrs.
Day 16: Trek to the holy Dewa Kota circled by Yang sang river. After Kora and prayers trek to Mankota(3771 ft) 5 hrs.
Day 17: Trek to Nyukong (Adi village) 4109 ft. 4 hrs.
Day 18: Trek to Tuting. 5 hrs.
Day 19: Drive to Jengging.
Day 20: Drive to Pasighat.
Day 21: Ferry down to Dibrugarh on river Brahmaputra. Stay at colonial tea garden bunglow.
Day 22: Fly out to Delhi/kolkotta