When in Mechuka, all that you would want to do is soak in the beauty of nature. The endless landscapes are an absolute eye soother for any visitor. The engulfing mountains make Mechuka a secluded valley, a delight for the discerning traveller who would like stay disconnected from the modern world. The landscape is so gorgeous that one could gaze at them in oblivion for long.
Located at a height of almost 6000 feet above sea level in the eastern Himalayas, Mechuka is small town in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The town is located close to Indo- China border which is 29 Kms away. Though the official name is Menchuka, it is more popularly referred as Mechuka. Mechuka is home to five indigenous tribes and the popular ones are Memba and Adi. The locals are into agriculture and rice cultivation is the major source of income.
Mechuka can easily beguile anyone as one of those remote Scandinavian towns with its breathtaking landscapes. Snow capped mountains, azure rivers, blue skies, rickety bridges, grazing horses, wooden houses, meandering roads and gurgling streams greets visitors in Mechuka. The barren brown hills, scattered thorn bushes and pine forests further accentuate the charm of this gorgeous land. It is an ideal place for a long nature walk or one can trek up an undulating hill side to soak in the surreal beauty of the surroundings.
River Siyom, a major tributary of Brahmaputra river snakes its way through the valley and brings a lot of buoyancy with its turquoise hue. Mechuka is known for its numerous wooden bridges that dangle over river Siyom and other rivulets. The wooden planks are bound together with steel wires or nails. Clinging on to the iron rods that act as railings, it is quite a precarious walk on these bridges as it sways with each step that you take. However, locals have no such qualms and walk across briskly.
While Donyi Poloism and Christianity are evident across Mechuka, Tibetan Buddhism has been a prominent religion over the years. Samten Yongcha monastery, commonly referred as old monastery is believed to be more than 400 years old and follows Mahayana sect of Buddhism. Built over a hillock, the monastery has statues of Guru Padmavasambhava and a few other idols. It is devoid of monks during most days as they arrive only for the festivals. However a caretaker is always present there to tell you stories of this age old monastery. They also have dormitories if anyone would like to stay over. Apart from the serene surroundings and the cold breeze, the place also offers panoramic views of the valley, river Siyom and Mechuka town. It is located 14 Kms away from Mechuka and one can also trek from the base of the hill. Dzogchen Samtan Choeling monastery which is the new monastery is located closer to Mechuka town, but isn’t as impressive as the old one.
A popular attraction in Mechuka is ‘Hanuman face rock’, where a natural formation resembles the face of Hanuman, the Hindu god. Also nearby are a gurudwara and a small waterfall which one can reach after a short walk. The rivulet near the waterfall is an attractive frame for photographers.
The road from Mechuka that runs along the Siyom river crosses over an iron bridge and leads to Dorjiling. Located 12 Kms from Mechuka, the tiny village of Dorjiling is a pretty one with scattered wooden houses, more ice capped mountains, gurgling streams and farm lands. The road that leads to this sparsely populated village too offers lovely vistas. One can casually stroll around this village, enjoy the views, frame photographs, talk to a local farmer and take in a lungful of fresh mountain air. The village also has a small Buddhist monastery amidst a paddy field and it houses a large statue of Buddha.
Adventure at Mechuka is a popular festival that is held here every year in the month of November. There are numerous cultural and musical performances during the festival. Some of the popular bands that played in 2019 were David and The Band, Featherheads etc. The visitors can also enjoy adventure activities such as paragliding, kayaking, hot air balloon, air rifle, mountain biking, zip line, rafting etc. The festival site also has tents where one can stay if booked in advance.
Mechuka town is a small one with a few eateries that serve some delicious Tibetan food and some shops which sell all the basic needs. The town also has one ATM and only BSNL phone network functions here. The place gets very cold during the winters and temperatures plummet below zero degree. Mechuka is fairly new to tourism and it is slowly adapting to the changes that have come along with it.
Mechuka is not a destination where you can tick off the places to visit or things to do from your list. It’s a place to get close to nature, gaze at the landscapes, go on short trails, interact with locals and enjoy some serene moments.
How to reach Mechuka:
Mechuka is 187 Kms from Along and 289 Kms from Pasighat. Silapathar in Assam is the closest major rail head (391 Kms via Along and 331 Kms via Likabali). The major airport near Mechuka is at Dibrugarh, 438 Kms away. The easiest means to reach Mechuka is to take shared taxis/ sumo from Pasighat or Along. Public transportation is not very frequent and the journeys are quite long even for short distances due to road conditions.
Hotels and home stays mostly serve meat preparations. Please check in advance if you are a vegetarian. There are a few small eateries in the town that serve Tibetan and north Indian fare. There are homestays available in Mechuka and the facilities are basic. Some of the recommended ones are Potala home stay, Grace home stay, Yargyap Chhu home stay, Gayboo's Traditional lodge etc.