Sunday 14 October 2012

Bomdila- ethnographic quarters

Bomdila is the headquarters of West Kameng district and an obligatory stop on the way to Tawang, 165 km from Tezpur. We checked-in at Hotel La ( Opp.Buddha Stadium, Bomdila Tel 03782 223344, L.M.Hazarika: 94028 04714, email:, s/d 250/350 with shared bathroom) an ideal accommodation for a backpacker next to the transport hub. Newly built deluxe rooms have heater, TV and geyser d/tr 1200/1400 and the best value is the semi deluxe double room (600, squat toilet, bucket shower). The restaurant at the basement provide good food and there is ample car parking space. The owner Tashi Tsering and his friendly staff are really helpful and make you feel at home. 

Gontse Gaden Rabgye-ling Monastery better known as Bomdila Monastery houses 250 students and is 15 min by foot. The old monastery building is next to SDV school and mostly closed. There is an annual festival at this monastery just before Deepavali (Diwali) and a highly choreographed sacred dance (Chham) lasting for 3 days accompanied by beating drums and cymbals, blowing huge telescopic horns and clarinets. This year it happens from Nov 6th. 

The two room district museum outlines various artifacts of Arunachal and gives an insight about the different tribes. For an evening stroll walk to the garden opposite to Hotel La rotating the prayer wheels. The next door Xerox shop is handled by Nima, who spent 12 years of monastic studies in Karnataka. Did you know? there is a monastery in Hubli where 2000 students study to be monks. 

Next morning Tashi and wife invited us to have breakfast with them, dishing up local delicacies and spicy chutney 'Gokpa' and butter-tea suja were the highlights. After a long conversation they took us for a tour to the nearby village and government owned Helipad, a few kilometers away overlooking Bomdila township and Rupa village. Tashi is very active with community development programs and we shared the popular concept of homestay. He decided to give it a try at Bomdila, to boost the local economy. In a few years, the bypass road will be completed and you may not go through Bomdila town to go to Tawang. Tashi mentioned that the civic sense is at all times low, proven by the shattered liquor bottles at the Helipad. 

There are many tiny hamlets and gompas around Bomdila for day hikes. For multi day hikes, contact Mr. Tsering Wange, Himalayan Holiday at New Bazar Line, Bomdila (Tel 03782 222017, 9436045063/9436888905 Cabbage is one of the major agriculture produce apart from khe potatoes, chillies, bitter brinjals and corn. High mountain and dense forest have prevented intercommunication between tribes, isolation has led to over 26 major tribes with several dialects. Hindi has been the major language spoken all over Arunachal and medium of education. Bomdila is cold throughout the year,winter with snowfall; carry thermal wear. 


  1. How was your bus journey from Itanagar? How bad were the roads?
    Why did you choose a night bus journey?
    Do they check bus passengers' permits at the Bhalukhpong border?
    Amy safety issues nowadays on the Rangapara-Bhalukhpong sector?
    How was weather in Bomdila?

  2. Roads are bad, Bomdila-Tawang is even worse. APST bus in the morning was under maintenance, so the only option for a bus was in night. Permits are checked at B.Pong border.
    You will see men in uniform spread out on both sides of border. There are still issues in the Nameri National Park area, sometimes vehicles will be stopped at border until 4am especially from AR to AS as many people might carry cash which is a target for miscreants. We met a IRB encounter specialist on our way back from Tawang, who was in search of a kidnapped DIG.
    Bomdila was cold with mercury at single digits in the night. Mostly foggy scanty sunlight.