Tag Archives: Arunachal Pradesh

Protected: Upper reaches of the Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Christmas Tree

Christmas tree at our last camp in Arunachal Pradesh, India

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hope 2015 hold many exciting adventures for you.

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Autumn colours

Trekking through the untouched forest

Trekking through the untouched forests of Arunachal Pradesh

Our trek along the Sar Di River took us through dense untouched forests. We started the trek in the tangled vines of subtropical jungle at around 1200m and climbed into high altitude pine forest at an altitude of 3800m. It was November and the leaves were changing into their autumn colours. I was surprised to see huge pine trees right up to the treeline at around 4000m.

Sar Di River on a crisp autumn morning

Sar Di River on a crisp autumn morning

We were the first people to follow the river from it’s confluence with the mighty Lohit river near the village of Dong to it’s source deep in the Himalayas on the boarder with Burma. We were the first people to reach the shores of the emerald waters of Lake Sar Di.

Autumn colours in Arunachal Pradesh, India

The Sar Di has it’s source in remote high altitude glacial lakes near the Burmese boarder


There was no track along the river so we had to make our own way through the jungle. Luckily an army patrol had gone through part of the route and we were able to pick out the machette marks on trees. You had to constantly watch your step as you really didn’t want to fall and get injured in this remote location.

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Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Patthar Camp, Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Patthar Camp, Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

I took this photograph while leading a Secret Compass expedition to be the first people to trek the length of the Sar Di river in the remote Himalayas of Arunachal Pradesh. It took us two days of hard slogging through dense jungle and steep mountains to get to Patthar or Rock Camp. You can see our camp on the lefthand bank; notice three figures on the river bank just below camp. The leaves were just starting to change into their autumn colours.

In the fading light I took this shot, perched on a boulder in the middle of the river. The sunset failed to provide much colour so I opted for three bracked shots and merged them to produce this high dynamic range photograph.

This is where I took this photograph.

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The majestic forests of Arunachal Pradesh

The breathtaking forests of Arunachal Pradesh

The team taking a break in majestic forests of the Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh (Click on the photo for a larger version)

A vertical panorama of the team taking a break in the majestic forests of the Sar Di valley in the remote eastern Himalayas of Arunachal Pradesh, India

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Donyi Polo shrine, Arunachal Pradesh

Donyi-Polo shrine

Donyi-Polo shrine

literally “Sun-Moon”, is an animist religion followed by many of the tribal groups in Arunachal Pradesh, India (including the Apatani, Adi, Miri Tagin and Nishi tribes). Some anthropologists argue that Donyi-Polo is probably derived from the pre-Buddhist Bön religion of Tibet. Donyi Polo focuses on the worship of the sun and moon, who are considered the eternal watch deities of the supreme gods, Bo and Bomong. The religion has no written scriptures, but has traditionally been passed down orally from each generation to the next. Believers pray to a number of spirits, deities and souls for blessings, but they principally worship the sun (Donyi) and the moon (Polo) as the visible forms of the gods.

Donyi-Polo includes rituals which coincide with lunar phases and agricultural cycles. A follower of Donyi-Polo believes in the oneness of all living creatures, from the tiniest of organisms to the mightiest of animals, and that every living creature has a role to play in his or her life. They believe that a spirit (or soul) resides within all men, plants, animals,and the land that nourishes them (all of which have a connection with humans).

The major deities in the Donyi-Polo tradition are Kine Nane, Doying Bote, Pedong Nane and Gumin Soyin.

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A bridge fit for an Indiana Jones film

Bridge across the Lohit River

Bridge across the Lohit River, Arunachal Pradesh


We crossed this fantastic bridge across the Lohit river in a remote corner of the Eastern Himalayas in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. The Lohit, a tributary to the Brahmaputra River, rises in eastern Tibet, in the Zayal Chu Range and enters India near the village of Kibithu.

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Hunter’s trophies

Hunter's trophies from the forest around the village of Minzong

Hunter’s trophies from the forest around the village of Minzong, Arunachal Pradesh


Every male in Arunachal Pradesh, at least in the rural areas, is a hunter, and every self respecting hunter has a trophy rack. This was a trophie rack in a hut in the village of Minzong or Sumdul in the Lohit Valley in a remote corner of Arunachal Pradesh. Amoung the deer skulls is the skull of a bear (bottom left). In another hut, they had the skin of a Himalayan black bear spread out before the fire. The locals are passionate about hunting and wild meat froms an integral part of their diet.

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