Words: Vinay Menon \\ Photos: Cephas Joseph, Vinay Menon, AMBIA
Temperatures nearing minus five after dark, Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh, India is a hidden gem of a place. Located at 6000ft above sea level, the Mechuka Valley shares its northern border with China. Having an Indian Air Force air strip as well, this sleepy remote town stores epic hillscapes and beautiful views.
Visiting Mechuka came about as I was attending the Mechuka Adventure Festival ‘s Downhill Mountain Bike race, organized by AMBIA. Joining me on this trip, my buddy, Cephas Joseph.
Two days on winding roads, over mountains, through small towns and villages, reaching Mechuka in the freezing evening was a good start. It prepared us for the rest of our stay! The adventure festival vibes were on top spot. Traditional dance and music, along with beat boxers and rappers from across north east India, the Mechuka Adventure Festival made the evenings around the bonfire groovy.
The downhill race, for which we were visiting Mechuka, turned out to be a good show! A fresh trail, talented riders from the north east, the weekend race was steaming. Racing with the young boys and landing a podium even, was the icing on top.
Days are pretty short in the valley and it’s freezing till the sun rises up. Starting our hike in the cold was the only way we could make it to the peak and ride under sun light before the 4pm sunset!
Postcard views on all sides at the peak welcomed us at noon. With sunlight reflecting over a stream in the valley and distant village homes with smoke off the chimneys sure syncs you with Mechuka’s peaceful and simple life.
Arunachal’s State Tourism Dept is working on attracting more tourists to Mechuka, which would enable local job opportunities and region’s development. We can only hope that the beautiful valley of Mechuka stays safe from human induced destruction.
This little town in Arunachal Pradesh is a must visit for folks looking for an escape from life’s chaos! Mechuka sure has sweet play leaves hidden in its basket.