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A trip to hidden paradise
- Arunachal festival promises a journey to the unknown

Dibrugarh/Guwahati, Jan. 17: Did you know that India has its very own Bermuda Triangle'

Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas on the Indo-Myanmar border, the “Lake of No Return” had intrigued the Allied forces during World War II when many of its aircraft and crew disappeared into the lake’s icy depths during emergency “soft landings”.

Come Saturday, the Lake of No Return and many other little-known places will play host to tourists when the first Pangsau Pass Winter Festival begins at Nampong, the border township in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The festival will not only showcase the unique culture and cuisine of the Tangsas — the dominant tribe of the district — but also give tourists a chance to visit the Lake of No Return — a 15-km drive from Nampong down the historic Stilwell Road.

“The festival will be attended by Union minister Jairam Ramesh,” said Arif Siddique, a member of the organising committee. The event will serve as the gateway to the shrouded paradise in Arunachal Pradesh, one of the last Shangri Las in the country, hope the organisers.

On the inaugural day, tourists will be taken on a trip to the evergreen tropical rain forests of Nampong. “The journey through the serpentine roads might be tough for some but it is worth it when you reach the destination,” said Siddique.

“And we will serve the exhausted souls with U (rice beer) and delicious local cuisine, including traditional pork bamboo shoot and steamed rice at the food fiesta,” Siddique said.

The second day will be devoted to sports and music. Siddique said visitors and local residents will participate in a “Run for Peace” on that day.

The highlight of Day II, however, will be a performance by a Myanmarese cultural troupe and a traditional sports competition.

“Music connoisseurs will be enthralled by the performance by myriad sub-tribes of Tangsas,” said Siddique.

The festival will conclude with a food fiesta and fashion show of traditional attire.

“Even in this day and age, we are cut off from the rest of the world. Here, time stands still and life moves at a snail’s pace. Tourists hardly come here because of lack of publicity. The festival is expected to open the doors for them. In the process, the local economy is also expected to get a boost. We are all ready to welcome them with traditional grandeur,” said Chow Pingiya, a volunteer at the festival.

Pingiya, who is also a local, said the “festival is dedicated to showcase the distinctive culture, customs, traditional dresses, folk dances, melodies and the cuisine of the Tangsas”.

Who knows, the ‘Indian’ Bermuda Triangle might just turn out to be the next tourist-puller of the region.

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