Call of snow & adventure - Snowcapped Mayodia is fast becoming a tourist hotspot

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By RIPUNJOY DAS in Mayodia
  • Published 28.01.04

Mayodia, Jan. 28: Tucked away in the Upper Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, Mayodia does not tease the senses like Tawang does or possess the picture-postcard ambience of Pasighat. But this tiny gateway to the Indo-China border is fast becoming the most-favoured destination of those who want to experience the magic of snowfall without having to go too far.

Mayodia Pass, located at an altitude of 2,655 metres above sea level, can be accessed through Anini town. It witnesses heavy snowfall in January and February, which is the period when adventure-seekers from Upper Assam throng the place.

“If snowfall is so near, why do we need to go to Kashmir?” asked Surjeet Singh, a resident of Dibrugarh.

Ipra Mekola from Roing, who runs two guesthouses on behalf of the tourism and forest departments, said the inflow of tourists was increasing every year. “Snowfall is heavy between the end of January and the first half of February,” he said.

The journey to Mayodia Pass is an adventure in itself without being overly taxing. For a tourist starting from the Upper Assam town of Dibrugarh, snow-capped Mayodia is just a seven-hour expedition away. A ferry ride on the Brahmaputra from Dholaghat to Sadiya adds to the excitement.

From Sadiya, a tourist has to go to Chapakhowa, Assam’s extreme point on the eastern border, and then to Mayodia Pass via Roing. The entire route — from Dibrugarh to Mayodia — is not more than 100 km. The alternative route — Kakopathar-Dirakgate-Mahadevpur-Namsai — takes around eight hours to cover.

The inter-state border point between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is at Santipur, where a tourist has to produce an inner-line permit to enter Arunachal Pradesh.

“The roads in Arunachal Pradesh, maintained by the Border Roads Organisation, are much better than those in Assam,” Surjeet said.

Mayodia got its name from a Nepali girl, Maya, who vanished in the snow and could not be traced. “I have always known that this spot is named after her,” Maira Lama, a 57-year-old labourer engaged by the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF), said.

Though Mayodia’s popularity has been growing, the lack of proper facilities for tourists can dampen most people’s enthusiasm in sub-zero temperatures. Tourists are required to carry whatever they might need, including food for an emergency.

Scarcity of water and erratic power supply make an overnight stay in Mayodia a tough proposition. “We have a generator for power supply. But it is not possible to run it continuously because of scarcity of diesel and difficulty in transportation,” Mekola, who doubles up as a guide, said.

The Arunachal Pradesh government, however, intends to develop the place as a proper tourist spot. “We will launch a publicity blitz to attract more tourists. Infrastructure will improve as more people visit the place,” a senior tourism department official said.