Along - A tete a tete with the city :
Now known as : Alao
Location : North Eastern India, Arunachal Pradesh.
Best time to visit : September to March.
Local Transport : Private cars, buses.
Places to see : Ramakrishna Mission, Hanging Bridge, and Patum Bridge.
Souvenirs : Cane and bamboo articles.
Along - The Tale of the city :
History has it that Along is a part of the West Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh. Along is the district headquarters. This district has been the place where many tribals have inhabited. Memba, Khamba, Adi etc live here. They follow Donyi - Polo. Some of the tribals here have followed Baptist Christianity. The tribals of the Memba and Khamba follow the Tibetan Buddhism.
Along - Down the Ages :
Down the ages, Along, the headquarters of West Siang is the district headquarters. Spreading over more than 8000 sq km, today it is a census town with a population of more than 16,000. Elevated at around 619m, Along is today known as Aalo. Its literacy rate is 69% which is higher than the national average.
Along - A Rendezvous :
A rendezvous with Along, Aalo reveals that this census town is around 150km from the bus station of Likabali. Lying on the borders of the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, Along is a beautiful valley filled with a lot of scenic beauty. With mountains forming the background and the rivers Siyom and Sipu flowing through the town, Along is a living example of beauty combined with history,. The scene of the two rivers meeting at the Belun Ghat is exquisite and out of the world and they both together finally converge to meet the River Siang. The biggest rivers of Arunachal Pradesh River Siang run through Along.
Along - Travel kitty :
When one comes to Along, one knows that there is going to be lot of scenic pleasure. The amazing plantations here capture a tourist’s heart and the natural ambience renders the tourist completely helpless with excitement. The lovely picturesque surroundings with the beauty of Mother Nature make this a perfect tourist spot. The tribal inhabitation of the place is very intriguing and the tribes like the Adi ( Gallong) are found here. The cultural travel kitty is enhanced by visits of villages like Kaying, Kabu, Jirdin etc. The region is also famous for the works of bamboo and cane. Hats, cane vessels, hats, belts, bamboo mugs , carvings etc are very commonly found here. Besides this, shawls and jackets, shoulder bags, are also common here.
Along - Joie de vivre in the city :
As a person enters Arunachal Pradesh, he is struck by the scenic splendor. So the joie de vivre of living in this place is to enjoy this natural glamour. Along, the small hamlet in Arunachal Pradesh gives the tourist the following to see :
Ramakrishna Mission : This is a math which is dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna Parmahansa, Swami Vivekananda and Maa Sharda. The tranquil ambience here is a perfect relaxing spot for tourists.
Donyi Polo Dere : Lying around 3km from Pasighat, this sun and moon centre for worship was started by Talom Rukbo. It was started in the year 1989 and has organized many rallies and processions. There are more than 400 deres or centers in the state of Arunachal Pradesh and Donyi Polo Dere is one of them. It is a dream come true for the Adi community. It is an attempt to preserve culture and faith in the state. Donyi Poloism is an ancient religion that has its origins in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. It propagates non violence, sustenance of ecological balance and compassion. . The centre aims at attaining equality by worshipping the Moon and the Sun. There is a prayer hall and a meditation room. There is a portrait of Donyi Mikmie Serine and Polo Migoe Serome that is installed in the main sanctum.
Dams and Bridges :
The Kamki Hydropower Dam : It is a place where tourists love to come and see how the whole plant works.
Hanging Bridge : This is a beautiful bridge along the River Siang. This bridge is built of bamboo and cane. Measuring 60m to 70m in length this is a connecting link between Along and other hill tribes. The tribals practice fishing here. The bamboo out of which this is made is produced locally.
Patum Bridge : This bridge lies over the River Yomgo. The River Yomgo is ideal for angling, Trekking and other adventurous activities. This bridge with its picturesque background also shows the beautiful city of Along, shimmering with electric lights in the night. In the winter the backdrop of the snow clad mountains enhances the beauty.
Tribal Villages : These are beautiful areas to visit and it is intriguing to see the way the villages of Darka, Bam, Tribin, and Tapi are built. The ingenuous way of the tribes to build the houses on the slopes of the hills by using only cane and bamboo is a fascinating sight. The way of building the house without nails is also a marvelous art to see.
Panging : This village is the place where we find the largest Adi Minyong tribe settlement. Here we can see how cloth is woven by the women in the village. This is a very import place of angling and tourists enjoy coming here. It is located around 300kms from Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh. Tourists love to come here to enjoy angling on the river banks of Siang.
Farms and Orchards :
Orange Orchards : This is a beautiful sight that is seen in Along and these orchards with their rich fruits and delicious sights give the tourist a taste of the best. The salubrious climate coupled with the picturesque valleys in the background, give the tourist a moment to treasure forever.
Mithun and Jersey Cross Breeding Farm : A major tourist attraction it is located at Kamaki which is around 25km away. A lovely place, with mystical surroundings, the tourist would want to come here again.
Along - Entertainment Factor :
Along is a place where people love to come for adventurous activities which include hiking, trekking, angling and river rafting. Besides people love to angle along the River Siam, and thus the place is a favoured picnic spot.
Besides this the festivals of Mopin and Solung celebrated by Adis is famous here. Mopin is a festival that is celebrated to drive away all the evil spirits which are supposed to bring bad luck. The locals pray that the cursed shadows are not allowed and that any kind of natural calamity is avoided. The deity that is worshipped is the deity of welfare and wisdom. It is held for five days in the month of April. Locals celebrate this festival before sowing paddy. Popir is a popular dance that is danced during Mopin. This is a very elegant dance.
Legend has it that the festival regarded as Solung, which is the principle festival of the Adis, came into its illustrious existence when the Goddess of wealth, Kine-Kane had asked them in person to carry out this worship or ‘puja’. Although there are a plenty of theories that vouch for its beginning but this one is the most widely accredited and accepted.
Solung is celebrated by the ADis for five days. The first day or the Solung Gidi Dogin is the day when they prepare for this event. Doreph Long the second day is the day of animal slaughters. Binayat Binam or the third day is the day of prayers. Yaktor of Ekoph is the fourth day and on this day arms and ammunitions are manufactured. Miri or the fifth day is the day of farewell. The songs that are sung during Solung are the lyrics of Solung Abung that show the life of humans, animals, plants etc. Solung is celebrated in August.
With its pleasant climate and an amazing array of bamboo and cane crafts, with its past culture and tradition, with religion forming the basis in many places, Along comes across as a place which a tourist would cherish always.
As a person leaves this place he thinks “Along the way to be happy in a tour.”