Dirang is the base to head towards Tawang. A short stopover in Dirang Valley gave me a glimpse of the life of the locals. The women in western Arunachal Pradesh are a hardworking lot. With babies tied on to their back they are seen knitting, weaving, cooking and working in the fields.
Potato, Corn, Cabbage, Cauliflower and Tomato are cultivated in the fields. Their diet also majorly comprises of Fish, Pork and Chicken. Dirang Dzong, a fort that is more than 500 years old is a small settlement today with stone houses. It was the center for administrative, judicial and military activities in the bygone era.
Corn was seen drying outside every house. Children were playing while women returned home carrying firewood on their head.
As I walked through Dirang Market I entered a local shop. The lady at the counter took me to the backside of the shop where a Monpa lady was weaving a traditional garment worn by local women called as shinka or shingka. She then offered me a glass of local beer made from rice. Having tasted the drink I returned to the market. Settlements in and around Dirang are seen selling kiwi and apples. Uddhav mentioned there was a Kiwi orchard nearby. Until then I never knew Kiwi is grown in India.
I was of the understanding we imported this fruit from overseas. There are so many unknown facts of India that it continues to amaze me. I checked into Hotel Pemaling for the night which is the best in town. Normally I prefer homestays for an experiential travel and to get a close up view of the lifestyle of the locals. But in Dirang I couldn’t find one. The staff in the hotel did ensure I got a taste of the local food as they served me Bamboo shoot soup, Red rice with a curry made of Yak’s cheese, noodles, cabbage and carrots. The meal was perfect and ended with some red pineapple in hot custard. I was always used to having cold custard but in Dirang it was freezing with a small heater to my rescue in the room. The hot custard was a blessing in disguise.