The Gorichen range, the state's highest, separates Tibet from Tawang from
This sprawling region spread over 2 districts is not part of
any protected area.
1500-4300+ m (all of it accessible by road)
Long: 27.5N 92.1E, W. Kameng & Tawang districts,
Nodal Locations: Dirang (W. Kameng)
and Jang (Tawang)
Vegetation Type: Dry inner
valleys, cultivation, temperate broad-leaved and conifer forests,
scrub, alpine meadows.
Best Season - Birds: April-June &
October-December, depending on snowfall.
Best Season - butterflies
Monsoon, especially May
Butterflies were active even in December but not in April.
Monal pheasant, blood pheasant, Satyr and Temminck's tragopans,
black-necked crane, long-billed plover, ward's trogon, alpine accentor,
eyebrowed thrush, white-throated redstart, slender-billed scimitar-babbler,
brown-throated tit-babbler/fulvetta, coal tit, rufous-bellied tit, rufous-fronted
tit, eurasian treecreeper, fire-tailed sunbird, beavan's bullfinch, brown
bullfinch, white-winged grosbeak, red-billed chough.
3-5 days is required to cover this
vast area which has some really special birds. Doing this area by
public transport, other than Sela Pass, is not possible.
Dirang (W. Kameng)
Sangti Valley: (1600m). Dry inner
valley with pine stands and cultivation. The only black-necked crane
wintering area in India (1-10 birds in late November-February only)
Mandala - Sela ridge road:
(2200-3700m). Temperate broad-leaved forest and scrub, extensive
conifer stands and summer pastures.
Sela Ridge: 3500-4500m. Demarcates the
W. Kameng - Tawang district border. Treeline vegetation (conifers,
birch and rhododendron, dwarf scrub) and alpine meadows.
The highway itself has decent roadside birding between Baisakhi (8
km beyond Sengay) and Sela Pass and also further beyond on the Jang
side. A road goes off from the Pass to Chabre La and then to
B.J.Gompa. This passes through extensive alpine meadows and
Jang - B.J.Gompa road: 2800-4300m.
Temperate bamboo, broad-leaved and fir forests; alpine meadows. The
entire road is open during summer; snow conditions determine access
rest of the year, when it gets quite chancy above 3500m.
Jang - Rama Spur road: 2800-3800+m.
Temperate bamboo, fir and rhododendron forests with clearings. The
road begins to descend beyond the highest point at 3800m. But one
can climb higher on foot.
Boarding & Lodging
Dirang: (1625m, Grade 3): couple of decent hotels (doubles at Rs. 500-1500) and several other basic ones and restaurants.
Sengey: (3000m, Grade 4): (3000m ) : PWD IB (2-4 people).
Sangti: (1600m, Grade 5) : Sheep breeding centre IB (?). Camping by river.
Jang: (2200m - Grade 3) : A PWD IB (8 people).
B.J.Gompa: (4200m? - Grade 5) :
A buddhist monastery, opens during summer. It is in the alpine zone and may be a good place for exploring the area, if accommodation is available there.
As of now there is no local contact person in Dirang or Jang. Mr.
Indi Glow of Tenga can help with making the arrangements.
Eaglenest Biodiversity Project: Ramana
Athreya (rathreya at ncra.tifr.res.in)
More Information on the area: Ramana
Bird Tours: Kaati Tours & Mr. Indi
Glow (President, Bugun Welfare Society)
Mr. Glow : Tenga Market, Tenga, W. Kameng, Arunachal Pradesh, Ph
91-3782-273359; Kaati Tours:Ph
Arunachal entry permits are required for both Indians
and foreigners and are checked on entry at Bhalukpong. The Circle
Officers at Tenga /
Dirang / Jang
can issue fresh permits to extend the stay (for Indians only). No
other permits are required. However, this area has a very heavy army
presence; any group of birders with serious optics should take the
time to inform the local army officials of their presence especially
if they plan to wander far from the highway - this is also a good
safety precaution in case unseasonal snowfall leaves the party
stranded far from habitation.
This is a region of early starts and long commutes
with Dirang and Bomdila being the only place for those who require
very comfortable sleeping quarters. Bomdila, Dirang, Sela and Jang
lie on the Tezpur-Tawang highway and are served by several daily
buses and shared taxis. But the Sela Pass is the only area which can
be accessed solely by public transport. All other localities are off
the highway and may not have any traffic for days on end. So a
reliable jeep and good weather are essential for visiting these
places. Diesel vehicles must be capable of handling sub-zero
conditions. The army is responsible for keeping these roads open and
are quite efficient at clearing snow and rocks from the highway but
sometimes it can take a day or two in case of heavy snowfall in
winter (January - March). It is best not to attempt the side roads
after the first winter snow (usually in late December).
The Mandala - ChabriLa road is still not through; construction is
going on about 20+ km beyond Mandala.
Dirang - Bomdila: 42 km
Dirang - Sangti: 10? km
Dirang - Mandala: 28 km, good forest for another 20 km
Dirang to: Sengay 37 km, Baisakhi 45 km,
Sela Pass 61 km,
Sela to: ChabriLa 11 km, B.J.Gompa 17 km,
Jang 59 km (side road)
Sela to: Jang 37 km, Tawang 77 km (along the
Jang - highest point on Rama Spur road: 32 km
Typical speeds on these hill roads are 20 kmph, both ascending and
Copyright © Ramana Athreya 2005
||Reports / Others
This webpage is a part of the Eaglenest Biodiversity Project report, which was funded by a grant from the Rufford Foundation (UK) to Ramana Athreya.
The information contained herein may be freely used, provided that these webpages and/or the project report
(Athreya 2005) are appropriately cited. The images are copyright and may not be reproduced without permission from Ramana Athreya
The author would also appreciate an
email from people who found this webpage useful, whether to a scientific study or to a vacation in the area
~ Ramana Athreya