“Ooh, that’s such a fairytale setting”, I exclaimed as the car came down the turn on the Bomdila-Dirang highway. I was looking at the faraway lights over the horizon glittering against the still blue sky of the twilight hour. What place is that? I asked Sange, who was behind the wheel. He only smiled.
We had from Bomdila an hour back to Driang for a night halt. The next day, we would continue our journey towards Tawang. All in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. You lower in altitude as you approach the Dirang valley. This makes Dirang much warmer than its big brother, “can snow anytime” Bomdila.
Windows rolled down, heady with the pine scented air my mood was already upbeat. We got off the highway soon after I asked about the fairy tale place. We were now driving down a muddy gravel path. I soon realised that those glittering lights were coming closer. But where were we gonna go? There was nothing but the Dirang Chu (river) in front. The lights were on the other bank, and I couldn’t see anything on our side of the bank. And we were surely not doing any river activity, in the dark.
I got the answer as we took yet another turn. In front came a tall hanging bridge, over the Dirang Chu. Our cars would stay parked here. We got out of the car, crossed this pedestrian bridge to enter a wonderland called Dirang Boutique Cottage!
What is Dirang Boutique Cottage?
On the banks of the river Dirang, at the outskirt of the Dirang village, Dirang Boutique Cottage is a resort cum homestay cum farmstay. It is a brainchild of Sange Tsering, the founder of Holiday Scout, a socially and ecologically conscious tourism company based in Arunachal Pradesh. After many years of dreaming and toiling, he opened Dirang Boutique Cottages for tourism in 2019.
Dirang is more than just a stopover enroute Dirang. For sure, it is one of the places you must halt at on your way to Tawang. But after spending two blissful days in Dirang, I wanted more! And Dirang Boutique Cottages is the perfect place to stay in Dirang for a heartwarming, comfortable and a responsible tourism experience. It’s full 4G connectivity means that you can also consider for a long stay as you work from the mountains.
Why is Dirang Boutique Cottages special?
Sange is passionate about promoting responsible tourism in Arunachal Pradesh. He sees tourism as a means for sustainable development of the remote villages in Arunachal. Dirang Boutique Cottages is just one step forward in this direction. You sense this passion and honesty the moment you set foot on this property.
Sange’s family members themselves overlook the operations here. Ama’s welcoming hug will instantly make you feel at home. Kamru, a young chef in the making will delight you with finger licking delicacies. You can try some local Monpa delicacies here. But don’t worry, if trying out a new cuisine makes you uncomfortable. She will couple all of these with mainstream Indian dishes, both vegetarian, and non veg.
But who is Kamru, you ask? We will let Sange or his family themselves answer that. But only if you are ready to hear stories of true dedication and focus.
The experiences offered
The rooms at Dirang Boutique Cottages are built to give you the privacy you expect in a resort. There are 4 independent cottages. Built in locally sourced stone, each cottage is modeled over the traditional Monpa home. Monpa is the dominant tribe of this part of Arunachal.
Each cottage has two twin sharing rooms and an attached bathroom. The rooms are built to stay inherently warm, and are well equipped with quilts and blankets. And if you are arriving late in the evening like we did, they would have already pre heated the room for you. You can also keep the heater with you for the night.
The common dining hall is painted in bright yellow, and is a perfect place for some indoor socialising. Attached to it is a modern kitchen, behind which is a traditional fireplace you can all sit around, sipping your ara with rounds of momos. They will make you a special red tea, if ara isn’t your thing!
Outside the cottages is a beautiful garden laced with lemon and orange trees.They also have kiwis, pomegranates, plums as well as apple trees here. Which means no matter when you visit, there will be fruit in season.And just beyond this verdant space is the Dirang river.
What to do during your stay here?
Wake up early in the morning, bask in the garden under the lemon trees, practice some yoga, or give your feet some green therapy. Then go for a walk along the river. Or sit by it with your morning cuppa reading, smelling, seeing, listening, being.
You will soon hear someone from the cottage calling out for you for breakfast. A sumptuous breakfast will include a choice of seasonal fruits.
You can then join the others for some hands-on farming. They grow a variety of vegetables here – broccoli, cucumber, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, corn, sugarcane. Everything is organically grown. You will soon realise why your food is so delicious at the Dirang Boutique Cottage – it is a complete farm to table experience.
Or you can step out, cross the bridge and drive down to the ancient Dirang Dzong. Take a walk around this Monpa settlements, and its old monasteries.
Visit the nearby Sangti valley, or the remote villages like Santu and practice some archery. Ask Holiday Scout to plan it all out for you.
Or, especially if you are a keen birder you can go for a full day excursion to Mada la and enjoy the 360 degree views from the top.
In the evenings, they will be happy to organise a cooking class for you. Learn how to make momos the traditional way, from the true experts themselves!
No matter how long you stay, or what you do, you will leave Dirang feeling well rested, well fed, rejuvenated.
How to book?
As of now, you can contact Holiday Scout directly at +91 9862290952. The cost is INR 2750 per room and includes breakfast for two. If you intend to stay for longer, let them know accordingly.