We reached the eastern most part of India bordering with China. Here, a banner in the lone shop received us with ‘Welcome to Kaho’. It is a small shop but no less than a mini departmental store. You get here everything including apparels, footwear, cosmetics, groceries, foods, tea, beer and whisky. And on the front desk, there is a telephone with an STD connection!
Hello! The voice from other side was clear and loud when I talked to my wife. The village Kaho falls within a few kilometers, may be 15 km, of the McMahon Line that separates India from China.
A little while ago, we started from the place of our previous night stay, Walong. Kaho is not very far from Walong. It is situated only at a distance of 24 Kms and well connected by tar road. We soon arrived at the beautiful Namti valley which is surrounded by pine trees. This valley witnessed a fiercest battle of 1962 Indo-China war. Today, a war memorial stands here to commemorate the sacrifice of brave Indian soldiers in the battle of Walong.
We continued driving to further east. The landscape started changing from here. Now, there were more pine trees and the peaks of China were appearing large on the horizon. We reached a junction where road bifurcates, the straight road goes to Kibithu and the one on right, leads to Kaho. Here stands a yellow sign board to remind the travelers of being on the eastern most road in India.
After a small break, we set off on the road to Dichu. Kaho would fall on this road. After travelling about a kilometer we reached the village Meshai where a beautiful bamboo bridge was making the vista wonderful. These bamboo bridges in Arunachal Pradesh connect the neighboring villagers, and it’s their lifeline. Crossing an iron suspension bridge over river Lohit we continued to drive towards Kaho by the side of Lohit.
We reached Kaho, the eastern most point of India!
Kaho is a small village with a small handful of households. Situated on the bank of river Lohit, it is surrounded by mountain peaks. It has a small monastery and a school too. Army controls this place. The Chinese side was clearly visible here. While China has constructed multistoried RCC buildings for its Army, Indian army camps here, are mostly made of iron sheets. We talked with the ITBP personnel and according to them roads from border area on Chinese side are well developed than ours. ITBP personnel here guide the visitors and show the Chinese side through their telescopic lens. However, we could not avail that as there was an ongoing flag meeting of both the sides when we were at Kaho.
Kaho is the last place to which one is allowed to visit. No civilians are allowed to move beyond the iron suspension bridge (in the above Photo) at Kaho. There is no road beyond Dichu to the actual border area as the total land is disputed and China doesn’t agree to McMohan line here.
We headed back towards another eastern most part of India, Kibithu. Both Kaho and Kibithu were briefly under Chinese occupation in 1962. Today, Kibithu has the brigade HQ of Indian Army. We reached Kibithu after a short drive. Most of the distance to Kibithu was covered by good road, though there was a little stretch of about 2 Km that may frighten the travellers on board. There is an army check post at Kibithu where our permits were checked and we were asked to wait for a while for necessary permission to visit the Kibihtu helipad and view point. After the necessary permission, we moved ahead and reached the dead end to the helipad. There is a small settlement here with a small handful of households. These people mostly work as labour for construction of road and make their living. An ITBP personnel guided us to the area, shown the peaks, told about how the Indian soldiers fought the 1962 war and most importantly how the India Army are now patrolling the border. The LAC (Line of Actual Control) falls on the ridges of nearby mountains where our Army are dropped mainly by air. At subzero degree temperature, securing the border, day and night, at such height, on every single day and night is such a difficult job that can’t be imagined without being there.
We took some photos here and headed back to Walong. We had our lunch at Inspection Bungalow in Walong, and post lunch, we resumed our return journey to Khupa where we stayed the night.
Next morning we awoke early for our onward journey to Namdapha National Park at Miao in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. This time we took a different route. We moved towards the district town Tezu, the headquarters of Lohit district. We came to Alubari Ghat to cross river Lohit by ferry ride.
After crossing the river, we had our lunch in a small riverside stall. We would stop somewhere near Digboi tonight before heading to Namdapha National Park tomorrow.
The journey continued….