Samten Yongcha Gompa

Top choice in Arunachal Pradesh

Thought to be about 400 years old, the charming wooden Samten Yongcha Gompa stands on a breezy hilltop 6km (as the crow flies) west of Mechuka, fronted by a forest of prayer flags and with wonderful panoramas over the valley, river and surrounding mountains. The caretaker will probably appear to show you round the two-storey temple with its colourful imagery, including some genuinely scary guardian deities.

It's possible to drive most of the way: turn right in Segong, 8km along the road from central Mechuka, and after 750m you'll see a short path down to a hanging bridge. Cross this and follow the path up the hill to the monastery. You can also walk all the way from town; traffic along the road is light. For a slightly different approach, turn off the road 250m before Segong, down on to a path with some wooden boards that leads 750m to another hanging bridge. Across this, you can make out a path winding up the hillside to your left. This reaches the monastery in 20 to 30 steep minutes.

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