Arunachal Pradesh wakes you up the first thing in the morning as the dawn sun rays are the sharpest ever compared to the rest of India. Welcome to the land of the eastern rising Sun.
These are the places that one can add to make your Western Arunachal Pradesh itinerary as complete as possible.
Start your trip from Gauwhati , and drive up to Bhalukpong for a night stay. On the way do not forget to have Assamese thali at NRL , Authentic and yummy .
Stay at Bhalukpong ,unfortunately there are not too many choices so select for the government owned privately managed property called Prashanthi cottages.It is the garden and the meadows that adds a touch of beauty to this otherwise very basic accommodation stay.
The next day you can drive from Bhalukpong towards Sesssa and Tanga Valley and you would have crossed Assam borders into mainstream Arunachal.
If you love orchids you must visit this place
On the way you can visit Tipi orchid area, but October may not be the flowering season so just a walk around this conservatory of orchids of rare species can be seen here.You really don’t need too much time here but some picture opportunities can take your time definitely .
Day of The landslide
When you are traveling around monsoon time, You will observe everywhere the border roads Organisation dedicatedly working on the hills and trying to clear any landslide area as early as possible..
When you have a driver like Navjit Burman who knows that this wait can extend more than 24 hours, ,we reroutef towards Tezpur ,kalakthang to reach Bomdila driving through the hills almost at midnight but yes we made it.
Passing through Bomdila onward to Tawang
Now these are the highlights that you simply cannot miss during the drive to Tawang
Sela Pass and Sela lake
Every traveler waits to view the sela pass as it connects to the India China border and it is the land of Tibetan Buddhism. This pass is also historically important for Indians because in 1962 Sino Indian war as a boy named jaswant singh Rawat fought all by himself after all the ammunition was exhaustedll against the Chinese soldiers near the mountain pass and this pass is named after the tribal woman named Sheila who brought food and water to him.
Sela Lake for you
fog fog all the way
The Jang waterfalls
The road trip passes through Baisakhi garrison and this is where it becomes colder and foggy And you wouldn’t have asked for more than a stop at the canteen , just gorge on hot bread pakoras and Dosa made by the army canteen. If you miss this break you will miss something for sure .
The Jang waterfalls
What a relief as the weather got better it was possible to go to the Jang waterfalls it’s popularity rose because Madhuri Dixit danced around these waterfalls .
One look at the pure white milky waterfall and you are startled because of the heavy volume of water which falls from a height of more than 300 feet and this waterfall is actually an accumulation of several lakes and streams that land into Thang river.
The locals get their electric power from the Hydro power station which is located just next to the waterfalls so not only is it aesthetic to the eyes but also of immense use to provide electricity.
Tawang here i come
I have listed around 10 reasons why Tawang is extremely beautiful just the way it is described by everyone who visits it .A base for Buddhism with extra ordinary views to kill , high altitude of around 10,000 feet above sea level makes it more magnanimous.
When you are traveling in the Himalayan region it is definitely fascinating to stay in a home stay rather than a hotel and I highly recommend the Tawang Homestay as the place to spend your next three nights at.The host Dicky welcomes you with open arms and takes you through her huge garden filled with flowers and fruits and then to the accommodation rooms and treats you for a nice hot dinner very lovingly. What more could you ask for .
1 Tawang Monastery
India’s largest Monastery that controls 17 gompas in the region and a very important seat of my Hiana Buddhism.What draws you to the monastery is the imposing three-story the assembly hall and 28 feet high golden statue of lord Buddha .
The view of the Tawang monastery can be seen from most of the Uphill areas around it.A place of study in Buddhism school where more than thousand young monks study and chant here everyday
I indeed got lucky because I had a chance to visit one of the study group and make a presentation on fundamentals of Buddhism and an opportunity to talk to the students there. The chanting then continued.
Jaswant War Memorial
The single soldier who fought almost barehanded with the Chinese army in 1962 certainly deserves a mention here .
Bum – La pass
A special permission is needed to visit the BumLa pass which has to be applied a day earlier with an ID and a local car needs to be hired to visit this destination which was the highlight of my trip.
At the height of 15,200 feet with all year bound chill the Bum la pass fills you up with intense patriotism as you are welcomed by the army who first welcome you with a hot cup of tea and a snack and patiently walk you around the border giving you very interesting inputs and stories about the daily activities.The army officers described how the 1961 Indo China war took place and also discuss about the current situation happening where It’s clearly seen the Chinese army just a few kilometers away with binoculars.Bum la pass Is also interesting because the first Dalai Lama had come from these mountains. The history books come alive and every incident of the past can be seen come to life .
Sleep well, we are guarding the borders, this is what the soldiers tell you after the conversations.
It’s very common in India for places to become popular because of film actors and this lake is called locally as Madhuri Lake.This lake is quite sinister looking because of the trees in the lake which are like dead trees as it was formed by the aftermath of an earthquake in 1950.This is maintained by the Indian Army and you can enjoy the snacks and tea from the canteen.
The Magnificent Giant Buddha
Constructed on an elevation of 10,000 feet this giant Buddha statue is located on a small hill near the Tawang Circle, and offers some really good scenery.The prayer hall underneath the statue is for meditation and it is the location which is enchanting.
The sound and light show at the amphitheatre Is another activity by the army managed very well to show the importance of Tawang and it’s important role in history ,so don’t miss it for its colorful laser beams and commentary.
There is a small charge of Rs.50 which is again paid to though army reception for maintaining this place and utilizing the electricity required.
Dirang Valley the Swiss of the east so what do you see here.
Dirang is a photographer s paradise and I’m not surprised why it is called the Switzerland of the east because of the strategically placed fur trees on the valley that gives a beautiful slopy look. For me the highlight here was the monastery and it’s very apt location… If you are bored of only seeing monasteries then this piece of architecture and landscaping will break the monotony.
Where to stay
Dirang boutique cottage , You wouldn’t have seen anything like this ever in any type of yours, run by a lady and her son this mall eight cottage property is by the Riverside with a very romantic approach of a suspension Bridge. Look up on Google for the contact numbers and address.
THe Mandala top
Now this is a new attraction and it was only with my interaction with the locals and travellers that I got to know of this remote hilly region 22 km away from Dirang .
It’s again on high altitude ,so the moment you are going up you can feel the chill and at this time especially in the evening all you want is a cup of hot tea and I was very lucky that I found a local lady who very warmly invited me to her house from the monpa tribe and made fresh hot ginger tea for us.
The winding bumpy roads leads you to a mandala which are 108 stupas with the Buddhist mantra on each Stupa Om Mani Padme Hum. This is a community venture as each stupa Is donated from a family around this village .
The UNESCO Heritage Village Themang
This is a fortified city with a history and dates back to the 12th century, Thembang is a village that follows all protocols of a green village with no carbon footprint. The cultural richness is visible everywhere and the large wooden gates invite you to plunge into places like the monastery Or the Homestays which are built the typical traditional style made with stones and wood . This mountainous hamlet is a piece of paradise with fables .It also witnessed numerous wars on its land hence a strong fortification stone wall gates were constructed by the villagers here. Now the settlement is very peaceful still following the Panchayati system of governance where the possession of properties is deemed as community ownership.
What is so unique about Thembang
The village has some mysterious caves that are laden with stone blocks with a lot of stories about the Monpa tribes past As storytelling was an important part of community meetings way back then.
So what to do here
Walk walk and trek .. And you will laugh and discover and explore the people from this village, a very down-to-earth and humble hamlet and don’t be surprised if you get a lot of invitations for tea and biscuits.
Driving back to Guawhati and it’s a wise stop to make Bomdilla to see the monastery
Bomdila is famous for its apple orchards so if you are travelling in September or October you can actually walk into the apple orchards and taste the fruits
The best place to stay is at Doe Gu khil Which is managed by the Buddhist monastery and is a decent place to stay.
Doe -Gu -khil phone 03782-223232
So this was my western Arunachal Pradesh trip which can be easily done in about eight days but I chose to stay in Gauhati and be a part of a social activity so I went to mothers Senior Citizen Home to spend a couple of hours before the flight with the mothers there. A breakfast meeting and spending time by talking to them And participating in their daily activity schedule was just the perfect thing to do to wind my most wonderful explorative trip of Arunachal Pradesh.
Mona Lisa Society Ajanta Park Gauhati Assam098640 48360Continue reading “Arunachal Pradesh .. Call of the East”