The roads to Arunachal Pradesh are difficult and include several tight turns along the route. Additionally, throughout the night, the temperature dropped to -5 degrees. The state of Arunachal Pradesh is known as "The land of the rising sun." I watched the sunrise at 4 AM, so I had no doubts about its name. At a height of 4,170 meters, Sela Pass is a mountain pass that links Tawang with West Kameng. This was the point at which we arrived in Tawang and began the actual journey.
There is a large, vibrant gate here, and I saw a partially frozen lake close to the entrance.
The city of Tawang is home to the Tawang monastery which was our first major destination. As soon as I entered the monastery, I felt a sense of calm and positive energy all around me. I could see the stunning Tawang monastery, which was incredibly colorful and contributed to its charm with its golden hue, even from a short distance away.
There were many monks present because the monastery was vast and they were celebrating their yearly Buddhist festival. As soon as I arrived at the monastery area, I noticed that it was surrounded by a vibrantly colored garden full of blooming flowers. I entered the main prayer hall, which included a portrait of HH Dalai Lama and a statue of Lord Buddha.
The hall was completely silent as the monks meditated in their respective locations. My eyes felt calm and my attention was immediately drawn to the intricate drawings painted on the walls. There were Buddhist texts and ancient scriptures bound with wood and thread from plain old paper.
One of the monks from the monastery urged us to remain for the following two days and take part in their celebration as we were leaving the hall. I shall never forget this time in my life when a monk encouraged us to embrace their culture and enjoy their rituals. Due to our itinerary, we were unable to remain there.
Tawang War Memorial-
About 25 kilometers from Tawang is where you'll find the Jaswantgarh War Memorial in Nuranang. This battle memorial honors the valor of the slain Indian soldiers of the 1962 Indo-China War and is situated in a picturesque landscape right below the Sela pass.
This battle monument honors rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, a member of the 4th Battalion of the Garhwal Rifles Infantry Regiment and a recipient of the Mahavir Chakra Award. At the memorial, we also witnessed the light and sound show that portrayed the Indo-China War. There is also a tiny souvenir store nearby.
The Indo-China Border-
The Indo-China border at Bum La Pass is 37 kilometers from Tawang. The Indo-China border requires permission to be visited. The route leading to the border is rather rough, and I encountered several army bases while traveling there. We played a game of snow battle with our family members in one of the snow areas. As we traveled further, we came upon an army souvenir shop where they also made momos for the visitors. It was the first time I had steamed momos prepared by an army man, and they were delicious. We were led by army personnel to the border gate, where it was easy to view the China post, as we arrived at the border region.
There was a limited route that connected China and India. Mountains were all around.
We distanced ourselves from the China post and returned to the army tents, where we were given certificates for our visit. The army official also made tea for us. It's challenging to obtain authorization to visit Indo-China, but we were fortunate to obtain it. We spoke with a few army officers we met there about their way of life. On our return, we next visited the majestic Madhuri lake.
We arrived upon a stunning lake that was pretty large between snow-capped mountains. This lake is supposed to have formed during an earthquake in 1950. Originally known as Sangester Tso, the lake's name was changed to Madhuri Lake in honor of Madhuri Dixit's casting in the film Koyla. Throughout the lake, there were tree trunks, and little streams fed it with water.
I went across the small bridges that were close to the lake where you could sit and take in the beauty. The sacred Tibetan colorful flags are also used to beautify the lake. I will never forget the flavor of the tea and the delicious Chole Bhatore we enjoyed at Madhuri Lake at the café run by the Indian army. Our next stop was Nuranang Waterfall.
Even from a distance, I could hear the waterfall's roar. Here, a small hydroelectric power plant was installed, and I witnessed part of the facility's turbines in operation. Huge amounts of water poured down the waterfall, creating a river with crystal-clear water.
Then, as we traveled to Kaziranga, we passed a few rivers with clean water and lush terrace agricultural lands.
Stay tuned, to experience the beauty of Assam in my next blog. Until next time, stay safe and stay happy.