Sharing some memories from my trip to Arunachal through some of my favourite photos that captured the essence of the place. The route was from Guwahati – Tenga Valley- Bomdilla- Sela Pass- Tawang and return to Guwahati.
En route to Tenga Valley – A cantonment area before Bomdilla was our first pit stop. A beautiful valley that made for a stunning hault with the river flowing through the town.
Lovely garden at our cottage in Tenga Valley that led to the river flowing below our cottage
View from our cottage at Tenga Valley
We visited Bomdilla while staying at Tenga and the Bomdilla Monastery was a well kept sight and a great visit at the start of our trip. The monastery houses over 200 monks. A great time to visit the monastery is in the evening when one can participate in the prayers.
I spotted the rainbow as soon as we had left from Tenga towards Tawang. Truly blessed.
Jaswantgarh War Memorial, Nuranang en route to Tawang – A great pit stop where one can read and learn about the bravery of Indian soldiers of the 1962 Indo-China war. The memorial has been built in honor of Jaswant Singh who stood alone holding his post for over 72 hours during the invasion by the Chinese. There are also soldiers who are happy to give a guided tour , on request.
Sela Pass – The entry point to Tawang located at a height of 13700 ft. We were lucky to witness it on a sunny day and get such majestic clear views of the peaks all around. It was truly the highlight of the trip.
Our cottage and stay in Tawang – Beautiful location and a warm place, thank god for being an army kid 🙂
Walking around Tawang Monastery – Largest Buddhist monastery in India, dated to be 400 years old and houses over 700 monks. School, library, museum and meditation halls are some of its features, a great place to spend some alone time.
A visit to Khinmey Nyingma monastery – This monastery was not on our list nor had we heard about it. A suggestion from our driver took us to Khinmey. We were the only visitors and were greeted warmly by a young monk who not only chatted with us but also gave a personal guided tour and explained to us the difference in sects amongst the Buddhist monasteries. The stupas we saw here were much different from what we had earlier seen. I would recommend a visit here for everyone.
One of my cherished meals was an authentic traditional Thentuk at the Yak restaurant which also happens to be owned by a really kind person , Tong who was a chef in Mumbai and has now returned back home. Indeed a small world.
En route to Bum la – Snow ! Snow ! Snow… is all we could see. It was sooo cold that every time we got off to click a few pictures, we froze. I kept wondering how the Indian army survived in these conditions and not only protected our borders but also maintained and managed all these sights. The pass is located above 16,500 ft. The driver told us that the same paths in summers are filled with greenery and rhododendrons and we should definitely return to witness that.
Frozen lakes became a common sight by the end of this drive… this one was captured just before the border.
Sangestser Lake popularly known as Madhuri Lake , yes named after Madhuri Dixit. We were really lucky as once again as we were the only visitors allowed to go up to Madhuri lake on this day. The views from the lake are splendid and one must walk around the entire lake. The sounds of the bells ringing, prayer flags flying and being there alone was as surreal as it could get. Hot cup of chai and maggi made our day. There is a little cafeteria run by the army jawans who prepare warm and quick meals for tourists.
Tawang War Memorial – The visit to this memorial took me back to my army days and reminded me of all that my father and others have done for the nation. The memorial is dedicated to all the soldiers who lost their lives in the 1962 war. The names of the martyred 2420 soldiers are engraved in gold. We were fortunate enough to get a guided tour by the army personnels who explained and shared all the details of the war. Later , we attended the sound and light show which depicted the war and its harsh conditions which not only left me in tears but also extremely proud of their spirit and heroism.
A special mention to the only nunnery in Tawang – Thukye Chueling Buddhist Nunnery. This was the day when we were greeted by heavy rainfall and yet we decided to carry on and visit the nunnery, and am glad we did. Young nuns greeted and made us comfortable with hot tea and endearing conversations about their lives and routine.
We visited the Manjushree Vidyapith school which is doing some great work in providing education to underprivileged children from the neighbourhood. The school also has a hostel for these children. We met a lovely bunch of kids and teachers and spent some time with them.The school is funded by NGOs, donations and the army.
This was our last evening where we sat at our cottage sipping chai and enjoying the mighty rains…
“It is not the Mountain we conquer but Ourselves” – Sir Edmund Hillary