A lifetime trip to Tawang

Tripoto
26th Feb 2016
Photo of A lifetime trip to Tawang by Deep Karan Singh

Experienced the thrill on the journey from Bhalukpong to Bumla. A trip that will change you as a person.

In the land of Dalai Lama

Photo of A lifetime trip to Tawang by Deep Karan Singh

Bumla Pass

Photo of A lifetime trip to Tawang by Deep Karan Singh

Enroute to Bumla Pass from Tawang

Photo of A lifetime trip to Tawang by Deep Karan Singh

P Tso lake

Photo of A lifetime trip to Tawang by Deep Karan Singh

At the LAC

Photo of A lifetime trip to Tawang by Deep Karan Singh

Tawang War Memorial

Photo of A lifetime trip to Tawang by Deep Karan Singh

Welcome to Bomdila

Photo of A lifetime trip to Tawang by Deep Karan Singh

Finally achieved something

Photo of A lifetime trip to Tawang by Deep Karan Singh

Inner peace guaranteed

Photo of A lifetime trip to Tawang by Deep Karan Singh
Day 1


After getting an ILP(Inner Line Permit), we (the three of us) left Guwahati on a February evening for Tawang, hoping to stay near Tezpur in the night and start from Bhalukpong to Tawang in the morning as the entry into Arunachal is not permitted in the night. We had dinner at a roadside dhaba (yes, there are a few) on the highway to Tezpur. At around 0030 hours of the next day we had a short sleep at Tezpur only to get up at 0400 hours in the morning to reach the Arunachal border at Bhalukpong at 0600 hours when the entry starts. We knew the journey would be tough as we had to drive on the mountainous roads on rough terrain for 300 kms. My friend and me drove turn by turn as the breathtaking journey took 10 hours and we reached Tawang at 1600 hours with a few stopovers for rest and lunch including one at Dirang. We passed through the Bomdila town but skipped the Bomdila pass as our goal was more ambitious i.e. The Bumla Pass. We reached Tawang and stayed at a Govt guesthouse. The town was literally full of Army men and less of civilians. After a tiring but rich-in-experience journey of 10 hours on the mountainous roads, we retired for the day at the guesthouse, had some ale with the chicken and had some conversations. The men who drink knows things and my friends enlightened me with some really serious things ;).

Day 2

The next day we planned to go to Bumla Pass but since we reached there without knowing much about our further journey to Bumla Pass, we were disappointed when the localities told us that we need another permit to go to Bumla Pass and the Army does not allow entry to the Pass beyond a certain time. The weather was also not good that day due to heavy snow and the entry was closed. We were sad and were thinking that if the weather stays bad for two more days we won't be able to go to the real beauty of Tawang. The office from where we had to get permit was also closed as that was a Sunday but the localities advised us to go to the home of the lady who gives permits in the office and after moving through the alleys of Tawang (we really didn't think we would be able to do this), the lady, after asking for a few documents, issued us a permit. The people of Tawang are so helping in nature. So, we decided that we would try again tomorrow and for the rest of the day we went to the Tawang Monastery. However, the monastery is not as big as we thought but still a visit to Tawang cannot be completed without visiting the monastery. After that we visited to the big state of Buddha (photo enclosed) as we had nothing else to do and roamed through the local market searching for Momos. The Momos had a slight different taste to what we were used to eating in Delhi for years but it felt nice to eat a street food of Delhi on the road less travelled. It was a dark, snowy weather and the localities were saying that it's about to snow heavily and we all looked at each other and talked to each other with our eyes of the fate of our trip to Bumla Pass the next day if it snows heavily. Luckily, it did not snow heavily. We went to our guesthouse, had more ale with the chicken and slept with the hope that the next day we would be able to travel further.

Day 3

Today was the D-Day for us. The entry to Bumla Pass was closed for last two days and we could take that road today only. We woke up and got ready and asked a few localities as they had an idea about the weather and what they said was a good news for us. It snowed yesterday up in Bumla but today morning the weather was clear and we were given a hope. We immediately hired a Sumo. Small cars cannot go through the snow-clad roads. We left for Bumla from Tawang at 0700 hours. It was a 35 km journey further up. At the first check post we were advised by the Army to go on our own risk as the road ahead is not in a good condition and the weather can change any time. But we took the risk and went ahead. Enroute to Bumla, we witnessed a lot of lakes but the one which stood out was P Tso Lake. It was frozen as all the other lakes but the view it created at that time was breathtaking. Next we stopped at Y-junction. It is so named as two roads go from that junction, one towards Bumla Pass and other towards Madhuri Lake. We stopped there, had momos and pakode there, we also bought boots. After that point we proceeded towards Bumla Pass, hoping to go to Madhuri Lake on our return. The roads were full of snow and there were few stretches of road where our vehicle got stuck as the wheels were slipping. The driver then took out a chain and put it around the rear wheels of Sumo. The friction increased and slipping stopped. But there were a few instances when the chain came out and this consumed a lot of time. When we're near to the last check post before Bumla, the chain got broken and we were left dejected and started thinking that we would not be able to go further and would have to return. The driver tried all the tricks he knew to put back the chain but couldn't succeed but he was able to take us to the next check post. But with no chain we could go no further and there was not a spare chain either. We were advised by the Army men to return. We were preparing to go back but a twist in the tale was about to come. In came another Sumo with three scholars of IIT-Guwahati. The chain around the wheels of their Sumo was intact and there was enough space for the three of us to get a seat. So the two groups went to Bumla Pass in one vehicle and were advised by the Army men to return within an hour. The road ahead was so bad that it took more than an hour to reach there.
6 people with a driver on snow-covered roads and mountains going to a place which is at a height of 15200 feet and listening to "DJ waaley mera gana toh bajaa". The circumstances we were in were unparalleled.
Finally after more than an hour we reached Bumla Pass. The Army men posted there were very nice to us briefing about the geography and their life spent there. The Chinese peaks were visible, the LAC was visible, the road through which Dalai Lama entered India was visible. The Army men were serving at such high altitudes at the forefront of our mother nation. We saluted all the Army Personnel for their courage and sacrifices and as advised by them started our journey back as the weather was turning nasty. As we started our journey back it began to snow. The wheels of Sumo were covered with chain but still the vehicle was slipping on the road. On one side was a deep gorge and the vehicle got stuck at few places and was moving towards the gorge. We were having doubts whether we will reach back home or mix with the snow. Fortunately the experienced driver had been through all this and asked us to maintain composure. Finally, slowly and slowly, we crawled our way back to the checkpost. The Army men offered us tea and asked us to go down to Tawang as quickly as we can. The weather was deteorating. We quickly sat in our vehicle and left for Tawang. Enroute at the Y-junction, the Army closed the road to Madhuri Lake and we were directed to go back to Tawang. While going down, we stopped at P Tso Lake which was dead freezing, tried to go down to the lake, clicked some pictures and then quickly returned to the vehicle as it was freezing chilling cold. We reached back to Tawang around 1700 hours. As usual, we had ale with chicken. The effect of Bumla we brought to Tawang as that night it snowed in Tawang town.
"Lagg gyi par mazaa agya".

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