Day 6: A Day Trip to Bum La and Sangestar Tso
Today our car was sent to a local garage for checkup and the puncture repair. We were driven in a local cab for our day tour by a very cheerful local named Tashi. Before I go into the journey details, let me give a quick background of our destination for the day.
Bum La, right at the India- China border, at a height of more than 15,000 feet holds accounts of the fierce battles during the Indo-Shino war of 1962. This is also the route of 14th Dalai Lama's great escape to India.
On our way to Bum La, we heard stories of war and folklore of the people of this region from Tashi. We reached a military post called, Y-Junction at an altitude of 14,600 feet, from where the routes are divided in two - the right side goes to Bum La and the other to Sangestar Tso, a lake created during an earth quake.
Bum La has restrictions in visiting time and we chose to go there first and then to the lake. It took us a half an hour of treacherous driving through bad or no road to reach till the last point where public vehicles are allowed. Ahead of us, we saw few army camps and military settlements beyond which is the McMohan line, the border between India and China. Though tourists are allowed to go till the McMohan line on foot, they are controlled, guided and cordoned by military personnel.
Bum La is a flat corridor flanked between small mountain peaks on both sides, which makes winds pass through the area intensely, making the place extremely cold; at 11 am in the morning that day, the recorded temperature was -11 degree Celsius which dips down to less than - 20 degree during the night . Salute to our Jawans who are posted at Bum La to keep an eye on Chinese movements 24*7. An army man gave us briefing about the place, about their life and relationship between their Chinese counterparts (which seem to be cordial enough).
We stayed at Bum La for around 45 mins and started our journey for Sangestar Tso - Tso means lake in Tibetan. The lake is also called "Madhuri" by some locals and tourists, as bollywood star Madhuri Dixit shoot there for the bollywood movie "Koyla". Amidst the high rocky mountains sits a frozen body of water, with scattered tree trunks protruding out from all over the surface of ice, small number of birds flocking in the water puddles created from meting ice - "Madhuri Lake" was picture perfect. We had some snacks from a military canteen by the side of the lake which serves hot soup and momos, puri sabzi and tea.
We took some great snaps in and around the area - rocky mountains at a distance, snow on the road, frozen lake Sangestar, our day tour itinerary was complete. We came back to Tawang and had late lunch. The rest of the day we went around the town of Tawang on foot to have a closer look a the local life of the town. Tomorrow we start our return journey - destination Bomdila.
Day 7: Return journey - Destination Bomdila