The beauty of Arunachal Pradesh

Tripoto
31st Dec 2018
Photo of The beauty of Arunachal Pradesh by Monali Pathak
Photo of The beauty of Arunachal Pradesh 1/1 by Monali Pathak

We were heading to Sangestar Tso, locals named it Madhuri Lake after the song "Tanhaai Tanhaai Tanhaai" of the movie Koyla was picturized here. The lake was formed after the region was hit by an earthquake. The upright broken trees hold the stories of the past. The lake is now maintained by Indian Army, a small cafeteria is run by the Indian Army where you can indulge in Momo, Maggi, tea and coffee. October was not a month of snow but you can locate snow clad mountains from this lake.

Northeast, the beauty of northeast lies in its simplicity. I was brought up in Assam, hence the love for the place. I want to explore Northeast India, so when I found some like minded people, we decided on Arunachal Pradesh, to start with.

Day 1: Beginnings

Start of journey: 11 am

Lunch Stop: Tezpur

Reached the Destination : 4 pm at Bhalukpong

Night Stay: Prashanti Lodge at Bhalukpong

One fine morning, in the month of October, just after Durga Puja, we started from Guwahati. Refreshed by the Assam cha(tea) and goja, we transferred to another wonderful historical place called Tezpur. After a heartful lunch at Tezpur, we traveled through the wonderful forest of Nameri. I remember enjoying every bit of the road with my head popped outside the window to enjoy the fresh air, unknown to the fact that what lies ahead in the journey is going to mark an impression of a lifetime. We reached Bhalukpong just before sunset.

Bhalukpong is a small town in the Assam-Arunachal border.

Prashanti Lodge of Assam Tourism Department in Bhalukpong, is the apt place to start with,it is at a stunning location, just beside the Kameng River, a tributary of the Brahmaputra. The full moon night and the sound of the river amidst the silence of the woods is all you need. Our curiosity and excitement knew no bounds as just at the other end of the river was Arunachal Pradesh, the land of dawn lit mountains.

Day 2
Photo of Dirang by Monali Pathak

Day 2:Flowers and Waterfalls

Start of journey: 8 am

Lunch at: Rupa

Reached the destination: 6 pm at Dirang

Night Stay: Dirang Home Stay

Photo of The beauty of Arunachal Pradesh by Monali Pathak

Dirang

Next morning at around 9 am with loads of excitement, we cleared the formalities at the border which is located just outside Prashanti Lodge. Thankfully we had the permit formalities done in advance at Kolkata. We started our journey towards Bomdila. Just a few minutes from the border we stopped at a place called Tipi to enjoy the beautiful orchids at Orchid Research Centre.

Fascinated by the beauty of the orchids we continued our journey.The drive is so serene with waterfalls at every turns. After a drive of an hour or two we stopped at Rupa for lunch break, Rupa is surrounded by beautiful mountains. As we moved from Rupa the cold breeze and the essence of mountains sinks in. Another 2 hrs drive and we reached Bomdilla. We secured Bomdilla for our return journey and passed through Bomdilla and reached Dirang around evening.

Dirang is a small town in Kameng district, I prefer the home stays than the hotels because one can interact with the local people and get the actual flavor of the place. There is a small market in Dirang, the market is not very touristy hence you can get the essence of Arunachal. After the short walk in the market we returned at the home stay where the sizzling hot chicken curry made with local spice and roti was awaiting us.

View from Dirang Hot Spring

Day 3

Day 3: The day when we flew high

Start of journey: 9 am

Lunch at: Jung

Reached the destination: 6 pm

Night Stay: Hotel in Tawang

Photo of Tawang by Monali Pathak

Tawaang

As we moved from Dirang, the altitude started to increase and the roads started to become tough. The hairpin bends just before reaching Sela Passs gives that massive adrenaline rush, a feeling that we are in a fun ride amidst the cloud. After crossing some of the hairpin bends we were literally on Cloud 9 ;-)

At Cloud 9

The hairpin bends en-route Sela Pass

We reached Sela Pass around mid day. Sela Pass connects Kameng district and Tawang district. It is named after Sela who brought food and water for Jaswant Singh, the Indo-China war hero.

There is something in these mountains that gives me sheer happiness and peace, I lied down just beside the lake and observed others who were in same level of tranquility, running here and there, clicking pictures of the surrounding, to keep them in the memory box for lifetime. While I was in a dream of the how the past was and how I will relish these moments later in my life, our guide did the reality check and summoned us back to the car so that we can reach Tawang on time. Trust me, you will be angry on the guides and drivers for not letting you spend time on these serene places but they make our travel less cumbersome. Kudos to all such Samaritans.

Photo of Sela Pass by Monali Pathak

Jaswant Garh Memorial

Jawsant Singh Rawat was an Indian soldier who was in the Garhwal rifles and fought the Indo-China war of 1962.The legends goes that even when orders came to retreat from their position, Jaswant Singh kept fighting the war and killed as many as 150 Chinese soldier alone. The shrine is made in remembrance of Jaswant Singh where he is treated alive, tea is served, personnel are kept to guard him, his linens are towels are washed regularly. The stories that the locals have on Jaswant Singh will give you goosebumps, such is the glory and aura of the hero.

Glacier at a far distance as seen from Jaswant Garh memorial.

Enroute Tawang

We reached Tawang in the evening totally exhausted ,but who cares about exhaustion when you have such awsome friends, after an hour of reaching Tawang we were freshened up by the sizzling hot cup of tea and pakodas and went out to explore the nearby market of Tawang and almost calling it a day.

Day 4

Day 4

How does it feel like waking up to the luscious mountains infront of you and if in one of them lies the largest monastery of India,the Tawang monastery?This can be as jazzy as one can dream of, it is a sight to behold.

The morning was a prelude to the blooming colours we were about to witness today.

Photo of Tawang by Monali Pathak

PT Tso(Lake)

After driving for an hour and half from Tawang, we reached the Indian Army check post,a round of checking is done at the gate,so make sure you have the permit(Ref: The Soulful Journey to Tawang ) and proper documents in place.A drive of another 20 mins from the check post took us PT Tso(Penga Teng Tso).

PT TSo is at 12000 feet, once out of the car, it takes time to acclimatize to the height so do not stress on walking fast to reach the lake from the parking lot.

Photography is not allowed on the roads where the army base camp is situated. We could hear sounds of test canon fire in the range,and that feeling should better be lived than be explained.

After an drive of another 10-15 mins , we were passing through a range where we were overwhelmed by the landscape filled with shades of colours.

Photo of The beauty of Arunachal Pradesh by Monali Pathak

Madhuri Lake

Photo of Madhuri Lake by Monali Pathak

We were heading to Sangestar Tso, locals named it Madhuri Lake after the song "Tanhaai Tanhaai Tanhaai" of the movie Koyla was picturized here. The lake was formed after the region was hit by an earthquake. The upright broken trees hold the stories of the past. The lake is now maintained by Indian Army, a small cafeteria is run by the Indian Army where you can indulge in Momo, Maggi, tea and coffee. October was not a month of snow but you can locate snow clad mountains from this lake.

Though no one wants to come back from such serene place, we had to head back to Tawang to visit the Tawang monastery

Photo of Madhuri Lake by Monali Pathak

Tawang Gompa

Photo of Tawang Monastery, Cona, Tawang by Monali Pathak

Tawang monastery is largest monastery in India and second largest in the world. Overlooking the Tawang city, the monastery is filled with tranquility where the golden Buddha statue is 28 ft high. It is also known as Galden Namgey Lhatse in Tibetan which means celestial paradise in a clear night.

At the end of the day we did some crafts shopping in the market of Tawang. Me, being a big fan of Momo could not miss the peace of having Momo in a town with Tibetan history.

Jung Falls

Photo of The beauty of Arunachal Pradesh by Monali Pathak

The next day, we started off early around 5 am enroute Bomdila. Few minutes drive from Tawang will take you to the roaring waterfall, Nurang Falls, also known as Jung Falls .It is 2 km from the town of Jung,this fall is 100 metres tall and is named after a local girl named Nura who helped Jaswant Singh during Indo-China war. If you are a 90's kid you can very well visualize SRK and Madhuri dancing on Tanhai Tanhaai Tanhaai around this falls. If you are an adventure freak and want to soak in the nature, go closer to the falls and listen to the roar of the falls

Bomdila

Day 5

We reached Bomdila around evening at 5pm, not much to do considering the time we reached, and the tiredness due to the long journey of 12 hours, we strolled around the market nearby which has to offer variety of local cheese and kiwis.

Nameri National Park

It was time to bid goodbye to Arunachal, next day we started at 9am for our journey to Nameri National Park, located few kms from Tezpur city. One can also opt for Kaziranga National Park instead of Nameri. We were running out of days hence settled on Nameri to spend half a day.

We reached Nameri around lunchtime. After lunch we decided to do rafting on still water with little hope of seeing any animals, and true to our expectation we did not spot any. The camps which are location in the interiors has much more to offer, you can book walking safari or jeep safari which will take you to the dense jungle where you can spot the famous one horned Rhino.

To put a wonderful end to our enthralling journey was a barbecue at the camp.

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