Gutted again,i had my dinner and shared my day activities with my ‘close’ one and slept .
And there was a sudden increase in excitement as i met a group of 6 with whom i was going for the second attempt. All were solo travellers who had come across each other while traveling .I took a backseat this time,due to being the most unpopular one at the moment.It was the same vehicle as the first time but had a different driver.
And the majestic snow views started in no time.There was a huge number of vehicles this time around and hence movement was slow .The lake pt so was followed by Nagula where there was a halt and by this time i had gelled with one of them,Gauri and we took some pics and vids.Following this term were many stops which was delaying the journey ,but people had already been wowed by their snow experiences.We reached Y junction ,had some food and then beyond the movement became slower.There was snow on the roads and bigger vehicles needed chains in their tyre as a prerequisite.
There was a major halt and post which we had to return back as it was almost 3:30 pm and sing beyond did not make any sense.Dejected, my fellow travellers tried to cheer me up saying that i am destined to visit Tawang again. We did some photoshoot at the small lake on return and then discussed our next journey plans,some told to go Guwahati, some wanted to visit Dirang .Then we exchanged numbers and parted ways on reaching Tawang.
i did some local foods shopping and then did a town walk yet again and had my early dinner.I started thinking about the next day,had Sangti valley in my mind but was not able to reach a homestay number.I just made up my mind to take the Bomdila bus for early next day.
Woke up early as the bus was to start at 5:30 .The bus stop does provide a pretty backdrop and i took a ticket to Bomdila and the bus started.I sat on the right side to get a view of Sela Lake and even asked the driver to slow down at the pass for pics to which he agreed.I was still trying to reach the homestay but to no avail.
The war memorial was followed by the Sela pass and i was awestruck again at the sight of the Sela lake.It was completely frozen and provided a breathtaking view.The pretty views continued for 30 mins and i just gazed in order to find an animal in the snow.
Then we stopped at a place for lunch and luckily my call was received at the homestay and there was place available for stay.I was asked to take a taxi from Dirang and now my destination had changed from Bomdila to Dirang and Sangti valley awaited me.
I got down at Dirang and talked to a young taxi guy and he agreed to drop me at 400 bucks.And we started our journey to the valley.It was quite a dip in temperatures from Tawang as it was warm now.we reached Sangti in 1 hr and was welcomed at the Letro homestay.just after getting my room and taking bath ,i went to see the tents of the same owner and the crystal clear Dirang river.There were friendly dogs here and one even accompanied me on my walk.
The valley was indeed a very pretty one,there were horses grazing around and it looked straight out of a wallpaper.I walked around and clicked a lot.
At the stay, there were two guys ,one german and an american with whom i bonded and talked about different stuff and had our delicious dinner.
The network that works here is only vodafone so i was disconnected from the world.:)
The next day needed to be planned and i thought to stay in Dirang itself and do a town walk.
Early morning took a stroll and witness the sunrise in the enchanting valley.It was time to return back and i asked the owner Mr Letro to try the taxi guy’s number.We couldn’t reach the guy and i was asked to wait to see if any castors to the valley were returning that moment.
And i found a group of bong people who had come in a memo traveller and they let me in .The environment was a cheerful one ,though they seemed to be nearly forties and i was enjoying the attention as i started my solo travel tales and communicated in my bad accent.
After being a day disconnected from the world, and i texted and called and texted all my close ones of my whereabouts.On reaching Dirang, it started raining and i called the taxi guy to get me a stay and got one very soon at 650. It was already afternoon now.
Dirang is a small town and temperatures were roughly around 10-15 .There are a lot of bihari shops for normal food at a nominal cost .I though had a sumptuous assamese meal again and after freshening up, walked uphill to the nearby Thupsung Dhargye Ling monastery.This monastery being recently built,had the fresh new feel.And while clicking pics,i found Gauri from my second Bumla pass attempt group.We roamed around and started discussing about the next day. Thembang was in my plan books and i enquired the taxi driver and we all agreed for the next day trip.
I had a good dinner comprising of paratha and chole in the bihari shop and went back home and for the second time in my entire trip, i did not have to worry about the next day’s journey.
Another early rise, i called up Gauri and we were supposed to leave by 9,but after talking to the taxi driver we agreed upon 10 am as the start.I had a paratha breakfast.By this time the trip had taken a toll on me as i had dandruff in my scalp and skin peels on my face.
By 10, we started for Thembang, a fortified village that exists in the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites.After a 40 mins ride, we reached Thembang and it was a stunning sight.A village situated within a fort seemed to be out of the mythical stories that we read as kids.We took a walk and then reached a part of the valley that provided pristine views .We clicked a lot and then started back the next place.
The Dirang Dzong located in old Dirang .The dzong was built in 17th cenfury to ward off invasion of the neighboring states,and now the local Monpa tribes live here. The people were quite welcoming .We walked around a bit and were provided with spectacular views and then rode to another monastery , a detour from the road to new Dirang.It was closed, but the officials opened it for us.
We started back fro Dirang now and the next day plan needed to be chalked.
I decided to head to Bomdila, and Gauri decided to go Guwahati and we enquired the taxi operators to prebook our seats.I was asked to reach the taxi operators place at around 6
I had another north Indian dinner and walked back to my hotel and then after a small conversation with the owners,slept.
I had a small breakfast and reached the stand and got a seat in one amongst the ITBP soldiers, heading towards Guwahati.We reached Bomdila in 2 hrs and then went to the same Hotel La and bargained for the stay, but couldn’t succeed and got a double bedded room for 800. I took a bath,had breakfast and then started my town walk.
Bomdila had temperatures in the region 5-10 .There was a Buddha stadium and was hosting a cricket match. I walked first towards the upper gompa which was uphill. There were similar staired shortcuts.
The Gentse Gaden Rabgyel Ling Monastery is a beautiful and vibrant one and has a hostel as well. Theres the large prayer wheel, located at a distance from the main hall which is the highlight of the place.
I returned, had lunch and then again started for the lower gompa. The Thubchong Gatsel Ling Monastery and is notable for its shaded courtyard and large prayer hall. I returned and there was football match on in the stadium. The sunsets in the hilly place with football in the stadium provided a much needed relaxation post the strenuous yet incredible journey that was almost nearing its end.
I had dinner and slept early to catch the bus to Guwahati. Mixed feelings evolved wherein the thought of departure from Arunachal made me a bit sad but the prospect of storytelling once home was an exciting stuff to look forward to.
Caught the 6 am bus for Guwahati and interacted a bit with the locals as the bus started the descent.The bus this time went the Bhalukpong route and there was a steep increase temperatures from 3 in morning to 33 at afternoon.I was sad to miss the balemu gate food which was hands down the best food in my entire journey.
After a dusty last phase of 2 hours, we finally reached the place where it all started ,ISBT Guwahati. It was quite hot and i booked a cab to my hotel and reached soon and had lunch. I did a nearby walk and slept off early owing to the tiresome 10 hrs bus journey of the day.
Again an early rise and i had breakfast. I googled nearby places to visit. I wished to see the mighty Brahmaputra and went to Sukreshwar Ghat first. The river seemed endless and there were ferry and boat rides to a temple in an island that seemed fascinating. There was also a magnificent gateway built during the British period.
I started walking to another ghat and that was pretty as well. I reached back my hotel, had a bath and then started for the airport at 12:00 pm for my 6 pm flight.
The journey was indeed a fascinating one. The diet followed was a simple one wherein mornings started with roti sabji, afternoons were heavy assamese meals and evenings consisted of a glass milk and double egg omelettes as these were easily available in all the towns i spent time in. Nights were extreme cold and layers of mustard oil helped.
The people i met were warm hearted and not once did i feel unsafe, apart from the dog chase in Tawang.But the dogs in Sangti and Bomdila changed my perception a bit and i am not as scared as i was before.
Trips like these do let you know a lot about the lives of the mountain people who are always happy to help. The soldiers I met were a cheerful bunch too, even in the harshest of conditions, the smiles did exist. True that tourism needed to be put under check due to the tragedies that may occur in such extremes ,which was done efficiently well. 2 Madhuri lake attempts were unsuccessful,which does make me realise that I will be Tawang bound sometime soon for attempt number 3. Hope the blog will be helpful to people who wish to visit this magical land.
Till next time,
Happy traveling \m/