6th Mar 2020

The Tawang Monastery

Photo of Tawang by Ashutosh Acharya

"Among the snow capped mountains resides a tranquil city. Not hidden to the eyes, but to the heart. Where people bear souls wreathed with gold.And hearts warm enough to melt the snow in yours. "

Photo of Tawang 1/1 by Ashutosh Acharya

I'm pretty sure you have already googled the list of tourist(y) places to visit in Tawang. Umm... Sorry if that's why you're here. This is more about how you can go beyond that checklist trip.

Tawang was just the first part of our journey which spanned 2 states and over a period of 11 days. But long trip short, we never left Tawang. At least not in our hearts.

Day 2

We had a great plan as to when to leave and when we would arrive, tentatively. Attention to detail. Well. Enter Murphy's law. The second half of our journey from Bomdila to Tawang which on a "good day" takes about 9 hours took us about 14 hours. 8 of which we spent ,stuck in a blizzard at Sela Pass. Yes, a good old blizzard. We were in this serpentine queue of vehicles extending well over 4 k.m. moving an inch at an hour. By the time the army, working under conditions unsuitable for most heavy duty vehicles cleared a road through the pass it was late into the evening. We skidded and ploughed over frozen ruts with chains on the wheels and by the time we reached our home-stay it was almost 1 O'Clock in the night. 7 hours late.

Important tip: Choose a comfortable vehicle and an experienced driver

Tawang is one of those places which you just can't help fall for. Beautiful snow-capped mountains . Monasteries overlooking mountains. Green meadows . And really really kind people who go out of their way to help you. The monastery in itself is a whole township.

It just transports you to a time and place where all the things we do now, seem so petty and small. If philosophy is your drug you could simply sit on one of those stairs cut into stone and watch as life passes you by.

The young monks hurrying for the prayer hall

Photo of Tawang by Ashutosh Acharya
Day 1

The journey from the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport to Tawang takes 2 days with a night stay in the middle. The first day consists of zooming through large swathes of roadside covered with exquisite tea gardens till one reaches the foothills and is followed by a topsy-turvy roller coaster ride up the hills.

The second day....well. Let me tell you about it.

Day 2

We stayed at this little place with people who had hearts of gold. The hostess not only stayed up late till we arrived after our debacle on the snow. But also set up a roaring stove fire to warm ourselves. Over the next 2 days she not only cooked some of the best food we'd had in a long time but also arranged for our trip to Bumla. Everything starting from the vehicles to the


Come prayer time, the gong reverberates like a second heart beat summoning everyone to the prayer hall. The kids scurry, the grown-ups trudge while the older legs amble up the stairs before the gates clang shut.

A chilly gust of wind blows past as you sip your Po-Cha on the stone steps. The serene silence replacing the momentary hubbub.

While you are at it take your time to explore some of the huge meadows overlooking the hills. If you're the kind of person that loves going off the beaten path this is tailor-made for you. The Giant Buddha statue that looks over the town provides the best views of the monastery where the cover picture was clicked.

We weren't there for a long time. We regret it. But Tawang would always be a part of us. The sun breaking over the distant peaks. The cows lazily grazing across green meadows. The clouds flowing past a few inches above your head and the people with hearts of gold.

Here are some more pictures from my Instagram page.


For more pictures visit https://www.instagram.com/ashu_half_blood/