Despite being born and brought up in Assam, one of the north east states of India, I was totally unaware of this paradise land. It’s only after I joined engineering college, I heard about it. Well, Tawang is a town situated at an altitude of approximately 9000 to 10,000 ft, in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China. For the first time when I heard about that place and the way my friends narrated about it, I simply went crazy. I always knew about Ladakh, even though I haven’t visited it, either. But a similar kind of heaven is there in a neighboring state, was a shocker for me initially. From that moment I always had wished to visit the paradise land. After passing out of college, one time I planned with few of my friends and were on our way to Tawang. But unfortunately we had to return from Bomdila, because of severe landslide. That was so disappointing and somehow after that, I couldn’t plan for it again. I still feel jealous whenever my friends share their Twang stories and experiences. I had visited Arunachal Pradesh several times though, for those memorable hostel picnics. The entire forest is surrounded by so many exotic waterfalls.
Tawang is basically a giant valley, covered with pine trees at the lower horizons and fascinating rocks on top. During winter, entire Tawang is blessed with the dazzling snow. The temperature is usually very cold, about minus 10 degree Celsius. Travel agents usually recommend March to October, the best time to visit the place, when the climate conditions are very pleasant. The flora out there seems to be so unique and colorful. But Tawang turn exceptionally exotic during winter. The dewdrops on the grass use to get frozen. The road, the trees, the rocks and the small patches of the forest are entirely covered under a thick blanket of snow. Aha, I so much wish to visit this winter wonderland and experience the fairy tale. There are many places to visit in Tawang, like Tawang Monastery, Bum La Pass, Nuranang Falls, Madhuri Lake, Tawang War Memorial, Pangateng Tso Lake and many others. But the journey itself to this heaven would be equally fascinating.
The road to Tawang is entirely zig-zag and the view on both sides is amazingly enticing. The forests look virginly fresh, with different breeds of strange and colorful flora. It's always thrilling and utterly pleasing to heart, whenever we drive the elevation through some forest. It feels, as if we’re ascending all the way into the lap of Mother Nature. It’s not common to see a lake at such great height, but in Arunachal Pradesh one could find several magnificent deep blue lakes. After climbing a steep stretch, one would usually see a gentle valley and an alluring lake, flourishing from some corner of the mountain. In extreme winters, most of the lakes would be frozen with a thin sheet of ice on the top. How wonderful it would be to trek beside those lakes? They're surrounded by beautiful grassland and the dewdrops on them just get frozen, only to further mesmerize and intensify the temptation of the travelers.
This December, I wholeheartedly wish to visit this winter wonderland. As my wife is pretty much a winter phobic, I would rather plan it with my friends. I just hope, we don't end up over-planning the trip and screw up all the fun. Well, I've always enjoyed the unplanned trips more. I'm sure, there are few more dumb travelers like me. We will take the morning flight from Bangalore to Guwahati and would probably stay there for couple of days, to make the ILP (Inner Line Permit). We will hire a Tata Sumo for our adventure. Well, Tata Sumo is widely available with the travel companies and they’re really awesome for such drives. ILP is issued by the resident commissioner in the Arunachal House, in Guwahati. We will have to give the details of every travelers, vehicle number and need to submit xerox copies of our photo ID's, along with passport size photographs. Well, every Indian citizen needs that to enter Arunachal Pradesh and foreign tourists need some special permits. There’s nothing to worry though, as travelers and mountain lovers from across the world, visits Tawang every year. For travelers, who would like to get some local flavor, can take a bus from Guwahati to Tezpur, instead, which is around 200 KM from Guwahati. Tezpur is one of the most beautiful towns in Assam, surrounded by the mighty Brahmaputra. From Tezpur they can take passenger Tata Sumo or even a bus to Bomdila, which is around 150 KM. Better not to worry about the distance, as the terrains are simply breathtaking and it could take 5 to 6 hours, depending upon the weather condition.
It's recommended to stay the night at Bomdila in a hotel and enjoy some delicious fish/pork fries, along with the local booze. From Bomdila, people can hire a vehicle to Tawang, which is around 230 KM from there and usually takes 7 to 8 hours. It's advisable to start early morning from Bomdila. It’s an extremely scenic drive, although the terrain is not very good and could get nastier, as we climb the elevation. On the way, we would come across many small tribal villages and pretty soon, would notice the snow peaks, patiently waiting for our arrival.
December will be fucking cold and we would better stop at every possible tea stalls, to tranquilize ourselves with caffeine and nicotine. We would love to grab some bites on the way. Well, one can’t expect the usual Punjabi kind of dhabas out there, but there might be a few exceptions. Momos, Chowmein, Maggi, rice and pork are pretty common menu in all the restaurants. Also, Yak meat is very popular. We should reach Tawang by afternoon and would love to experience the paradise for the next few days.
Image courtesy: google images
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