Monday, May 07, 2018

Arunachal Pradesh- Better than Switzerland- Part II

For part I , click here

Towards Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh

After having just a cup of tea, we were on our way to Tawang on 14th morning.  It is located 10000 feet above Mean Sea Level, and has beautiful lakes around it.

                                                                                    Sela pass
After two hours we reached Sela Pass and stopped at a small teashop for breakfast. The whole area was covered with snow and we had to walk through it.

The mountain roads were cleared of the snow by army people. The drive was strenuous.  
                                                       Winding roads through snow

But the scenes on either side were breath taking; the misty mountains and cloudy weather had a romantic touch:

On reaching a hotel in Tawang, we were offered a room on the fourth floor and the hotel had no lift.

We went to see the room any way and it felt very gloomy in there. We had a local contact person for arranging the trip to Bum La pass. When we came down, thinking what to do, he came to meet us. He took us to hotel Dekyi Pelbar and we got a beautiful room on second floor with a small balcony overlooking the city with the backdrop of mountains.

'Taste of Tawang'

It was lunch time and we went down to the nearby restaurant, 'Taste of Tawang'. The food was so spicy and greasy, leaving an awful feeling in the stomach. 
                                                                       Biriyani and kadhai vegetable
We did not have any food for the rest of the day. The temperature was around 0 degree and I had tough time sleeping as the head ache from high altitude was also troubling.

In the evening we went to the Tawang Monastery. 

It was very disappointing to feel the energy level there, especially since I had amazing experiences in the monasteries of Vietnam, Bhutan and Karnataka.

On 15th morning we had breakfast and started for Bum La pass in a local vehicle with driver. There was lot of snow around, many pot holes and pools of water. I could feel the gratitude exuding from our car for not subjecting it to that drive. On reaching the Bum La pass we got down from our vehicle. There were other vehicles too; about a hundred people were visiting on that day.

The views we got during this drive were heavenly:

Indo China border

In small batches we were taken by walk for about ten minutes through the snow, by army men. Then they explained about the importance of the region and the meetings that happen there. There were many old people also in the group, and one lady fell down and slipped twice while trying to get up. It was because she left the hardened snow path and tried to walk on the side, which had very soft snow.

I couldn't understand the need to make the army area a tourist spot.

No food or drink was available throughout the journey, except the warm water provided at Bum La pass. During the return journey, the mist had cleared and the sun was shining. The scenes around looked so different, we saw many beautiful lakes, with half their area frozen. We reached back the hotel by 4pm. It was surprising that we didn't feel like eating at all. After having tea we went under the blanket. I just couldn’t do anything in that freezing temperature. 

Frozen stomach

On 16th morning we took a nice hot water bath, and started our journey back after just a cup of coffee, as we didn't feel like eating anything. While we were nearing Sela Pass, I could feel my frozen stomach getting thawed out and the appetite returning. This time there was much less snow and it was very sunny, so we got to see a different kind of beauty all around.

We stopped at the same tea shop in Sela pass and had delicious noodles. Then it struck me that from 14th afternoon to 16th morning, we just had two meals, a lunch on 14th and breakfast on 15th!  Along with the thawing stomach, I could also feel the dull energy of Tawang leaving us.

Arunachal rivals Switzerland in beauty

We had visited Switzerland a few years back and I was bowled over by its beauty. After seeing Arunachal I realised that it surpasses Switzerland in natural beauty and the diversity in it.

However it must be mentioned that the infrastructure in Switzerland makes the travel and stay much more comfortable.

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