Existing Member?

Enroute to Tawang


WORLDWIDE | Monday, 28 March 2011 | Views [230] | Scholarship Entry

There are two choices for you, I was told. One is to take the chopper ride from Guwahati, Assam and cover the 560 kilometers in an hour. The other is just about a night halt and 30 hours long. This one’s for the road, I decided. For Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. India’s North East. Still remains an untold, untouched world guarded by the majestic Himalayas.

The tranquil, lush green meadows of Assam against the overcast Monsoon sky on both sides of the highway suddenly transformed into majestic Himalayan peaks, as I entered Bhalukpong, the entry gate of Arunachal. The tyres of our 4-wheel drive SUV confirmed that the wet asphalt of Assam highway was now replaced with ochre muddy stretches as we played snakes and ladders through the steep, impossible ascends and blind curves of the mountainous terrain, signs of landslides all around. The variant shade of verdancy envelops the lofty ranges, buzzing of all life forms that it kept within. Countless waterfalls spring up echoing my excitement that I find hard to suppress. This was raw nature. Frighteningly fresh as a newly cut open wound.

Halting at Bomdila for the night, we visited the monastery the next morning, a replica of Tsona Gontse Monastery, Tibet. Bomdila, and its people need to be experienced in its ever changing mood and hue. While the sharp, crisp morning served as the perfect backdrop for the gompa to be framed, the prayer flags fluttering against the misty blue remains of the day with the rain drops still lingering in the air, from the evening before, were still lingering in my mind.

The route from Bomdila to Tawang is up hill and down. The alpine landscapes long vanished. So were the signs of last habitation. The air thinner, ears buzzing, teeth clattering and an absolute numbness proved we had reached Sela, the third highest pass in the world, at 14000 feet. Braving the strong whips of winds and sharp perforating drizzle, we drove through the second highest motorable road in the world, briefly pausing to take in the panoramic Sela Lake, in its magnificent blue. Rhododendrons and rainbow trout’s yet to arrive.

Through a playful medley of mist, drizzling clouds and resultant dense fog, I finally reached Tawang, leaving 10,000 feet of life beneath. Considered the oldest monastery in the world, after Lhasa and home to about 400 monks, Tawang Monastery welcomed us in to the main assembly hall, Dukhang. A three storied building housing the 27 feet high Golden Buddha, priceless thangkas and Buddhist scriptures. The walls reverberate with the vibrant colors of the intricate artwork but are strangely contrasted by the now vacant rows of red carpet. The air smelled old and reminiscent of 400 years of prayers and belief. The incense sticks in the dimly lit hall create an atmospheric vacuum of contentment. Om Mane Padme Hum filled up the air of my imagination. There was nothing before and nothing beyond this.

Tags: #2011writing, travel writing scholarship 2011

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About havewingswillfly

Follow Me

Where I've been


My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Worldwide

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.