Stranded in Tranquil Tawang!

It is quite amusing that we were kinda stranded in a way! I will get to that in a while.

Arunachal Pradesh! The place obviously sounded inviting when my friend had decided to go visit this place. After much thought and conversations in my head, I think I decided to go for it. Lately, I haven’t been feeling the urge to travel- Oh my God! Well, I will surely get back on this on my next post as it is a long story!

So yeah Arunachal!

We were kinda prepped up as travelers – as in we didn’t book any transport / stays! We intended to do it on the go!

But of course we booked the flight to Guwahati to and fro and we got the Inner Line Permit to Arunachal by applying online!

The morning flight from Bangalore to Guwahati was quite refreshing because we fellow travellers- the 3 of us had loads to talk that we ended up discussing insane topics in the flight too.

US before we boarded the flight!
US before we boarded the flight!

I think one fellow passenger was so annoyed that he sweetly retorted- “Could you please continue your conversation in the ground floor?”

We did stop our talk but we couldn’t hold our grins! 😉

We reached Guwahati well in time, thanks to Indigo!  Later we hired a taxi to the nearest bus station Dharapani and got into a tempo traveler taking us to Bhalukpong which was our pit-stop for the night.

The ride was pleasant, we traversed along the city to scenic paddy fields and the roads were lined with rhododendron trees with red-orange flowers!

Once we reached Tezpur we got onto another tempo traveller which took about an hour to reach Bhalukpong.

Bhalukpong is a small town on the border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. We reached Bhalukpong around 6:30 in the evening and stayed in a good hotel close by the border. We got a chance to see the Bramhaputra river from a distance out here.

We had booked a share-taxi at the Taxi Union for our journey to Tawang the next morning.

In the North-eastern states of India, the transport works mostly through Taxis under the Taxi Union. One can hire a share-taxi to get to places for a predefined rate. This works out cheap for a traveler or a group of travelers.

So the next day morning after a quick breakfast at the roadside dhaba and quite an interesting conversation with the dhaba owner we were in the taxi to Tawang for about 6 hours!

The ride was uber awesome, obviously up the mountains. The roads were cobbled up with stones in a few areas and there was construction up the roads. After about a couple of hours, it started raining and  we crossed a series of mountains and were steadily climbing up! The roads were dusty but as we moved ahead the scenery changed to beautiful lush mountains.

We reached Bomdila at about 2-3pm. Post satiating our hunger we took to the nearby marketplace of Bomdila. We engrossed ourselves in window shopping and took to the chaats and sweets at the nearby bakery!

As we got to our stay, books, music and games kept us engaged!

It was almost 8 pm when we felt like eating but as we got out, the roads were empty and there just a streetlight flickering. With no hope of a restaurant being open, we strolled a bit and found one open restaurant. 🙂 A day in the mountains ends pretty quickly say about 6:30 pm everyone is in their warm homes!

We were looking forward to the meet the gorgeous Sela Pass at about 13000 odd feet. That got us up in the morning and after a frantic search for my ring which I thought I had lost we were in for another day of long ride up the mountains.

Lo and behold we reached there after cruising through the splendid mountain curves.

Trio at Sela, Shwetha Krish, ShoePenLens
Trio at Sela

The sight of the Sela lake was pretty spectacular. I wanted to stay right there but all we could get were a few clicks and a momentary capture through our eyes. The biting cold and the gusty winds shoved us into the taxi in no time!

Sela Pass , Arunachal Pradesh, Shoepenlens, Shwetha Krish
Sela Pass , Arunachal Pradesh

After 2-3 hours we reached Tawang! We had booked a stay right in the center of the town and the rooms were fabulous and gave an amazing view of the mountains!

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, Shwetha KRish, ShoePenLens
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

We strolled a bit and went to the War Memorial. We were in for a visual treat as there was a movie scheduled for the evening! It was a wonderful movie about Arunachal, its culture, the people, the Army and the wars too.

After a tasty dinner at our stay, we hit the sack only to hear the roof rattling in the middle of the night. It was snowing!

The view in the morning was spectacular, the mountains around were white-washed! Our plan of crossing the Bum La pass was washed away too as the snow pile was much that the Army had barred the way!

We spent the day in visiting the Tawang monastery which is the largest in India and the second largest in the world. The monastery stands atop a mountain and one can see the scenic valley, mountains and the city of Tawang from here! The monastery also has a museum which houses various artifacts, models and pictures!

Rest of the day was spent in reading books, chatting and just about enjoying the weather!

We decided to stay for another day in the hope to visit Bum La pass. But it turned out to be yet another day with no luck as the pass was closed owing to bad weather. We were invited by a fellow guest at our hotel to tag along on a tour of monasteries. With nothing much to do we tagged along!

He turned out to be quite a intriguing person. He was an elderly gentleman who knew much about the Monasteries, the Tibetan culture and a lot about spirituality! He kept us engaged with amazing stories and his life experiences.

We got a chance to visit Urgelling monastery which is the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama.

Third day in Tawang and we were happy to find that we could atleast visit a couple of lakes further up the mountains if not for the Bumla pass.

As we headed on to the beautiful vistas, we were in for a treat as we were surrounded by snow clad mountains and white pathways!

Beautiful vistas,ShwethaKrish, ShoePenLens
Beautiful vistas

Spectacular views of the lakes came into view and they looked mesmerisingly beautiful.

PT Tso, Arunachal Pradesh, Shwetha Krish, ShoePenLens
PT Tso, Arunachal Pradesh

As we made our way to Madhuri Lake, coined that way owing to the movie ‘Koyla’ starring Madhuri Dixit which was shot in this location. The vehicle we were in skidded and got stuck in the snow. The Army men who were traveling behind in the truck helped us out. But further ahead into the snow clad mountains the vehicle was skidding and it was going to be a risky affair at the end of the day so we headed back to Tawang. But the beauty of the lakes and the short trek we managed to do while our taxi was getting repaired, was splendid!

Himalayas – they time and again woo me, intrigue me and leave me stunned! There is always something new to learn and feel within! The Soul craves for more always!

Until next time…. See ye Himalayas!

Our stay in Arunachal especially Tawang was for about 3-4 days before we headed on to Meghalaya! But the short and adventurous trip was brilliant! Well so we were partly stranded owing to Bum La Pass. Hope to get to her soon!

More on Meghalaya in my next travel post!

 

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Niagara Falls #AtoZchallenge

N #AtoZ Challenge

Niagara Falls

On a bright summer afternoon, I reached the Niagara State Park in New York along with my family. The sun was too harsh for us to walk leisurely about the park. As we hopped on the cruise, we were ushered by the roar of the magnificent falls. A gentle spray touched us all, the excitement did soar as we cruised along. To stand in front of the beautiful falls was utterly humbling. To be amongst this wonder was worth it. It felt like an adventure just about cruising along the falls between USA and Canada.

A few glimpses of the falls from my Camera.

When clouds have a tete a tete with the Falls!
When clouds have a tete a tete with the Falls!

Have you been to Niagara Falls? Or have you been to any other beautiful falls which felt very special….. Let me know…

Quaint little Tosh!

guitar-6

My body ached as I sat in the backseat of the car after a blissful trek on the Kheerganga trail the previous day. We (my fellow friend and trekker) would be in Tosh, a village in the next 15 minutes. The car made its way up the damp rocky mountain path. It had rained the previous night, thanks to the peak monsoon month July.

My mind wandered to a bathtub with bubbling hot water, aromatic candles lit around the tub, a soothing music which played in tune with my mood………..

The car jerked, oh well I was out of my luxurious reverie and we had certainly reached Tosh. There we were standing before a bridge, the only wooden bridge to get across to Tosh. We opted to stay at the nearest hotel across the bridge owing to our exhausted, famished selves.

We were then joined by our friend who had stayed back and enjoyed Tosh much against treading up the Kheerganga trail. More on Kheerganga in my next blog post.

After a not so luxurious shower, we explored the nook and corners of Tosh only to find a good restaurant/cafe. The village Tosh is at about 7800 feet at the far end of the Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh. It is a small village with narrow paved pathways which increases gradually in height as one walks through the village. After Kasol, Rasol, Manikaran, Chalal, Tosh happens to be a haven for tourists. We did find a few homestays and cafes on the way. The village seemed to be on a lazy spell or rather the mountain life happens to be laid-back!?

I shuddered as we climbed up the narrow alleys. A chill breeze pranced about me and I was not in the mood to join in for a dance.

Well we finally gave in to the search and headed to the famous Pinky Didi’s cafe or the 360 deg view cafe. It was a cafe at the edge of the mountain. The Himalayas can be viewed all around this place. So, we were surrounded by the gigantic spell-binding mountain ranges! Wow! I can quite trace back to that feeling!

We ordered for food and enjoyed the sublime views that Himalayas threw at us. Oh my! We were surrounded by the beautiful landscapes; Snow covered ranges, forests, rocky mountains!

Sitting by the cafe, looking at the mesmerising ranges, soaking in the silence or the music of the mountain air, eating sumptuous food, reading a book, sipping on green tea with the sun shining down upon us- Happiness is what I call it!

A few tourists came and went but we the trio sat gaping at the mountains for we were in no hurry to be anywhere else.

So what happened further in Tosh, stays in Tosh…… It ain’t called the ‘Amsterdam of India’ for no reason!