Travelling in the North-East in the summer of 2006
Guwahati >> Eaglenest >> Tawang >> Nameri >> Kaziranga >> Shillong >> Cherrapunjee
+Previous: From Eaglenest to Tawang – I
+Next: At Tawang Monastery
+Go to the beginning of the series
The part of the journey from Sela pass to Tawang was exciting. Soon after we crossed Sela, it was colder and we kept seeing patches of snow here and there. The valley beyond Sela was equally gorgeous as the one before – deep and wide and with great vistas.
The enormous mountains and valleys of the Himalayas make us feel humble
We now started driving down into the valley, which we had to cross and climb up again to reach Tawang. The road here passed between a few pine trees here and there, small streams emerging from melting ice and military barracks now and then. We were just getting hungry after the long journey when we arrived at Jaswant Garh.
Jaswant Garh is a place out of nowhere. It hosts a monument to Jaswant Singh, an army man who is known to have single handedly tackled an enemy Battalion during Chinese occupation of Arunachal. We stopped to take a look at the monument and walked around a bit. Army has a small snack shop near the monument where we had a cup of much needed coffee before moving ahead.
A Yak looks at us with curiosity
A little more driving took us to some nice views of the valley, where we could see Tawang far away on the other side, and some habitation just below us. We stopped here for some time to rest and enjoy the views. It was later hours of the afternoon with some haze filling the valley, but the layers of mountains around us still looked beautiful. The realization of the scales of the mountains and valleys of Himalayas always manage to humble the tiny bodies that are us. A few yaks(or is it dzo?) were grazing around and looked at us with keen interest.
The Gompa near Jung village
The habitation nearby turned out to be the Buddhist village of Jung. A small Gompa with a beautiful golden colored crest stood at the entrance of the village. The place itself is a small hamlet with a few wooden huts and brick houses and little else. We stopped to take a look at the village but did not see any elders around. A bunch of enthusiastic kids were playing with a bicycle on the road, and when my friend aimed his camera at them, got all happy and excited. But another set of small kids looked confused at the camera and wondered how to react.
Some Children playing in the village…
..and some more looking at us confused
Apparently a Hindi movie named Koyla, starring Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit was shot here. There is a waterfall nearby which is now called Madhuri falls! We drove past the village and crossed the valley over a bridge. My friend wanted to take a picture of the pretty bridge, but was chased away by an army man. It seems they had four of them guarding that bridge!
On our way further, we noticed a few monasteries high on the hills and away from the motor road. Long and winding steps descended from these monasteries to the motor road, and it was easy to say that reaching there is not all that easy. Equally hard would be carrying supplies to the place. I guess they are deliberately kept farther away in a difficult to access place, which would ensure some quietness to the monks and also provide them with some physical activity.
As we drove up towards Tawang, we went past a few more villages. Many villagers were breaking stones and working on the road. It was nearly evening and some were packing off from work. A bunch of young girls flagged our Sumo, and we packed them along in our vehicle. They were high-school going girls who were using their vacation days to make some money by working on road construction. They were bubbly and enthusiastic lot – the typical feature you see with people in the Buddhist regions. Once in the vehicle, they started chattering and set our vehicle in a very enjoyable mood for the next fifteen minutes.
she was full of smiles.. and full of joy..
It was already dark when we reached Tawang. We drove around the town looking for hotels and a good number of them were fully occupied. After looking around in 3-4 places, we finally found a place to settle down. It was a long journey from dawn to dusk, and an eventful one indeed.