Sometimes life drives you through strange and unexpected events.
There seems to be no answer for why it’s occurring. It can be a normal, surprising, and even miserable event that brings such drastic changes in your lifestyles and thinking.
For me, a trip to this Hidden agenda was the one that made me think of life from a different perspective.
Yes, this blog is about my journey to Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.
WHY TAWANG :
Many say “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” and I believe that’s true. Trip to Tawang gives an immense experience to overcome many adventures such as climatic conditions, slippery roads, and many difficulties.
Tawang is a district spotted in the northeastern part of Arunachal Pradesh, bounded by Bhutan to the southwest, Tibet(China) to the north, and Sela ranges that separate West Kameng.
As Arunachal Pradesh is under the hands of the Indian army, to spot every tourist visiting place we need to obtain an inner line permit (ILP) where it can be either applied online or it can be collected from Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, or Tezpur airport.
It is highly recommended to apply and get approval for ILP prior to avoid last-minute challenges.
You might think that is it necessary to go to a place which has this much procedure?
Seriously, I should say yes and it’s worth a while. If you want to spend a solitary space for your tranquil mind or looking for a bike trip with your fellas, then Tawang is most likely what you should think about.
This article would talk about an itinerary for a week to help you complete the journey.
HOW TO REACH TAWANG:
It was a bike ride from Guwahati to Tawang, and we took a round trip where it goes like;
Uphill : Guwahati – Bomdila – Dirang – Sela pass – Tawang ;
Downhill : Tawang – Sela pass – Dirang – Bomdila – Tezpur – Guwahati;
We landed in Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport, Guwahati, and rented a bike for a week to make a leisure journey.
It’s all about your convenience whether to take a bike or car. If you’re not an adventure person, you can rent a car which is the safest and best option for the commute.
TRIP ITINERARY :
Day 1 : Guwahati to Bomdila
Distance and Time: Around 270 km ; Nearly 10 hrs ;
Starting from Guwahati, we took the Balemu route Via Udalguri and we got a chance to touch the Bhutan International border which is specifically for tourists.
After crossing balemu, the roads are not nice and extremely devastated because of the construction works for every 5 km. It took nearly 10 hours for us to reach Bomdila so we took a halt.
Bomdila is a small town perched over a panoramic setting that lies in the eastern Himalayas. This place ranges out from normal tourist invasion, so we can expect very low flocking.
Influenced by Buddhist and Tibetan culture, the place makes a favorite destination for those who are always in search of new cultural heritage.
Where to stay in Bomdila: Hotel Dengchem, The circuit House, Hotel Sweet, Hotel La, and many tourist lodges. (Approximate rate for a night: Rs 700/- to Rs 1500/-)
What to eat: Thukpa, noodles, momos are the famous local dishes to try out in dhabas and some food stalls.
Places to visit in Bombila: Monastery, Apple Orchards, Upper gompa, and some viewpoints.
Day 2 : Bomdila to Tawang
Distance and Time: Around 180 km ; Hrs: Nearly 10 hrs ;
Based on the 1st-day drive, we asked the locals about the roads, Tawang weather pattern and decided to start our day early.
We crossed Dirang, a small town that is 42 km away from Bomdila is hidden and stands as a gateway to Tawang. Due to no time, we planned to visit the places while coming downhill.
As the roads filled with potholes, riding through the same has become way tougher than I thought. The trail heads towards the most stunning awestruck place for the entire West kameng.
At an altitude of 13,700 feet, it is no less than a paradise for adventure seekers, travelers, serene lovers, photographers, hodophilers, and all nature lovers. The picturesque doorway of Sela Pass made us stop our vehicle for some moment. I personally felt like “ Entering into the lap of mother nature” surrendering myself to it.
The important geo fact as well as the gifting nature about Sela Pass is the only lifeline for people that connects Tawang and rest of India. In simple terms, we can consider it as “the last village” of this country in the eastern range.
Temperature seems to be dropping like anything from 2 to 4 degrees during the day time as we are welcomed by snow across the tail end of the Indian border.
One can stop and relax admiring the creation by gazing into the frozen Sela lake and the awesomeness of the surroundings.
As the weather is completely unpredictable, it is highly recommended to carry the required suits and other essentials with us to avoid any medical issues. While in winter the climate is extremely high and we are not allowed that time.
With a high degree of steepness, the air is thin, the climb is very appalling, one gets tired and starts to panic due to lack of oxygen.
And again it took nearly 10 hours to reach Tawang as the roads are curvy and slippery.
Day 3 : Tawang
Tawang is a hideout mostly isolated from the outside world, joyful welcoming people, abode for army base, mystic monks holding prayers in their belief and, Buddhist chants floating in the air.
Normally, the Tawang temperature can dip down from 2 to – 10 degree celsius where the complete town is covered with snow blankets.
Places to Visit –
- Tawang Monastery: Aged for 400-yrs, this monastery is one of the biggest and famous pilgrim centers for Buddhism followers. The outer structure was built majestically juxtaposed down the row that captures the visitor’s sight.
- Buddha Temple: It is located on a small hill & offers some relief and pleasantness. This statue can be seen from almost everywhere in the city.
- Urgelling Gompa: A place where the 6th Dalai lama was born, now became a residence for monks.
Being the easternmost part, where China, Myanmar, and India meets, the rays will begin to rise around 3 AM and set before early in the evening. So we went to doze off early.
Day 4 : Tawang
Started our second day to cover some major spots,
- Bumla Pass: Located 20.5 kms from the city; At an altitude of 16,480 ft, this place marks the Indo-China border. It is a must visit but only when you have the permit from the deputy commissioner office, Tawang. Also you can witness a tomb of pebble in front of the Heap of Stones, which is a tribute to the Indian Army guardians.
- Shonga-tser Lake: Located 42 kms away from Tawang, was formed naturally after a massive earthquake in 1971.
- PT Tso Lake: Located 17 km away from the city; Surrounded by a snow cape mountain filled with clear water in the middle, it is surely a visual treat to travelers.
- Tawang war memorial: Located 1 km away from Tawang valley; Built in memory of all martyrs who lost their lives during the Indo-China war in 1962. It contains a huge number of soldier names engraved inside the stupa who sacrificed during the war. Try watching the light and sound show at the amphitheater by evening, it talks about the intensity of the war showing pride and respect as a goosebumps moment.
- Tawang Festival : Local says that it’s a three days fest which happens once in a year where the monks and several tribes across the state will come back home to celebrate this religious tradition known as “Sebang”. This year, the Tourist department has fixed the festival dates on 26th – 29th October.
Where to stay in Tawang: You have many tourist lodges, Hotels, Homestays, and cottages. (Approximate rate for a night: Rs 500/- to Rs 3000/-)
What to eat: Hot cuppa tea, Thukpa, pork fry, and momos are the famous local dishes to try out.
Day 5 : Tawang to Dirang
It is advisable to halt at Dirang on your way back as it is an idyllic getaway for your soul treat. A drive will take close to seven hours, it can even go up between nine to ten hours depending on the weather condition and unexpected landslide.
With breathtaking views along the roadway, the ride is exhilarating crossing verdant greenery valleys, snow-blanketed mountains, sparkling streams, and gushing waterfalls.
Where to stay in Dirang: Hotel Samdup Khang, Hotel KC, and Hotel Pemaling are some of my suggestions. (Approximate price for a night: Rs 500 to Rs 1800)
What to eat: Try out some local street-side stalls for the best momos and Thukpa.
Day 6 : Dirang to Tezpur
Since we have enough time, we decided to explore the locality.
Places to visit in Dirang :
- Hot spring water: For the first time, I am witnessing a miracle; As the name implies, it will be a rejuvenating experience to take a bath that is rich in sulphur and helps to cure many medical issues.
- Sangti Valley: Located 7kms from Dirang town; Black-necked cranes nested from china during winters and fly back during summer. A must-visit to spot pristine rivers and dense forests.
Then we started our journey to Tezpur before noon where the drive will take seven hours.
Day 7 : Tezpur to Guwahati
From Tezpur, plan your journey based on your flight timings from Guwahati. Try reaching the airport two hours in advance.
It will take four to five hours to reach Guwahati from Tezpur.
Best time to visit Tawang :
For those who have the urge to travel particularly aged people; try visiting the places from June to October.
For the travel enthusiasts and adventures seekers, visiting through January & February month will be the best time to experience real time snowfall.
Things to be taken care of :
- Roads that lead to Tawang after Bomdila are not in good shape.
- Expect the unexpected, be prepared to have delays due to bad weather.
- Keep atleast a day or two in hand to avoid last-minute running.
- Cell phone networks aren’t good enough, so whenever possible it is always good to inform your circle of your whereabouts.
Hope I have covered all the checkpoints for the complete journey, whoever is planning to visit Tawang. I would recommend you to take a shot without giving any second thoughts.
Seriously, this trip will become the treat for your soul and it will change your way of approach towards making life decisions like how it does to me.
Ciao !! Have a safe and pleasant journey !!
And looking for other places near North East,
You can visit my other blog about “Meghalaya Tourism” to get an complete itinerary for a week.