In the previous blog, we reached Tawang. If you haven’t read that one yet, take a look at the first part. I’m waiting! Okay. So now that you’ve read the first part, let’s move further.
Shungatser (Sangestar So) Lake
As I mentioned, Tawang is not just a place that looks dreamy but has a very interesting history. And I suggest you visit this place if you’re patriotic or have a fair interest in our country’s history. Situated at 10,000 ft., this place is administered by the Republic of India as a part of the Arunachal Pradesh state, however, it is claimed by the People’s Republic of China as a part of South Tibet. The history with McMahon line, where Tibet refused to surrender Tawang, partly because of the importance attached to the Tawang Monastery. If you visit Tawang, do watch the sound & light show that’s put up by the army jawans there. Its overwhelming experience, and I bet you’d have teary eyes by the end of the show! The time during the Indo-China war, the aftermath and the stories about the incidents that took place has been narrated and presented with pride. I, as an Indian, loved the details and also the feeling by just sitting there and listening to the history of that place gave me Goosebumps. Do keep this one on your itinerary.
Next day we went for sight-seeing. A sight that’s unforgettable. Unfortunately, because of Christmas, we couldn’t manage to visit the Indo-china border. But instead, we went to Shungatser (Sangestar So) lake, now named Madhuri Lake after our evergreen Madhuri Dixit shot for Koyla there. The lake is located on the way from Tawang to Bum La Pass in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, near Indo-China border above 15,200 ft. above sea level. We were freezing and delighted as well to drive through snow and Nazare like no other. After spending somewhat 15 minutes at the lake, we started to head back to the Giant Buddha Statue.
Giant Buddha Statue
Giant Buddha Statue towers above Tawang and can be seen from anywhere in Tawang. Adjacent to it is the way to Tawang Monastery. This monastery is the first largest in India and second largest in the world after Potala Palace, Lhasa. Tawang Monastery is known in Tibetan as Gaden Namgyal Lhatse, which translates to “celestial paradise in a clear night.”
Furthermore, the whole place is surrounded by monks. A lot of them reside there. It’s absolutely adorable to look at little monks running and playing around. The breathtaking sight was when during the sunset, the sun rays fell on the snow-covered mountains making it look like golden mountains. I’ll try and insert a picture of it. The day ended well with a nice and cozy dinner at the Hotel Zaxstar (Where we were staying). I’d highly recommend the hotel as the service was nice and the food tasted like home. It kinda did feel like a home away from home. Oh not to forget, the view from the hotel.
Kaziranga National Park
Waking up the next day, we had to travel the entire day as we were heading to Kaziranga via Bomdila and Sela Pass. I strongly suggest you keep the warmest clothes if you’re planning to travel to Tawang and Sela pass. The temperature can go to minus and might as well snow anytime. So, moving forward we were all pepped up to drive to Kaziranga but I never wanted to leave the place. Tawang still has my heart and I might go back. The duration of the journey from Tawang to Kaziranga was around 11hrs. We reached the Kaziranga national park almost by 5-6.30. We drove through Dhola-Sadiya Bridge which is India’s longest bridge, 9.15km long bridge situated on Brahmaputra River connecting two states, Assam & Arunachal Pradesh.
After a 10-11hrs journey, we finally reached Kaziranga National Park, where we already had plans. Tickets to an amazing evening cultural show where we witnessed their cultural dances, music, and farming culture that was portrayed beautifully. It was an interactive show, we danced along the dancers at the end. The show was fun and refreshing. But we were exhausted and headed to our hotel and crashed.
The following morning, we had another long day ahead of us. We had plans for the jungle safari planned for the entire day. Kaziranga national park, located at Golaghat & Nagaon area of Assam, the sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site. And when you start the safari, along with a huge but friendly company, elephants! Personally, I’m against this tradition of riding animals, but had no other option but to sit on top of it. When you enter the park, you can actually spot rhinos all around you. The place has so many of them. The time we went there, we could only spot rhinos. The safari with the elephant was for around an hour or 45 min. I also took a picture with Rani (our elephant). We got back for lunch and had plans for trying our luck at another evening safari but now in a jeep. Thank God! Spared the creature.
DO NOT FORGET YOUR SUNGLASSES AND MUST BRING BANDANA TO COVER YOUR FACE AND HAIR. It’s dusty! And boring if you don’t spot any animal. Which exactly was the scenario with us. But we did spot some really cool parent elephant taking their kids to bathe and a humongous & creepy monitor lizard. And of’ course, deer. One can spot deer anywhere in India, in Delhi as well! But alas, not a bad experience at all. After this dusty & tiring jungle safari, we left the state for yet another place, this time it was the wettest place on Earth, Cherrapunji. We reached the place late in the night. The Saimika Resort, the place had these little cottages, it seemed like a vintage, cozy, adorable huts like the ones you see in those Christmassy movies. Yet again, strongly recommend the place to stay. The staff had our dinner prepared and fireplace lit to warm up our cottages. We hit the beds after stuffing our stomach.
Double Decker Living Root Bridge
It was this day, I was ready for the new adventure. The plan for Double Decker Living Root Bridge gave such an adrenalin rush. It’s 3500 steps i.e. 7km including climbing down and upward as well. Not recommended for old aged, individual with Heart problems and breathing issues. Being someone who has breathing trouble, panic disorder, and adventures like these give me a kick to go for it. I had a major FOMO going on. I didn’t want to miss this one. Hence I decided to go forward.
Put on my running shoes, stacked my bag with knick-knacks, water bottles and went on towards this adventure. It took us 3-4 hours for the entire experience. It definitely is tiring and one might as well run out of breath. But worth it. You’ll see a little pond like place with stones and small waterfalls with this double-decker bridge. Had to be one of the most amazing feelings after you reach there traveling through narrow-broken-moving steel bridges and tiny steps. The time taken to travel back was exhausting and I could feel each breath. We couldn’t hang around anymore, we had to rush with all the exhaustion and the feeling of “I can’t move anymore”, numb body, and breathlessness, after 4 hours reached the starting point and what a feeling! Must plan to visit the double-decker living root bridge, it definitely is a once in a lifetime experience.
With so much more to write and narrate my experience further, I don’t want y’all to get bored. I’ll be back with two more places that we explore in the next blog. Stay tuned!