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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

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

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

evening cultural show

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

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!

“Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast

Hamin ast-o Hamin ast-o Hamin ast

-Amir Khusro

Until I visited North East, I was living under a rock about the existence of a heavenly place on Earth. It wasn’t just a place like heaven. It was the HEAVEN in all true sense. Amir Khusro’s words were in context to the beauty of Kashmir. Well, been there done that too! It sure is a beauty but I cannot emphasize enough on the fact that North East India is sublime. A piece of advice? Go see this heaven for yourself, if you haven’t already visited Northeast India you’re missing out on a big chunk of travel experiences in India! That place is a dream! If there’s heaven on earth; it’s there, it’s there!

North East India

The Places I visited (Guwahati-Bhalukpong-Tawang via Bomdila & Sela Pass)

My journey to the northeastern side of India started with a flight to Guwahati from Delhi. I was traveling with my family. We’re a family who loves to travel and I have been a travel junkie since my first trip. Hint-hint, you might get to read more about my travel experiences! Early morning flights are so easy and hassle-free. But in the month of December, winter plays a huge part to piss any traveler off because of flights getting delayed. Well, all thanks to dense fog at 5 in the morning. We landed safely in Guwahati. And oh boy, the weather went crazy. It was foggy and windy in Delhi and Guwahati? It was humid! Guwahati is the largest urban area in the Northeast region. It’s packed with people & vehicles. We met our driver, Dheeraj, who’ll be driving us around for the entire trip. He was extremely polite & cute! Initially didn’t talk much but gradually started and was able to make our stomach hurt with all of his lame jokes. It’s fun when you have such a fun-loving company also knowledgeable. He guided us throughout with all the must-visit places. We had our trip organized by Kaziranga Tours n travels, Mr. Mahendra Nath. The company only managed our accommodations, convenience, and food. The plan of the places to visit was organized by my Uncle (another travel enthusiast! Thanks to him for passing on the legacy!) We got late because of our flight and Mr. Mahendra was so helpful with all the bookings and arranging breakfast on the first day in Guwahati when we reached there.

While we were settling ourselves down with the city, getting to know more about the place, it’s wildly diverse & home to hundreds of tribes. People are so warm & welcoming. They’ll make you feel homely. Just how our drivers and tour organizers were. We came across some really friendly and welcoming people throughout the trip. People there would help you, talk to you, they try and know about you. It’s just a heart-warming gesture. They’ll welcome you with a big smile and kids waving at you. The place had some really adorable dogs &| puppies playing around. With such kind hospitality, they work hard for their living. One can clearly see the hustle of the town and yet they’re relaxed. The relaxed pace of life is captivating.

Coming back to the food, you cannot miss the food! It was different. Tea with jaggery, Chhole Bhature but known as paranthe. I am hungry now! Off track. Okay back to our first day in Guwahati, Mr. Mahendra was a big help. He was on his toes all the time wherever we needed help during the trip. Got our stomachs filled with tempting food and went ahead with our road trip to Bhalukpong from Guwahati. The drive from Guwahati to Bhalukpong, a small town located in Arunachal Pradesh, was soothing. Kameng River in Bhalukpong makes the place so attractive. It feels like one of those ZNMD (Zindagi na milegi dobara) moments, traveling on a smooth road and a river with clear blue water and creating white foams when it hits those steady big rocks into them, flowing alongside. It’s therapeutic. Finally, after a 6-7 hours journey, we reached Bhalukpong, where we were going to spend a night before leaving for Tawang the next morning. We stayed in bungalow turned into a hotel kinda thing. It was nice and cozy. Not the best places to stay but was manageable for a night. Had our dinner and crashed into our beds.

Next morning, watching the sunrise at 5 in the morning while leaving for Tawang was one of the most beautiful mornings of my life! It was chilly, different from the first day at Guwahati. The sky was filled with sunshiny colors and had mountain ranges covered with snow peeping through the clouds. The drive from Bhalukpong to Tawang via Bomdila and Sela Pass was mesmerizing and definitely a highlight of the entire journey. We were all geared up for an entire day of road tripping. Packed our bags, filled our stomachs yet again with some really finger licking home cooked food and were all set to leave for our journey. To reach Tawang, we passed Bomdila as well. Yet another beautiful place. But to reach Bomdila from Bhalukpong you may need a permit for traveling from Bhalukpong to Bomdila. We got that within an hour and for that one hour to pass what could be the best way than to have Maggi and enjoy the cold breeze and snow-covered mountains all around you. After an hour or so, we headed towards Bomdila. The drive to Tawang from Bomdila had some crazy surreal views. BRO (Border Roads Org) has maintained the roads so well. The army and the local people together have kept the environment so clean and air that is pure & breathable! That place is so different from the rest of India. It just doesn’t feel like you’re there. For someone like me who has vertigo, driving through mountains and height I get anxiety. But the rounds are so safe and there’s help at every mile. So much respect for those people working for our country and also for maintaining the place for tourists. While driving through Bomdila to reach Tawang, you have to cross Sela Pass, a place at 13,000 ft. above sea level and beyond imagination. The region is extremely windy and cold. My words won’t do any justice to the place. With that freezing cold wind and stilled Sela Lake, the place looks dreamy and almost magical. It had a calming vibe with a little snow drizzling! I can trade anything to just be at this place. This unexplored paradise has my heart! After crossing Sela Pass, it takes another 4-5 hours to reach Tawang.

Tawang- a place that’s nothing short of a dream or just out of a movie! Not just a place with incomparable beauty but also with a history that every Indian must know. I explored Tawang and a lot of gems of Assam & Arunachal. Not to be missed I witnessed India-Bangladesh border too. How cool! But to know all of it, stay updated!

Here are some of the pictures of the breathtaking views I took!

Bhalukpong

Bomdila

Tawang

Sela Pass

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