Arunachal Pradesh Diaries
So yes, my reader, we were stuck at the beatific morning of Dirang, right? Moving on… Looking back from the car I bid adieu to this blissful town nested in the glamour of the Himalayas. This was the second day of the Arunachal Pradesh Trip and we were in a Tata Sumo, off on our way to Tawang (which is situated at 3000+ m above, by the way). Speculations (insane heights!) competed with skepticism (insane heights?), and with the breeze of Himalayas kissing my face, the former seemed to be winning.
The outskirts of Dirang reminded me of the pictures from Switzerland, that I had seen, not exaggerating the slightest bit! You can see for yourself.
And then, it appeared Dirang had other plans in store for us. Barely had we reached the outskirts of Dirang, the car engine seemed to be protesting. Taking no risks, all the passengers agreed to stop it there and ask for another. Since, the roads were reportedly going to be challenging, it was never wise to continue in a vehicle susceptible to breakdown mid-way! So then, we got down while the substitute car arrived. But I was not the slightest bit disappointed, because who hates stranded in an amazing scenery anyway?
And then, there were these cottages.
We decided to have some chai at one of the cottages, and they made it for a small charge. And there were these cute little fellows with fine courtesies! All of them were enrolled in schools, and courteously stood up and thanked us when we shared some snacks with them. Take a look:
Oh, I don’t think I introduced you to the gentlemen we had the pleasure of having as co-passengers! There’s nothing better than some friendly soldiers having tales to tell about their life, and the place!
Who needs a guide, when you befriend some people who know almost every inch of the territory?
The Indian soldiers made for some really jovial company, contrary to my suspicions of them being serious, cold people. We shared snacks, jokes and experiences among ourselves and not long before, on another Tata Sumo, back on our way to Tawang.
“You see those mountain tops out there?”, one of them asked me, pointing towards some high mountains which were draped in clouds.
“We will be driving up there.”
“Whoa! No way!”, the prospect was lucrative and seemed unbelievable. For then.
“Yes, that’s the Sela Pass.”
Moving from one mountain to other, the music and occasional rush of streams, we halted at a spot for some lunch. As before, the meal was sumptuous and I could not have enough of those juicy squash preparations and soft chappatis. Who knew vegetarian meals could be this fun?
And then I spotted this butterfly, the size of a small bird!
Continuing along the journey, some illustrations of Tyndall effect (for the non-geeks, just some science stuff about the splitting of light beams) came into being as the sun, clouds and mountains indulged in a game of hide-and-seek.
The elevation kept increasing, as we went through some clouds, surpassed them. Cloud, clouds, all around! Some colorful display of different shades of orange, yellow and green pine forests (and my hands freezing with the chilly breeze it faced while making videos) later, we reached Sela Pass. I could notice that the vegetation had been decreasing considerably with increase in height.
And save some mosses, a barren landscape lay here. Somewhere in the harsh, barren landscape lay this tranquil lake which reflected the cool blue of the skies. Situated at more than 14000 feet, Sela Lake/Paradise Lake with its crystal clear reflection, was embedded like a sapphire on the crown of the majestic Himalayas.
Sela Pass, with its silence and serenity had an uncanny allure.
NOTE: From experience, I should warn against touching the water- however appealing it seems. Frost bite might not be very cool. (Ignore the pun, I almost had it!)
Spending some time in Sela Pass (I craved for some more. But then, who would not?), we continued on our way, the Sela Lake still captivated us and kept us glued to the window.
The journey now was downhill, and the pine forests and streams reappeared. Next stop was Jaswantgarh War Memorial, a tribute to the brave soldier Jaswant Singh Rawat for his valor and persistence in the Sino-Indian war of 1962. Jaswangarh sings the legacy of a soldier who almost single-handedly defended the 10000 feet high region. A feat which impressed even the enemies he was fighting against.
Not only is Jaswantgarh a shrine, it presents spectacular views of the Himalayas.
Panoramas. More panoramas (to be relished with self-served chai, courtesy of the Indian Army)
Journeying further downhill, we would reach Jung, the penultimate halt before we reached Tawang. And on our way down, such colourful displays of nature never grew tiresome to the eyes!
At Jung, we halted for some refreshments. And I found plenty to click there as well! Every place in Arunachal appeared to have surprises and stunning images for us to relish. And Jung was certainly no exception.
We missed the Nooranang falls as nightfall seemed close with the magnificent sunset that reddened the skies and the Himalayan peaks. (No photographs, sorry! Car in motion, mountainous roads and low light- too much restrictions for steady clicks.)
We reached Tawang by about 7PM. It was quite cold and we quickly got into our room at our hotel, Hotel Dawa in the Old Market area. After a dinner of egg curry and chappati, we retired to the comfort of the blankets.
The journey from Dirang to Tawang was spectacular in the truest sense and dynamic enough not be captured through some mere words and photos- anybody claiming to do that is surely demeaning to the Himalayas.
PS: If you have not yet read the first chapter of the Arunachal Pradesh trip, find it here.
This is a person who is into the trade of the quintessential Indian youth- Engineering.
He is currently pursuing Computer Science and Engineering from Haldia Institute of Technology. (You shall be spared the boring details.)
He has an interest in photography, exploration and travel; which is only superseded by a passion for writing and reading. Observant and pensive blended with an adventurous, instinctive personality. A game for challenges!