Well, this is where the trip ends and with it the adventure (or so we thought).
Our connecting flight back home got cancelled and we had to take the red eye flight back home from Delhi after a 4 hr stopover at Delhi airport. We however, decided to make the most of this and met up a friend. Drove around to see India Gate and ate at a dhaba.
Until my next travel, ciao and keep increasing the places to see on your bucket list and tick some off too 😉
Tezpur city is located on the banks of the river Brahmaputra and is know as the city of blood. It has tea gardens and has quite a few places of interest that one can visit.
Since we had to reach Guwahati airport for our flight by evening, we managed to visit couple of places before leaving from Tezpur.
It is atop a hill and offers a splendid view of the city. The place is steeped in mythology. It was built as a fortress by Banasura to keep his daughter Usha in isolation. The story goes on to explain how the city got its name as the ‘City of Blood’. The place has sculptures depicting the story behind the name. (Pic 1-5)
2. Chitralekha Udyaan
This garden houses various artefacts which have been recovered from ponds, drains (sad to think of how little they were valued) and from private collectors. The garden is well landscaped with a pond, pathways, artefacts and children’s play area. (Pic 6-10)
Nope, not a spelling mistake. This is what many restaurants that provide food option in the Tawang belt call it.
The restaurant that I am writing about though is one that comes between Tezpur and Guwahati called Bor Luit. It is located at Kamrup (Gouripur Amingaon) and the Assamese thali here is a must try.
The veg thali (unlimited) for a mere Rs. 90, offers local cuisine with dishes such as pitika, veg anja, khaar, kharali, joha rice, veg and daals. They have non veg thalis and an a la carte option as well. The fare is simple and yummy.
At Tezpur, there are local sweets that one can try. Similar to Bengali sweets, there are quite a few here. The one that we tried and liked was Rasmadhuri.
The town of Udalguri (near Tezpur) is supposed to be famous for its Rasgullas, though we didn’t try it out.
24 November 2018
Bomdila to Tezpur
154 kms/6 hrs
The return route that we took was via Kalaktang. This was a deviation from the intended route, for which I have mentioned the distance. Instead of following the same route that we took while driving to Dirang, we decided to try this one. This route though longer, still took only about 6 hours. The route has dense foliage and good roads. Once you come close to Udalguri, there are tea estates on both sides of the road. To be honest, I found the route that we took on our onwards journey more scenic.
23 November 2018
Bomdila Monastery also known as Gentse Gaden Rabgyel Lling monastery was built in 1965 and is an abode to Buddhist monks and Llamas.
Note: Drive from Tawang to Bomdila - 180 KM/5 hrs
22 November 2018
Monyul Gift Corner in Tawang market has a variety of souvenirs that one can choose from to take home.
The ceramic tea cups here are a good option apart from wind chimes and other ornamental items.
Shonga-tser lake a.k.a Madhuri lake and Pankang Teng Tso lake
The lake is called Madhuri lake after the a dance sequence from the movie Koyla featuring Madhuri Dixit was shot there. Visit to these lakes can be combined with Bhumla Pass excursion. The place is scenic and the view of the lake from the distance was enough to energise us after the long, dusty drive.
There is an army managed canteen at Shonga-tser lake premises where you get some good warm food such as chole bhature, maggi, momos - much needed respite from the long drive.
21 November 2018
It is located 37 kms away from Tawang at the Indo China border and is located 16500 ft above sea level. The china border is the part of Tibet that is occupied by China.
The pile of stones that you see in the photo is places there by VIP guests to mark the date of their visit.
The army personnel here give a guided tour and provide insights into the life there, the indo-china friendship (Rock of Peace) and how they host each other over 6 meets during the year - India hosts 4 of them and China 2.
Bramdungchung Ani Gompa
This is the abode of nuns and the oldest Ani Gompa in Tawang. It comes under the administration of Tawang Monastery. The Gompa is situated in the mountains surrounded with natural scenery.
There is a Dharma Coffee House near Tawang Monastery for a coffee house atmosphere and a quick break. It is a cozy place, felt warm and toasty inside :)
Their marble cake was good, though be warned - the chai is not brewed tea but the teabag dip kind.
North East Flavours at Tawang market was a restaurant where we explored some local cuisine by trying out a dish called Churpa with fin (mushroom, local green pepper, glass noodles broth) with rice and daal. It was different, worth trying out. The food took a long time to serve. They prepare the food once the order is placed (as seems to be the case at many restaurants here). So you might want to check which dishes take lesser time or go explore the market for a while after you place your order.
1. Tawang Monastery
This was founded by Mera Lama Lodre Gyaltso. He was a contemporary of the fifth Dalai Lama and founded the Monastery during 17th
century A.D. It accommodates over 500 monks,has a school, museum, Buddhist texts and scriptures.
You get a view of the town from atop the hill.
2. Urgelling Monastery
It was here in 1683 Tsangyang Gyatso, that the sixth Dalai Lama was born.
3. Buddha Statue located in Tawang
20 November 2018
Some pics from this amazing place
Nuranang Falls a.k.a Jang Falls
About 100 metres high, this is one spectacular waterfall not to be missed. The place makes for some truly photo worthy moments. Was lucky to see a rainbow today, adding to the beauty of the landscape.
Dirang to Tawang
The memorial is dedicated to Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, of the 4th Battalion of Garhwal Rifles Infantry Regiment. He showed his heroism by fighting and holding the attack of China (in the 1962 IndoChina War) back for 72 hours. Singh remained at his post at an altitude of about 10,000 feet before succumbing to an enemy bullet during that bloody winter war. The stories encapsulating the bravery of Singh and that of others who fought in the war are described here.
The memorial is located 25 km before Tawang and is surrounded by scenic terrain just below the Sela Pass. The place also offers scenic view points.
There is a small army run canteen where you can get some bakery products. They also provide free tea to all those who stop by 😊
Dirang to Tawang
Sela Pass (13,703 ft)
There is a pathway which leads down to paradise lake, where one can spend some time soaking in the feel of the place. There is a walking path built around the lake, which lets you enjoy the blue hue of the lake from different vantage points. The lake freezes over in winter. There was a section of the lake which was frozen - a nice intersection point where one could see that.
This is also the land of the Monpa tribes and a major center of the Mahayana Buddhism
Dirang to Tawang
145 kms/6 hrs
There are some places which are the highlight for the day and some well, erm.. you can give a miss.
The hot water spring (about 12 km from Dirang) is one such place 😬
Have shared a pic - so you now know what it looks like and needn’t bother going there during your trip.
Added in pics of the scenery from various points during the drive today.
19 November 2018
Dirang Monastery, Thupsung Dhargyeling
This monastery was recently constructed in 2016. It is situated atop a hill and offers a splendid panoramic view of Dirang.
Just on the outskirts of Dirang, we stopped by an orchard of Kiwi and Apple trees. Since it was autumn, sadly, we didn’t get to see them in their prime.
We explored a dirt path by the road and were delighted when it led us by the Kameng river. We stayed here for at least half an hour, just soaking in the sight of flowing water and the positive vibes of the place. Ah! What a way to detox!
The town of Sessa and the view along the drive
Bhalukpong to Dirang
Foot suspension bridge over Tenga river, Jamiri point.
Looking for a dash of adventure? How does walking over an oscillating foot bridge with missing floor planks sound? 😉
Just when we felt that the drive was getting a little monotonous, it kept throwing up some sight that made us want to get down from the car and explore.
Both the view and the walk on the bridge was worth the halt.
Bhalukpong to Dirang
The scenery from this leg of the journey only gets better, making you look forward to what comes next.
The Kameng river flows alongside and will continue to till Sela Pass where it diverges off. This lake originates in Tawang, below the snow covered Gori Chen mountain. It is also a major tributary of the Brahmaputra River, joining it at Tezpur. This river is the source of the amazing scenery and green foliage that we came across.
We pass by Monpa Valley and places such as Sessa, Tenga and Bomdila (this is a pitstop on the way back).
Bhalukpong to Dirang
Lumum Falls and Kameng River
No sooner had we left for Dirang, we came across this waterfall and a short trek led us to Kameng river.
18 November 2018
The journey offers just as much as the destination. So, here is a collection of some sights and fun times of the drive till now.
The first pic has what i like to call blurry leaves 😜 Look closely at them, you’ll get what i mean.
The place also houses a gardens of orchids that has over 450 rare orchids out of 1000 found in India. Located at Tipi, it is a 30 min drive from Bhalukpong.
The place also has a couple of walking trails to explore.
A small trek along a path took us to the picturesque Kameng lake. A tranquil place - worth spending some time just sitting on the banks and enjoying the view.
Note - the trek involves walking over pebble strewn path, so wearing shoes would be a good idea.
Guwahati to Bhalukpong
246 kms/ 6-7 hrs
The drive to Bhalukpong begins. The road we drive on has Meghalaya on the right side while on the left is Assam.
Further on, there is an intersection where one can either branch off towards Kaziranga or Tezpur. Since our pitstop was fixed, we took the route via Tezpur. The drive takes you via Nameri National Park. After a predominantly dry landscape, the green cover was a treat for the eyes.
Some of the sights on the way to Bhalukpong are shared in the album.
17 November 2018
After carefully researching and curating a list of places to see, my friend and I only managed to cover one place 😬 - Kamakhya Devi temple. Its atop the Nilachal hill and offers a view of the city.
The lit up domes of the temple look wonderful against the backdrop of the night sky.
The sun sets by 5 pm due to the onset of winter and we managed to reach at the right time - during twilight, to get a glimpse of the place.
With the early sunset and having traveled since early morning, it was time for an early dinner.
After carefully researching and curating a list of places to eat some local cuisine, we wound up at a place that did not serve it (you get an idea of how good our research and implementation was 🤦🏻♀️). The place was Dispur Dhaba and the food was good, predominantly north indian cuisine.
After a long day, it was time to catch some must needed sleep and get set for the next day.
5. Bomdila - Hotel Tsepal (one of the best stay options here. The place is clean, comfy and comes with a heater in each room. Ask for a higher category room, they are more spacious. Highly recommended place to stay.)
6. Tezpur - Hotel KRC Place (comfortable stay, centrally located from market and city attractions)
16 November 2018
I am sharing a list of the places we stayed in case it is of use.
1. Guwahati - Hotel D’Courtyard (basic hotel, nothing much to say here since we ate out during our stay here. Breakfast was below avg but the staff was helpful)
2. Bhalukpong - Waii International (spacious clean room, has a decent restaurant. Staff was very helpful, even packed our breakfast for us since we had to leave early)
3. Dirang - Pemaling ( spacious clean room, we got a room with an amazing view, ask for such a room (room no. 15 & 21). If you are gonna eat here, note that the staff prepares the meal only once you place the order. So you need it allow for a good 30 mins to get your food. Staff here was helpful, worth the stay)
4. Tawang - Hotel Tashi Ga Stale (clean, good place and mercifully, they have a heater in the room. The electricity goes off quite a few times, there is no back-up. Staff is helpful and service is good. Breakfast time is fixed till 8 am, so sleeping in late may not be a viable option
Roadtrip to Tawang
This was a trip I undertook with my childhood bestie Jasjeet, fondly called Jasu.
To reach Tawang, the flag off point of our journey was Guwahati. The road trip that follows promises a lot of wonderful landscape. The drive to Tawang goes through the following pitstops