Thursday, January 14, 2010

Life with Monpas...days in Tawang

Remember the song sequence between SRK and Madhuri Dixit in an exotic location with falls and mountains in the film “Koyla”? The song was shot in Tawang, a district in Arunachal Pradesh that stands at a staggering 11,155 ft above sea level. Well, to be honest, the optimum use of the scenic surroundings of Tawang in that song got equally appreciated as the graceful dance moves of the bollywood beauty.

I managed some time out of my usual routine life in the month of December last year and went off to Tawang. As guided by one of my colleagues, I first reached Tezpur in Assam and from there I headed towards my destination. There are buses at regular interval that takes you to Tawang from Tezpur. And, believe my words, the drive through this cloud kissed state with amazingly beautiful mountains and valleys clubbed together with the serpentine hilly roads is something not to be missed.

Once I stepped in Tawang, I could realise why it has earned the sobriquet The Hidden Paradise of the Dawn-lit Mountains. Came in front my eyes a place with breath-taking mountains, sailing clouds, wind playing with your hair, placid lakes, quaint hamlets and the simple gentle people.

Having heard a lot about the Tawang Monastery that happens to be of 400 years of existence, I thought of visiting it at the earliest. Tawang has its own significance when it comes to Buddhist life and learning. However, the Tawang Monastery is also known as Galden Namgyal Lhatse and it is nested on a high ridge providing a spell bounding view of the valley around. Mera Lama, the contemporary of the fifth Lama, established this monastery during 1643- 1647. I was pleasantly amazed to know that the monastery houses almost 500 monks who fills the air with prayers, meditation and chantings.

Besides this famous monastery you will find another Buddhist shrine by the name of Takstang Monastery at a distance of just 12 kms from Tawang.

Towards the end of my trip I visited a few lakes scattered around Tawang. Sangeshar Lake and Bagga Jang Lake are the most renowned of them all.

The major tribe of Tawang is the Monpas who lead a life that is not much known of. The best way I found to explore the real Tawang is to take a walk along the roads with chattering markets, frolicking kids, modest folks all passing by me. It allowed me to get close to the life and society of the Monpas and their outlook and ways.

I came back from the trip with new zeal and spirit which I attribute to the soothing aura of Tawang.


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  2. I agree that this area is incredible and the view from the mountain must be breathtaking. Your post inspired me and I consider to try India as my next vacation destination.

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