Drive to Tawang

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The drive from Bhalukpong to Tawang is amongst the most exciting drives in India. I would compare it to Leh Manali to Srinagar Leh. We left Bhalukpong about 5.30 am. Our first stop was at botanical gardens Tipi. It is called a temple of orchards, has a floral glass house with 500 species of orchids. This orchid centre is spread over 113 acres, cultivates over 50,00 orchids. Beware of elephants. U see road inside the garden. Lovely weather early morning - did not feel like leaving the place.

24 kms from Tipi is Sessa, has a natural orchid sanctuary. For security reasons access is denied. Dense forests area has begun even. After Sessa are the very popular Serpen waterfalls (hope got the name right). By the time we reached here it was chilly. Too cold to have a dip in its cold waters.

Met a family from Chennai at Serpen Waterfalls. Was more than impressed - Chennai to Tawang is some distance.

We drove thru dense forests as you can see. Trees and fog is what we had for company. Did not see a soul enroute. Experience was a warm up for what we could expect in Tawang.

Roads thru these dense forest area are in good condition but mostly one way. You get a great view of the valley from Hornbill View Point. There is a waterfall too but not as impressive as the earlier one.

Water and Trees made the drive truly memorable.

Enroute say around 9 am ish stopped at this Nag Devata Temple. When the road was being built in the 1960''''s a couple of snakes always went to hill top to drink water. One day a worker died because of a snake bite. Also when work on this area commenced stones and rocks would fall making it difficult to make the road. To know more see next pic.

All about the Nag Devata Mandir. Inside it is a very simple temple. U get a very good view from temple top. It is very well maintained and spotlessly clean.

A view from Nag Devata Mandir i.e. hill top. The small houses that you see on right of pic is where you can stop for breakfast/lunch. Very good food - piping hot. Good thing is most of it is made using gas cylinders. In Sept 2013 unlimited thali having dal sabzi was Rs 70/.

We reached Bomdila at about 11 am and had the whole day at our disposal. In hindsight it was a mistake to stop there. One it gets very cold at night. Two hotels are expensive. Better to drive app 1.5 hours ahead and stay at Dirang where it is not as cold and better hotels. U see at the Craft Centre in Bomdilla wearing coat locally called ALIPUDUNG. Local Monpa tribe are good at making hand woven carpets.

Bomdilla is known for its Buddhist monasteries. At the end of the bazaar line is Lower Gompa where you see Buddhist monks playing. U get a clear view of the Kangto and Gorichen peaks, the highest peaks of the state.

The bigger monastery situated high above the town is called Gaden Rabgyeling Monastery-better known as Upper Gompa. It covers a huge area - saw lots of young monks proceeding to their hostels.

Inside the monastery. Cente is Buddha Shakyamuni. Extreme right is Guru Padmasambhava (who brought Buddhism to Tibet). Extreme left is Jetsongakhapa (hope got it right). One of the smaller images is Acharya Shantarakshita.

This is a consecrated prayer wheel. It is filled with sacred Buddhist mantras inside and inscribed with auspicious messages on the outside. Rotating the prayer wheel releases the prayers into the winds. The four corners of the structure have Garuda and Dragon like masks to ward off negativity.

We left Bomdila at about 5.30 am. Fog enroute to Dirang. To see pics of very beautiful Ziro plateau Click here

Note the Tata Sky dish antennae at a house in Bomdila. All through my nearly 3 week Arunachal Yatra saw TV antennas everywhere - villages, towns, on the road etc. Most popular dish was of Tata Sky with Airtel and Dish TV seen in a few places. Thanks to TV people know what is happening in the rest of India and love watching cricket matches too.

Enroute to Dirang. To see pics of Children of Arunachal Pradesh Click here

Terrace farming is getting increasingly popular. Down side is that trees are cut to make way. Post breakfast at Dirang we stopped at the Jaswantgarh War Memorial. To see pictures Click here

Stadium and homes after Dirang. If I remember right it is the army area. Dirang is known for apple and kiwi orchards. It is a picture postcard valley. Slightly away from town are hot water springs. U can miss. Visit Sangti Valley, 7 kms away seasonal home to the black-necked crane that migrates from Siberia during the winter. After Jaswantgarh the next stop was Sela Pass. To see pictures Click here

This lovely waterfall is probably an hour before Tawang. To see pics of Bumla Border i.e. a 3 hour drive from Tawang Click here