Intoxicating Arunachal Part – II

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”

Day 4 – !9th March continued……..Journey to heavenly Zemithang

zemithang
Beautiful Zemithang

Dear Readers, after the delicious Lunch we decided to browse around the small market in Lumla we bought some caps with Indian Army written on it.The guys tried some warm Army jackets but could not get the right size.At about 2.15 pm we resumed our onward journey to Zemithang. We were absorbed in the beautiful scenery unfolding as we twisted along the mountain roads. .On the way we halted at a waterfall and clicked some photographs.

57408080_2149310021772456_6789491233594015744_n
Mukesh and Sunil

The drive to Zemithang was very picturesque.A lttle further there was another hidden waterfall the rest of the group went down while I was happy and contented to soak in the beautiful surroundings.

57485502_2149346405102151_8762472829963730944_n
The Spectacular Waterfall
57128358_2149059395130852_1347484841670606848_n
Zemithang

Tucked away cosily in the extreme north-western corner of Arunachal Pradesh is an enchanting village that goes by the name of Zemithang.Snuck between the two neighbouring countries Bhutan and China. Zemithang is pretty far flung and a secluded village untouched by urbanisation.So one has immense potential of experiencing the traditional lifestyle and culture of the Monpa culture.About 93 km from Tawang the Monpa settlement of Zemithang rests at the top of a valley that was born out of the Namjang Chu River flowing in from the neighbouring Tibet.

zemithang1
On the way to Zemithang

The village is unique with houses of stone rising from slopes with piles of firewood stocked in quaint attics and basements.The village is just a prelude to a far more enchanting experience that is meeting the people of this enchanting village,being overwhelmed by the lone stupa that stands like a proud sentinel,hearing the wind against the fluttering of the prayer flags and simply soaking in the beauty and peace of the place.

57388273_2150823894954402_3313067291721072640_nWe reached Zemithang at about 4.30 pm and halted near the Inspecton Bunglow and to our disappointment we didn’t get rooms in the Inspection Bunglow,due to poor connectivity of phones it could not be prebooked as told by Krishna.

57262913_2149092755127516_6091469674019553280_n
Inspection Bunglow,Zemithang

Mukesh our man in shining armour rescued us by getting us accommodation at a homestay. The place has a huge dormitory with plenty of mattresses and blankets.I liked the place instantly and so did Jessy as it looked very neat and clean. So 9 of us opted to stay here and the rest stayed in another homestay close by.The host Tenszing and his wife Hema were excellent hosts.

The Dormitory at the  Tenzing Homestay

They made us comfortable and served the much needed tea in traditional beautiful cups.

57511602_2149093321794126_2484209492028293120_n
Tea at Tenszing Homestay

By the time we settled in it was 5.30 pm and the sun was setting. After freshening up we decided to go for a walk.

57407323_2149093175127474_763535204001251328_n
PC :- Krishna

It was a full moon night and the moon light falling on the trees and the barking dogs following us made the place look like a scene right out of a Ramsay movie remarked Krishna, heyy !! its so spooky and eerie remarked Bohita and we all agreed on that.

PC : – Jessy

We captured this unreal scene on our cameras. It soon started drizzling so we rushed back.Delicious dinner of rice,lentils and mixed veggies with paneer along with delicious home made rice wine was awaiting.The food was cooked on firewood and was very tasty. After dinner we snuggled into our quilts and blankets and soon sleep overtook us.We had an early morning trek the next day.

Day 5 – 20th March(Early Morning Trek to the Gompa,River Nyamjang Chu,Gorsam Chorten,Tawang)

57485269_2149347101768748_4367850962572804096_n
Our destination seen at the start of the Trek

Mind & Body had a duel whether to leave the cozy comfort of the blanket or not.Mind and heart wanted to get up and get ready for the exciting trek whereas body did not want to leave the cozy confines of the blanket.Mind won and I lifted my protesting body from the warm comfort of the blanket at around 3.30 am soon the others got up and we were all ready by 4 am and waited for our guide Tenzing to join us.It was a chilly morning but thankfully it stopped raining Krishna, Jessy Vrushali ,Ankit,Mittal,Bohita and self were on the trek ,rest of the group preferred the cozy blanket.At around 4.15 am we started our trek to Guru Padmasambhava Rinpoche Gompa.

57471724_2149092658460859_1298346082182365184_nAs it was still dark we used our torch to see the way.As we marched on we witnessed the first speck of sunlight filtering through the tall trees, it was such a glorious sight !!

58372452_2149092125127579_8692733414459047936_nWe couldn’t get enough of the beauty of the place.The waterfalls,the blooming red rhodendrons,the pink cherry blossoms and the white walnut blooms, is a sight etched into my mind.

57348247_2150823524954439_6201276710579601408_n
Waterfalls on the Way (PC Ankit)

I can still smell the fragrance of the forest and hear the chirping and chattering of birds.The region boasts of rich flora & fauna.

57453589_2149093665127425_5292294311705051136_n
A flower always makes a lady happy and nothing to beat a beautiful Rhodendron

We passed what looked like chortens – structures with water powered prayer wheels inside.I had seen something similar during my trek to Tigers Nest in Bhutan.

57238768_2149093118460813_5893066232466243584_n
The Chortens

We spinned prayer wheels hoping that whatever prayers we were saying will be carried by the wind.We reached a place where we found direction to Muchat Village and a tea stall. named Muchat nearby.The tea stall was closed as it was only 6 in the morning.We planned to stop by, on our way back.IMG_20190420_173727-01Tenzing our guide was ever so enthusiastic and kept urging us that we have almost reached.We could now see the towering statue of the Guru.

58019509_2149093048460820_3877940093410869248_n
Destination looks closer
57374592_2149092371794221_1596058869950316544_n

The Monastery was very cold from inside,we first did the Surya Namaskar and then meditated.Ankit later recited the fifteenth verse of the Bhagvad Gita.( Purshutam Yug)Spiritually awakened it was now time to click some photographs.

The long trek had made us hungry and biscuits carried by Vrushali were the saviour. There was some construction work going on at the entrance of the Gompa on enquiring the workers informed us that prayer wheels would be soon installed at the entrance.57486475_2149059651797493_7474243169584939008_n

Our angst for a hot cup of tea increased when we found the workers sipping on one,we searched for a tea stall but could not locate one maybe the workers made their own. 🙂 

57240676_2149092935127498_5869664510448500736_n
Walking through the Village on our way back

We started our return journey at about 7.30 am we must have just walked for 15 minutes when an army convoy passed by.On waving,one of the trucks stopped and we asked for a lift till Zemithang.We were thrilled when the driver asked us to climb up, we managed to climb up with some help from the army men sitting inside the vehicle.

IMG_20190420_174457-01
All Smiles inside the Army Truck 🙂

After making ourselves comfortable we started chatting with them and with a smile on their faces they told us that they were going home after serving their time in the army post at an higher altitude than the Gompa.We felt so proud of the Indian Army, the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. !!! I was just contemplating on all this when Jessy broke out into “Aih Mere watan ke logo … and all of us joined in after this many more patriotic songs were belted out with patriotic fervour. After half an hour we bid good bye to the brave sons of India and got down, as the truck was going to take a different route.We were very happy with this unexpected interlude.IMG_20190420_181821We then walked towards the homestay with our able guide Tenzing.

IMG-20190406-WA0037

Selfie with Tenzing

After sometime we reached a river and then crossed the bridge over it.

57750858_2149346271768831_8682964949430960128_n

The river from the bridge looked so beautiful,Mittal called us out, to wait as she was busy clicking photos.

57599650_2149058978464227_6474336476262825984_nWe passed a huge waterfall and Ankit was tempted to take a shower in the waterfall.We dissuaded him as we were getting late and were also very hungry.We missed Vamsi a lot,he didn’t join us as he was a bit under the weather.We reached at 9 and were longing for a cup of tea when Hema the hostess lovingly served us both butter tea and normal tea.The tea gave us the much needed warmth and energy.Breakfast was Krishna’s favourite Maggie and Toast with butter/jam/peanut butter.

After finishing breakfast at around 10.30 we went down to the banks of the river Nyamjang chu.(chu meaning river)

57154994_2149347191768739_2174787807367659520_n
Nyamjangchu River

We sat and enjoyed the calm and serene place while the more adventurous ones Ankit and Vamsi had a dip in the freezing waters.

IMG_20190420_194733Some group photos and jump photos were clicked amidst lots of laughter and masti.

57064204_2149059801797478_4682399648478920704_n
Who can Jump higher ? 🙂

Later we played UNO, battling the strong breeze we were literally holding on to our cards but had to leave the game in between when it started drizzling.

57336184_2149347538435371_5028854864742973440_n
UNO session in progress 🙂

Delicious Lunch was served at 11. Rice,lentils with greens paneer with mixed veggies and yak meat curry.A soup made of Petah leaves also known as Laie leaves locally is very rich in Vitamin A as told by our host Tenzing was relished by all of us.

57155130_2149345948435530_3053269822407180288_n
Peteh leaves also known as  Laie Patta locally

At about 1 pm we bid adieu to our beautiful and loving hosts Hema and Tenzing.I will always cherish this enchanting place and its endearing people.

Part of the Group with our hosts Hema and Tenzing,Tenzing carrying his son while  working

We left at 1 pm as scheduled and made a stop at Gorsam Chorten at about 1.15 pm.

About Gorsam Chorten

The sky looming high stupa about 92 Km from Tawang was constructed by Lama Prathar from Kharman village in Zemithang in 13th Century A.D., it stands featuring 186 feet base and 93 feet high,is modeled after Boudhinath stupa of Nepal.

57592781_2149058695130922_8534009393342054400_n
The Prayer Wheels at the Chorten

Thousands of devotees visit during Gorzam Kora festival to observe the virtuous occasion during the last day of the first month of the lunar calendar.The stupa opens to public once in 12 years.

57317150_2150823031621155_5271465721774211072_n
Gorsam Chorten

As in any Buddhist place prayer flags and prayer wheels and the multi coloured entrance gate greeted us which is an intrinsic part of Buddhist culture.

57852391_2150824771620981_5209131663111487488_n
Beautiful Gate of Gorsam Chorten

Stepping inside we found a tunnel which looked challenging to get in.Krishna took the challenge and got in,we observed that he was finding it difficult and heaved a sigh of relief when he got out safe and sound.

We spent about an hour and thereafter left for Lumla and reached Lumla market at about 4 pm and took a break to have tea,we also devoured the local snacks like egg rolls,later we did some shopping.

57170602_2149347398435385_1938435804313419776_n
Tea Break at Lumla

We reached Lumla Circuit House at 4.30 pm.To our disappointment the room that was booked a kind of dormitory was not comfortable for fourteen people.So we set out to find rooms in other hotels/homestay.This was now kind of becoming routine.We stopped at Ziro but could not find anything suitable.So it was decided that we head back to Tawang.We were disappointed as we were robbed of the opportunity to stay in Lumla and also visiting the famous Taradevi temple. 😦 We however walked to a near by Gompa but found it closed but nevertheless clicked some photos.

57393214_2149348181768640_2056998372224532480_n
The Gompa near the Circuit House

We started the journey to Tawang with our fingers crossed as the sun had already set and with the rains battering, the roads looked a bit dangerous.But the high spirits of Sunil our driver and the melodious songs from Mansi’s mobile made the journey easier.

IMG20190318055546-01
Fun inside the Sumo

We heaved  a sigh of relief when we reached the guest house in Tawang. We walked down for dinner to a nearby restaurant called Maa,.Dinner consisted of jeera rice,dal,mixed veggies.

57504684_2149059515130840_7805630768696262656_n
Dinner at Maa Restaurant

We wrapped up dinner and reached the hotel at 8.30 pm, tired with the long journey we slept off early.

Day 6   -21st March (Ani Gompa,Khinmey Nyingma Monastery,Urgelling -Birtplace of the 6th Dalai Lama,The Sound and light Show)

The next morning after breakfast(the usual roti,potaoe sabzee and boiled eggs) we shifted to Laxmi Hotel and settled in by 9 am.I personally felt the previous one was more spacious,the only advantage here was they had room heaters,so we rented one for Rs 200 per night. Mittal and Bohita also rented one.The room heater we rented glowed like an incandescent bulb only illuminating but not heating at all.So after one night we returned it but the one in Mittal and Bohita’s room worked properly so most of the time we snuggled in their room.

It was the day of festival of colours – Holi so the group gathered after breakfast and celebrated by putting colour on each other.Self not a big fan of Holi stayed away from the celebrations.With happy coloured faces we sat in our respective vehicles,Innova and Sumo and we started our days sightseeing at about 10.30.The first stop was the nunnery or Ani Gompa called the Brahma dung chung Ani Gompa.

ani gompa
Ani Gompa

Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh has a long tradition of nunneries called “Anni Gompas”.There are several nunneries located in Tawang. One of the oldest nunnery is the Brahma dung-chung Ani Gompa located 12 kms from Tawang.

57154311_2149347871768671_2982024234886234112_n
The Surrounding areas of the Ani Gompa covered with snow

The nunnery was commissioned by Karchen Yeshi Gelek in 1595 and houses about 45 nuns.We enjoyed driving through picturesque narrow roads, the entire route was covered with snow due to heavy snowfall at night,the nunnery is perched on a hilltop.

What impressed me in Arunachal are the beautiful and colourful entry gates to the cities as well as the Monasteries,Gompas,Stupas or Nunneries very similar to Bhutan.One such colourful gate greeted us.

57348158_2149347041768754_2946156997357076480_nWe were delighted to see snow everywhere.The piles of wood were also covered with snow.The small rocks covered with snow looked like doughnuts topped with cream.The temperature must have been 2 or 3 degree and we were all feeling very cold.

57353030_2150824188287706_3868165950436016128_nWe entered the nunnery through a narrow passage.After taking off our shoes we all screeched ouch !! because the floor was so cold.It was prayer time in the nunnery and the anis were busy praying.

IMG20190321105040-01
Anis praying

After the prayer we were served hot cups of tea.The tea warmed us and we were ready for some more monastery hopping.Next on the itinerary was the Khinmey Nyingma Monastery.On our way we joined the Holi celebrations by the Local MLA. 

There was dance,music and masti.Beer bottles and sweets were being lavishly distributed.But what I enjoyed most was the local dance performance by a group of Arunchal women.

IMG-20190324-WA0041-01
Dance performance by Arunchal Women

After spending about half an hour we proceeded to our destination.

Khinmey Nyingma Monastery also known as Sang-ngag-choekhorling, is located in the village of Khinmey near the headquarters of the Tawang District in Arunachal Pradesh. The name Khinmey comes from the Monpa word Khi-Ket-Nyan-Mey, literally meaning a place for listening to the sound of barking dogs.Legend has it that before the establishment of the Khinmey Monastery, the area was covered by a thick forest teeming with wild animals. Hunters let loose their dogs in the forest and followed their dogs by listening to their barks. Story has it that one day while hunting Sonam Rinchin, a legendary hunter from Yubu village, met Rev. Kundun Sange Yeshe, the founder of the monastery, who was meditating in the vicinity. He soon gave up hunting and became an ardent disciple of Rev. Kundun Sange Yeshe.The area belonged to Sonam Rinchin and he offered it for the establishment of the monastery.

57504165_2149309678439157_1126630622513594368_n

Khinmey Nyingma Monastery

The monastery has undergone several reconstructions to give accommodations to rising number of the monk students. At present, more than a  hundred monk students from Monpas, Bhutanese and Indian Nepalese communities have been studying both the ancient Buddhist classics and modern subjects under the guidance of the Rinpoche. For his distinguished service to the society, the Rinpoche was conferred with the Padma Award, in the category of “Padma Shri” by the Govt. of India, this year.  (Source Tawang Tourism)

We found the monastery in festive spirit on enquring the head Monk told us that The Khepche Rinpoche was visiting at 1.30 pm and participating in the prayer session.The head monk also showed us around and patiently clarified all our queries.Meanwhile we visited the shop and Vishal bought a jacket.Tea/coffee was also served.

57408099_2149092485127543_2636759106815262720_n
At the Cafe inside the Monastery

Before sitting in the hall I went around the place and clicked some photographs and read about the story associated with the monastery inscribed near the entrance of the monastery.We also spinned the huge prayer wheel.

57395802_2149234438446681_3120813908328185856_nAt 1.30 pm the Rinpoche arrived accompanied with the head lama .We quickly went one by one to him and sought his blessings.

IMG-20190324-WA0050-01

Taking Blessings from Rinpoche

Thereafter we sat and witnessed the proceedings which kept us engrosssed.

58373431_2154107814626010_4729082627271688192_o

Lamas taking part in the Prayer Session

The offerings made by the people were distributed amongst the participant lamas.The long conical instrument known as the Dumjhin was also played.

IMG_20190418_205008-01

The  Dumjhin

Similarly various musical instruments were played during the prayers.

57504685_2149309411772517_8925058696694726656_n

Locals attending the prayer session

We left the place at about 2.30 pm and then we were on our way to have lunch.Enroute we spotted a beautiful Woodrose Tree while Sunil was rounding a bend.We requested him to stop Ankit and Jessy got down and clicked photographs of the beautiful tree while I clicked sitting in the vehicle.

It was almost 3 and our stomachs were growling Mukesh took us to a restaurant called Suman Hotel for lunch.The food was good and the fish curry was tasty but the fish fry was cold and leathery.

After finishing lunch we proceeded to the Urgelling Gompa the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama.Since it was Holi the Gompa was closed so we could not see it from inside.The Urgelling Gompa was constructed during 1489 by Urgen Sangpo and it became holy Gompa after the 6th Dalai Lama Ngawang Gyamtso   was born here.He was earlier known as Tsang Yang. His parents were Lama Tashi Tenzin of Urgelling , a descendant of the treasure revealer Pema Lingpa, and Tsewang Lhamo, a Monpa girl hailing from a royal family of Bekhar Village.He was named the 6th Dalai Lama in 1697 and was thus renamed to  Ngawang Gyamtso.He however rejected the life of a monk and taking his behaviour as an excuse the Chinese captured him and installed their own sixth Dalai Lama in 1707.( Source Wikipedia)

DSC04731
The Prayer Wheels at Urgelling Gompa

While leaving for Lhasa he stuck his walking stick near the entrance which has grown into a massive oak tree.We spinned the prayer wheels and also made pradikshna of the tree and clicked some photographs of the Gompa from outside.

DSC04743
The Walking Stick which grew into a massive Oak Tree

   Since the Sound and Light show was at 6 pm we returned to the hotel.We snuggled into the blankets and got some warmth from the heater in Bohita’s room and played UNO.We met rest of the group at 5.30 and by 5.45 we reached the Tawang War Memorial where the show is held.It is organised by the army at a nominal ticket price of Rs 10.Although the show starts at 6 pm but that day it started at 6.30 pm.The show was for 20 minutes and we were totally engrossed with the professional presentation.As the narrator took us from the history of Tawang to the 1962 Indo-China war our hearts swelled with patriotism and there were tears in our eyes.The atmosphere was made more poignant and patriotic when Ankit bellowed Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Matram after the national anthem.When we came out of the show we found it was raining,we were suppose to pay homage to the memorial but due to some confusion and the rain, we sat in the vehicle.On reaching the hotel we realised we missed the War Memorial.While we missed, Vamsi and Bohita managed to visit it.So dear readers don’t miss it the way we missed it 🙂  Its best to visit it before the show if you reach early.

57336200_2149322695104522_6870507055669575680_o
Tawang War Memorial

After the show we went for dinner to Greenwood restaurant near our hotel in old market.Dinner was vegetarian with the usual dal,jeera rice and veggies,salad and a tasty green chutney with cheese, Jessy packed the chutney for breakfast.

57486315_2149234488446676_4468007727309783040_oWe reached the hotel at 8 pm too early to retire for the day so we passed time by playing our favourite games Mafia and UNO.

Day 7 –  22nd March ( Sela Pass,Ptso Lake,Y-Junction)

We got up early and had breakfast of bread with butter/jam/peanut butter and muesli with milk and fruits.I was all excited to go to Bumla Pass and visit the Indo-China border but got disappointed when Mukesh told that the pass is closed due to heavy snowfall A tyre puncture delayed us but we took this  opportunity to click photographs.

We reached the pass around 9.30 and walked to the board where info regarding the Nagula lake was given, a little distance ahead I found another board about the Gribtsang Tsho lake.

57233877_2149093575127434_7098405704091828224_nBoth the lakes were frozen.Later we walked to the Pankang Teng Tso also known as the Ptso Lake.The vast expanse of snow and the sun shining blinded us so we quickly wore our sunglasses.

IMG20190322111523-01It was exhilarating to click innumerable photos and making videos.We threw ourselves on the snow and lay there enjoying ourselves, surprisingly the snow was not cold.We made balls of snow and playfully threw on each other.

57131053_2149309221772536_3926820849918672896_nAlthough we were at 14615 ft we were quite comfortable and didn’t feel breathless.

IMG_20190420_173615 (1)Later we drove to Y junction.At Y junction we walked up to to a view point.

IMG_20190417_165604-01We snacked at the army canteen with Pakodas,Momos,Maggie and Samosas washed it all down with steaming cups of tea/coffee.

IMG20190322113944-01
Snacks at the Army Canteen

IMG_3986-01As we were not going further this was to be our lunch.At about 12 pm we started our return journey.

57170617_2150824524954339_6795237749512208384_n
Friendly Furry Friends

We were absolutely delighted with the scenery while on our way to Tawang it looked right out of a Christmas card.

IMG_20190419_163056-01The trees covered with flakes of snow on the mountains on vast stretches was so beautiful.

IMG_20190419_162846-01
Snow covered trees beautifully captured by Bohita

To our delight when we looked out of the window we found it was snowing.We got down from the vehicle and enjoyed the snowfall.Some of us got on top of the Sumo and Sunil our expert driver rounded skilfully through the hairpin bends, my heart was in my mouth with the crazy gang dancing on top of the vehicle.Hats Off to the skilled driving of the driver.

IMG20190322124308-01Good sense prevailed and they got down only to dance to full blast music in the middle of the road(there was hardly any traffic) I joined them in this madness.At last we got tired and breathless and sat in the vehicle.As we drove away from the snow the scenery changed from white to green.We halted at a place from where the whole town of Tawang could be seen.

We found several yaks grazing and excitedly clicked some photos.We reached the hotel at about 2.30 pm we rested for sometime and enjoyed a cup of tea(I carried the kettle and ready to drink tea and tea bags.Jessy and Vamsi too carried some,so tea was never a problem)We played UNO sipping on our tea.We decided to have dinner at about 6.30 pm and we all reached Hotel Maa.

57534096_2150823664954425_2350231783980662784_n
Lavish Dinner at Hotel Maa

On reaching the restaurant we all gathered near the heater and enjoyed its warmth.The waiter nudged us to sit at the table and place the order so we complied and placed our order.We had a sumptuous dinner as this was our last night in Tawang.The fish curry,chicken curry,fish fry was delicious and the rotis were also good.We were surprised when we found that the portions were large.As we walked out of the restaurant we found, it was raining, thankfully we carried umbrellas.

Day 8 – 23rd March (Tawang to Bomdila….Bomdila to Guwahati)

We got up early to a very cold Tawang thankfully there was power and hot water.While Sunil and Mukesh loaded our luggage we enjoyed a cup of hot Laal Cha with lemon(Black tea) We left for Bomdila at 6.30 am.

57076959_2149234591779999_8616529136871014400_n
Sunil loading our Luggage on the Sumo

The long journey and the winding roads didn’t bother us much as we had some excellent music played by Hitesh.The bantering continued and we all had fun.At about 7.30 we stopped for breakfast at Laxmi Hotel.

57106611_2149235011779957_6903450721845248000_n
Group Photo before leaving Tawang

We gorged on momos,puri sabjee and a rice plate which was delicious but got over,  we managed with one plate. At t about 1 pm we halted for lunch at Hotel Arsan and as promised by Mukesh we had a Arunachali thali.

The place was owned by Bengalis and to me the thali looked more like a Bengali one.In between Sunil said goodbye and we had a new driver.We had decided to tip the drivers and the contributions were already collected.Ankit handed over to Sunil “Our token of thanks“.We reached the bus stand at 2 pm and our bus was scheduled at 3 pm.Vishal,Juhi,Mitul and Harshada hired the Innova till Guwahati and so we said our goodbyes to them.Later we made a beeline to the washrooms(You can use the nearby hotels or there is one in a complex nearby(use it on payment of Rs 10 but very dirty)There are not many public washrooms as Bomdila is a very small town and in future maybe there will be more public amenities.Later we went to the same place called Cafeteria for a cup of tea( we had discovered the place while going to Dirang).

57511484_2149058811797577_339357739857739776_nIf you are habituated to black tea, in Arunachal almost all tea shops also make black tea along with the regular tea/coffee.Later we visited the Bomdila Monastery

Bomdila Monastery, constructed by the 12th reincarnate of Tsona Gontse Rinpoche is one of the most famous attractions of Bomdila.Inaugurated in 1965, this monastery is home to Buddhist Monks and Lamas. In addition, this monastery is believed to be the exact replica of Tsona Gontse Monastery, which is located at Tsona in South Tibet. Popularly known as the Gentse Gaden Rabgyel Ling(GRL) Monastery.

IMG_20190420_214623-01
GRL Monastery at Bomdila

A huge prayer hall was added later to this monastery, which was built by the 13th reincarnate of Tsona Gontse Rinpoche. This payer hall was blessed by the guardian spirit of 14th Dalai Lama in the month of October during 1997. In addition, the monastery also houses a beautiful Buddha temple, which is another main attraction.

We spent around forty minutes in the monastery,the pet puppies in the monastery were friendly,playful and endearing.After clicking some photos we made our way to the bus stand.We loaded our luggage into the Network Travels Bus and made ourselves comfortable.The bus left at 3.30 pm.Thankfully both times the front seats were booked so we were spared of the bumps on the way.At around 10 pm the bus halted at a totally nondescript eatery.The roti and cauliflower sabjee and dal was quite unpalatable.Jessy Manasi and Hitesh enjoyed the pork curry.After dinner the bus was on its way to Guwahati.

Day 9 – 24th March ( Unmanada Temple in Guhawati,Lunch)

At around 3 am the bus reached Paltan Bazaar and we decided to alight here instead of ISBT.We said our goodbyes to Krishna Vrushali,Manasi and Hitesh as they were going ahead to Meghalaya.Since our flight was at 5 pm we needed a hotel to rest and change. The options in Paltan Bazaar would be better so we didn’t go upto ISBT.We didn’t do any prior booking as we had to spend only a few hours.While Ankit and Vamsi looked for a hotel, the mosquitoes made a meal out of us.Thankfully Mittal had a repellant which we quickly applied.Thankfully there were also rickshaws available and they took us to Koyal Lodge where Ankit was waiting We rested for a while then got ready to visit the Umananda temple.(read about Unmanda Temple by clicking on the link in my previous blog about North-East)We took an auto for five of us for Rs 150, Mittal didn’t join us as she was unwell.The ferry starts at 9 and we reached there by 8,the government ferry Office opens at 9 am.The charges were only Rs 20 to and fro in comparison to Rs 250 by private operators.On my last visit we had taken the full boat for Rs 1000( what a difference if you want a bit of luxury)As we were early we decided to have breakfast which consisted of Parathas and Omelletes,Sabji and tea.It was very cheap about Rs 30 per person.After breakfast we stood in the queue for the ticket for the ferry.The counter opened at 9.30 and the ferry started at 10,its just a 10 min ride.

IMG_20190420_231505
In the Ferry to Unmanda Temple

We reached the temple at 10.15 and after climbing some stairs we reached the gate of the temple Being a Sunday the temple was overcrowded hence we decided to give a miss and visited the smaller temples and later we did the darshan from outside of the main deity.The view from top of the temple was very beautiful.We decided to explore the place and walked around the temple with some monkeys leering at us as we held on to our bags.We took the ferry back at 11 am.Vamsi wanted to pay a visit to Kamkhya Temple so four of us hired an auto for Rs 100. and asked the autowallah to suggest a place for authentic Assamese food.

57162422_2150824988287626_4991226497348927488_nHe took us to one.We enjoyed the fish thali we ordered also hilsa fish(the preparation was not good at all)Except the Hilsa and the local fish fry rest of the thali was good.

IMG_20190420_232400-01After packing some food for Vamsi,we booked an OLA to return to the hotel.On the way we spotted a sweet shop Mishtimukh looked very promising so we stopped there and picked up sweets to carry home.The sweets are absolutely delicious and very cheap compared to Mumbai’s Sweet Bengal both in quality and price.The shop is in Ulubari.So if you are in Guhawati don’t forget to buy sweets from Misthimukh.I recommend strongly (ie if you have an incurable sweet tooth 🙂  Bohita left early for the airport as she was catching an earlier flight.We left for the airport at 2.15 and by 3.15 we reached the airport(We booked an OLA and the fare was only Rs 330 so between the three of us(Vamsi,Jessy and self it was only Rs 110 per person).Our flight was on time and as we didn’t get seats together hence I dozed off and got up only when the flight landed at Mumbai at 8.30 pm.We all booked OLAs for our different destinations Jessy and self were together (my true travel buddy) I dropped her and reached home around 11 pm with lots of happy memories.Whatever hiccups we had I loved Arunachal with its raw unexplored beauty.I loved the peace and serenity of Zemithang and the refreshing trek.Thank you Krishna for including Zemithang in the itinerary and thank you all my travel buddies for making this trip memorable.The bonhomie and ‘camaraderie amongst the group members was appreciated by the trip leader.

Dear readers adding a new section to my post wherin I ask my travel mates to share their experiences of the trip.I hope you like this new addition.

Reminisces…………

 Hitesh says “I enjoyed the snowfall most as this was the first time I experienced it,I also made good friends with people whom I met for the first time”

Vishal said ” I loved the snowfall and the Holi celebrations with the local people.Juhi and Vrushali became good friends whom I met for the first time”

Juhi says “I loved travelling o Zemithang.the homestays and the food.I thank Harshada,Mittul,Krishna and Vishal for taking good care of me.Overall a wonderful experience.”

Vrushali says ” I enjoyed trekking to the Himalayas at Zemithang,The drive through the snow from Sela pass.Holi celebrations with the Locals.Interactions with the locals at the homestay.”

Vamsi says ” I loved dancing atop the Sumo and also dancing on the road while it was snowing.I enjoyed the company of my friends as well as made some new friends”

Ankit ,Mittal ,Jessy ,Bohita Manasi all said that they enjoyed the snowfall,the dancing in the snow and the beauty of Arunachal.most of all they enjoyed the company of new and old friends.

 In the end, we only regret the chances we didnt take.

Travel Tips

  • You can visit Arunachal via Guhawati.The flights to Guhawati are expensive so plan early and book the flights at least 4 months a head.You will get it cheaper.
  •  There are 8 different routes to see Arunachal.We followed Bomdila-Dirang-Tawang-Zemithang-Lumla-Tawang route.Depending on your interest and time you can choose an itinerary.
  •  The best time to visit is October-April.Arunacahal is located at a higher altitude so its pleasant through out the year.The winter months are inadvisable as it gets very cold and most places will be covered by snow.
  •  If you want to travel like a traveller and not like a tourist then I would advice you to stay in the homestays.In Dirang you can contact Sonam mobile no 07640847720.She is available on whats app too.She speaks Hindi.In Zemithang you can contact Tenzin mob no 9436012977.He too speaks Hindi.In Lumla there are not much options except the Circuit house.Tawang is just two hours so you can stay in Tawang or Ziro and visit Lumla.In Tawang there are many hotels/homestays/lodges depending on your budget you can book one.
  •  For Vehicles you can contact Mukesh 8259841229.He will help you with hotel bookings also.Sunil 9768446562.Mr Mukesh runs a company known as Arunachal Holidays.You can book your trip through him directly.
  • Carry woollen socks,caps,warm jackets/sweaters,thermals ,sunscreen,an umbrella or rain wear.A small electric kettle and ready to drink tea is very handy if you are a tea addict like me.
  • To travel within Arunachal Indian citizens require Inner Line Permits(ILP)a foreigner requires a Protected Area Permit(PAP) You can apply for ILP online or offline.It is quite easy to get it online.In order to get the eILP you need to visit the official website.and click on the top eILP once you land on the page there are simple steps to apply for the ILP.You can give any of the documents for identity proof like passport/pan card/voters id/driving license/aadhar card.You also require a passport size photo.You need to upload a soft copy.The fees is Rs 100 per person whether you do it online or offline.In the application form you have to apply for the districts so based on your itinerary you can apply accordingly.In case your application gets rejected you can easily apply for another one instantly after knowing the reason for the rejection.Most of the time it is an unclear photo.You can get an offline ILP by visiting the District Commissioner’s Office in Guwahati and Arunachal Pradesh. You can also visit Delhi,Kolkatta and Shillong DC’s Office.The documents required are the same.I would recommend getting it online or if you are travelling through a travel company they would get it for you.For us since we travelled with Darkgreen Adventures Krishna did the needful.

 

Categories Uncategorized

6 thoughts on “Intoxicating Arunachal Part – II

  1. Is it safe to take kids? pre-teens?

    Like

  2. Oh my God….

    Thank you reena for documenting this life time experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jessy elizabeth April 22, 2019 — 3:11 am

    Wonderful reena,yet again so well documented, took me back to arunachal again. Ty,now all my memories of arunachal esp zemithang is sealed n safe, can come back here n refresh a million times. Cheers to more travelling with you👍😊🤗

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close