What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say North East India?
Seven sisters... Tribes... Nature... Beauty! I mean words fall short to describe how beautiful yet ignored this part of India is.
This trip was pretty much my first experience to North East and I was extremely excited! I went on this trip with my parents, my sister and her best friend. I was a little aware of few places I was to visit like Meghalaya (for highest rainfall), Kaziranga (for one-horned rhinos) but the one place that I was totally unaware about, was Tawang.
Tawang is a beautiful town in West Kameng of Arunachal Pradesh.
It is rightly called ‘The Land of Dawnlit Mountains’ and situated at 10,000 feet above sea level. The town is extremely famous for its 400-year- old monastery and it is also the nearest place to Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India & China (Tibet). Tourists need to apply for an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter Arunachal Pradesh.
I travelled there in the month of February, not knowing anything about the place, and just decided to go with the flow. Our stay owner told us to visit the Bum La Pass and Shungatser Tso AKA Madhuri Lake. The lake is about 20 km away and Bum La Pass is about 37 km from Tawang but the roads are extremely bumpy & bad. We definitely wanted to do this so we hired a local driver to make a one day to and fro trip.
We first headed to Bum La. The most important thing is that a special permit is required from the local DC to visit Bum La which the hotel owner or local driver can help with. Only Arunachal Pradesh registered vehicles have permission to travel beyond Tawang. We got all of this done & while heading towards Bum La, two army men asked us for a lift to their base. Bum La is situated at 15,200 feet high & it’s freezing cold. While we entered, we were provided with a special hot black tea to warm us up by the army. We were asked not to click photos from mobile and it would be better to click from a DSLR. There is literally just one big barricade and heaps of stones that acts a border to Sino- India. Bum La Pass holds significance to border meeting between the two nations. We spoke to a few army officers who told us more about the place and hey, you can also an official certificate from them as you made it to Bum La.
After we left from there, we made our way to Shungester Tso. The lake is surrounded by the beautiful silhouette of mountains. A little history about this lake is that there was an earthquake that occurred in the 70s, followed by a flash flood that formed this lake. There is a cosy cafeteria operated by the army. The lake is snow frozen as I went in winter and is crystal clear otherwise. This place is serene and isolated in its own right and the best way to explore the lake is to walk and enjoy the view that nature has to offer.
So why is it called Madhuri Lake?
Simply because a song from the Bollywood film ‘Koyla’ featuring Shahrukh Khan & Madhuri Dixit was shot there in the 90s.
As the sun was to set, we stopped to grab a bite at a small army canteen located between snow-covered area. We got lucky to have some delicious hot jalebi and samosas that finished in a span of 15 minutes. The whole experience of visiting these places was so rejuvenating and refreshing, even though the roads were bumpy yet the lake and border are worth taking such roads for. Like a wise man once said that adventure always starts out of our comfort zone.
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