A wanderer's guide on a Road Trip to Tawang

If you are looking for an escape route to a place of perpetual peace and bliss, the heavenly kingdom of Arunachal Pradesh is the perfect getaway for you. This state is brimming with nature’s beauty and the best way to experience it is a road trip from Guwahati to Tawang. Brace yourself as the most rejuvenating trips you’ll ever experience. Arunachal Pradesh has been nicknamed ‘land of the dawn-lit mountains’, ‘land of the rising sun’, ‘orchard state of India’, etc. At every step you’ll feel the bliss of nature seeping inside you through all your senses, making you ebullient. You’ll be mesmerized by the snow-clad mountains, the valleys, the lakes, the sound of the flowing rivers and brightly colored flowers.   For the road trip both pre-paid and shared taxi services are available. I opted for a pre-paid taxi as I was traveling with my family. Here’s how to plan your itinerary for Tawang road trip.

Day 1: Guwahati to Tezpur (5 Hrs)

We started our journey by visiting the ancient temple of Kamakhya Devi at Guwahati. Right after this, we headed straight to Tezpur. We drove through the greenest routes ever imaginable. We stayed there overnight in a hotel and prepared ourselves the lengthy odyssey.

Day 2: Tezpur to Bomdila (8 Hrs)

We reached Bomdila in the afternoon. It’s a beautiful small town full of serenity. The clouds are literally just a jump away. After a short nap, we went to the local market and bought some unique food items like white kidney beans, cheese toffees, sweet n sour prune candies, etc. We visited a small monastery in a park that was beautifully maintained. The tranquility of the place is apt for meditation. You wouldn’t fail to notice that the people throughout the North-East are avid lovers of greenery. No matter how small the home, you would see numerous plants potted with beautiful flowers blooming. Bomdila has many home-stays and we opted one of them. The owner of the place was a very lovely lady who prepared the food for the guests by herself. Her hospitality made us feel home away from home.

Day 3: Bomdila to Tawang (8 Hrs)

We woke up to sounds of the birds chirruping. After relishing a delicious home-cooked breakfast we visited the alluring Bomdila Monastery. It’s a magnificent monastery spread over a vast campus full of flowers of numerous kinds. After this, we proceeded towards the hidden gem, Tawang. On our way, we came across the legendary Sela Pass (13,700 ft elevation), this place is wintry and leaves you bewitched with all its beauty. There is minimal vegetation and a number of Yaks present here. The Paradise lake is indeed a paradise to the eyes. Our eyes needed a few moments to absorb the beauty of this place. We also visited the gigantic Jang falls. These falls are located in a picturesque place and have been a shooting site for various songs. We reached our hotel by evening. The mystical Tawang Monastery was visible from the balcony of the hotel. The golden capped campus of the Monastery looked like a canvas painting with all its perfection and tranquility.

 Day 4: Tawang

Next day we visited the Tawang Monastery which is the largest monastery in India. Every corner of this vast campus is fascinating and leaves you spellbound. Without wasting time we moved towards the Bumla Pass via the most rugged terrains. Throughout the whole route, we saw abandoned bunkers from the time of the Indo-China war of 1962.The weather changes with a snap of a finger. This area has a very low oxygen pressure so you need to be careful. After a few hours of bumpy drive, we finally reached the Indo-China border. A military officer for there to guide the tourists. The terrain to reach Bumla Pass is the most challenging in the whole journey. While returning, we visited the beautiful Madhuri lake which is formed as a result of an earthquake. The vicinity of the lake is maintained by the army.

Day 5: Tawang to Dirang(8 Hrs)

The Dirang valley is a small town relatively unexplored by tourists. This very fact makes it more pristine. Away from any hustle-bustle, this place is bound to charm you deep down the soul. The fresh breeze reawakens your senses. We stayed at hotel Norphel Retreat situated at the bank of a river and surrounded by mountains on all four sides. The quaint location of this place made me fall in love with it. The hotel is surrounded by kiwi and orange orchards along with a widespread farm for pulses and vegetables. The aroma of freshly cooked food filled the dining hall of the hotel. The food was excellent and the staff was very cooperative. At night, this place is so calm that you can hear nature talking to you in numerous ways like the sound of the flowing river. The Thupsung Dhargey Monastery is another architectural marvel with a beautiful garden surrounding it.

Day 6: Dirang to Guwahati(10 Hrs)

After a week of the journey on routes smooth and rough, we drove back to Guwahati. Early next morning we boarded our return flight back to Varanasi filled with infinite memories and life-changing experiences. Throughout our journey, we made it a point to try the traditional or local food. So we tried every small eatery that we could. Most of them cooked the food in firewood. The smokey flavor and aroma enhance the taste manifold leaving you craving for it again and again.

Pro-tip :

1. If you are traveling with your family, pre-book a taxi so as to avoid wasting time and ensure comfort. 2. For entering the state of Arunachal  Pradesh you require an ‘inner line permit’ (ILP). It is suggested that you get the paperwork beforehand. So that you could enjoy without any interruption. 3. For visiting Bumla pass, you need a separate pass. Generally, your cab driver will take care of this. Identity proof is required and a legitimate fee is charged. 4. The oxygen pressure is deficient at some places like Bumla Pass. In case you feel uneasy, never ignore it. The drivers usually carry oxygen cans while traveling. You can buy one for urself. If needed, visit the nearest hospital. Tawang district hospital has excellent service. 5. Always equip yourself with enough eatables and water. I discovered my true calling after returning from this voyage and started writing. I am sure you will too. But remember this road trip requires a certain amount of planning as the terrain and weather are quite challenging.  

Nimisha Roy

Currently, I am in the second year of my doctoral research. My love for writing dates back to school days. I love writing about travelling and the common issues that we face in our day to day lives like stress, depression, time management, etc. As far as my academic writings are concerned I’ve written about the flare-up of Nipah virus and permeation enhancers. I have a keen interest in the domain of drug discovery, drug delivery, and organ-on-chip technology.