Sunday, December 25, 2011

Arunachal Pradesh - Visiting the North East (Part-III)

Arunachal Pradesh – the land of dawn lit mountains
(Around Bomdila)
View of the greater Himalayas from Bomdila top

The next morning offered the sight of a breathtakingly beautiful Bomdila township, which is situated at an altitude or 3,500 meters or 8500 feet, nestled high in the Eastern Himalayas and is the headquarters of the West Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh and is at a distance of 165 Kms. from Tezpur. The township being the District headquarters naturally has all the modern amenities including Banks, ATMs, and STD Booths strewn around alongwith a plethora of Government Offices & Institutions. This lofty paradise is snow clad for most part of the year especially the winter months and makes a delightful destination to get away to in summer as we experienced the chill during the previous night.

A view of the Bomdila Monastery

The town is surrounded by lush apple orchards that stretch far and wide. Since we were not hard pressed for the next leg of the journey, which was to culminate at Dirang, situated at a distance of only 42 Kms. away from Bomdila and takes only around one & half hours to two hours, if driven to leisurely. We got up from bed and after having tea and having refreshed ourselves and gorged in the morning breakfast, we started our little expedition of unraveling Bomdila. Bomdila itself is a tiny township, but it is spread over a wide ridge that straddles a mountain. Bomdila, like other towns in the area, has a strong Buddhist and Tibetan influence. There are a fair number of gompas (small monasteries) here and the town has quaint little eating-places where you can savour traditional Tibetan cuisine plus the all time favourite momos and thoopas. The market is small but packed with many local goods, especially the Craft Centre at Bomdila turns out a range of superbly designed dragon carpets that are on sale. Also produced at the centre are traditional thangka wall hangings, paintings and masks. Most of these are intricately crafted with minute details and varied themes. However, since we had been to Sikkim during last year, we found that the market at Gangtok was far more enticing than the one here.

Front view of the Bomdila Monastery
The Bomdilla monastery is situated above the township and commands a panoramic view of the township and valleys below. The monastery is under renovation and the newly constructed Monastery is very colourful and lends a very special sparkle to the entire environ and is very soothing for the eyes. We laundered around the monastery, watching the monks performing their daily chores and appreciating the riot of colours spread by the nature through its many blooming flowers.

Another view of the greater Himalayas from Bomdila top
Next we ascended up to Bomdila top i.e. the highest point on the Bomdila mountain spur and also houses the defense telecommunications tower, but the entry is barred. A army one tonne truck was grunting its way up with its load of water tank filled to the brim and the amount of water it was spilling compelled us to think aloud as to how much water will actually reach its destination on the hill top? After some persuasive honking by the driver, as the road was too narrow to let two vehicles pass or overtake simultaneously, the driver of the army truck relented and let us get past! We reached the top without further ado and the sight was just breathtaking, whereas on one side was the range of snow laden mountain range and on the other the gathering of clouds at the Nechiphu pass, which appeared to be mattress of soft white cotton strewn over, we all were really mesmerized. Having clicked with our cameras, my wife shooting family photographs with her free-focus camera, my son with his Digital camera following my foot-steps and myself using my SLR, Digital Video Camera as well as the standard Sony Handycam, the driver too expressed his surprise at the collection of Cameras being carried by us, we started with our descent back.
Clouds nestling in the region of Nephichu pass as seen from Bomdila top
A number of treks and hikes into the mountains also start from Bomdila. From simple little walking trails to more strenuous treks, Bomdila is at the hub of hiking activity in the Kameng region. So we came back home with a little bit of Bomdila in your suitcase - and a lot of Bomdila in our hearts! (as promised over the internet).

View of Bomdila township from Bomdila top

Despite the photographs that I have placed in the travelogue, nothing beats the moving images captured through video, you may enjoy the visual treat -

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