Arunachal Pradesh Diary : Chapter 2 - From Dirang to Tawang
In the Chapter 1 of this series, we entered Arunachal Pradesh via South-Western border and reached up to Dirang. In this chapter, we'll continue our 135 km northward journey towards Tawang.
Our first stop on this journey was a place called Padma, a popular spot to have food. Padma has a few roadside restaurants/stores where you can get anything from chocolates to drinks to momos. We had our best veg momos of this trip at Padma. It is recommended to full your belly here as there are not many food points ahead.
Nyukmadong War Memorial
Just ahead of Padma, there is Nyukmadong War Memorial. The Nyukmadong War Memorial is built overlooking the famous battle ground of 18 Nov 1962. The main memorial is a 'Chorten' and the names of soldiers who died in this battle are engraved in stones around this Chorten. This beautiful memorial pays homage to the supreme sacrifice of Indian Army soldiers.
After visiting the memorial, we continued our journey on the beautiful Himalayan mountain roads. The height continuously increases as we cross the various Army cantonments along the journey. The highest point on this route is the Sela Pass, located at 13700 ft. This is where we enter the Tawang district. Due to its height, the region is quite cold, and it often snows here. We were lucky to have clear weather during our onward trip which allowed us to explore the scenic Sela Lake located on this pass.
The pass holds a lot of significance to the local Buddhist community. You'll see a lot of colorful Buddhist flags here. It is named after a tribal woman Sela who fought along side Jaswant Singh Rawat during the 1962 India-China war. The pass is also important to connect Tawang to the Assam and for the movement of the goods. As it sometimes gets closed due to heavy snow, a tunnel is being built to ensure 365 day connectivity.
Jaswant Garh War Memorial
After Sela Pass, we'll continue traveling on the mountain roads through ups and downs. Approx. 25 kms from Sela Pass is our next stop - Jaswant Garh War Memorial.
The story of Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat is that of the battle of Nuranang, on 17 November 1962. Even after 60 years of the war, Rifleman Jaswant Singh is still considered to be serving and on duty. The memorial is built on the location of this battle and to pay homage to Rifleman Jaswant Singh and the Gorkha rifles.
The canteen of Jaswant Garh memorial offers decent food. The army store is also there for winter cloth shopping or to collect souvenirs. This was the place from where we first started seeing the snowcapped mountains. After having some light snacks and tea, we continued our downward journey towards the next stop.
Nuranang Falls is located near the Jang town, and are also known as Jang Falls. This 100 mtr tall waterfalls is a popular tourist destination for the locals. The milky waterfalls is famous for its rainbow formations and we were lucky to see the colorful rainbow formed due to the mist formed by the waterfall. The waterfall is on the Nuranang river which merged into the Tawang river at the base of the waterfall. There is small cafe near the base of the waterfall along side the river.
Jang Falls is located approx. 40 kms before Tawang. Our journey along the mountain roads continued after spending some time at the waterfall, and we finally reached our homestay in Tawang during late evening. Details of our Tawang journey is now available in Chapter 3.