Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What to do at Tawang

....Apart from the usual visit to the monastery and to the Bum La Pass.

Visit the Ani Gompa (monastery for female monks). Unlike the main Tawang monastery whose presence dominates the town and which has bright yellow roofs that are visible from a distance, the Ani Gompa is tucked away discreetly on a hillside away from the town.

Drive around aimlessly over the hills just outside town. Notice army presence, also old bunkers scattered on the hills, realize how close and fragile the border is over here. Then visit the war memorial in the centre of town – it commemorates the soldiers that died during the 1962 war with China.

Visit Hotel Maa for a meal or a snack – awesome rasmalai and yummy parathas.

Visit the small music shops and ask for their own selection of English / Hindi music. These guys record eclectic mixtures of songs and music styles that make for great listening while travelling. You never know which song is going to play next, the unexpected melodies match the adventure waiting around the next turn.

Just walk around town. Notice the contrast between the expanse of the blue sky, the towering white mountains in the distance, and bunches of tiny red and orange flowers growing on the balconies of the houses nearby.

One of the photographs at the exhibition at Ravindra Natya Mandir in Mumbai captured exactly this scene and prompted this post. If, like me, you haven’t trekked in a while, an hour spent gazing at the photographs at the exhibition and exchanging memories of treks with friends is well worth it. Of course, it will result in a lot of wasted time the next day while you gaze at snaps on Jayesh’ facebook account and schedule your next trek etc.

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