As I ventured into the timeless traditions of the Northeast India ,days melted into weeks within this enchanting environment. Arunachal Pradesh is the country’s wildest and least explored state. It was time to step into the world of unadulterated beauty and experience the lifestyle and traditions of the indigenous people residing in various pockets of this state.
Getting here is an adventure in itself through the zig zag roads, treacherous routes, landslides and the icy passes.
After a long bone twisting drive, we reached a charming riverside town Dirang which is totally untouched by the glamour of city life. Being able to stay in a monastery, I was moved by the sacredness of the surroundings and able to connect with its vast pool of ancient wisdom. The rising sun and the morning prayers were radiating an abundance of vitality and energy. Such is the joy of unplanned trips.
Tawang valley, was eagerly awaiting our arrival but only after a long, sturdy ride with a never ending backdrop of the spectacular lofty mountains. Tawang is a tiny hamlet nested in the lap of Himalayas near the Indo-China border.
Tawang monastery, the largest monastery in India is the limelight of this quaint old town with a prolific history of spiritual and religious learning. In this bone chilling cold (temperature below -9 °C) , the little monks had just wrapped a cloth around them and appeared so peaceful, focused and calm with full of wisdom and happiness.
“Their selfless attitude hit me like a brick and I could only stand there dazzled and be grateful for everything that I have”. We then went for a stroll exploring the valley along the lush farmlands and gushing river.The best part about Arunachal Pradesh is its remoteness and seclusion. Even a little diversion from the road is the onset of a new exploration.
With awe inspiring panoramas captivating my senses, I truly understood “the purpose of life is to live a more rewarding, fulfilling and enlightened life without allowing gadgets to stimulate us”.
“The stories of bravery in 1962 Indo-China war was reverberating through the mountains” as we decided to see the international border known as BumLa. The destination seemed to be hazy as the snow had brought the roads to a standstill. Having no regrets, I started to embrace the journey.
It emerged into a different world, the moment I stepped my foot on the frozen lake. People were warning us the possibility of drowning as there were cracks all around. But everything you want is on the other side of the fear. I took a leap of faith and floated on the frozen water till eternity. It was a tremendously liberating time for me as I gazed at the vistas of freedom for the last time.
It was an end to the North east trip but at the same time paved a gateway to connect with its simple and hospitable people displaying glorious heritage of art, crafts and colourful festivals that reflect their faith in the power of nature.
After all, it was just a tiny snippet of Arunachal Pradesh that we got to explore and it’s splendid biodiversity is still out there in the open: Wild and free…