India North East India - Arunachal Pradesh
Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries, Himalayan mountains, treks, rare birds, rafting and demon dancers
Our route from Nagaland took us to the Himalayas via Sela Pass at 4150 metres. Here we slept, sharing our shelter and our headaches with a statue of Buddha which smiled enigmatically whilst we shivered. On the far horizon the sunlit pyramid of 6800 metre Gorichan beckoned in vain - our route lay off to the east, to India's oldest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery at Tawang, close to the Tibet and Bhutan borders. We spent a couple of days there, walking between villages and Gompas, one of which stands on the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama. We also visited the Tawang Memorial to the Sino-Indian war of 1968, with its message 'How can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his father and the temples of his Gods?'
Descending back towards Assam, we entered a side valley in search of some Siberian Black Necked Cranes - an endangered species - which we were told were overwintering there. We found them in a paddy field but were distracted by some wildly gyrating, strangely masked 'demon-dancers'.
There wasn't a tourist in sight - we had been in north east India for almost three weeks and hadn't met a single one.
By next day, we were rafting down-river to Assam, surrounded by the jungle of the Nameri Reserve in which elephants could be seen and heard, crashing through dense vegetation, and disturbing the monkeys.
Check out our other India pages for info on the North East States and Partha Pratim Das of Extreme North East who managed all our trips, initially for Ashoka Holidays of Guwahati, Assam, now with Daobai Hospitality.