It was love at first sight. I fell in love with Tawang, the moment I set my eyes on it, from inside the Pawan Hans chopper, on that cold January morning. I had heard about the mesmerizing beauty of Tawang, and seen hundreds of photographs that vouched for it, but I never really had the opportunity of visiting this beautiful place prior to January, 2010.
I was going through a somewhat stressful phase of my life and desperately needed to slow down. I kept contemplating for weeks, for a possible get-away. I had three priceless holidays from office and just wanted to disappear. And it was then that Tawang happened. A chance discussion with a friend over dinner resulted in that unforgettable journey to the Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains.
As I headed for the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati, to board the chopper for Tawang, I had no expectations or inkling of what was coming up. I just wanted to soak in the much-talked about beauty of the place, rest my jangled nerves and sleep away to glory.
But then, Tawang had plans for me.
The beauty of Tawang took my breath away and left an everlasting imprint on my mind. The mountains looming majestically above, their peaks in delicate ecstasy with the beautiful blue sky, the clouds charioting distant dreams, the stunning reflection of the snow all around, the mysterious deep lakes with their silent stories, the rippling waters of the clear streams, the drumming of the cascading falls and the innate divinity of the numerous monasteries stirred my entire being. An unfathomable feeling of restlessness permeated my body, mind and soul, and strangely enough, left me invigorated and re-energized. I knew that an undying bond had been formed, tying me forever to this place.
During the course of the three days of my stay in Tawang, I travelled the area in and around the Tawang district extensively. As we drove around clicking hundreds of pictures, I could not help but thank Providence for having brought me to this mystic land. The journey was an entirely sacred and ethereal experience and I was deeply drawn to the place.
This book is a homage to the haunting beauty of Tawang and a gift to the unforgettable hospitability and love of its people. In this humble endeavour, I have tried to capture the enchanting essence of Tawang, its myriad pristine hues and its infallible tranquility in the backdrop of its military and geo-strategic importance. I hope I have been able to do at least some amount of justice to the beautiful land and its beautiful people.