Tawang: City in the Clouds (Travel Guide)

accident of geography. Nested high up in the north-western corner of Arunachal Pradesh that juts into Bhutan and is shouldered by China (Tibet), it has traditionally been remembered only in times of war. A land of passes high enough to look down on airplanes, shaded white in the winters and an unrelenting green in the summers, which is broken only by sudden spears of waterfalls and placid lakes, Tawang is typical of border landscapes — difficult and beautiful. In its vicinity a pitched battle was fought during the Indo-Chinese War of 1962. It was somewhere here that the 14th Dalai Lama and his entourage crossed over quietly into India from Tibet in 1959, taking an almost impossibly arduous route to escape Chinese dementia. Much further back, in the 17th century — a period of harsh rivalry between various Buddhist sects — an angry monk called Meera Lama decided he had had enough and built a fortress here to protect the monks of his Gelugpa creed. Today it is known as the Tawang Monastery. (more…)

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