The Monpa High Mountains West Kameng & Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh 11D/ 10N
In the magnificent highlands of the eastern Himalayas, Tibetan Buddhism has for ages survived and progressed true to its essence. Once contingent to that glorious free Tibet and ruled from Lhasa, the region today forms the western part of the forested state of Arunachal Pradesh. This land is proverbially beautiful; where the forests are massive, where plentiful fruits and flowers, high mountains, large rivers and humble cultures come alive in their awe and simplicity.
In this journey starting at the plains of Assam, you will begin at Nameri National Park for a brief introduction to the biodiversity of the region. You will drive as far as the holy lands of Tawang and even beyond to paradisiacal landscapes of the mysterious high eastern Himalayas. In the verdant village of Thembang, you will come across and participate in the village life of the Monpa people and be introduced to their Bon-Buddhist culture. A responsible tourism project in the village ensures visitors get to stay in homestays and benefits remain at a grassroots level. In medieval era the village was a headquarter of a large territory ruled by the powerful Thembang Bapu, a direct descendant of the king of Tibet, and remains of fortification of this kingdom is still found in the village.Around Thembang, you will spend a few days in utmost serenity in moderate hikes to lonely remote mountain ranges, where the highlights will be the pristine nature, the flowers and fauna, along with a chance to interact in remote Monpa villages.
In Bomdila, a thriving multi-cultural Himalayan town, you will be staying in the beautiful monastery’s guesthouse making it possible to observe early morning activities of the monks. Lastly, as you travel near the borderlands, the geography opens up into spectacular high-altitude peaks, pastures and wetlands, like nature’s eye-candy. While Indian travelers can go on a day trip towards Bum La pass to enjoy the scenic beauty of breathtaking lakes, foreign nationals get to spend a day traveling towards Bhutan to visit Zemithang village to see the traditional lifestyle of people living in the secluded frontiers and visit the large Gorsam Stupa which is a sacred pilgrimage site resembling the colossal Boudhanath Stupa of Nepal.
There will also be a visit to two community projects which are engaging in social work. The Manjushree Vidyapeeth is an orphanage run by the Buddhist monks and is on the way to Lhou. It is open for visitors and many even offer help for the welfare of this institution. Jhamtse Gatsal is another project – a community, home and school for about 90 children who come from nearby villages. Coming from various problems, the school’s goal is to provide the children with a better future and enable them in reaching their fullest potential. The community focuses on the wholesome development of a child by activities such as education, cultural preservation, family bonds, community outreach, food & gardening, healthcare and sustainable living. Volunteering here is highly recommended and the school assists interested individuals find a temporary vocation which will benefit the children.
A revealing journey through one of the planet’s last thriving natural paradise, this trek and tour provides a simple insight into distant lifestyles and cultures, all the while hiking and driving though a diversity of pretty landscapes. A quote by the great anthropologist Dr.Verrier Elwin aptly describes “Gentle, friendly, courteous, industrious, good to animals, good to children, you see in the Monpas the influence of the compassionate Lord Buddha on the ordinary man.”
Run by a local NGO involved in conserving two endangered species, Nameri Eco Camp is located near the Bhoroli River midst quiet and quaint surroundings. The property offers deluxe styled cottages and camps with colorful fabrics, private bathrooms, sturdy beds and thatched-roof shelters that make the experience relatively luxurious. An atmospheric open-sided restaurant is where a lot of conversations happen.
The village of Thembang sits verdantly somewhere in the subtropical Himalayas. The inhabiting Monpa community's responsible tourism initiative in the village ensures visitors get to stay in homestays thus providing them an opportunity to interact closely with the local culture and that benefits reach directly at local hands and spread to improve village life. Rooms here are simple and clean as per the local way of living.
Mon Paradise is a standard hotel which strives to provide modern facilities in the remoteness of the Tawang region. Rooms are clean and cozy with majestic views of the mountains. Staff are helpful and courteous.
The guesthouse at the monastery in Bomdila is perhaps the best place to stay in the frontier mountain town. Styled with a Buddhist influence, the property is located in the compounds of the colorful monastery and views of surrounding mountains are plenty. Rooms are simple, carry wooded flooring and clean.
The Heritage is a business class hotel set in the cultural town of Tezpur in middle Assam. Rooms are fairly luxurious and modern, the property has a homely ambiance and service is dedicated.
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