When you have a tripped planned, whether it’s a camping trip or a luxury break one of the things you need to do well before you leave is pack. Now, a lot of people hate packing. They see it as a chore to be over and done with as quick as possible. So then can get to the airport and get on with their trip. But not me. For me packing is a joy, as well as a very valuable exercise and below I will explain why.
It helps you transition from everyday life to vacation life
One of the biggest benefits packing your suitcase is that it helps you get from daily life into vacation life. It’s a symbol that the waiting and dreaming are almost over and you are about to embark on that adventure that you have planned for ages.
All those times you have dreamed about laying on the beach with a cocktail in your hand when you were having a hard day at work, or with the kids, and it’s all about to come true. Packing helps you build you excitement, and that is why it can truly be a joy.
Of course, it’s not so much fun if you haven’t got everything you need to hand to make it as pleasant an experience as possible. So remember to get the washing and ironing done before hand. Then you will just have those last travel items to purchase before it’s bon voyage!
It ensure you will have the best time Something else that I love about packing is the way a little forward thinking can help you the best time when you’re away. All you need to do is think carefully about the items that are essential to you.
For folks with kids, it’s likely to be their bottle sterilizsers, the kid’s cuddly toys or their favourite game to play on the beach. For couple heading to a luxury, location is might be their Kindles, makeup, or sunscreen. So they can sit on the beach without a care in the world.
That means all you need to do is think about the things that will maximise your experience, and make sure to pack those. It make you feel calmer
Packing is also a great activity because it’s a way of putting any anxieties to rest. This is because you know if you pack right that you are prepared for any eventuality.
Travel, while wonderful can also be stressful at times, and that is why it’s important to pack items that will minimise this. It could be a thing like a neck pillow for the flight or your insurance and travel documents, which will get you through the electronic travel authorisation system in place at many airports now. Or it could be the emergency number for the police and a few key phrases for when you get there.
It helps you to look critically at what you have. Lastly, one of the most fun things about packing to be are looking for all the clothing items, jewellery and accessories to see what you have. Not only do you get to pick out the things that are most suitable. But you also get to see how blessed you are with all the item you do have. As well as rediscover some things that you might have forgotten all about.
LURM 2016 is a new rage among youth as the festival hits the commoners amidst beautiful Sam Dunes this December. Basis its extravagant facets a perfect blend of food, music, fashion, film, adventure, camping, beer and wine will be observed at the carnival. Spread across 34 acres of land, the place overtures more than 2000 camps to get hold of almost 13000 people. While close to 200 films from 15 different countries shall constitute the cinema part, nearly 100 food outlets would exhibit the best of the cuisines from all over the world. The target audience implicates only adults from the tier-1 or tier -2 cities while tourists from China, Japan, European countries are also going to be there.
According to Sushil Wadhwa, Founder & CEO, TheStoreHunt.com, “LURM is going to be India’s first zero waste and biggest Desert Festival as it incorporates support from the elite institutions.” Wherein, fashion institutes are working for ‘Bamboo for sustainability’ concept, NID Alumni is making use of scrap, unused & recyclable goods to develop the entire ambience. Wadhwa reckons that the Flea Market set up being marketed by TheStoreHunt.con could have a Christmas Market kind of a feel like they have in Germany during the month of December. Besides, Pritesh Roy, Head of Piggy Bank Films is “proud to be mentoring the film festival which is sure to be different and worth.”
The enticing food producer & corporate chef, Varun Bajaj gives LURM his own definition as, “Lovely concept, United planned, Retrieved location, Magnificent offerings” and adds “As name adds LURM is all about making your Christmas a gala time with a place of adventure added with fun and garnished with an essence of culture of India.” It is due to the presence of 25+ food exhibitors at the event who would showcase their talent live in front of their audience. Since a wide range of cocktails & drinks are going to be available to taste, Wine and Beer Festival Mentor – Archit Singhal affirms, “LURM Festival embodies the spirit of impossibilities”
All sorts of music be it EDM, Sufi, Classical etc are going to make highlights owing to presence of all renown names such as Bemet, Twistedbass, CAS, UD & Jowin, Genus, Beyond 120, Nosh & SJ, Dilshad Khan, Tritha, Ustad Anwar Khan Manganiyar and group from Barmer, Sikar Gharana Ensemble, Imran and Friends, Aagamya, Across the Line, Ceaseless Juncture, Underground Authority, Dj Fintushami from Russia. In fact the National Award winning melody maestro Imran Khan says being associated with LURM “mainly because of varied music range which no other festival has ever done” He further looks up to his performance at the beautiful city, Jaisalmer.
On being asked about the concept behind creating this festival, Tushar Sharma, Founder says “he has been passionately driven by music which has given him a glimpse into every culture of the Earth. Thus to bind people from any background – LURM happened.” Concurrently, Milind Bharti, co – founder believes that “LURM is the most revolutionary excuse which somehow managed to bring the best professionals to initiate innovation in India.”
Undoubtedly, the festival has everything under one roof as it also bids for ‘Paramotoring’, an enthralling adventure aero sport with adequate safety measures. The mind-blowing fashion bazaar offers handcrafts, jewellery, footwear and other exclusive merchandise. Most of the popular names like the Mumbai festival, Book My Show, Red FM, 9XO, The logical Indian, , Elixir Coterie, Piggy Bank Films, Creative Karma and Thestorehunt.com are leading partners of the whole affair.
Not to forget, LURM is according each possible aspect of ‘sensible partying’ and CSR activities. Where merrymaking and cleanliness do not go hand in hand very well, LURM Festival 2016 assures the prospect and takes up the heavy challenge of doing just the opposite. Irrespective of being a high power entertainment event, no use of plastic is encouraged; littering is not excusable and will attract penalty. Festival team is taking extra measures to save paper to the optimum level – tear their business cards or event tickets; you will get a seed to plant a tree. No brochures will be given out for event details, everything will be digitized – on app and on screen details during event. It will even establish water purifier systems to provide water for no cost. Also each item available at the festival is completely saleable whilst the sale proceeds move to concern artisan.
You now know where all roads leads to this December – to India’s first travel destination event with such high ecological concepts with equal value for entertainment. Be ready to party hard while taking care of Mother Nature.
Everest: Mount Everest, earth’s highest mountain is located in the Mahalangur mountain range in Nepal and Tibet. Its peak is 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) above the sea level. It was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon a recommendation by Andrew Waugh, the British surveyor general in India. It is also known as Sagarmatha in Nepal and in Tibet as Chomolungma. The international border between China and Nepal runs across Everest’s precise summit point. Neighboring tallest mountain peak of Everest includes Lhotse, Nuptse and Changtse.
Trekking: Because Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. It has attracted considerable attention and climbing attempts. There are mainly two routes for climbing: one approaching the summit from the southeast in Nepal, also known as standard route and the other from north in Tibet. It remained the difficult peak for decades though it was finally known to have been summated by 1953. The climbing pair of New Zealander, Edmund hillary and Tenzing Norway, a Nepali sherpa record first to climb its peak at 11:30 am on 29 May 1953. They climb via south Col Route. After that, expedition era took a rapid pace due to increase in people’s interest to climb Everest.
Early Expedition: Initially in 1921 British reconnaissance Expedition, the northern approach to the mountain was discovered by George Mallory and Guy Bulloct. They climbed the north Col to an altitude of 7,005 meters (22,982 ft). The British returned for a 1922 expedition, George Finch climbed with oxygen for the first time. He reached at an altitude of 8,320 meters (27,300 ft). It was the first time a human reported to climb higher than 8,000 meters. The next expedition took place in 1924. There were two attempts in which first was aborted due to bad weather. The other attempt delivered by Norton and Somerwell. They managed to reach 8,550 meters (28,050 ft). In 1950, Bill Tilman and a small party under took an exploratory expedition to Everest through Nepal along the route which has now become standard route. Before this, all expeditions were taken place from the north of Tibet. The Swiss expedition of 1952, led by Edouard Wgss-Dunant was granted permission to attempt a climb from Nepal. Raymond Lambert and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were able to reach a height of about 8,595 meters (28,199 ft) on the south ridge, setting a new climbing record. Tenzing’s experience was useful when he was hired to be part of the British expedition in 1953.
Conquered Everest: Everest was conquered in 1953 when it was finally summated by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The next successful ascent was three years later in 1956 by Ernst schmied and Juerj Marmet. This was followed by Dolf Reist and Hans-Rudolf von Gunten on 24 May 1957 and so on. Despite the effort and attention poured into expedition, it was only summated by about 200 people by 1987. Everest showed itself to be the most difficult place for decades, even for serious attempts by expert mountaineers and large national expeditions, until the commercial era picked up in the 1990s. By March 2012, Everest had been climbed 5656 times with 223 deaths. By 2013, the Himalayans database recorded 6871 summits by 4042 different people.
Commercial climbing: According to Jon Krakauer, the era of commercialization of Everest started in 1985, when the summit was reached by a guided expedition led by David Breashears that include Richard Bass, a wealthy 55 year old businessman and an amateur mountain climber with only four years climbing experience. By the early 1990s, multiple companies were offering guided tours to the mountain. Rob Hall, one of the mountaineers who died in the 1996 disaster, had successfully guided 39 clients to the summit prior to that incident. By 2016, most guided services cost between 35 to almost 200 thousand dollars. However, the services offered vary widely and its “buyer beware” when doing deal in Nepal. There are “budget” travel agencies which offer logistic support for such trip. However, this is considered difficult and dangerous. Many climbers hire “full service” guide companies, which provide a wide spectrum of services including acquisition of permits, transportation to/from base camp, food, tent, fixed ropes, medical assistance, experienced mountaineer guide and even porter.
Tour companies: There is several tour companies providing base camp, trekking and adventure sports and HimEx (Himalaya Expeditions) is one of the best tour Company for Everest base camp trek. It is licensed from Department of Tourism and recognized by Ministry of Tourism, Government of Nepal. You can contact on website i.e. www.himexnepal.com. Its head office is in Kathmandu, Nepal which ensures to provide best facilities at reasonable rates. Do follow them and get all the information you need on Everest Base Camp and Trekking.
Nestled scenically in the laps of Sivalik Range in Himalayas; is a spiritual town of Rishikesh. Located in Dehradun district in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, the holy city is a revered pilgrimage center among the Hindus. Burgeoned in natural splendor the city is a Gateway to Himalayas and an origination point for the “Char Dham” pilgrimage; one of the most sacred pilgrimage tours — Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Flourished at the foothills of Himalayas this sanctified city gets its name “Rishikesh” after Lord “Vishnu” which means ‘lord of the senses’.
The city comprises of the main town of Rishikesh along with few distinct sections encompassing hamlets and settlements on both the banks of the river Ganges. Primarily the main town Rishikesh comprises of an expansive commune known as “Muni-ki-Reti” meaning “sands of the sages” and the home of Sivananda Ashram; The Divine Life Society founded by Swami Sivananda popularly known as Sivananda Nagar. The north of Rishikesh comprises of the temple section of Lakshman Jhula, and a little further north are the assorted Ashrams around Swarg Ashram on the east bank.
The sacred river representing country’s piousness, the Ganges flows through Rishikesh. Shredding her teen image of playful rivulet flowing from the Shivalik Ranges of the Himalayas, here she grows into a blooming young river commencing her journey further into the plains of northern India. Her turquoise hued clear water gushing swiftly with expeditious currents paints a devastatingly exquisite scene. Thousands of devotees, pilgrims and tourist throng the city each year from India and overseas. The feeling of divinity captivates one’s senses even whilst staring the banks of Ganges adorned with delicate flowers, and a converting of solitary Saints, Monks, priest and spiritually awakened individuals passing by.
Rishikesh, ever so often tagged as “the world capital of Yoga”, houses numerous yoga centers those are much older than any other yoga organizations in the world. One of the oldest yoga establishments is Kailas Ashram Brahmavidyapeetham; an institution dedicated to preserve and promote the traditional Vedantic Studies has been a part of this institution for more than 120 years. Legendary personas such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Ramanand Tirtha and Swami Shivananda were alumni of this institution prior commencing their noteworthy journeys. The tinsel town has been a silent observer of lives of several yogis and Sages having lived and practiced penance here. It is said and well – believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to self – realization and “Moksha” and so does a dip in the divine river that flows throughout.
The town awakens at the early hours to the bellowing of conches and the “Vedic” chants. Blossoming with fragrant lilacs, roses, gerberas and holy basil which is considered of prime significance in offerings among the Hindu Gods the spirituality then emanates in the air. Most of the congregations of worshippers take a dip in the river as a part of a ritual and then proceeding ahead to perform “Pujas” in the temple. Later the Gods are bejeweled in the colorful garlands, vermilion, turmeric and are ornamented in silk attire. Array of colognes emanate off the incense sticks followed by rhythmic chanting of prayers or “Vedas” in the temples mesmerizing one’s curiosity.
The bridge that bridges the banks of River Ganges is popularly termed as “Laxman Jhula” and is a well-known landmark in the city. The existence of this bridge dates back to the mythological era of “Ramayana” and is believed that “Laxmana” the brother of Hindu deity Lord Rama, crossed river Ganga on jute rope where the present bridge stands today. The 450 feet long jute-rope Bridge was replaced by iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889 by a British Officer but unfortunately it was washed away in the 1924 floods and afterwards was then replaced by a stronger present bridge. To the west of the bridge stands a temple devoted to “Laxmana”; the brother of Lord “Rama”. “Laxman Jhula” offers an astonishing view of ravishing beauty of River Ganges. Watching the mountains roofed in green belt with turquoise hued Ganges flowing by and chilly breeze swirling around, crafts the bridge as a great place to be at. The river here abounds of fishes and often pilgrims are seen feeding a stream of fishes from the bridge or at a place where the fishes gather while the pilgrims drop food for them. A boat ride down the river is recommended as it offers a panoramic view of the bridge. The background colored with lush green mountain ranges and an unblemished steely grey Lakshman Jhula in the foreground seems like a portrait in itself autographed by Mother Nature.
Blending its modern appearance with inner enlightenment the 13 storey Kailash Niketan Temple is the next stop post crossing Laxman Jhula. The Temple houses several sculptures of Gods and Goddesses and is a pure example of contemporary manifestation enlightened with the rays of serenity and spirituality. The experience of spiritually is not only limited to the plains of Rishikesh but is also felt at an altitudes. Commanding an extravagant view of the region, situated on the altitudes of 5500 feet, abiding in equanimity is the legendary temple of Nilkanth Mahdeo. Encircled by serenity of the forests the temple is situated on a hilltop above “Swarg Ashram”. Legend goes that in the mythological era when the ocean was being churned for ‘Amrit’ (Potion for immortality), first venom oozed out and this was the place where lord Shiva had drunk the venom to save the mankind. After consuming it, his neck had turned blue with the poison and hence he was called ‘Neelkanth’, the one with blue neck. Every year in the months of monsoon – mid July to August – fairs are held where thousands of devotees visit temple, taking a holy dip in the fresh water spring within temple complex pilgrims proceed to pay visit to the lord. Scorched eyes long to have a view of the Lord Shiva who has been marking his presence since ages and eras, in a serene pose yet so very powerful and commanding by nature, the deity welcomes and blesses one and all.
To the east of the Ganges is a place bustling with activities all the times, better known as “Swarg Asharm”. Ashrams, temples, restaurants, shops, eating joints are well developed in this area. Founded by Swami Vishuddhananda fondly known as “Kaali Kamli Wale”, the ashram is one of oldest in Rishikesh and is adorned by many statues. The spiritual air of the spiritual soul pacifies one and all. Crossing over the “Ram Jhula” towards the western bank of Ganges is Shivanand Ashram: The Divine Life Society: One of the oldest and most active ashrams in the area. A doctor by profession, Swami Shivanand renounced his life in Delhi and came to Rishikesh in the year of 1924 and set up Divine Life Society in 1936. He authored approximately 200 books on yoga, health and spiritual life prior his death in 1963. The ashram organizes regular yoga classes, meditation courses and performs and promotes studies in texts like Upanishads and Gita very often. Spiritual and activities related with Hinduism are the practiced every day. The ashram runs a biggest charitable hospital from which hundreds of localities avail the facilities of free of charge medical services.
Located in the heart of the ancient town of Rishikesh near Triveni Ghat on the banks of River Ganges, abiding in silence since centuries is an aesthetic “Bharat Mandir”. “Adiguru Shankara Charya” built the temple; a renowned saint who lived in the 12th century. The internal chamber of the temple houses an idol of Lord Vishnu, which is carved out of a single rock of “Saligram”; a rock that possess divine powers. An awning of “Shree Yantra” shelters from above the idol. The temple also houses several other old statues, coins, pots and other things of historical significance.
Nothing seems phenomenal as the “Ganga Aarti” of “Triveni Ghat”. The ghat is a foremost place where pilgrims crowd to take a holy dip and a spectacular “Ganga Arati” is performed regularly in the dusk. Being a principle place for taking a holy dip in, the Ghat derives its name due to confluence of three rivers namely, Ganga, Yamuna & Sarawati. The most enthralling and eye – catching event at the dusk being “Ganga Arati” scores of devotees throng the steps of ghat at the dusk for performing Arati. The priest and saints carry out the ritual, while the fiery orange fuelled with multiple hued golden flames transpire out of massive pure ghee lamp being rotated in the circular motions brightly lighting up the whole place. The Triveni Ghat then witnesses the illuminated statue of Lord Shiva amidst the river and Vedic chants fill the atmosphere in the praise of the river Ganges. The bellowing conches and religious songs spiritually awaken the atmosphere with divinity blending in air mesmerizing one to the tunes of the songs sung in devotion. It is here at dusk, that scenario quenches one’s thirst for peace and the soul entwines into the feeling of oneness connecting itself with the universe. It is then when the whole cosmos conspires together to gift mankind the tranquility and inner joy beyond expression or one’s imagination. Later devotees float their respective leaf bowls filled with flowers and an oil lamp into the river. The reflection of lamps enamels the water with golden ripples. The radiance emitting out of the statue of Lord Shiva amidst the river soothes the tired souls and eyes follow the lamps till they disappear. The ceremony symbolizes a revival of hope, remembrance of the kind deeds of the river since ages and praying for the betterment of the mankind.
Rishikesh is one of the holiest communes in India and every corner of the city is considered as sanctified one. The city possesses the magic of a casting spell to transform and balance the inward journey with an outward adventure. Dwelling on the laps of lower Himalayas, surrounded by untouched countryside with panoramic views, numerous village treks, jungle walks in rhododendron forests, with the banks of Ganges that is dotted with numerous ancient temples transforms the holy town into a heaven making one say “Come home to Rishikesh”
Here is a very interesting travel story shared by Rebecca, enjoy!
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the Gold Coast’s top tourist destinations.
About an hour’s ride on the bus from Surfers Paradise where we were staying or about 18 minutes if you drive.
In Currumbin, you can see a wide variety of native Australian animals and birds from wombats to kangaroos, koalas, parrots, and the famous Rainbow Lorikeets.
Feeding the Lorikeets is one of the highlights of the day. The feeding times are 8:00AM and 4:00PM. Guests hold out a dish of bread and water and they will come to eat and splash. The Rainbow Lorikeet is an Australasian parrot which is also found in Indonesia, Maluku, and Western New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. It is mainly found along the eastern coast. It lives in rain forest, coastal bush, and woodland areas.
Burgeoned alongside the western coast of Southern India in the North Kannada District of Karnataka State, the quaint town is pilgrims’ paradise & beach-lovers heaven. Bestowed with pristine beaches and timeless temples of Hindu deities like Lord Shiva, Lord Maha Ganapati, Goddess Bhadrakali and many more, Gokarna is termed as the ‘Kashi of South India’.
Legend has it that Lord Shiva emerged here from Cow’s Ear – the cow being Prithvi1 And since then the temple town has been christened as Gokarna. The Mahabaleshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is constructed in a Dravidian architectural style. It houses ShivaLinga2 and a 1500-year-old idol of Lord Shiva. Since centuries the temple has been witnessing priests, pilgrims and monks submerging themselves in religious rituals, offering prayers, meditation or performing religious ceremonies. The temple is abuzz with holy hymns and chants that emanate somniferous spirituality. There is an air of peace and serenity in every corner of the temple and a visit is enough for the visitor to get the soul rejuvenated. On an average day, the tinsel town wakes up by early sunrise. The two main streets that connect the town with surrounding districts are thoroughly washed and the residents then adorn it with Rangoli3. Holy chants begin resonating from every household and the fragrance of incense sticks fill the atmosphere with mystic peace. It seem like the whole town has woken up from a deep slumber only to transcend in spirituality.
Sandwiched between the hills and seas, Gokarna is blessed with four scenic beaches namely the pristine Om Beach, the quaint Kudle Beach, Half-moon & Paradise beach. White sands, crystal clear water and serenity of Om Beach beckons every backpacker. Its two semi-crescent shores that are naturally joined together, resemble the Hindu religious symbol ‘OM’ and the only how the beach got its name. A short walk away from the Om Beach is Kudle beach that has graduated as a surfing destination and provides perfect waves for the surfboard to flirt with. The other beaches like Paradise Beach & Half-Moon Beach are nestled in a secluded location with fewer inhabitants.
The laid back nature, scenic locales, captivating ancient temples and virgin coastline places Gokarna in the bucket list of every tourist as a must see destination. And its epiphany sunsets, sun-kissed warm sands, breezy twilight, percussion of waves are a few daily shows performed by the Mother Nature that renders every traveler spell bound.
Breathing lowers, eyes get transfixed and soul flies off leaving the senses spellbound. Nothing seems breath taking as the 400 years old monastery looming across the horizon. Perched at a height above 12,155ft and having drenched in quintessential aura of Buddhism, this land of Monpa Tribe is nestled in the knolls of dawn-lit mountains. Nuzzled in the icy folds of higher Himalayan foothills of North Easthern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is scarcely populated mountainous track lying roughly on the northwest extreme. Mesmerising lofty mountains, clear sparkling lakes, deep gorges, exquisite Gompas and quaint villages shade this tinsel town as the basket of adventure. The high altitude bare mountains, uninhabited hilly belt ranging from 6000 ft to 11,000.ft comprising of plateau and sparsely populated narrow valleys graduates Tawang as the Mecca of trekkers and hikers.
The magnanimous monastery offers an inebriating & picturesque view of the Tawang Chu river valley. The monastery appears like a humongous fortress as if guarding the votaries of Mahayana Buddhism in the wide valley below. Fondly known as Galden Namgyal Lhatse, which translates to “celestial paradise in a clear night” in Tibetan dialect, has a tale to tell. And the tale is indeed captivating with the thundering waterfalls, bursting bubbles of hot water spring and the flirtatious temperate breeze playing the role of percussionists in the background. The legend goes that the site on which the Gompa stands is considered extremely pious and divine. It’s said that when Merag Lama wasn’t able to locate the place for the construction of the monastery, he intended to seek divine guidance. He was praying inside a cave and when he returned post finishing the prayers, he found that his horse was missing. On searching, he saw that horse was standing on a hilltop. Considering this as a sign of divine blessing, the location was then finalized for construction of the monastery. The foundation stone of this celestial monastery was laid by Merag Lama; the monk of the time of 5th Dalai Lama. The whole structure was brought from Tibet, piece by piece; on horseback and it was assembled here. The monastery was founded in 1681 by Merag Lama Lodre Gyatso in compliance with the desires of 5th Dalai Lama, Nagwang Lobsang Gyatso.
Having witnessed the quest for survival of Tibetans and harsh weather conditions since centuries, the 3 storey fortified monastery spans across 150 square meters having 65 residential structures, lanes and by lanes inside. With the capacity of accommodating 750 monks, the three storied assembly hall of the monastery houses a colossal 28 ft high golden statue of Buddha, striking deity idols, Thangkas and murals. Abundant with spiritual treasures it has preserved holy Buddhist scriptures, pictographs and an exceptional collection of ancient Tibetian Thangkas along with the renowned Buddhist scriptures Kangyur & Tangyur those are inscribed in gold since centuries. The main assembly hall or Duknang is a house to an array of Buddha statues in various poses. Bejeweled with sacred knowledge, Parkhang hall is actually a library with a wealth of Thangka-manuscripts and sacred books. Waking up to the sound of gongs and prayer bells is blissful enough for a spiritual beginning. Watching maroon-robed monks chanting, praying & meditating near the 28-feet high golden Buddha decked with horns and incense braziers pacifies the soul. Being synonymous to a peaceful and solitary retreat, the gompa buzzes of religious activity, while its craft center produces intricately woven carpets.
Bustling bazaar, fluttering prayer flags, stone and timber houses of Monpas add to the charm of Tawang. These original inhabitants of Tawang are the descendants of Mongoloid stock. Their primary source of income is based on agriculture and animal husbandry. As hearty as theirs yaks are, so are the Monpas who tend to their yaks and brew their own alcohol. Armed with a philosophy of living their lives to the fullest, they enjoy life and when spirits are high they often break into song & dance. The local markets are dotted with shops selling woolen shawls, carpets and the wrap skirts worn by Monpa women. The Craft Center of the Tawang Monastery produces fine woolen carpets in an array of colorful designs. Also there Serdukpen shawls Apatani jackets and scarves, Adi skirts, Mishmi shawls, blouses and jackets, wancho bags. Craft- Centers at Bomdila and Tawang offer very fine carpets in multiple shades and patterns. Carpets of ethnic Tibetan designs are way too popular and are made of pure wool. Couples of souvenir shops in the Old Market and the Tibetan settlement showcase an array of wood items carved by the locals. Hand carved special bowls, spoons; masks those are sported in religious dances and ethnic Monpa & Tibetan utensils used for cooking can are up for sale. The renowned Buddhist prayer wheels, flags and statues carved out of wood as well as brassware are even sold in the market.
Urgelling Monastery: A few miles from Tawang to the south is the birthplace of His Holi Highness the sixth Dalai Lama; Ngawang Gyamtso, the sacred Urgelling monastery. The 6th Dalai Lama is the only Indian to have risen to such a high position in Gelupka Sect of Buddhism so far. Urgelling monastery traces backs its roots to the 15th century CE, i.e. around 1489. Established by Urgen Sangpo as a Buddhist spiritual center the monastery had faced invasion and resurrection. Today it houses a single temple and shelters some of the monks who lead a simple life, practice meditation and other Buddhist practices.
Taktsang Monastery: Nestled amidst serenity and dense coniferous forest with snow capped peaks in the background is the Taktsang Monastery. Well known as “Tiger’s Den” this is an ideal setting for those who have chosen the path of Nirvana and the monastery have been by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century CE. The quest to begin the inner journey and solace ends here, The monastery offers a perfect place to seat, meditate and lets one’s unite with celestial universe.
Tawang War Memorial: Every land has its hero and India has a history of its numerous heroes. Namgyal Chorten is proof about Indian Army’s extraordinarily trained and unequaled men. They were the heroes who ferociously fought till their last droplet of blood shaded the ground red and their last round of bullets silenced the hordes of Chinese. Standing tall, commanding respect and overlooking the Tawang Chu valley is the 40 ft. Multi hued Tawang War Memorial. Commemorating the bravery of the Indian heroes of the Indo-Shino war of 1962, the memorial has names of 2,420 dead soldiers etched in gold on around 32 black granite plagues. The war memorial has two halls. One of them houses the priceless collection of personal articles of martyrs, while the other is used for sound and light shows, depicting their heroic deeds. Dalai Lama has blessed the entire memorial and in addition, the Holy Scriptures, an idol of Lord Buddha and Arya Avlokiteshwara were also sent by Dalai Lama to this memorial. These idols have been kept in the vaults of the stupa.
Tawang is not just a house to several other monasteries and nunneries but boasts of several adventure sports too. The rivers Tawang-Chu and Namjang-Chu are a hot spot for river-rafting activities leaving other options too for rock-climbing, paragliding, skating and other winter sport activities.
Food for feast: And yes, Tawang cooks up some scrumptious delicacies for the ardent foodies and those who are interested to gamble a bit with their taste buds. The infamous Tibetan delicacies like Thupka, or momos are available at every roadside corner. But the appetizing Paratha- Sabzi is a must try and can be eaten hot from the roadside eateries. A tiny shack named Annapurna serves flavorsome “Alu Chips”. Tasting a traditional Monpa cuisine needs a tongue of steel and an iron heart as they tend to use a generous amount of chilies and fermented cheese that gives a strong flavor which not recommend for the weakhearted. One can try “Zan”, the staple dish of the Monpas which is made of Millet flour with ingredient including vegetables or meat to which fermented cheese, soya bean or other herbs are added too. If this isn’t filling then “Gyapa Khazi” is the hunger cruncher. It’s a Monpa version of Pulao made of rice, fermented cheese and tossed with small dried fishes or shrimps, chilies ginger and other spices. One can also try “Khura”, the Monpa Pancake which is generally served with tea. Apart from Apong which is a local drink made of rice and millet, Butter Tea too is famous beverage. It is smooth and shooting too. Monpas being mostly non-vegetarians are fond of these delicacies. Apart from these there are many mount-watering Monpa recipes like Khatzi, Pua, Kyola, Kharang.Bak-Tza Margu. Those with the street food fixation can hunt for local eateries to explore the appetizing side of Tawang.
Fascinating Festivities: Losar &Torgya
As enchanting as this paradisaical destination is so are the vibrant festivities of this land. Considered as the most important of all Buddhist festivals, Festival of Losar commemorates the Tibetan New Year in accordance with the lunar calendar. It falls in the end of February or early March and is celebrated for 8 – 15 days. It’s marked with ancient rituals, stage fights between good and evil, chanting and passing through the crowds with fire torches. Amplifying the spirit of festivity, the dance of the Ibex deer and the dramatic battles between the King & his ministers are phenomena to be witnessed. For the ones who follow Buddhism, Losar is a sacred time of feasting and celebrations. Exquisitely shaded homes with flour paintings of the Sun & moon and the tungsten light shimmering of the small lamps illuminated in the houses are worth capturing in the camera lens. Glistening lamps, holy chants and hoisting prayer flags leverage the piousness of the sacred festival of Losar.
Another major festival celebrated only by the Lamas of the monastery is Torgya. Being one of the most colorful festivals of Arunachal Pradesh, the celebration continues for three days commencing from the 28th day of the eleventh month of the lunar calendar. Amidst the traditional Tibetan music, Chham; a sacred dance is performed by monks dressed in mythological attires and masks during the festival. The dance depicts numerous holy, earthly characters and it is performed for three days. Commencing the festival on its 1st day, monks offer a sacrificial cake known as Torma which is offered to the fire ignited in the courtyard of the monastery which is then accompanied by the reading of Holy Scriptures by the beating of drums. On the last day of Torgya a ritual of worship is performed known as Wang. Here an assembly is organized and every individual is then allowed to participate in the holy rituals under the guidance of the monk. A long procession at the end is taken out and the large Thangka is kept outside for public view. On the onset of this festival, a pyramidal structure of Torgya is made by the Lamas, who offer prayers, lighten every corner of the monastery with colourful lights and perform dance to signify the victory of good over the evil spirits.
Even in the advanced world of zillion technologies, there do exists the creed those remind every traveler of the days when Man loved to live in the laps of Mother Nature. And this unexplored celestial land is no exception to it. The voyagers will always find the spirituality of Tibet in the air. No matter how the world advances, the tribal culture, tradition, the Gompas, monks’ prayers and chanting will always emanate for the divine cause of peace and well being of the whole cosmos.