If you’re travelling to Arunachal Pradesh, one of the must-visit places is Bum La Pass, located 37km from Tawang. It’s a natural wonder in the true sense of the term, and has major significance because it marks the Indo-China border. Perched at an altitude of 15,000 feet, Bum La Pass is the right place for you to judge your fitness level if you are an adventure junkie.

From one of the first places in the northeast to receive snowfall, to being the historical site of Sino-Indian War in 1962, Bum La Pass is accessible only after you’ve obtained a special permit from the Office of Deputy Commissioner in Tawang District, and the Indian army cantonment of Tawang. Interestingly, Bum La Pass was used by Dalai Lama to enter India from Tibet.

However, the highlight of Bum La Pass is that along with being a treat to the eyes, it also instantly evokes a feeling of patriotism. That’s because you can see the soldiers standing at the border in the distance, tirelessly protecting the country in nerve-wracking weather conditions.

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Tawang – Bum La Pass: A Treacherous yet Fascinating Journey Some journeys resurface again and again. After spending a few days at Tawang Town in Arunachal Pradesh, I have visited the Bum La Pass 37 km away from the town at the Indo-China border. It was 15,200 ft above the sea level in the Himalayas and I needed a special permit to visit the Pass. We got the permits from the Office of the Deputy Commissioner in Tawang District, and they should stamp the same in the Indian army cantonment of Tawang. They inspected us at two strategic check posts. Thanks to my friend Kunchok (a native of Tawang whom I have met in New Delhi), some residents became wonderful friends. I hired a Tata Sumo, and we travelled. The drive was spectacular with adventure written all over it. The landscape was full of mountains and valleys. Every frame looked wonderful, and the experience was unforgettable. The trip was not for the faint-hearted as it involved travelling on treacherous rocky paths. Talking about the altitude, anything above 10,000 ft takes a toll on people living close to the sea level. But then the effort I put in to get to the Pass was nothing compared to what the Indian Army personnel have been enduring under such harsh conditions. The weather was cold and dynamic. We reached the Y Junction, a point where the road diverged into the Bumla Pass and Sangestar Tso. We stopped and sipped tea at the wet canteen before continuing our journey towards the Pass. As beautiful as it may sound, the Bum La Pass, in the past, had its own share of horror. During the 1962 Sino-Indian War the People’s Liberation Army of China invaded India. It was a fiercely fought battle where thousands of Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives. After the war, the old trade road got closed, and it got reopened to traders in 2006. At the outset of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, fearing for his life, the 14th Dalai Lama left Tibet into India through the Bum La Pass on 30 March 1959. The terrain is often covered with heavy snow but thankfully, though it was extremely cold, it did not snow during my visit. #throwback #travel #himalayas #india #china #landacapes #mountains #valleys #skies #tawang #bumlapass

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Since the road to Bum La Pass is not in the best condition through out the year, the best time to visit this place is especially in the summer months starting from May. A beautiful attraction about 7km away is the Shonga-Tser Lake, lovingly also known as the Madhuri Lake; definitely worth a visit. It became famous after the Bollywood film Koyla was shot here.

The view from this lake is absolutely breath-taking, courtesy it’s close proximity to the China Border. The formation of the lake is the result of an earthquake that happened in 1971, before which it was merely a grassland. The vista comprises of picturesque snow-capped mountains and beautiful valleys, making Shonga-Tser Lake a photographer’s delight.