• Joel Koechlin

Day 4 – At and around Tawang (Arunachal – 10,000 ft)

Today, no riding, our sore bottoms need the rest!

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The high mountain grazing pastures


We have planed for an early morning trek instead, that will take us across a deep valley, crossing a powerful cascading stream on a narrow bridge, and then climb towards the high grazing grounds where the yaks are taken up during the summer season. Challenging exercise again but, at least, the stress is applied to other parts of the body!

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Alethea, crew member, our very able guardian angel!


Around midday a pleasant moment is spent on the village square, in between the impressive alignments of prayer wheels, playing music for the public, Kalki singing some old 70s songs, accompanied on the guitar by Ashley, one of our crew members..

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More important is our much anticipated visit of the Tawang monastery, 2nd largest Buddhist monastery after the Potala in Lhassa, that we have scheduled for the afternoon.

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Tawang monastery: the prayer hall viewed from outside


This monastery goes back as far as the 16th century and we found it extremely well maintained. The prayer hall with the large statue of the Buddha is magnificent, with walls covered with ancient paintings.

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Tawang Monastery: the prayer hall


Another section of the monastery harbours a row of antique prayer wheels that we had the satisfaction to bring into motion on their well lubricated axles: old grease, accumulated during decades if not centuries, smears the base of the wheels and they can be rotated with ease in spite of the huge size.

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Ancient prayer wheels


In the evening we begin to pack for 2 long riding days which will bring us to the Brahmaputra island of Majuli, with a night halt spent at Bomdilla.

With a pinch in the heart we prepare ourselves to take our leave from the Himalayas, and explore a completely different kind of geography: the plain of Assam and the giant river which gives it life.

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Blessed by the Lama, I feel like Tintin in Tibet…


JK

(to be continued…)

Watch our Travel Show on Fox Life next August to know more about the funny and challenging enterprises Kalki indulged into, up there among the yaks..

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