Of monks, monasteries and
mountains.It is a rather long and arduous road journey which one has to undertake to reach
the lofty heights of Tawang. Starting the plains of Assam, the trip takes one through
mountains, jungles, mists and such places of historical interest as Tenga, Bomdila and the
famous Sela Pass. All these places were household names during the 1962 conflict.
Tawang is situated at the towering height of over 10,000 ft. It is famous for its 350
years old Mahyana Buddhist Monastery, one of the biggest monasteries in India. The
Monastery was founded by a monk, Mera Lama, who was a contemporary of the fifth Dalai
BUNDIFairy tale city
in a time-warp.This former capital of a once-princely state, in Rajasthan, fills a narrow
valley in the oldest hills in India: the Aravallis. The town sits still and massed,
spreading across the floor of the valley and straggling up the bare hills.
A fortified wall encircles it; there is a lake, mirror-still, dead centre; a palace
above, looking down in aloof grandeur ; and the scrub-covered hills rising in shades of
brown and khaki to jagged crests all around.
According to legend, back in the 12th century, restless young nobles of the
warrior Chauhan clan conquered the Bhil and Meena tribals of these lands. One group chose
the neighbouring area of Kota, the other settled in Bundi.
hillocks and mounds are perfect for trekking. A popular pastime is birdwatching as an
extensive variety of birds can be spotted at the Nilgiris. Apart from the varied species
of vultures, eagles and owls, song birds like bulbuls, thrushes, babblers, larks, cuckoos,
robins and several others are a treat to tone-deaf city ears. Coonoor is also perfect for
picnics. Just a short walk in any direction and you find yourself at a quiet grassy spot
with a spectacular view.
A Mowgli experience.
Rudyard Kiplings loveable character, brought up by a pack of wolves and a friend of
animals like Kaa the python, Bagheera the black panther, the wise old bear Bhaloo, and
Sher Khan the tiger, was not a real-life person. But his adventures, described in Jungle
Book, capture the spirit of the Indian jungles and their wildlife in a delightful way.
Visitors can get a taste of these encounters when they live in the Kabini River Lodge.
The camp, once the hunting lodge of a maharaja, spreads on the banks of the broad
Kabini River at the edge of Karnatakas Nagarhole National Park.
Nagarhole is rich with wildlife, and dawn and dusk jeep tours are likely to ensure
spotting of sounders of wild boar, herds of deer and antelope, troupes of monkeys, wild
dogs, gaur (the Indian bison), jackals and, possibly, pythons waiting for prey in the
rushes. If you are lucky you might see a leopard or a tiger.