Everyone dreams of a beautiful snowfall.
Tawang is a giant valley at the base of a big mountain, covered with pine trees at the lower reaches and jagged rocks on top.
PTSO Lake is around 16km ahead on a bumpy road on a peak surrounding Tawang. The lake is on the road towards Bumla.
The mountains appear just above your reach, but the zig-zag road was far too cracked and undone. With just the driver and I, the van we were travelling in bounced up and down the road, which looked like it desperately needed repair.
As we drove up through the army camps and the last check-post, we began to see pine trees covered with a thin layer of what appeared to be snow, but which was actually ice. The winter snow had not yet begun, but the cold wind had frozen dewdrops into a thin layer of ice.
A thin sheet of ice sat on top of the PTSO Lake. The grass growing near the fringes of the lake were blanketed with ice and it made a dry crackling sound as I stepped on it. To be able to walk on snow without the punch of the cold, one needs a good pair of shoes. I’ve learned this from my last visit to Rhotang Pass; where I couldn’t even stand for more than a few minutes with my thin-soled canvas shoes. This time I had boots with thick soles which made for a comfortable walk in most mountainous terrain; be it snow or jagged rocks.
It is uncommon to see a lake at such a height, but at the same time you see a lot of such cerulean lakes in Arunachal Pradesh. After a rather steep climb from Tawang, the mountains are tamed by a gentle valley, carving out a lake from the crotch of the mountain.
The serenity around PTSO Lake was often punctuated by the loud booming sound of artillery. The echoes bounced back from the no man’s land between India and China, where most test firing takes place. On a higher plateau, I saw smoke rising from two artilleries positioned towards grey rocky mountains.
Winter had descended with layers of white ice. Small patches in the forests were covered with ice, but once the sun gained strength, it melted away quickly with a soft crackling sound before dropping onto the ground.
The flora here is strange and colorful. Sitting amidst the exotic landscape, I felt very much part of it. I felt like I had arrived in a winter wonderland.