How India’s crown Tawang belong to China | Indian girl enjoys snowfall in famous Madhuri Lake

Beyond the Horizon

By Pradeep Kumar

One young Indian girl is enjoying the first snowfall at Madhuri Lake or Sangestar Tso, formerly called Shonga-tser Lake, located on way from Tawang to Bum La Pass in Tawang district, near Indo-China border, at an altitude of above 15,200 feet.

Nestled in the pristine landscapes of Arunachal Pradesh, there’s a hidden gem that will capture anyone’s heart and soul. It’s the stunning Madhuri Lake. This alpine lake is one of the most beautiful features of Tawang district.

Madhuri Lake is named after Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit. This lake gained so much fame due to its association with Bollywood, the movie Koyla to be precise. The lake earned its colloquial name after the Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit filmed a song sequence at this lake for the film. The audience loved the actors, the song, the movie and the lake for which draws large number of tourists.

This breathtakingly beautiful lake has since become one of the most recognised tourist attractions in the region. Fans of Madhuri Dixit have been known to have flocked to this site.

The lush meadows of the lake surrounded by snow-capped peaks get covered by a blanket of snow during winters. It is also a haven for migratory and resident birds, including ruddy shelducks, black-necked cranes, Himalayan monals, and bar-headed geese besides rare and endangered species, like Tibetan wolf, snow leopard, and red panda.

Tawang district is the smallest district of Arunachal Pradesh and less populated, the eighth least populous district in the country out of 7070. Tawang is inhabited by the Monpa tribe. From 500 BC to 600 AD a kingdom known as Lhomon or Monyul ruled the area. The Monyul kingdom was later absorbed into the control of neighbouring Bhutan and Tibet.

The district is famous for Tawang Monastery, founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1681 in accordance with the wishes of 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso and has an interesting legend surrounding its name, which means “Chosen by Horse”. The sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso was born in Tawang.

Tawang was historically part of Tibet. The 1914 Simla Accord defined the  McMahon Line as the new boundary between British India and Tibet. By this treaty, Tibet relinquished several hundred square miles of its territory, including Tawang, to the British, but it was not recognised by China. When Tibet was not governed by mainland China, Tawang was easily accessible to Tibetans.

In 1938, the British made a cautious move to assert sovereignty over Tawang by sending a small military column under Capt. G.S. Lightfoot to Tawang.  After the outbreak of the war with Japan in 1941, Assam Govt undertook a number of ‘forward policy’ measures to tighten their hold on the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) area, which later became Arunachal Pradesh.

In 1944, administrative control was extended over the area of Tawang tract lying South of the Sela Pass when J.P. Mills set up an Assam Rifles post at Dirang Dzong. However, no steps were taken to evict Tibetans from the area north of the pass which includes Tawang town.

Tibet lost its independence in 1950’s and was annexed into the newly established People’s Republic of China. Tibet also lost its independent diplomatic freedom and Tawang was now a stress point between India and China.

During Sino-India war of 1962, Tawang fell briefly under Chinese control, but China withdrew its troops at the end of the war. Tawang again came under Indian administration. Tawang district was formed in 1989, when it was split from West Kameng district.

The Yangtse clash of 09,12,2022 occurred at night between the troops of Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) along their mutually contested Line of Actutal Control (LAC) in Yangtse  region of Tawang. Later Chinese army retreat and Indian army won in clash.

Tawang district, basin of Tawang Chu (river), occupies an area of 2,172 sqkm. Its elevations range between 6,000 and 22,000 feet and inhabitants are found at lower altitude, where they enjoy a cool temperate climate. The sensitivity of the border area makes Tawang a heavy military zone. In winter, Tawang frequently experiences heavy snowfall.

This bring to a conclusion that Whether Tawang or Arunachal Pradesh was never a part of China, Thus, claiming  this Indian state’s territory as Zangnan or South Tibet only makes Bejing a laughing stock among global community.

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