Mountain Passes in India

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Sela Pass

The Sela Pass (more appropriately called Se La, as La means Pass) is the high-altitude mountain pass located in Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh state of India. It has an elevation of 4170 m (13,700 ft). connects the Buddhist city of Tawang Town to Tezpur and Guwahati and is the main road connecting Tawang with the rest of India. Tawang is situated at a distance of 78 km from Sela Pass, while Guwahati is at a distance of 340 km. The pass has hardly any vegetation and is usually snow-covered to some extent all through the year. During winter temperature in the pass can go down to −10 degrees. This place is snowed in most of the year and offers excellent and heavenly views all year round. This part of the Eastern Himalayan range is pretty special for the Buddhists as it is believed that about 101 lakes exist in and around Sela Pass and each of these lakes has religious significance for the Buddhist community. Very close to the Pass, is the beautiful Sela Lake (sometimes called Paradise Lake because of its beauty), which could be fully or partially frozen in winter. Some small rivers also flow out of the lake and during grazing season, yaks grazing around the lake. While Sela Pass does get heavy snow in winters, it is usually open throughout the year unless landslides or snow require the pass to be shut down temporarily. Sela Pass is the main route to access Tawang town, and given the proximity of Tawang District with Tibet. Sela Pass is situated at a distance of 78 km from Tawang town. The pass is open throughout the year. During landslide and heavy snow the pass is shut down temporarily. Tawang district lies in close proximity to Tibet and is also the main rout to access Tawang. Border Roads Organization (BRO) of India works hard to keep the pass open throughout the year. While summers at Sela Pass are not very cold, temperature in winter can dip down to -10 degree Celsius. Sela Pass is special to the Buddhists. The Buddhists believe that there are about 101 lakes in and around the pass. These lakes are revered by the Buddhists. According to legend, a sepoy of the Indian Army named Jaswant Singh Rawat fought alone against the Chinese soldiers near the pass during the 1962 Sino-Indian War. A tribal woman who had brought food and water to him (named sela)) is said to have killed herself upon seeing the dead body of Jaswant Singh rawath . Singh was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for his courage and devotion to duty.


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