Sela Pass (more appropriately called Se La) is a high altitude mountain pass situated at a height of apprx. 4200m (13,700ft). It lies on the way to Tawang from Guwahati and with its natural beauty and expansive views of snow covered Himalayas, is a usual stop over for travelers. The pass has hardly any vegetation and is usually snow covered to some extent all through the year.
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 if you come in extreme winters. Some small rivers also flow out of the lake and during grazing season, you could see a lot of yaks grazing around the lake too.
There are many stories associated with the pass, the most interesting one being that of sepoy Jaswant Singh. Its said that in 1962 Indo-China war, Jaswant Singh fought a lone battle with the Chinese near the pass. A tribal woman used to bring him supplies and food during this period and its said that she killed herself when she saw the dead body of Jaswant. Jaswant Singh was awarded Mahavir Chakra, a coveted gallantary award, by the Indian Republic for his extraordinary act of courage.
1. There is a high-altitude trek from Bomdi La Pass to Sela Pass that is a regional favorite of high-altitude trekkers. Suggested only for a seasoned hiker though.
When to go
Sela Pass is open almost throughout the year, except for brief breaks in between when snow or landslides etc. might play the spoilsport. It is the main route to access Tawang region, and given the proximity of this area to China, Indian Border Roads Organization (BRO) works hard to keep the pass open almost throughout the year.
The winters are pretty cold though, with temperatures dipping to -10 C sometimes, so it is not exactly everybody's cup of tea to head there during winters. For the adventurous soul however, that should not a problem, although it would make sense to check locally from Diring ( or even Guwahati) before continuing journey much further towards Tawang or Sela Pass. The videos posted here should give one a good idea about the road conditions and navigability during both winters and summers.
How to reach
You can start from Guwahati, which is well connected by rail, road and air with the rest of India. You can either hire a cab from there, or take state transport buses to Bomdila or Diring and then share or hire a cab/jeep etc.
If you are going to/coming from Kazinranga National Park side, you can travel via Tezpur and Bhalukpong, another beautiful place. You will still rejoin the main route before Bomdila, close to Rupa.
Distance from Sela pass to some nearby cities is as follows:
Tawang : 78km
Diring : 58km
1. Wear you sunglasses, put on some sun screen and drink enough water if the sun is out when you are here.
2. Maintain a steady speed and avoid switching off your car or parking it while climbing up the pass. The road is usually low on traction, and with the steep climb, you might have a tough tome getting moving again.
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