Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Ride to Lake of No Return, Myanmar

A Ride to Nawngyang ( Lake of No Return )

I always had a dream route to travel through the historic Stilwell's Road , which was constructed by the Americans during the Second World War from Ledo in Assam, India connecting Myanmar and China to reach a beautiful lake called Lake of No Return (known as Lake Nongyang in Myanmar) near Pangsau Pass, Indo-Myanmar Border.

During World War II, large numbers of aircrafts were reported to have perished into this lake. Perhaps, the lake served the Allied Pilots for soft landing into the lake water during return mission when the Aircrafts got hit by enemy or out of mechanical snags in the Aircrafts. The pilots had chosen this lake for emergency landing in case of imminent air crash and therefore, many aircrafts were reported to have crashed in to the lake . So the lake came to be known as ' Lake Of No Return '.

The best time to visit Nongyang is during the Pangshu Pass Winter Festival held every year where the Inner Line Permit to visit Jairampur, Arunachal / Pangsau Pass DuringPPWF is readily available in the temporary pass counter for the festival.

When my friend Abhijit told that this year the festival will be held on 20, 21 & 22 Jan 2013 then I planned to visit the festival on 20th which falls on sunday.

As I wanted to ride on bike only therefore I gave a status update on my facebook pages that we are going on a bike ride to the festival so interested bikers can join us. I received several phone call for enquiry & some bikers said that they will join on 20th of Jan 2013.

On 20th Jan 2013 around 12.30 AM it started raining heavily. The trip might got cancelled for rain. I left a facebookstatus " Damn its raining " & slept sadly.

On 20th Jan 2013 I woke up with the knock on the door when I opened the door and became happy it was not raining. Total eight riders on four bikes started our Journey to our destination Nongyang, Myanmar which is 130kms away from Duliajan, Assam crossing Dense Jungles of Arunachal crossing the Patkai Hills.

The road was under construction& so dusty that we could not see anything ahead. We just put the headlight and kept moving. After riding for three hours 100kms we reached The Cemetery of World War-II, Jairampur, India. The recently unearthed large Burial-ground with about 1,000 graves of allied soldiers believed to be mostly of Chinese, Kachins, Indian, British and Americans soldiers who died in Second World War is located.

The hidden cemetery covered with thick jungles midst of the bank of Namchik River. The Army had cleared the area and found about 1,000 graves within an area of about three acre. The most of the graves in the Cemetery are damaged due to wild Elephants, wear and tear in the course of time and tempered due to miscreants.

Large number of allied soldiers were reported to have died due to Diseases, calamities and missed in action while fighting. The casualties at war fronts in Burma were reported to have been evacuated by C-47's Ambulance planes and treated at the various base Hospitals at Ledo road and atLedo, Assam, India and most of the dead soldiers might have disposed off at this cemetery. It is also reported that most of the casualties were treated at the 20th General Hospital, the 14th Evacuation Hospital, or the 111th Station Hospital in the Ledo area. In course of time, those Hospitals have also completely vanished.

After riding 10-12 km ahead of the World War-II Cemetery we reached "The Hell Gate" of Pangshu Pass.

The Hell Gate - installed during the World War II, Nampong, India
 Nampong and Pangsau Pass were considered to be " Hell gate " or " Hell Pass" due to difficult terrains in the Indo-Burma Patkai mountain Range. Crossing these places toward Burma were considered to be dangerous and hazardous as Hell during the World War II.

As we moved ahead for 12-15km some policeman showed us a route towards the parking area of a field. We could hear the sound of drum beats & the Folk Songs And Dances. Yes we have reached the Pangshu Pass Festival 2013 Ground.

The Ethnic Food of the various tribes were sold in various food court, the Traditional Sports contest would be organised after the folk song & dance programme. We decided not to waste much time and get the passes to Nongyang, Myanmar. We can enjoy the festival while returning.

After riding 12-15km in steep hilly road for two hours finally crossed the Indian border & reach the no mans land. We walked for atleast 3-4kms in the bad hilly road instead of hiring a typical Myanmar Bike which charges Rs100 per person ridden by young kids. Finally we reached the border bazar of Myanmar near the Lake of No Return.

By Madhurjya Bindass Axomia

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