Jaswant Garh War Memorial, Tawang

Historic Site · Tourist Spot
Ref: http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/aug/20war.htm

For any soldier of Indian Army the famous memorial of 1962 war between India and China at Jaswantgarh stands taller than even the 13700 ft high Sela Pass, the world’s second highest motorable road, along the steep, serpentine mountainous road to the monastery town at Tawang in western Arunachal Pradesh.

It is not because of the altitude of its location but for the inspiration it gives to Indian soldiers guarding the frontier with China.

A journey towards the picturesque Tawang through pristine hills of Arunachal Pradesh can't be complete without a stopover at Jaswantgarh Memorial that stands testimony to an Indian soldier's unparallel bravery.

And for Indian Army jawans and officials, it is a must-visit site to pay their tribute to Rifleman Jaswant Singh Maha Vir Chakra, of 4 Garhwal Rifle, who laid down his life resisting the Chinese Army's march for about 72 hours along with two other soldiers during the 1962 war.

Singh was then captured and hanged at the same place where the memorial now stands, by Chinese invaders. The memorial is about 14 km away from Sela Pass.

It is more of a temple than a war memorial for Indian Army soldiers. The Army has put a section of its soldiers at round the clock duty at Jaswantgarh to look after the memorial which is located about 500 kilometers away from Guwahati, the gateway to the Northeast in Assam.

The temple-like Jaswantgarh memorial has a garlanded bronze bust of Jaswant Singh, who is referred as Baba by soldiers, a portrait of the war hero and his belongings including the Army uniform, cap, watch, and belt. The earthen lamp before the portrait of Jaswant Singh burns round the clock.

For his six caretakers from 19 Garhwal Corps of Indian Army, Baba Jaswant Singh, MVC, still exists. They serve Baba bed tea at 0430 hrs, breakfast at 0900 hrs and dinner at 1900 hrs, oblivious of the reality that that the war hero is no more alive.

They make his bed for him, polish his shoes and deliver the mail sent by his admirers. They even clear the mails the next morning after 'he has gone through them'. They change his bed sheets every Tuesday.

These soldiers not only serve Baba. They reneder yeoman service for travelers along the hazardous portion of mountain terrain. Besides coming to rescue of travelers in trouble, they run a snack store where they serve tea, coffee and delicious samosas and pakoras to refresh the tired tourists, charging a nominal price that goes to upkeep of the war memorial.

The Indian Army sentinels at Jaswantgarh complain about the lack of electricity at the war memorial. It is lit up only for two hours in the evening through a diesel generator. They also fear that the roadside portion of the memorial is under severe threat from landslide. They are also concerned about the pathetic condition of the road to Tawang where no vehicle can cross 20KMPH. The caretaker of the memorial was particularly concerned about the duration it takes for backup to reach Tawang should a conflict breakout with China again. He has witnessed the impressive road and rail infrastructure on the other side of the border having been posted their prior to this duty.
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Jaswant Garh War Memorial reviews

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TripAdvisor
  • Jaswant Garh War Memorial, is dedicated to a war hero, Jaswant Singh Rawat who scarified his life for India, changing its fate. Place is well developed to depict the saga for war, its background and....  more »
  • A memorial to be visited to understand the valour , bravery, superb achievements of our army, the selfless sacrifices they made to enable us live in free and democratic atmosphere. The restaurant...  more »
Google
  • Great views and some war history associated with this place. Try chatting up some locals to know more about it. Amazing view of the valley from the viewpoint area. On the other side of the road you'll find a small souvenir shop. Treat yourself to some free tea while you are out there. If you are motorcycling, DEFINITELY, pick up a pair of woolen socks and boots from the shop. The shoes and socks are inexpensive but the build quality is amazing.
  • You feel the valour and patriotism of the armed forces. It is this discipline, dedication and putting nation before self and family which makes us now down in reverence and also salute them with head held high. My gratitude to Jaswant Singh for his act.
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