Locals here have for ages lived in awe of a ‘monster’ called China. They are now wary of being haunted by another — the mythical Himalayan yeti.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is developing a road through Bhutan to have faster access to the western district of Tawang, around 550 km northeast of Assam capital Guwahati.
In close proximity to this road is Bhutan’s Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary — a 650 sq km reserve created specifically to protect the habitat of the yeti or abominable snowman, known in Bhutan as the migoi, or strong man.
This road via Udalguri in Assam connects the Bhutanese district of Trashigang before terminating at Tawang. “This road is expected to be completed in three years,” Tawang deputy commissioner Gamli Padu said.
There is a sense of fear among the locals. But they are enthused by the possibility of this unseen mythological monster, known for scaring campers, boosting tourism in Tawang.
“We fear the yeti,” says Tawang-based trader Yishe Jungney. “But we know it means no harm unlike them,” he added, pointing towards Tibet.
The BRO, though, has refused to talk about the road through the tiny Buddhist country.
“We are only working on a shortcut to Tawang that reduces travel from Guwahati by 93 km,” said a senior officer of the 14 Border Roads Task Force based in Tenga, 205 km south of Tawang.