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Tawang: Land of Monpas

''Beautifully landscaped and known for colourful monasteries, high altitude lakes and waterfalls''

LOCATION : In the state of Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India.

WHY GO THE DISTANCE : Not known to many, Tawang houses India’s some of the largest monasteries and has immense Buddhist influence in its culture and lifestyle. In monasteries you will come across monks mostly engrossed in prayers. Apt if looking to spend quality time with oneself and wanting to understand Buddhist culture closely.

Tawang has everything to offer from trekking paths, hot water springs, and adventure activities like rock climbing, rafting and paragliding to flora and fauna, history, religion and architecture. Music and dance too are a key part of this place, which see equal participation of both men and women. What fascinates and attract travellers most to this tourist spot is its natural landscape and beauty, which wears altogether a mystic look when draped with snow during winters (December-January).

This tranquil hill station shares boundaries with Tibet in the northern side, Kameng in the east and Bhutan in the south-west. It is also known as the land of Monpas as the Monpa tribes dominate this region.

ENTRY FORMALITIES : 1. PAP (protected area permit) for foreign tourists
2. Indians too require entry permits i.e. Innerline permit (ILP)

For details Visit:

ATTRACTIONS : Tawang Ganden Namgyal Lhaste or Tawang Monastery:
It’s a 400 years old Buddhist Monastery built by Mera Lama in the 17th century. What worth watching here is the 8 metre high gilded statues of Lord Buddha and the collection of huge scriptures, books, gold lettered Buddhist scriptures, images and tapestries.

Urqelling Monastery:
It is the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama, the only Indian to have risen to such a high position in Gelupka Sect of Buddhism.

War Memorial:
It was built to pay homage to soldiers of the Indian Army who gave up their life in the 1962 Indo-Sino War. Old arms and armaments are displayed inside the memorial besides a stupa.

There are beautiful lakes around Tawang. Pankang Teng Tso Lake is a few kms away from the main town. Then there is Sangeshar Lake where a part of the shooting of Bollywood movie Koyla starring Madhuri and Shahrukh Khan took place, post which people started calling it Madhuri Lake.

Pay a visit for the sheer beauty they exhibit - Nuranang, also known as Bong Bong and Jung Falls, and Bap Teng Kang, about 80kms from Tawang while going to Zemithang.

Tawang Library :
A valuable source for Buddhist scholars, this library houses thousands of block-printed commentaries and treatises on the subject of Mahayana Buddhism.

Adventure sports.
The rivers Tawang-Chu and Namjang-Chu are ideal for river-rafting activities. There is also an option for rock-climbing, paragliding, skating and other winter sport activities.

Nunneries of Tawang:
The Brahma Dungchung Ani Gompa, the Gyanganga Ani Gompa and the Singsur Ani Gompa are the important ones.

Se La Pass:
One has to take this beautiful pass to reach Tawang from Guwahati.

There are daily flights from Delhi to Guwahati. Then one can hire a taxi or board a bus to reach Tawang by road which is about 12 hours. Tezpur airport in Assam is also close to Tawang.

By Train:
There is train service including Rajdhani Express upto Guwahati. Nearest railhead is also served by Tezpur but with limited connectivity, next to which is Guwahati.

BEST TIME TO VISIT : Period between March to June. For ardent snow lovers, December and January would be the best time.

ACCOMODATION : There may not be very high-end hotels at Tawang but yes the place offers a couple of options in the budget category located in the main market area. If holding permits, one can stay at government lodge or circuit house. Visit the following link to get more info on stay options.

TIPS : It’s an unexplored and a quiet place so don’t expect buzzing night life.

When enroute Tawang from Guwahati, one can also halt on the way at Bhalukpong/ Bomdila/ Dirang located in West kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh.

Woollens are must.

Source / Review By : Pramugdha Mamgain Nautiyal


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