Tawang, perched at a height of over 10,000 ft, is world-renowned for its 400-year-old Buddhist Monastery, one of the biggest in India.
The Monastery was founded by the monk Mera Lama, a contemporary of the fifth Dalai Lama. The sixth Dalai Lama was born here. The Tawang Monastery has an interesting collection of Thangkas (Tibetan painting on cloth) and a large gilded statue of Sakyamuni (the historical Buddha) in the prayer hall. The Tawang Monastery, also known as the 'Galden Namgyal Lhatse', is beautifully situated on a spur about 2 km from the heart of the town. Before the establishment of the Monastery, Tawang was a centre of Tantric religion.
Center Of Buddhism
Tawang is an important centre of Buddhist learning and is particularly famous for its 400 year old gompa, one of the best known in India. The Tawang Gompa houses a beautifully gilded 8 metre high statue of the Buddha and a number of equally remarkable idols, thangkas and murals.
Places To See
There are mountains, deep valleys, waterfalls and almost a hundred lakes. To the south of the town, the Tawanchu river carves a deep gorge as it rages by, while jagged cliffs rise steeply towards the north and snow capped peaks frame the east. To the west of town, the Tawang monastery looms across the horizon, its enormous yellow roof and white walls standing out like a beacon for miles on end.The Tawang Gompa is definitely the high point of the town, perched on a 2760 m high ridge with a commanding view of the splendid valleys beyond. The gompa, also called the Galden Namgyal Lhatse, is a famous Mahayana monastery established in 1643-47 by Lodre Gyaltso, who was popularly called Meera Lama. The name of Tawang means "horse chosen," a reference to the way in which Meera Lama's horse wandered off on its own and discovered the perfect spot on which the monastery now stands.
The 3 storey, fortified monastery is over 140 square metres and has 65 residential buildings, chortens, lanes and by-lanes. The Duknang or main assembly hall has Buddha statues in various poses, while the Parkhang hall lodges the library, with a wealth of Thangka-manuscripts and sacred books. Some of the precious manuscripts have been penned in gold and are quite a treasure to behold!
Five hundred monks live in the gompa, chanting, praying, meditating and advancing Buddhist thought. The monastery attracts scholars and pilgrims from all over the world. In spite of being a peaceful and solitary retreat, the Tawang gompa buzzes with activity and its craft centre produces intricately woven carpets. The Dalai Lama renovated the entire monastery in 1997.
The town of Tawang itself is modern, with a bustling bazaar and fluttering prayer flags. The best way to enjoy Tawang is to walk around the town. And once you have had your fill, make a trip to Zimithang to see the impressive Gorsam Stupa, the Tatsang gompa, the Khinme monastery and the Singshur nunnery. The Sangeshar Lake, en route, is one of myriad lakes that make Tawang the splendid haven.
The ‘Parkhang’ hall of the monastery houses the library which boasts rare hand written and block-printed Thankas or manuscripts of revered books like ‘Tangym', ‘Kangyur' and ‘Sungbhum'. There is also a craft centre, which produces exquisite woollen carpets. Tawang is also suitable for trekking and hiking.
The best time to visit Tawang is between the months of June and October
Languages : Arunachali and English
Fairs & Festivals: Losar the Tibetan Buddhist festival celebrated in the month of February–March every year.
Travel Information: The only way to go to Tawang is road, It is connected by road with other towns in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam via Bomdila .
STD : 037824
Indian tourists visiting Arunachal Pradesh require an Inner Line Permit, which takes approximately three weeks to be issued. Contact The Liaison Officer, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, 4B Chowringhee Place, Kolkata: 700013; Tel: 91-33-2486500, or The Liaison Officer, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, R.G.Baruah Road, Guwahati, Assam: 781021; Tel: 91-361-26544.
Foreign tourists intending to visit Arunachal need clearance from the Home Ministry and a Restricted Area Permit, which takes approximately three weeks to be issued. The Permit is valid for 10 days. A minimum of four and a maximum of fourteen tourists must travel together on a tour arranged through an approved travel agent