‘The land of Dawnlit Mountains.’
Nestled in the Himalayas, Tawang is a charming little hill station in Arunachal Pradesh and is considered to be one of the most visited tourist destinations of northeast India. If Shangri-La conjures up images of an earthly paradise isolated from the outside world, happy people, Buddhist chants floating in the air, and mystical monks engrossed in prayers, then Tawang is what you’re most likely thinking about. It is the seat of the 400-year-old Tawang monastery, one of the oldest and the largest monasteries in India and the biggest outside of Lhasa. The area is claimed by both the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of India as a part of south Tibet.
Tawang was historically part of Tibet inhabited by the Monpa people. The Tawang Monastery was founded by the Merak Lama Lodge Gyatso in 1681 in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, and has an interesting legend surrounding its name, which means “Chosen by Horse”. The sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso, was born in here. Tawang Monastery was founded by the Mera Lama Lodre Gyasto in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect and is the largest Buddhist monastery in India. The name Tawang means Horse Chosen. It is said to be the biggest Buddhist monastery in the world outside of Lhasa, Tibet. It is a major holy site for Tibetan Buddhists as it was the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama. It is also famous for Snowfall which occurs every year during December-January.
Visitors to Tawang require special Inner Line permits from the government which are available in Kolkata, Guwahati, Tezpur, and New Delhi. Most of the travel from the plains is on a steep hill road journey, crossing Sela Pass at 4,176 meters (13,701 ft). Tourists can travel to Tawang from Tezpur, Assam by road. Tezpur has direct flights from Kolkata. Guwahati, Assam, is 16 hours by road. In Oct 2014, two times a week helicopter service from Guwahati was started by the Arunachal Pradesh government.
The beautiful town of Tawang, also pronounced as Dawang has many sceneries to make your trip a picturesque one. However, what begins to define the area is its significance for Buddhist monks. Tawang is the place to go for monasteries, with the Tawang Monastery being the most popular one and extremely sacred for the Buddhists. It is a place that will flatter you with its natural beauty wrapped in the scent of spirituality. The beautiful orchid sanctuary and the Tipi Orchid Sanctuary is also an ideal place for your list of places to visit. Along with this one can have their taste buds to have an experience of Tawang by indulging in the area’s unique cuisine.
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