Tawang Hill Station and Tawang Monastery
Tawang Hill Station is situated Arunachal Pradesh state of India, at an altitude of around 10000 feet (3500 meters). Tawang was captured by China in 1962, during the India-China war. Later on, China had withdrawn its troops from here.
Tawang is home to Monpa Tribes, who are Mongoloid descents, believed to be immigrated from Bhutan and Tibet.
This small hill station town is known for it’s natural beauty. There are many hot water springs, waterfalls, lakes, etc, in Tawang. River rafting is a famous activity in Tawang-Chu and Namjang-Chu rivers. This hill station town is also famous for other adventure activities like Paragliding, Rock-climbing, Skating, Winter sport activities, etc. Snowfall occurs during the months of December and January and ice skating is popular during that period.
At 17 kilometers distance from Tawang city, lies the beautiful Pankang Teng Tso Lake (PT Tso lake or PTso Lake). Best time to visit the Lake is from April to October, when it is summer. During winter, this lake remains frozen. The lake and its surrounding areas are a wonderful place; with its gushing river waters, Himalayas, colorful birds, colorful flowers, etc. Jong–nga-tseir Lake is another lake at 42 kilometers from Tawang city, which was formed in 1973 due to a flash flood. The bare trees (without leaves) are a wonderful place for a tourist and photographers.
Bab-Theng – Khang Waterfall is a beautiful fall at around 80 kilometers distance form the town, on your way to the Famous ‘Gorzam Chorten Stupa’ (or Gorzam Stupa) in Zemithang. “Phong-Phongma waterfall ” or “Jang waterfall” or Nurongneng waterfall”, at Nyamseir, is another beautiful falls at around 40 kilometers from Tawang town.
Gorzam Chorten Stupa at Zemithang is at around 92 kilometers from the town of Tawang. This Stupa was constructed by Lama Prathar in 13th Century A.D and stands on a 186 feet base. It is 93 feet in height and is modeled after the Boudhinath stupa of Nepal.
Sela Pass at 13,714 feet above sea level, is a beautiful place on your way to Tawang. The Iron bridge over Tawang – chu river, built during 1420 -1430 AD, is at around 25 kilometers from the town.
There is a war memorial, Namgyal stupa, at a distance of one kilometer from the town, in memory of the 2420 martyrs of India-China war of 1962.
Tawang is home to one of the biggest Buddhist monasteries, Tawang Monastery. It is also known as “Galden Namgyal Lhatse”, founded by Mera Lama Lodre Gyasto in the 17th century, as per the wishes of his contemporary, the 5th Lama, Nagwang Lobsang Gyatso. Tawang Monastery has a gold painted statue of Gautam Buddha, having a height of 8 meters.
This monastery is the biggest Buddhist monastery outside of Tibet. It is the biggest monastery in India and the second biggest monastery int he world.
The current and 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, when attacked by Chinese military in 1959 March, escaped to India and stayed for a few days at this monastery, before going to Tezpur in 18th April 1959. Shortly in 1959, Dalmi Lama established the Central Tibetan Administration head-quarters at Mussoorie and later shifted it to Dharamsala in 1960.
The “Parkhang Hall” which houses a library has huge collection of rare hand-written and block-painted manuscripts of many revered books for the Buddhists. ‘Teaching of Lord Buddha’, a 108 gold-embossed manuscripts, is kept here. 225 volumes explaining the teachings of Gautham Buddha are also kept here. These volumes of Buddha’s teachings are specially covered with moth proof silk coverings with paintings. There is a Craft Center which produces colorful woolen carpets.
“Urqelling Monastery” is another Monastery at this hill station town, where The only Indian Lama, The 6th Dalai Lama, Urgelling Gompa, was born.
How Do I Go to Tawang?
Guwahati in Assam is the nearest major town with rail, road and air connectivity with the rest of India. Guwahati city is at around 450 kilometers from this hill station town.
Bomdila is the nearest bus station to Tawang at around 180 kilometers distance. Tezpur airport alias Salonibari Airport with IATA code ‘TEZ’, in the state of Assam is the nearest airport to Tawang, which is connected to the “Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport” (earlier known as “Dum Dum Airport “), Kolkata. “Rangapara Junction” in Assam is the nearest railway station to Tawang.
Being a restricted area, tourists (Indians and Foreigners) are required to get Permits to go to this hill station town, details of which are available here, at the official website of Tawang district. Indian citizens can apply for the Inner Line Permits online here .