Tawang Monastery

Chosen by a Horse:Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh

Author: Aul Kaura
Date: 2020-05-09

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Tawang is a town in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh located at an altitude of 3000 m across the Sela Pass at an altitude of 4170 m. The Sela pass in Arunachal Pradesh, also known as the area of 101 lakes connects the Tawang district with the rest of the country. The mountain road from the town of Bhalukpong at the foothills connecting Tawang is 285 km, while Sela pass is 78 km from Tawang.

Legend of Tawang

The town of Tawang has developed around the Tawang Monastery, which is the largest Monastery of Vajrayana Buddhism outside of Tibet. The Tawang Monastery was founded by Lams Lodre Gyatso in 1681 as per the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama. Tawang has an interesting legend as to how it was named; it is said while Lodre Gyatso was scouting for an auspicious site stopped to rest for a while to meditate and seek divine interventions. When he woke up he found his horse missing and went looking for it. He finally found the horse on top of a hill called Tana Mandekhang grazing peacefully; he took it as an omen, and with the help of locals established the monastery, naming it Tawang: Ta means horse while wang means chosen.

Tawang historically is inhabited by the Monpa tribe who are said to be migrants from Tibet. Tawang also is the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso. During the time of the Chinese occupation of Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama escaped from Lhasa and stayed at Tawang Monastery for a few days before moving ahead, making Tawang a sacred site for Buddhists. The Dalai Lama has always maintained that Arunachal Pradesh is part of Tibet and not India because of cultural and geographical similarities.

Tawang is also one of the oldest towns in Arunachal Pradesh and is a must-visit tourist destination. The best time to visit Tawang is during the summer time, start of the winter, and onset of monsoon season. Tawang looks absouletly stunning in the months between March-June and September-November. For budgeted travelers, Tawang also offers many medium to budget accommodation. 

7 interesting places to see in Tawang

Tawang has emerged as one of the most popular tourist destinations of Arunachal Pradesh because of its pristine scenic beauty and pleasant weather during the summers. Besides Tawang Monastery, there are other places of interest for visitors.

  1. Pankang Teng Tso Lake, or PT Tso lake as it is popularly called, is one of the most visited lakes in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. The lake is surrounded by blue lapis flowers in summers and wrapped in a blanket of snow in the winters.
  2. Tawang War Memorial is dedicated to the war heroes of the Sino-India war that took place in the year 1962 is also quite popular with the visitors at Tawang.
  3. Giant statue of Buddha
  4. Tawang Ropeway is one of the highest ropeways in India at 11,000 feet. The cable car connects the town of Tawang to Gyangong Ani Gompa and offers a 20-min one-way ride.

Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

The magnificent Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

5. Lumla: The Arunachal Pradesh Government has taken steps to develop sites close to Tawang for visitors; one such place is Lumla, with its statue of Jetsun Dolma (Tara Devi). Lumla is about 45 km from Tawang, on the way to Gorzam Chorten stupa.

6. Zemithang Valley, which borders Tibet. This high-altitude valley is the winter nesting ground of black-necked cranes. You can stay at one of the many homestays here.

7. Shonga-tser Lake, or more popularly known as Madhuri Lake is also located in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. Other places in Zemithang are Taksang Monastery and Bumla Pass, which are must-visit places while in Tawang.

The town of Tawang also became famous because of the Sino–Indian war of 1962. The battle of Tawang was fought at Namkha Chu near Tawang, while another battle was fought at Nuranang near Tawang. Another Tawang battle site is located at Bumla and Tongpen La in Tawang district. Even though India lost the war, there are a number of memorials in and around Tawang dedicated to the brave soldiers who fought in the battle of Tawang.

To Know More About Tawang

Tawang Sightseeing, Arunachal Pradesh

Tawang Tour Packages

Mesmerizing Arunachal Pradesh

Trip to Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Blog posts on Tawang

Another spectacular sight at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh

The giant statue of Buddha in Tawang

Lumla Dolma Lhakhang (Tawang)

Tawang War Memorial

Tawang Monastery, the largest in India

Take a stroll at Pankang Teng Tso Lake in Tawang

Places to visit in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Tawang - A breathtaking place on Arunachal offering a memorable vacation

Homestays and Accommodation in Tawang

Tawang Homestay, Arunachal Pradesh

Mandrel Khang, Arunachal Pradesh

Tara Homestay, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Dondrub Homestay, Arunachal Pradesh

Tashi Homestay, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Chumey Yangzom Homestay, Arunachal Pradesh

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