Monpas and Gompas
At 11,155 ft near Indo-Burma border, Arunachal Pradesh
Go there for :
Treks, Angling, Monasteries
Max 29° C; Min (-)5.5° C
When to Go:
Tawang - 10,000ft, Thingbu - 11,000 ft, Lumla - 8,000 ft
STD Code :
+91 - 3794
Your very route to this 11,155 ft hill-station - Tawang, will hint
you about what to expect. Picture postcard landscapes flaked with sprightly
colored monasteries (Gompas) and the sound of thundering waterfalls and hot
water springs freeze your senses and you will have to shake your head to
remind yourself, This is real! Bathed in the quintessential halo
of Buddhism, Tawang is still more Tibetan than Indian. The grandiose of the
myriad orchids and the warmth of the local Monpa tribes help you ward off
the bone-numbing breeze of the Himalayas. God, the Himalayas and the devoted
jawans (army-men) stand as undaunted sentinels protecting this land from the
Chinese and evil-eye.
Tawang Monastery :
against the verdant landscape is the 400 years old Galden Namgyal Lhatse,
popular with the tourist-tongue as the Tawang monastery. It is said that the
whole structure was brought from Tibet, piece by piece, on horseback and
assembled here. Besides its famed assemblage gold lettered Buddhist
scriptures, images, tapestries and the rare hand-written and block-painted
thankas or manuscripts of revered books (in the Parkhang Hall), it is held
significant in the Mahayana Buddhist world for the 26-ft high gilded Buddha
housed in its inner sanctum over headed by a mural rich ceiling. The name of
Tawang means horse chosen, a reference to the way in which Meera
Lamas horse wandered off on its own and discovered the perfect spot on
which the monastery now stands.
Urgelling Mobastery :
The 6th Dalai Lama was born of a Monpa mother
in this monastery, 5 km away from Tawang.
Nunneries of Tawang :
The Brahma Dungchung Ani Gompa, the Gyanganga
Ani Gompa and the Singsur Ani Gompa are the important ones amongst the flock
of nunneries near Tawang whose nuns are known to follow stricter norms than
their male counterparts.
Se La Pass :
Your very route to Tawang will be via this enigma
perched 13,714 ft high (worlds third highest). The vista is best
termed enrapturing -- raise your head some 45° and behold
the Se La Peak; next droop it 90° to discover the glorious curves of
the Se La Lake.
Zimithang & the Lakes :
The impressive Gorsam Stupa, the Tatsang
gompa, the Khinme monastery and the Singshur nunnery here attract tourists
visiting Tawang to this place just a stone-throw away. As your vehicle
grinds its way up to the Heap of Stones, the LAC with China,
lakes appear - bright turquoise or brooding gray according to the mood of
the sky. The Sangeshar Lake, more popular as the Madhuri Lake after the
Bollywood actress who starred in a film song (Koyla) canned here is one
must-replenish beauty. The Lake freezes in winters.
Tawang for Adventurers :
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.
The Craft Center of the Tawang Monastery produces fine woolen
carpets in various colorful designs. Items that could make excellent buys
are Serdukpen shawls, Apatani jackets and scarves, Adi skirts, Mishmi
shawls, blouses and jackets, wancho bags.
There are Craft- Centers at Bomdila and Tawang producing very fine carpets
of colorful designs and works. Carpets in ethnic Tibetan designs are very
popular, made of pure wool.
Tibetan food is what you will find here at Tawangs every
eatery. Related Chinese cuisine, and lately, due to tourist demands, Indian
food of the plains is also served. Apong is the local drink made from rice
or mallet. Butter-tea is an Arunachal speciality and momos, a local
favorite. The restaurants of your hotels are the best bet, while those with
a street-food fixation can hunt for
(52 km): En route Tawang from Tezpur, you can
stop by at Bhalukpong before or after your main destination. Another
postcard-perfect locale, for the North-Eastern vacationers this is one of
their favorite weekend picnicking joint. The Pakhul Sanctuarys
wildlife embellishments and the Orchid Research Center at Tipi with some 600
species (including indigenous ones like Ladies Sleeper), are the
prides of Bhalukpong, besides its gurgling streamlets.
(143 km): A concoction of some unique attractions make Dirang
an excellent stop-over on your trip back from Tawang. Look out for the
Kalchakra Monastery, Ngingmapa Monastery, kiwi and apple orchards, hot-water
springs, Yak Research Center, medicinal plantations, Dirang Dzong (former
Tibetan Jail), Sangti Valley (home of Black Neck Siberian Crane during
winter). Dirang hosts the Buddha Mahotsav Festival every February-end with
activities like Monastic Dances, Bay-Warrior dance, Sherbang Procession,
flower and orchid show, food festival, hiking and trekking, traditional
games and sports, you name it!
(190 km): Another orchid-apple love-story will arrest your
jaunt on your way to Tawang. Bomdilla is just excellent for your trekking,
picnics and eco-tourism camps and the plummetted orchards, monasteries,
forests, waterfalls and more than inviting for a day-long exploration - all
on foot. The Craft center here is recommended for your souvenir buys.
Irresistible, yes, but better save it to douse your Tawang hangover on your
(la, incidentally means a pass): This is where the Indian and
Chinese force commanders on either side of the border meet every six months
to sort out any minor problems. Bum-La does not have the non-commercial
innocence of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh separated from the plains by the
Brahmaputra, reserve forests and the gradually ascending Himalayas. At
Jaswant Singh Garh, near the Bumla Pass, the story of heroism of some Indian
soldiers is retold. This is where Jaswant Singh of the 4th Battalion Garhwal
Rifles held off the enemy for 72 hours single-handedly. Army convoys on the
way to the border make it a point to stop and pay homage at the beautifully
maintained memorial. The jawans (soldiers of the Indian army) at the outpost
treat everybody passing through with tea.
Hop next to: Kaziranga
, Manas National Park, Kohima (Nagaland)