Tawang – a small town in the remote North East corner of India is an unexplored hidden treasure of “Incredible India”. A tour of Tawang is a journey where your heart gets filled with Buddhist chants, benign monks and heavenly views of the nature at every step. This spiritually enlightened Buddhist outpost offer a fine blend of sightseeing and adventure.
Where is Tawang?
The town of Tawang at an altitude of 3048 m above sea level is the district headquarters of Tawang district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Tawang – the beautiful land of the Monpa tribe is an important strategic location for India because of its closeness to the international borders of China and Bhutan.
Located remotely cut-off from civilization, the small hill town of Tawang is best known for China’s invasion during 1962, the world famous Tawang Monastery and the politically important McMahon line that passes through the town. It is the remoteness of Tawang that has kept its beauty and serenity intact that unravels at every bend.
A tour of Tawang will amaze you by the exotic landscapes that looked like another world. Nourish your souls to the heavenly views, immerse yourself in the serenity and marvel that nature has in store for you at Tawang. This earthly paradise in the North-west extremity of Arunachal Pradesh is one of the first places to witness snowfall in Indian Himalayas. Tawang is an adventure seekers paradise and offers wonderful trekking opportunity to travellers while on a holiday in Tawang.
Buddhism reigns in all its glory at Tawang. The only sounds heard are the silence in the air, the chants of monks and the beats of traditional Buddhist instruments.
Sightseeing in Tawang
Tawang tour with a heady mix of nature’s grandeur, Buddhism and history offers a number of options for sightseeing in and around Tawang. Here is an account of some of the most popular Tawang sightseeing spots:
Undoubtedly the most popular sightseeing spot of Tawang is the Tawang Monastery which is an important seat of Mahayana Buddhism. This 400 year old Tawang monastery from which the town and in fact the district derives its name is the largest Buddhist monastery in India.
Situated right on the hill-top, the monastery dominates the whole landscape and an aura of purity radiates from this ancient structure.
Founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in accordance with the wishes of the fifth Dalai Lama, the Tawang Monastery is also known in Tibetan as Galden Namgey Lhatse, which translates to ‘celestial paradise in a clear night.’
The Tawang Monastery, which is the second biggest and oldest in Asia is three stories high and houses 65 residential buildings for monks, a museum, a school for basic education, a three-storied library and a few other structures. The three-storied Parkhang library inside the monastery complex with valuable old scriptures mainly Kanjur and Tanjur numbering 850 bundles is believed to hold the secrets of Tibetan Buddhism.
Covering an area of 135 sq. meters and enclosed by a compound wall of 610 meter long, the monastery at Tawang is no less than a fortified complex. The monastery controls 17 gompas and a few nunneries in the region.
The main building comprising of the temple and prayer hall is an exquisite example of art. A giant 27 ft. golden Buddha statue stands at the centre of the temple. Images of life and death and of Buddhist mysticism elaborately displayed on every wall translate the whole place into a canvas of art.
To watch an incredible video on the 400 year old Tawang monastery click HERE.
Tawang War Memorial
The second most popular Tawang sightseeing spot is the Tawang War Memorial. The 40-foot high memorial dedicated to the martyrs of the 1962 Indo-China war is located on a slope just before reaching the main town of Tawang.
This memorial, locally referred to as the ‘Namgyal Chortan’ has names of 2420 dead soldiers etched in gold on 32 black granite plaques. The memorial is flanked by two memorial halls –– one houses personal articles of the martyrs, maps, photographs and remains of the war; while the other is used for a sound and light show in the evening depicting the heroic deeds of the martyrs.
Stupa shaped Tawang War Memorial is nestled among picturesque snow-capped peaks overlooking the imposing Tawang-Chu valley. This scenic location ensures that the tourists get a chance to soak in the pristine nature, while admiring the heroic deeds of our unsung heroes.
The only road that connects the Buddhist town of Tawang with the rest of the world passes through Sela Pass. The awesome beauty of this high altitude pass makes it a popular sightseeing spot of Tawang tour.
At an altitude of 4170 m Sela Pass is in fact world’s second highest motorable pass. The Sela Pass located at a distance of about 78 Km from Tawang remains snow covered to some extent all through the year. Though the region receives heavy snowfall during winter months, the Sela Pass remains open all throughout the year unless landslides or snow require the pass to be shut down temporarily.
With awesome heavenly views all round and a very beautiful lake nearby, the tourists visiting Sela Pass will definitely appreciate the hardship in reaching here. The ever-windy Sela Pass is also known to be a place where the weather keeps changing every five minutes.
To watch an awesome video on the thrill of crossing the Sela Pass, click HERE.
Pankang Teng Tso Lake
You may be amazed to know that the district of Tawang has more than 108 lakes, and this is probably the largest concentrations of lake found anywhere else in the world. Out of these the Pankang Teng Tso Lake situated at a distance of about 17 Km from Tawang town is the most beautiful and is a popular sightseeing spot in Tawang.
This natural lake formed by the water of the melting snow offers a soothing and tranquil atmosphere to the tourists. Calmness of the crystal clear blue water, silently moving clouds, abundance of Lazuli flowers all around, chirping of birds and the grandeur of nature are some of the snap shots that best describes the beauty of the Pankang Teng Tso Lake.
Two other lakes that are quite popular sightseeing spot in Tawang are – Sangetser Lake and Banggachang Lake. The Sangester Lake situated about 42 km from Tawang became popular after shooting of a dance sequence for the movie Koyla and has since been rechristened as Madhuri Lake.
Just 20 Km from Tawang town is the spectacular Nurunang Waterfall which can easily be ranked as one of the five best waterfalls of India. This 100 m high huge waterfall is also known as Jang Waterfall as it is located 2 Km detour from the town of Jang on the road connecting Tawang and Bomdila.
This hidden gem of Tawang Tour first came to limelight when a song from the Bollywood movie Koyla featuring superstar Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit, Tanhai Tanhai Tanhai was shot here and at Sangetser Lake in 1997. The spectacle of huge volumes of milky white water hurtling down into the river below throwing up sprays up to several feet high provides an exhilarating experience.
To experience the beauty and vigour of this wondrous waterfall which can easily be ranked among the best waterfalls of the country, click HERE.
Tawang tour can never get complete without visiting the Jaswant Garh Memorial that stands as a fitting tribute to the valiant warrior of Indian soldier Jaswant Singh Rawat. A rifleman of the fourth battalion of the Garhwal Rifles, Rawat immortalized himself by virtue of his excellent deed of bravado in the 1962 Indo-China war where he fought an undaunted and continuous battle for 72 hours.
This war memorial located at Nuranang, about 25 kms from Tawang and 14 Km from Sela Pass stands at the same place where the Chinese invaders captured and hanged Jaswant Singh Rawat.
Set in scenic terrain just below the Sela pass this temple-like Jaswant Garh memorial has a garlanded bronze bust of Jaswant Singh, a portrait of the war hero and his belongings including the Army uniform, cap, watch and belt. It is more of a temple than a war memorial for Indian Army soldiers.
Some of the other popular sightseeing spots in Tawang tour includes: Khinmey Gumfa, Urgelling Gompa, Bhramdungchung Ani Gompa, Jong-Nga-Tser Lake, Taktsang Gompa, Bab-Theng-Khang (BTK) waterfall, Gorzam Chorten Zemithang and the 600 year old unique iron chain bridge named Chagzam Bridge over Tawang – Chu River.
How to reach Tawang?
The nearest Domestic Airport from Tawang is Salonibari Airport at Tezpur at a distance of about 330 Km (roughly seven hour drive from Tawang). It is well connected to Kolkata, Guwahati and other domestic airports. The nearest International Airport from Tawang is Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati, roughly 480 Km from Tawang.
Rangapara North is the nearest railhead from Tawang. From Rangapara North railway station one can reach Tawang at a distance of about 324 Km in 8 hours by car. However Guwahati railway station at a distance of around 540 Km is a better option as Guwahati is very well connected with all the major cities of India.
Tawang town is connected with Guwahati, Tezpur and in fact with rest of the country via Sela Pass. One can reach Tawang from other parts of the country via Guwahati and Tezpur in Assam. From Guwahati (Assam) or Tezpur (Assam), one has to go to Bhalukpong in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and from there via Bomdila and Sela Pass one can go to Tawang by road.
Where to stay at Tawang?
Tawang being a popular tourist destination of Arunachal Pradesh has a number of good hotels to suit the need of various travellers. Account of some of the prominent Tawang hotels are given below:
Gayki Khang Zhang
This is one of the best and popular of Tawang hotels that provides a host of facilities. For all the gracious comfort and elegance of your home this is one of the best hotels of Tawang.
For all the more information on hotel Gayki Khang Zhang click HERE. You can also contact the hotel at its phone numbers: + 91 3794 224647/48/49.
Hotel Zax Star
Nestled in the heart of nature and surrounded by snow-capped Himalayan ranges, Hotel Zax Star is an ideal place to spend your holiday in Tawang. Located among the lakes and mountains in Tawang, the hotel offers an exotic living in a homely atmosphere with all the comforts that a traveler asks for.
For all the more information about this Tawang hotel just click HERE. You can also call the hotel reception at its number: 03794 224652/224280/09862220859.
Dolma Group of Hotels
The group has three different hotels in its kitty. Tourists can choose from a variety of options offered, ranging from modern hotel stay amidst the busy market area to a pleasant and peaceful home stay away from the chaotic town.
Hotel Dolma is a budget hotel of the group where tourists don’t have to compromise on necessities. It is cozy yet inexpensive.
Hotel Dolma Chhinkar is situated in the heart of the Tawang town. Here you will have the option to get mingled with the sweet locals of the town. The hotel has the class and the comfort you deserve.
Dolma Khangsar Guest House is one of the best staying option available in the Tawang Town. Situated just a few steps away from The Majestic Tawang Monstery, you can feel peace and spirituality like you have never felt before.
For all the more information about this Tawang hotel just click HERE. You can also call the hotel reception at its number: 03794-223271/222327, +91-09886808206, +91-09686760517, +91-9436051011, +91-9436252319.
For a list of hotels and lodges in Tawang click HERE.
About the Author: Hi! friends, travelling is my passion and my only hobby. High mountains to deep seas, lush green forests to barren deserts, holy places to sites of historical importance, - every beautiful place attracts me the same way. I want everyone to feel the same and so through my writing I intend to take you all to a virtual trip to all those lovely places that I have visited.