Tawang - A tete a tete with the city :
Also known as : Galden Namgey Lhatse
Location : Northeastern part of India, Arunachal Pradesh
Best time to visit : All through the year
Local Transport : Buses, Cars and Private taxis
Places to see : Tawang Monastery, Gompas
Souvenirs : Cane articles, bamboo products and shawls
Tawang - The Tale of the city :
Tawang was the place where the Monpas used to live. These Monpas were the heads of the kingdom of Mon. This extended from Sikkim to Tawang. Then the Bhutan rulers and also the Tibet kings occupied this area. Tawang was in Tibet earlier and became a part of India after the famous Mc Mohan Line of 1914. Indian rule started here in 1951 and thus the Monpa rule ended. Tawang was captured by the Chinese in 1962, but then after the Chinese soldiers went back, it again became a part of India. It is believed that the Dalai Lama came to India through Tawang, the land of the Tawang monastery. Indians welcomed his visit though China didn’t favour it. When he visited India in 2009, the Indians welcomed him with full festivity and decoration. More than 30,000 people from all the countries nearby listened to his discourse on religion.
Tawang - Down the Ages :
Tawang, the Dalai Lama discourse land today has around 20,000 people living here. There are around 163 villages where the Monpas live. Tibetans and a group of tribes called the Takpa are also found in this place. The religion followed here is Tibetan Buddhism, Shamanist and Pre Buddhist Bon. The Tawang people celebrate the festivals of Choskar, Losar, and Torgya as annual festivals. Dungyur is also a festival that is celebrated after every three years of Torgya.
Tawang - A Rendezvous :
To know Tawang better, let us understand how it functions. Basically, it has around 16 districts for administration. Located at a varied height of 6,000 to 22,000 feet, the climate is cool here. The West Kameng District connects it to the east and the south. Tawang has the country of Bhutan in the west and Tibet in the north. Adi, Bhotia and Monpas are the tribes living here and there is lot of military troops here as it is in the borderline of the two countries. Tawanga, Jang and Lumla are further sub divisions of the city. Kitpi and Tawang are the two administrative divisions. The Lumla again has 4 more subdivided zones of Bongkhar, Lumla, Zemithang, and Dudunghar.
Tawang - Travel kitty :
Anyone coming to Tawang would come mostly to see the monastery which is world famous. Besides, this travel kitty is provided by the handicrafts zone found here. This centre promoting small scale industry is famous for its variety of carpets made of wool, and also lovely shawls. Besides, Tawang, the shopping zone also gives the shoes and the famous chubbas. Souvenir selling shops are found in plenty here and the Buddhist prayer wheel is also an important item of shopping here. Besides this, the colorful wood, wrap round skirts for women, lovely brassware, decorative bags ,items of colorful wood and statues of Buddha are the ideal travel kitty. Thus the travel kitty here is quite interesting and fills the visitor’s curiosity.
Tawang - Joie de vivre in the city :
Tawang is a land of agriculture as the tribals here have that as their major occupation. With the climate very cold here, the sheep and the yak are bred in plenty. Tawang means the Chosen Horse. The beauty of coming to this place also lies in the varieties of orchids found here. In spite of the fact that one needs a special permit to visit this place, yet the tourists like to come here, go around and enjoy the place. The beautiful scenic beauty as one travels by road is unbeatable. The Bomdila Pass, Sela Pass, Jaswant Garh are areas we pass when we reach Tawang, the beautiful land. A person who visits Tawang sees the following places:
Tawang Monastery : Merag Iama Lodre Gyatso found this historical monument in the 17th century. People say that marag Lama once prayed in a cave to ask for guidance when he saw that his horse wasn’t there outside where he had left it. He searched for it and found it on the top of a hill. So, Marag Lama built a monastery there as he felt the horse was giving a sign of the Divine. Today that is the Tawang monastery. It is also said that this monastery was found as per the desire of Nagwang Lobsang Gyatso, the fifth Dalai Lama. Belonging to the Gelugpa sect, it is believed to be the biggest Buddhist kind of monastery in India. Drepung Monastery is related to it. Tawang is also known as the Galden Namgey Lhatse which actually means a heavenly paradise in a night which is clear. The sixth Dalai Lama was born here. Today there are around 500 Lamas living here.
Jaswant Garh : Dedicated to the Army war, this memorial is a memento for all the soldiers of the Indo - Sino War. Jaswant Singh Rawat was a brave soldier who the battle against the Chinese for occupying Tawang. This occurred during the Nuranang battle. He received the Mahavir Chakra after he died.
Jang Falls : The scenic beauty of this lovely waterfall is a sight not to miss. It is situated around a kilometer away from the town of Jang. This spectacular place is a sure visit.
P.T.Tso Lake : Located just above the city of Tawang, this lake is frozen for more than 4months in a year. The splendid views here and the amazing sights are a perfect treat for the traveler’s eye.
Trekking and Adventure :
With its beautiful surroundings and the mountain backdrop, this land of winter snow, with its height provides the ideal base for Adventure and Trekking. If all the heights here could be achieved, the trekker would have filled with delight. But not all altitudes are accessible. The trekking trails of Tawang enthrall the visitor, and the nature lovers simply enjoy the whole experience. The fresh air of the mountains and the splendid scenic beauty give the right ambience for trekking. Thingbu, Goi ichen, Mago, Kungba, Bhramadongchung Ani gompa are all trekking spots of importance.
There are many Gompas all over Tawang. It is a good experience to rotate the prayer wheels found outside these gompas. Monks in these Gompas are co-operative and love to chat with the tourists.
There are small beautiful lakes dotted all over the city and the glacier lakes are even more beautiful. The history of the Gompas adds to the beauty. These lakes have verdant expanses surrounding them and an occasional grazing yak is not an uncommon sight.
Bhalukpung Orchid Sanctuary : This is a place where the tourist gets to see a collection of orchids. All these are grown under glass.
Tawang - Entertainment Factor :
To enjoy Tawang, one can start with the delicacies found here. Momos, thupka, zan which is the staple Monpa dish made out of millet, khura the pancake, Gyapa Khazi a kind of mixed rice, are all delicacies which a tourist can try and enjoy the feel of travel. The Monpas of Tawang are people who believe in living life king-size and enjoy every occasion and event. Songs and dances are a way of life for the people of Tawang. They are not violent and have many secret religious customs known only to them. The people of Tawang are peace loving mostly and tend to their yak and also are known to brew alcohol on their own. With all these interesting and enjoyable characteristics, Tawang exudes the right kind of ambience for an interested traveler who gets intrigued and curious about the customs and culture here. As he comes to this place and enjoys the ambience he goes back with a lot more to remember and many more tales to tell. Tawang thus is a land of mystery, intrigue and religious practices. With all this in tow, it still remains a nice hill resort to visit and is a memorable experience.
Thus with the beautiful history, and the ancient past, Tawang is a beautiful place to visit.
As a person leaves this place, he thinks “Peaceful is the land where the Dalai Lama tread.”