Fast Facts :
Location : Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India.
Established by : Mera Lama Lodre Gyasto.
Founded in : 17th Century.
Type of : Tibetan Buddhist.
Best season to visit : During the month of October to April.
Know about the Tawang Monastery :
The Tawang Monastery is also recognized as the "Galden Namgyal Lhatse" which was founded by the ‘Merak Lama Lodre Gyamtso’ in the earlier period of 1860 to 1861 A.D. This holy shrine is situated at the start of a steep hill, which is elevated at a height of 10,000 feet above low lying area. There are various deep valleys nestled in natural beauty which lies in the west and south, narrow edge on the northern part and a steady slope on the eastern part.
The Tawang Monastery lies with the background of stunning hills and mountains that offers a picturesque view to the visitors. While exploring in this sacred place, the most spectacular site to watch is the Tawang- Chu valley, which gives a panoramic view of the natural beauty. The religious monastery appears similarly like an ancient fort when you look Culture from a far distance. It looks like it guards the devotees in this wide deep valley below. Tawang monastery is the most significant sacred place situated in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. It is one of the largest holy shrines of Buddhist religion in Indian country and ranks at the 2nd position for the largest shrine in Asia. The Tawang Moanstery is so large that it has the capacity to accommodate around seven hundred monks, but, the real number of occupant Lamas (Monks) today is some more than three hundred. This religious residence of Tawang placed in the Arunachal Pradesh state is the origin of the religious and peaceful life of the devotee’s lives in this region. To witness this sacred place of this state, people from all around the world including the national and international come here to worship their Buddhist deities.
Majority of the tourist hail here are the monks and other foreigners that travel from other countries. It is the most important pilgrimage center in Arunachal Pradesh of India where the monks reside here and give the teachings of Buddhism. If you are planning to revive your soul with the spirituality of Buddhism, make sure you visit the Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh at India. Majority of the tourist come here in the month of October to April, which is known as the ideal time to visit this pilgrimage center. It is a perfect place to trip for one day picnic in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India.
The construction of Tawang Monastery :
The Tawang Monastery is the most important sacred place which is nestled in the popular tourist destination of Arunachal Pradesh. The main construction of this holy shrine is build similarly like a royal fort of Kings. A large number of tourist and visitors come to witness not only this religious place but to see the beautiful structure. The architecture and the design of the Tawang Monastery are valued to see when you take a tour to this state in your vacation. The religious residence of Tawang is divided into various small structures which lie within the premises of this holy shrine.
Dukhang - Assembly Hall :
The most impressive building situated within the Tawang Monastery is the big assembly hall, which is named as the "Dukhang". The structure of the building is three storied that stands on the northern part of the court and also houses the holy temple and "Labrang." This place is originally established by the superior of an abbey of monks.
The inner walls of the assembly hall are adorned by the huge wall paintings of the various saints and divinities that enhance the place more with spirituality. The communion table in the hall covers the whole area of the northern wall. Exactly to the left side of the Lord’s Table, a silver jewel casket is concealed with silk cloth, containing the Thankas. By the Buddhist monks, it is generally written as “Thangkas” or “Tankas”. The Thankas that are placed in the hall is dedicated to the Goddess Sri Devi known as "Palden Lhamo." It is the main deity that resides in this religious monastery, which was set to the founder of the Tawang Monastery Merak Lama, mainly by the fifth Dalai Lama. The Thankas that were painted on the interior wall surface with blood that was pulled out from the nose of the fifth Dalai Lama. The beautiful murals later came to be identified as the "Ja-Droi-ma", which means, it had the affection of a small bird. It symbolized that the Tankas or the Thanka was one of the living type.
While exploring in the religious residence, this place is more adorned and enhanced by the huge statue of Lord Buddha that is placed exactly in center of the north part. The massive golden statue is positioned in a sitting posture on a big platform; the whole body of Lord Buddha rises up and ends up with an enormous head that crosses the first floor. Among all the statues of Lord Buddha in the word, it is one of the largest images that are placed in the Tawang Monastery, which measures at a height of over 26 feet.
Grand entrance of Tawang Monastery :
The entrance of the Tawang Monastery is placed from the northern part along with the ridge. Just closer to the doorway of the monastery, you can see a building lodging the "Dung-Gyur Mani." This is the place from where the fresh water is fetched out for use in this religious residence. While exploring the holy shrine, towards the south there is an entrance gate known as the 'Kakaling.' It is a small house structured like a hut with two extended walls that are made by rock stones. The two lateral walls serve as a doorway to enter the monastery. Inside the Kakaling, the ceilings are painted with the Kying-khors or also known as the Mandalas. The interior walls are mainly painted with beautiful murals of the holy saints and divinities. Subsequently passing across the Kakaling, you will see a big gate without any door, which is placed in the southern part of the monastery.
Further to the southern side stands a main gate which is a door way for entering the monastery. This gate is fixed with giant doors and is positioned in the north part of the wall in Tawang monastery. The walls to the eastern side start off from the outer gate and it encloses the whole eastern side of this holy shrine. The gate measures at a height varies around 10 to 20 feet and in length it is around nine hundred and twenty five feet. In this pilgrimage center, there are many grand entrances or gate, but the most popular one is placed in the southern part of its wall. Even this massive door is adorned with a huge door that enhances the place with more glory.
Near the gates there are 2 long narrow openings on the surface of the wall, which was used to observe the outer area through these slits. It was also used by the soldiers, where they place their gag loaded gun to attack the enemies by firing on them. This narrow path leads right along the outermost part of the eastern surface wall that connects to Kakaling gate. According to the mythological stories, it is believed that the thread given by the fifth Dalai Lama to the founder of the Tawang Monastery named Merak Lama has wrapped the area with four walls bordered.
Court of Tawang Monastery :
Visitors from all corners of the world come to witness this place just to see the interesting structure of the monastery. The paths here are paved and run from the huge main gate that leads toward the back of the Tawang Monastery. And then finally the smooth cemented path will lead you towards the stone block court. The court in this religious residence is mainly used to perform traditional dances and other outdoor ceremonies that are organized here. The whole eastern one-half of this monastery is enclosed with the residential quarters around sixty that are known as the "Sha", which means huts. This Sha are mainly the house where the monks will reside inside it to meditate or chant the name of Lord Buddha. Each of these huts in this residence hall had been constructed by some of the group of tribal on an unpaid basis. The group of the inhabitants, who had a bid hand in constructing the Sha, is also assigned with the responsibility to maintain and even repair them on time.
The three storied structure of Tawang Monastery stands erect on the western part of the rock stone court. Other main attraction of the court is the library, which is known as the "Par-khang." In this library, they are filled with all sort of Holy Scriptures including the long two storied building bordered on the southern part of the court. Among all the attractions and sites within the court, one of the parts of the building is originally used as a store house for the supply of foods to the monks. Another part of the building was occupied by the Dra-tsang buk and his followers that dwell here. In this two storied structure of Tawang Monastery, on the east part of the court is known as the "Rhum-khang", which is originally used as kitchen where food that was offered during the ritual is cooked here. It is also used as a refreshments room where the monks can eat food and drink water in their daily rituals. All this small rooms and other attractions are worth to watch while straying in the religious residence of the Lord Buddha.
Cultural Studies Centre for the Buddhist :
The Tawang Monastery also contains a Cultural Studies Centre for the Buddhist, this is the place where the young monks are trained some subjects related to Hindi, English, Arithmetic, and also the traditional education on monastic. In short, the religious monastery is merely amazing and regal in its own appearance and grandeur. Tourist who are lover of history and spirituality for them Tawang Monastery at Arunachal Pradesh is an idyllic place to visit where they can get a revitalizing experience in their vacation.
Majority of the tourists and locals come to witness this place during the month of October and April, which is considered to be the best time to visit. The Tawang Monastery is the most prominent and significant pilgrimage center in Arunachal Pradesh, India. Besides all the structure and architects of the monastery, they also celebrate festivals that are marked as the most important festive seasons. The main festival that every monk and devotees celebrate here is the Torgya and Losar, which are significant days for Buddhist people. The festival of Tawang is celebrated annually and every devotee waits for the arrival of this special occasion. When the time comes people assemble together and celebrate these festivals in full enthusiasm according to the tradition and culture of Buddhism.
Among the two of them, the Losar festival is celebrated during the month of January, and according to lunar or Monpa calendar, it is marked as the start of the New Year. This special occasion last for around fifteen days and is usually celebrated by lighting the beautiful lamps, hoisting entreaty flags and also offering prayers to their deity. Another popular festival is Torgya, which is celebrated by Lamas, who is the founder of the Tawang Monastery. It last for three days mainly starting from the twentieth day of the 11th month that is December, according to the lunar calendar. On this special occasion, the Mera Lamas build a Torgya, which means, it is a pyramidal structure that is made from barley flour, offering prayers, lightening the lamps at every corner of religious residence, and also performing dance to indicate the conquest of good by the evil spirits.
Other major festival that is celebrated in the Tawang Monastery is the Saka Dawa. According to the lunar calendar, this festival is celebrated on the fourth month that is in the month of April. This special occasion is marked as the enlightenment day of Lord Buddha, where you can get to known about the teachings of Buddhism. Apart from these main two festivals, there are various festive seasons that celebrated all around the year in the Tawang Monastery. The Dukpa Tse-Shi is another popular festive season celebrated here with full joy and happiness by the monks and the pilgrims. As per the lunar calendar, this fest is celebrated during the month of June that is on the sixth month of a year. This main festival is marked as the first preaching of the Lord Buddha. The Lhabab Duechen festival is the sign of the rebirth of the Lord Buddha in his own Shakyamuni form; it is mainly celebrated during the month of September according to the lunar calendar. The Ganden Ngamchoe is the last festival of the year which is celebrated by each and every monk and also by the devotees, they offers prayers to their holy deity. It is celebrated to mark the death anniversary of the Tsongkha-Pa, who was the organizer of the Gelugpa sect.
All the above mentioned festivals and special occasions are popular not only in the Tawang Monastery, but also in Arunachal Pradesh state of India. During the festive season, this religious residence is decorated with fresh flowers and incense sticks are burnt to spread the aroma of spirituality.
Other attractions near to the Tawang Monastery :
This religious residence of Buddhism is situated at a convenient place which is surrounded with the stunning hill terrains. The Tawang Monastery is one of the popular pilgrimage center which lies in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India. There are many other attractions in this place that are renowned for its Buddhism and are known as the sacred place, it includes Bomdila Monastery, Nunneries of Tawang, Rigyalling Monastery, Taktsang Monastery, Pangang-Tang-Tso, and the Urguelling Monastery.