Amidst the mighty Himalayas, Tawang boasts breathtaking landscapes that will leave you awe-inspired. From snow-capped mountains to crystal-clear lakes and lush green valleys, nature lovers will find themselves in paradise. The iconic Sela Pass, located at an altitude of 13,700 feet, offers panoramic views that will take your breath away. Capture the serenity of Pankang Teng Tso Lake, also known as Ptso Lake, and immerse yourself in its tranquil surroundings. Prepare to be mesmerized as we uncover the wonders of Tawang and offer valuable insights for planning your own visit.
Overview of Tawang
Tawang’s territory has a long history that dates back thousands of years. The Monpa people, who are thought to be descended from the Mongoloid line, lived there. The Mahayana branch of Buddhism is largely practiced by Monpas.
The founding of the Tawang Monastery, also known as the Galden Namgyal Lhatse, was the most important development in Tawang’s history. In the 17th century, Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso established the monastery. According to legend, the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, chose the monastery’s site in a vision.
Tawang’s history was significantly influenced by its proximity to Tibet. The area had long-standing cultural and religious ties to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, and was traditionally a part of Tibet. However, the British Raj established political control over the area during the early 20th century, and it eventually became a part of British India.
The line between Tibet and India’s northeastern area was the subject of a border dispute between India and China after India earned independence from British rule in 1947. As a result, the Sino-Indian War broke out in 1962, which saw Tawang briefly fall under Chinese rule before India recaptured it.
Culture of Tawang
Tawang’s culture is strongly influenced by the customs and beliefs of the Monpa tribe, who make up the majority of the local populace. The style of life, religious convictions, and artistic expressions of the Monpa tribe have a significant influence on Tawang’s cultural history. Tawang’s attractiveness and attraction are enhanced by the chance for visitors to see and engage with this distinctive culture.
Tawang is well known for its monastic heritage and is home to a sizable number of Buddhist monks. Tawang monks follow a strict and austere lifestyle devoted to practicing Buddhism. They observe a rigorous schedule that includes studying Buddhist texts, practicing meditation, and participating in monastic rites and ceremonies. Monks carry out a variety of tasks inside the monastery and take part in volunteer work. In addition to learning about Buddhism, visitors to Tawang can observe their rituals and take in the tranquil atmosphere of monastic life.
Places to Visit in Tawang
Tawang is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty and cultural landmarks. Here are some prominent places to visit in Tawang:
1.Tawang Monastery: The famous Tawang Monastery, also known as Galden Namgyal Lhatse, is the largest Buddhist monastery in India and a well-liked pilgrimage site for Buddhists. Situated 3,000 meters above sea level, this monastery is the second largest in the world. The monastery is believed to be 400 years old and is in charge of 17 gompas in the region. It is home to over 300 monks and was intended to be a large mansion. The monastery’s stunning architecture, priceless artwork, and serene setting make it a must-visit site.
2. Sela Pass: At an elevation of about 13,700 feet, Sela Pass provides captivating views of picturesque landscapes, pristine lakes, and snow-capped mountains. It offers a fascinating experience and is a well-liked place for tourists to stop while traveling to Tawang.
3. Madhuri Lake (Shonga-Tser Lake): This charming lake became well-known after appearing in a Bollywood film starring Madhuri Dixit. The serene lake, encircled by snow-capped peaks, provides a peaceful environment and amazing vistas.
4. Nuranang Falls: Nuranang Falls, also called Jang Falls, is a magnificent waterfall about 40 km from Tawang, close to Jang. Nestled amidst verdant foliage, the waterfall, rising to a height of approximately 100 meters, offers a mesmerizing spectacle.
5. Tawang War Memorial: Standing tall as a monument to the valiant soldiers, the Tawang War Memorial is devoted to the martyrs of the 1962 Sino-Indian War. The memorial has a gallery displaying old photos and documents, a museum, and a stupa.
6. Gorichen Peak: Gorichen Peak is well-liked by nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its stunning views of the surrounding Himalayan ranges, it is the highest peak in Arunachal Pradesh. Situated at an elevation of 22,500 feet above sea level, this peak is roughly 164 kilometers from Tawang. Those looking for an adrenaline rush can go on trekking or mountaineering expeditions to Gorichen Peak.
7. P.T. Tso Lake: Pankang Teng Tso Lake, also called P.T. Tso Lake, is a placid lake encircled by verdant meadows and snow-capped peaks. The lake’s unspoiled beauty and serene atmosphere make it the perfect place to unwind and take pictures.
8. Jaswant Garh: Jaswant Garh, a memorial to the courageous Indian soldier Jaswant Singh Rawat, who bravely fought during the 1962 Sino-Indian War, is situated approximately 21 km from Tawang. In addition to providing expansive mountain views, the location honors the sacrifices made by the Indian armed forces.
Things to do in Tawang
There are several exciting things to do in Tawang. Here are some activities you can enjoy during your visit:
Trekking and Hiking: Tawang offers stunning landscapes and numerous trekking opportunities. Embark on a trek to Gorichen Peak or Bum La Pass for breathtaking views of the Himalayas. Explore the scenic trails, encounter diverse flora and fauna, and experience the thrill of adventure.
Rafting in Kameng River: Raft along the powerful currents of the Kameng River for an exhilarating experience amidst the rich tribal culture, the splendor of Mother Nature, dense forests, the opulent riverine system, and astounding biodiversity.
Enjoy Local Cuisine: Indulge in the delectable Monpa cuisine of Tawang. Try traditional dishes like Thukpa (noodle soup), Momos (dumplings), and Gyapa Khazi (meat dish). Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the local butter tea, a unique beverage made with yak butter.
Interact with Locals: Engage with the friendly Monpa people and learn about their culture and way of life. Visit villages, interact with locals, and gain insights into their traditions, customs, and folklore.
Best Time To Visit Tawang
Tawang is located at a high altitude, and the weather conditions can change rapidly. In Tawang, summer i.e. May to June is regarded as the busiest travel season. The temperature is still pleasant, ranging from 10°C to 25°C. There is more time for outdoor activities and exploration because the days are longer. It’s the perfect time to explore the area’s lakes, waterfalls, and monasteries.
Tawang experiences bitterly cold winters with lows below zero. A thick layer of snow has blanketed the area, turning it into a charming winter wonderland. Although Tawang is incredibly beautiful in the winter, getting around can be difficult due to the bitter cold and lots of snow. When arranging a visit during this time, it is advised to be well-prepared with warm clothing and to confirm that the road is accessible.
How to Reach Tawang
Visiting Tawang can be an adventurous journey due to its remote location in the northeastern part of India. Here are the different modes of transportation to reach Tawang:
1.By Air: The nearest airport to Tawang is Tezpur Airport, also known as Salonibari Airport, located in Tezpur, Assam. From Tezpur, you can hire a taxi or take a shared cab to Tawang, which is approximately a 9 to 10-hour drive. However, flight services to Tezpur can be limited, and flights may not operate daily.
2. By Road: The most common route to reach Tawang by road is as follows:
- Guwahati to Tawang: The distance between Guwahati, Assam, and Tawang is around 520 km. You can hire a taxi or take a shared cab from Guwahati to Tawang. The journey takes approximately 12 to 14 hours, depending on road conditions and traffic.
- Tezpur to Tawang: From Tezpur, you can take the road route to Tawang, which is around 320 km. The journey takes approximately 9 to 10 hours. Shared cabs and taxis are available from Tezpur to Tawang.
It is noteworthy that the road trip to Tawang passes through high-altitude passes such as Sela Pass and mountainous terrain. Hiring a skilled driver who knows the route is advised because the roads can be difficult.
To visit Tawang, Indian tourists require a special Inner Line Permit (ILP), which can be obtained from the Arunachal Pradesh tourism office in Guwahati, Tezpur, or online through the Arunachal Pradesh tourism website. Foreign tourists require a Protected Area Permit (PAP), which can be obtained from the Indian Missions abroad or from the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Guwahati, Kolkata, or New Delhi.
It is recommended to check the current permit requirements and regulations before planning your trip, as they are subject to change.
Reaching Tawang requires careful planning and consideration due to the remote location and challenging terrain. It is advisable to plan your trip well in advance, keep buffer days for possible delays, and prepare for the high-altitude journey.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
One of Arunachal Pradesh’s most well-known tourist attractions is Tawang. Tawang, which is 10,000 feet above sea level, enthralls you with its unmatched natural beauty.
Tawang’s late November and early December are excellent times to see the snowfall. In Tawang, snowfall typically begins in early November and continues through May. It is advisable to get in touch with local travel agencies to find out the weather conditions in advance if you are planning to visit Tawang during the winter.