The area of the district is approximately 2,085-sq-kms bordered by Tibet in the North, Bhutan in the Southwest and Sela ranges separate West Kameng district in the East. The name Tawang derives from some bearings on surroundings. But people's interpretation is that the name Tawang was given by Mera Lama in the 17th century.
Land Of Monpas
The inhabitants of the districts are all of Monpa tribes except Shyo village, which is dominated by people of Tibetan origin. The Monpas belong to Mongoloid stock, are well built, and fair in complexion. Their houses are built with stones and timbers. Agriculture and Animal Husbandry are the fundamental means of the Monpas occupation.
Tawang Galden Namgyal Lhatse
The spiritual center of the universe for the Monpas is the Tawang Galden Namgyal Lhatse. This is the divine site believed to have been chosen by the celestial white horse. According to the legend, the site of the Tawang monastery was shown to the Mira Lama in a dream. A white horse pawed the ground, which was to be the site of the monastery.
About forty years of construction work, starting from the 1640s, was needed to complete the structure. After three centuries of peace, this monastery was badly damaged by the Chinese invasion of 1962, with priceless murals and Tankhas (also spelt as Thankas or Thangkas) being destroyed. Reconstruction still goes on in parts of the monastery.
Tawang Library - The Buddhist Treasure House
Another interesting feature is that the Tawang is still "alive" in today's world. Its library is a repository of thousands of block-printed commentaries and treatises on the subject of Mahayana Buddhism. This is a valuable resource for Buddhist scholars in the region. Even the paper used is produced by the Monpas locally, from the bark of the Hong Seng tree.
Prime Attractions of Tawang
After the crops are sown and when there is little agricultural activity, in the seventh month of lunar calendar, a rite known as "Choekor" is organized in the villages by the whole village community with the aim of providing supernatural protection to the crops sown, for good harvest and to drive away evil spirits.
Losar Festival of Tawang Arunachal Pradesh
The New Year festival, called "Losar", is perhaps the most important festival of Tawang District. It generally falls in the last part of February or early part of March and is celebrated with lots of gaiety and festivity, which lasts for 8 to 15 days.
Monpa Dance of Tawang
Besides the Monastic dances performed for three days during Torgya festivals, many other dances are performed on different occasions by the people of Tawang district. Some of the important and popular dances of the area are- Aji Lhamu dance, Yak Dance and lion & peacock dances etc.
Monpa Festival of Tawang
Monpas have a colourful festive heritage. The festivals are associated with agricultural practices and religious occasions. Some Important festivals of the area include Losar, Saga Dawa, Dukpa Tse-Shi, Lhabab Duechen, Ganden Ngamchoe, Torgya.
Monpa Tribe of Tawang
The picturesque Tawang girdled by lofty hills, is the home of the Monpas. There are various versions how this land came to be known as ' Tawang'. The Monpas are of Mongoloid descent. There are legends that the Monpas emigrated from Bhutan and Tibet at different times.
Saga Dawa of Tawang
The fourth month as per lunar calendar is regarded as the holiest period for the Buddhists. This month marks the birth of Lord Buddha, his attainment of supreme enlightenment and his passing into the state of nirvana. It normally falls in the month of May.
Tawang Buddhist Monastery Tours
Merak Lama Lodre Gyamtso founded the famous "Galden Namgyal Lhatse", popularly known as Tawang Monastery in the year 1860-61. The monastery stands on the spur of a hill, about 10,000 feet above sea level.
Torgya is a monastic festival held every year for three days starting from 28th day of the eleventh month of the lunar calendar, which generally falls in the last part of January. In order to drive off evil forces and to ward off any natural calamity.
Urguelling Monastery Tour of Tawang
About 5-km to the south of Tawang Township stands the Urgelling monastery. It was first of the three monasteries built by Urgen Sangpo, the youngest brother of Terton Pempalingpa, the famous Treasure-Revealer.
How To Get There - Tawang
Tezpur in Assam is the nearest airport. There is alliance air flight twice weekly i.e. on Thursday and Sunday from Kolkata to Tezpur and back. The flight takes off from Kolkata airport at 10.30 AM. Other alternative air route is via Guwahati. One can come to Guwahati from New Delhi by Indina Airlines/Zet airways/Sahara airlines flight. There are flights to Guwahati from other parts of the country also. Rangapara in Assam is the nearest railway station to Tawang. But it is advisable to reach Guwahati by trains from other parts of the country. There are a number of trains including Rajdhani Express to Guwahati that best suits to reach the state of Arunachal. From Guwahati one can reach Tawang by road either by bus or taxi.
By Road How to reach in Tawang Arunachal Pradesh
One can reach Tawang from other parts of the country via Guwahati and Tezpur in Assam. From Guwahati or Tezpur, 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. There are daily bus and private taxi services from Tezpur to Tawang.
General Information - Tawang
There are beautiful lakes around Tawang, the most being Pankang Teng Tso (P.T. Tso) Lake. It is a fetching heaven for tourist only 17-Km away from maddening crowd of township. It is a beautiful natural site and provide tourist a lucky chance for deep communion with nature. Other eye-catching lakes are Sangetser Lake, and Banggachang Lake.
Best Time to Travel Tawang
April To October.
The 'Changsey' is probably the first architect of green landscaping in Tawang District. His efforts transformed the place into growing greenery. Driven by the love for nature, creation of new, he started his plantation from the year 1979. The species, which dots his backyard, are both the local as well as the exotic ones. Now every household looks for the crown species called Crytomeria Joponica, popularly known as Rigilling 'Sheng', introduced by the "Changsey". Other notable species planted by him are Blue Pine, fir, popular Salix, Oak, Thoza etc.
180-km From Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh
This is the most popular and loved game of the area and is played especially during the Losar festival (New Year), which normally falls in the month of Febuary or March. The bows and arrows are made of bamboo and the targets; each measuring about fifteen inches by 30 inches is kept at the end of the range, which are usually 100 metres in length. During the break, the participants enjoy local beer and snacks.
Mahjong is a very popular game activity in Tawang. Its a Chinese game played by four persons with small tiles in which the players pickup and discard tiles until one of them has a winning combination.
Sho is very popular game played by three people at a time. It is played by using two dices, which are shaken in a wooden bowl, which is then upturned on a leather strap with a loud thump. The score is kept using small seashells.
The other popular games and sports of the area include 'Lai' (Shot Put), Bullfight and Thibi.
Useful Information - Tawang
Any Indian tourist coming to Tawang has to obtain an Inner Line Permit. The permit is granted as a routine for the tourists and so it should not deter any tourist from coming to Tawang. The Inner line permit can be obtained from any of the following places:
1. Residence commissioner, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, New Delhi-Arunachal Bhawan, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyaputi, New Delhi.
2. Deputy Residence Commissioner, Govt. Arunachal Pradesh, Kolkata, CE-109, Sector-1, Salt Lake City, Kolkata.
3. Deputy Residence Commissioner, Govt. Arunachal Pradesh, Shillong, Pin-793001, Meghalaya.
4. Deputy Residence Commissioner, Govt. Arunachal Pradesh, Guwahati. R.G. Baruah Road, Guwaahati-781021.
5. Deputy Residence Commissioner, Govt. Arunachal Pradesh, Parvati Nagar, Tezpur, Assam.
6. Deputy Residence Commissioner, Govt. Arunachal Pradesh, Mohanbari, Dibrugarh, Assam.
7. The Extra Assistant Commissioner, Bhalukpung, West Kameng District
As foreign tourist intending to visit Arunachal Pradesh require restricted area permit. The application giving the details - Name, Passport Number, its Issuing Authority and the Expiry Date, Place Of Birth, Profession, Proposed Duration of Stay and the Purpose of Visit should be made to the Home Commissioner Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar or Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, New Delhi-110001
Tourist Information Centres
Deputy Commissioner, Tawang, Address- P.O. and District Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh Pin - 790104.