Tawang

Tawang, the world of mystics and enchanting beauties, forms the westernmost district of Arunachal Pradesh. It is located at a soaring height of nearly 10, 000 ft above MSL and shares it's boundaries with Tibet (China) in the north, Bhutan in the south east and West Kameng in the east.

Tawang is believed to have derived its name from the grandiose Tawang Monastery perched on the edge of the ridge running along the western part of Tawang township. 'Ta' means Horse and 'Wang' means chosen. As the legend has it, the site of the present monastery is believed to have been chosen by a horse owned by Merag Lama Lodre Gyamtso. Merag Lama Lodre Gyamtso, who was on a search for an appropriate place to establish the Monastery was unable to locate any appropriate site so, finally, he decided to sit in prayer for guidance of a divine power. As he opened his eyes after his prayers, he found his horse missing. So, wearily he went out searching for his horse and found it on the top of the hill-lock known as Tana Mandekhang where once stood a palace of King Kala Wangpo.
Believing it to be a good omen, Merag Lama Lodre Gyamtso decided to initiate the work for building up of a monastery with the help of people living across the land of Monpas. This Monastery was founded by Merag Lama Lodre Gyamtso in late 1681 according to the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama. However, it is also believed that the great Treasure Revealer, Terton Pemalingpa gave initiations such as Tamdin and Ka-gyad and hence the place came to be known as Tawang. (Ta- an abbreviation of Tamdin; Wang means initiation. This land is also known as 'Monyul" because of the low lying land dwelled by Monpas. Descendents of Mongoloid race, the Monpas are Buddhist by religion and Tawang monastery is the fountain head of their spiritual lives. The spread of Buddhism in the area started with the arrival of Guru Padrnasambhava, the great Indian Saint in 8th century. The Monpa tribe is predominant of Gelukpa sects of Mahayana stream of Buddhism. Before they embrace Buddhism they were the believers of "Bon" faith characteristic of spirit worship and animal sacrifice. The Monpas are by and large agriculturists. Unlike most of the tribes of North-East who practice Jhumming (Shifting Agriculture), they follow the terrace form of cultivation. They also tame yak, sheep and other livestock. The Monpa society is monogamous by law but polygamy and polyandry is also seen prevalent. They live in cozy double storied residential houses constructed of stone blocks, bamboo ceiling, curved wooden doors and window frames. The Monpas are courteous, friendly, hardworking and above all very hospitable It is quite apparent that their religion has an impeccable influence on their demeanor. Their traditional dresses are as colourful and vibrant as the people.

Attractions in Tawang

  • Tawang Monastery (Gonpa)
  • Urgelling Gonpa
  • Nunnery
  • Gyangong Ani Gonpa (Buddhist Nunnery)
  • Brahrna-dung-chung Ani Gonpa
  • Singsur Ani Gonpa
  • Taktsang Gonpa
  • Gorsam Chorten
  • BangaJang Lake
  • Hot springs
  • Tsachu hot
 

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