12 Best Places to Visit in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
The North eastern region of the country is blessed with one of the most enchanting landscapes, from snow clad mountains to valleys covered in flowers, to clean rivers and raging waterfalls. It makes a perfect destination if you are looking for a calm vacation in the lap of nature. Abundant in natural beauty with an essence of Buddhism in the air, at a height of more than 10,000 ft. sits Tawang, providing a scenic view of the wonders of nature.
The place has been the top choice of tourists and according to us should be in your itinerary on your trip to the gorgeous state of Arunachal Pradesh. From the high mountains to luscious hills and serene monasteries, Tawang will ease your mind. It is the perfect escape from the loud and chaotic life of the city. If you love to bike you can even hire a bike and ride away while enjoying the snowy mountains.
Not sure where to start? Read along to discover some must-visit places in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, that you should explore during your stay.
Standing amidst the glorious Himalayas, Sela Pass has been successful in luring tourists. Elevated at a height of 14,000 ft. this pass is one of the highest motorable passes in the country. It is the most popular spot in Arunachal Pradesh.
Proving a beautiful view of the Himalayan range, The Sela Pass is heaven on earth. As enchanting as it is, it is also essential for the lives of the local people of Tawang since it is the only way they can connect to the rest of the country. It is one of those places you must see when you visit the state.
The Sela Lake, situated near the pass, is considered to be one of the highest lakes in India. The local tribes in the area believe the lake to be sacred. Although it looks mesmerising sitting between the snow covered mountains, it looks even better when it freezes completely during the winters.
Sela Pass is one of the highest motorable passes of India.
Connects Tawang to the rest of the country.
The spectacular view of the Himalayas make it perfect for trekking.
Shonga-Tser Lake – A Beauty of Calamity
One of the most popular lakes of Arunachal, The Shonga-Tser lake was formed due to a flash flood that happened after an earthquake hit the region in the year 1950. The lake is also known as Madhuri lake because it is the exact spot where the famous Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit shot a song for the Bollywood movie- Koyla.
The lake is surrounded by snow capped mountains which add to its beauty, making it a popular tourist spot in Tawang. With its quiet ambience and picture-esque landscape, the lake is a wonderful spot to take a walk around. It looks truly refreshing in summers but it looks beautiful in a different sense when the lake freezes during the winter.
Also called Madhuri Lake because of the Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit.
Formed as a result of an earthquake.
Contains remnants of dead trees within it from the disaster.
PT Tso Lake
One of the most surreal lakes of India, PT Tso or the Peng Teng Tso Lake is an explorer’s dream come true. Situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft. the lake is a popular tourist destination in Tawang. It is truly a gem surrounded by snow covered mountains and lush forests.
The clear and clean water of the lake reflects the beauty of its surroundings. The lake is perfect to take a stroll around on your visit. During the winter when it snows, the area around the lake becomes calm and quiet with everything covered in snow, completely in contrast to the summer months when the weather is pleasant and the hills are blanketed in blue lapis flowers.
It is a sacred lake for the followers of Buddhism.
The landscape changes dramatically between the seasons of winter and summer.
Bumla Pass – Experience the Indo China Border
The Bumla Pass, situated at an elevation of 15,000 ft. is considered to be one of the highest-altitude mountain passes of India. While travelling to the pass you can view many lakes along the way. It is one of the popular tourist attractions of the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
The place is safeguarded by the Indian Army since it lies on the Indo-China border. It is also popular for being the pass through which the 14th Dalai Lama entered into India to seek safety from the Chinese troops. The Bumla Pass was the centre of the battle between India and China in 1962. Though now Bumla is a point for the Border Personnel Meetings between the armies of both the countries.
There is a ‘Heap of Stones’ at Bumla which marks the Indo-China border which is now a popular tourist spot. Visitors can place stones alongside as a thankful gesture to the Himalayas for safeguarding the northern frontier and to honour the soldiers of the Indian Army. It also is a symbol of peace between the Indo-China armies.
The Pass marks the Indo-China border.
It is a prominent site of Indo-China War of 1962.
The 14th Dalai Lama came to India via this pass from Tibet.
Tawang War Memorial – Honouring the Soldiers
The Tawang War Memorial pays homage to the lives that were lost in the Indo-China War of 1962, and is made to honour them. Located at a distance of about 1 kilometre from Tawang, it is a 40-foot high, multi-hued memorial near Tawang also known as the Namgyal Chorten.
The structure is built using the Buddhist style of architecture and looks similar to a stupa. One of the halls of the memorial functions as a museum which exhibits the belongings of the martyred soldiers. A light and sound show is also organised to give the visitors a glimpse into the war.
The memorial built in honour of the martyred soldiers of India’s military is surrounded by various flags such as the National flag, Army flag, Air Force flag, etc. One of the must-visit locations of your trip, this location will awaken a sense of patriotism in you.
The memorial is made to look like a Stupa.
Commemorates the soldiers who were martyred during the Indo-China war.
Offers a light and sound show that presents what the war looked like.
Tawang Monastery – One of a Kind
The Tawang Monastery, situated at a height of more than 9,000 ft. is considered the oldest and the second largest monastery in Asia! The monastery, also called the Tawang Galden Namgyal Lhatse was built during the 17th century during the time of the 5th Dalai Lama.
Apart from being their residence and a holy place, Tawang Monastery also contains in itself a library, museum and a school which provides basic education. The monastery is maintained with the help of the local community, who are levied a charge twice a year. Earlier, this payment used to be in the form of agricultural products such as grains and butter which were produced by the people.
The monastery also provides for the people to cultivate on its land and the harvest is divided equally among the people and the monastery. This monastery has been one of the popular tourist places in Tawang.
It is the oldest monastery in Asia built centuries ago.
The township of Tawang grew around the monastery and consists of the Monpa Tribe.
The museum within the monastery houses various Buddhist artefacts and manuscripts.
Jaswant Garh Memorial – Story of the Bravehearted
Jaswant Garh Memorial is a War memorial built in honour of Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat of the fourth battalion of the Garhwal Rifles for his role during the Battle of Nuranang in 1962. The battle was the fourth attempt of the Chinese troops who wanted to take control of Arunachal Pradesh.
It was here that Lance Naik Trilok Singh, Rifleman Jaswant Singh, and Rifleman Gopal Singh braved the Chinese troops with all their might. When his company had fallen, Jaswant Singh is said to have fought the battle alone for 3 days. At the end of which, he was shot in the head by the Chinese.
The memorial is built like a temple by the locals who hold him in high regard for his role in protecting them from the Chinese. Even after his death, he is regarded as a guardian spirit by the locals and the soldiers of the Indian Army who are posted in the region. He has also been awarded with the Mahavir Chakra, posthumously.
The memorial has a statue of the martyred soldier along with his personal belongings that were found. This war memorial is important for the people of the state as well as the country and remains one of the top tourist destinations in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Memorial was made by the locals to honour Rifleman Jaswant Singh.
The Memorial is built to resemble a temple.
It houses the soldier’s belongings.
Nuranang Waterfalls – Majestic Waters
Considered as one of the incredible places of India, Nuranang Waterfalls are the jewels of Arunachal Pradesh. The place is famous with names like Jang Falls, Bong Bong Falls or simply Nuranang Falls. The waterfall gushes from a height of 100 metres.
It originates from the Sela Pass to form the Nuranang falls and then falls into the River Tawang Chu. This waterfall is surrounded by misty mountains and lush green trees that create an enchanting experience. According to local legend, the fall is named after a girl from the Monpa tribe who helped the soldier Jaswant Singh during the battle of Nuranang of 1962.
The water gushes from a height of 100 metres.
You can also visit the Hydel Power Plant situated near the waterfall. It uses the waterfall to generate electricity.
Gorichen Peak – A Trekking Paradise
The Gorichen Peak is the highest peak of Arunachal Pradesh situated at an elevation of 22,500 ft. It is a popular spot among trekking enthusiasts and mountaineers alike who dare take the adventure to climb up the glorious mountain.
The journey towards the mount itself is soothing enough with the views of luscious forests, glacial lakes and high-altitude passes. This beautiful tourist destination in Arunachal Pradesh remains snow clad throughout the year and is considered highly sacred by the local Monpa Tribe, who believe it to be akin to a guardian. You can view the mountain when travelling from Bomdila to Tawang since it tends to stand out particularly with its snowy cap.
Highest peak of the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Due to its height it remains snowbound throughout the year.
Amazing peak for people who love to trek.
Chagzam Bridge – The Legendary Iron Bridge
The Chagzam Bridge is a suspension bridge made of iron chains. Built by the disciple of the first Dalai Lama, The Chagzam Bridge depicts the excellence of Tangton Gyalpo also known as Lama Chag-Zam Wangpo.
It needs to be on your Tawang itinerary.
Tangton Gyalpo is highly revered by the devotees of Buddhism and is one of the Mahasiddhas. These are people who have attained perfection through disciplined meditative practice. He is said to have built more than a hundred iron bridges all over the Himalayan region.
Made in the fifteenth century, which makes it almost 600 years old, the bridge exists between the villages of Kitpi and Mukto and is built over the River Tawang-chu. This architectural brilliance in Tawang is truly a marvel and should be on your must visit places in Tawang.
It is made by the great Buddhist philosopher Tangton Gyalpo.
Said to be built between the years 1420-1430.
There is another modern suspension bridge beside the iron bridge for convenience.
Zemithang Village – An Escape from the Chaotic City
The village of Zemithang is an offbeat and calm village at a distance of about 90 kilometres from Tawang. It is situated on the borders of Tibet and Bhutan, aspects of which are visible in their culture. The village is home to the Monpa Tribe, one of the major tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.
Zemithang is a village close to nature in all aspects. Among the wildlife found there, prominent ones include The Red Panda, Asian Black Bear, Musk Deer, and the Black-necked Crane bird which migrates here during the winters.
A popular attraction of the region is the Gorsam Chorten Stupa which is modelled after the Boudhinath Stupa of Nepal. The 93 ft. high Stupa attracts devotees of Buddhism. It is a place you must visit when you travel to Zemithang. The tourists find themselves at ease and have a peaceful experience in this village surrounded by nature.
The Gorsam Chorten is significant to followers of Buddhism and attracts believers from India, Bhutan, and Nepal.
On your stay you will be accommodated by the homestays, letting you catch a glimpse of the local culture.
The village is perfect for hiking since the surrounding villages are equally welcoming.
Ideal Time to Visit Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang, being a hilly region, isn’t suitable for year-round visits. The ideal time to visit Tawang is during the months of March to April and September to October. The season of Monsoon should be avoided since landslides, should they occur, would block the roads and dampen your trip.
Disclaimer: We do not take credit for some of the licenced paid images used in our blogs, whether from Google Images, Fotolia & Shutterstock. All such images are the copyrights of their respective owners and we try to provide credit for them wherever we can. If, however, any copyright image has been used on our blog, the concerned person can either mail us directly to remove the image or provide credit to whomsoever the image may belong to.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many days are required to visit the best of Tawang tourism?
This district of Tawang is so bountiful with its tourist attractions that you would require a good 5-7 days to perfectly explore it.
What are the famous places to explore in Tawang?
Popular places to explore in Tawang include:
PT Tso Lake
Tawang War Memorial
Jaswant Garh Memorial
Are there any entry permits required to visit Tawang?
An Inner Line Permit (ILP) is required for Indians who are non-residents of Arunachal Pradesh. You can get the permit by applying online at: www.arunachalilp.com You can apply for individual or group permits. To visit the Bumla Pass and the PT Tso Lake, special permits are required since these places are closer to the Indian border. You can get the permit from the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Tawang and the Indian Army Containment of Tawang. Without the army stamp you will not be allowed through the check posts.
Foreign nationals who wish to travel to Arunachal will have to get a Protected Area Permit.
What are the popular monasteries to visit in Tawang?
Birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama, Tawang is an important site for followers of Buddhism. Tawang has the oldest monastery in Asia, which also contains important Buddhist articles. The monasteries of this district are sure to give you a sense of peace and serenity. Here are the popular monasteries of Tawang:
Tawang Monastery or The Tawang Galden Namgyal Lhatse
Khinmey Nyingma Monastery
Gyangon Ani Gompa (Nunnery)
Bramadung Chung Ani Gompa (Nunnery)
What are the top must see festivals in Tawang?
Losar is an important festival in Tawang, celebrated by the Monpa tribe. It is celebrated to mark the New Year.
The Gorsam Kora Festival is another important festival in Tawang which attracts pilgrims from India and Bhutan to the Gorsam Chorten in Zemithang. Devotees visit the village during the last day of the first month of the Lunar calendar.
Saga Dawa is celebrated by the Monpa tribe in honour of Lord Buddha. It is celebrated on the fourth month of the Lunar calendar and commemorates the birth and enlightenment of Lord Buddha.
Is Tawang a good destination for solo travellers?
Yes, Tawang is a beautiful place that you can explore even if you plan to travel alone. While in Tawang you will need to take a cab for your travel, since buses aren’t available. Homestays are the way to go while staying there and remember to carry enough cash with you since some places might not accept cards or UPI.
From the Lake District, Nainital, Nidhi Singh is a travel writer whose love for mountains can be seen in her write ups. Talk about solo travelling, indulging in adventure activities, binging on good food, planning budget trips or the Aurora Borealis and you will get all her attention. It is the wanderlust that keeps her going and if at all she could get one wish granted she would love to live a life less ordinary. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.