Tawang hill station- inveigling the unsuspecting tourists to the hills of West Kemang and not without reasons!
Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso founded the Tawang Monastery, and the town gradually took the same name of this monastery. This solitary town is also associated with the 6th Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso as his birth place. However these facts do not completely highlight the reasons of frequenting it by daring individuals.
Tawang could be characterized by mist-shroud suspended over the popular lakes like Panganag Teng Tso or Banga Jang surrounded by the greenery that goes beyond lexicon limits. Imagine the aura of a place which covers itself in snow veil as the mercury takes a dip and this hill station in North Eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh gives new meaning to the beauty of chill. Surprise can take the breath of tourists away at mighty Jung Falls. Be ready for more while on Twang travel; to a place name (Tawang=Ta- Horse and Wang- chosen) of which suggests being 'chosen by a horse'.
Undoubtedly, the Twang Monastery is the prime lure, largest outside Tibet. Yet, this is not the only thing to pay a heed to at an altitude of 2669 m. History of the place can reveal some of the aspects hidden in the pages of past. For instance, constant tug of war between British India and Tibet used to be a cause of discord. It got resolved when the town finally ceded to India, after the country gained freedom. Current issue which concerns Tawang is the claim forced by China on most of Arunachal Pradesh including this town.
Being a victim of the hill mysticism is acceptable with pleasure; if wondering why, read on!
When a traveler goes on such a height, solitude is expected which is found in Tawang at every step. All the while, Nature accompanies him in his moods of introspection to adventure, invoked by seclusion from mainstream civilization.
In the given below hot spots of Tawang tourism, one can find how much they can lure him.
Places of Worship
Tawang Monastery - The name of the hill town is taken from the 400 years old monastery which is second only to Lhasa in antiquity. Constructed by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso, it is one of the most revered Buddhist monasteries. Representing Mahayana sect Golden Namgyal Lhatse, the 3 storied building occupying 140 Sq m. Tourists always visit the temple and statue of gilded Lord Buddha positioned inside.
Gyangong Ani Gompa - A nunnery providing a refuge to Buddhist nuns, this sacred Gompa is located some 5 Km from Tawang and under the administrative care of Tawang Monastery. The natural ambience of the location only adds to the feeling of piety that encases this place of divine sanctity.
Regyaling Gompa - The holy place surrounded by Pine trees came into existence by the hardships borne by Rigya Rinpoche. Located some 1 Km from the hill city of Tawang, the place was then moved under the care of Chang-Sey after the death of the founder of the Gompa.
Urgelling Gompa - The place is among the oldest places of worship for the followers of Buddhism built in 14th century by Urgen Sangpo. Tsangyang Tashi, the 6th Dalai Lama was born here. This is another reason making the place sacred to Buddhists.
Brahma-dung-chung Ani Gompa - Some 8 Km away from the heart of the city, the place is worshipped for the serenity and refuge it offers to the visitors, tourists and pilgrims. Lama Karchen Yeshi Gelek of Tsang got it built in 1595 and since then it shelters nuns varying in number and age group.
Nuranang- Also known by the names Bong Bong and Jung Falls, the falling waters present an imposing picture that people dare to click and carry along with them. Covering a distance of 40 Km is worth to get a glimpse of these falls with approx. 100 m height is a must-see while visiting Arunanchal Pradesh and especially Tawang.
Bap Teng Kang - Although located at a distance of 80 Km from Tawang while going to Zemithang, tourist rarely miss the 100 ft falls for the sheer beauty it exhibits.
Shongatsar Lake - The lake positioned at 40 Km from Tawang gained more popularity after part of Bollywood movie Koyla starring Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit was filmed around it and since then also referred to as Lake Madhuri. The area was grassland which got converted in to a lake after an earthquake hit the place in 1950.
Banga Jang Lake - This lake along with some others in the area are believed to have been possessed by various deities, and pilgrims visit them in quest of getting a glimpse of the God in the lake. The area feels so pious that it feels a preserved heaven tucked in a corner of earth.
Panganag Teng Tso - A picnic spot for families, and an ice skating destination for people into fun-sports in winters and a sight to behold for all the tourists, the lake is only 18 Km away from the Tawang.
Mountain Peaks and Passes
Se La,- At 13,714 ft height, the pass would give a feeling of being highest point in the area. The way it feels like being on top of the world is enhanced by the Lake Paradise, positioned few kilometers before the pass.
Bum La - 37 Km away from Tawang and at an altitude of 16000 ft, the pass gives one of the best sights of Nature. A special permit needs to be signed from the office of District Commissioner to visit the site of Indo-Sino border.
Gorichen Peak - Highest peak of the region at 22,500 ft, it could be reached after covering 164 Km from Tawang. An admirer of Nature touring this Buddhist hill town cannot afford to miss this peak.
Geshila Range and Peak - From the distance of 25 Km from Tawang, the range seems to be providing a protection to town. This could be reached via Khrimu. It is not difficult to assume the views being on top of the peak might reward one with.
Hot Springs - Tsachu and Thingbu Hot Springs located at some distance away from Tawang could be enjoyed for the views they provide. Furthermore, the curative power of the water from spring has given the place recognition as a health resort.
Tawang War Memorial - To commemorate the spirit of martyrdom of the army men died in the Sino-Indian war of 1962, the memorial stands tall in the beautiful place sending message to all the citizens that they would fight everyone to keep providing sense of freedom and security till their last breath. It is also referred to as Namgyal Chorten. The place houses idols of Buddha and Arya Avlokiteshwara and some holy scriptures which were sent by Dalai Lama.
Handicrafts Centre- The local arts are conserved by the efforts of administration of the centre.
Places around Tawang
Talk about Tawang travel package, and the following options present themselves to be included in it.
Jaswant Garh - A traveler on Tawang tour would find this village in the itinerary not because of the beauty which is common place in these hills but because this place was home of a soldier who fought Chinese enemies in 1962 for 72 hours continuously.
Majuli - This place is a delight to visit for its sheer uniqueness of being biggest river island in the world. River Brahmaputra surrounds the landmass spread in 421.65 Sq Km. Located in Assam, the place is a refreshing treat to senses.
Gorumara - Reaching this place would take a hill tourist in the state of West Bengal in the Eastern Himalayan Belt. The national park located here is more of interest to the wildlife lovers.
Manas - As one can easily recognized, the place is all for the wildlife enthusiasts. Manas National Park is the one place not to miss while being here. A part of Assam, the place has taken its name from Manas River.
Things to do
Tawang holidays can be made more intense and adventurous by the choice of the fun. Wildlife thrill could be sought after in the areas surrounding this township; else if feel of snow is the greatest reward, one can find it in plenty by choosing to trek in the region. Mountain passes, lofty peaks and high altitude lakes can be some of the baits in action. River rafting experience could be taken along Kemang, Subansiri, Siang and Dibang.
The place gets covered in merry of vacations when a family or group decides it as their place of joy celebrated as togetherness. Best of the accommodation contribute in a huge way to make memories of these time last forever. One can find anything that suits his requirement as well as budget.
Some of the best hotels in Tawang are Hotel Gakyi Khang Zhang, Tawang Inn, Buddha Hotel, Hotel Pung Teng House, Gorichen Hotel, Nefa Hotel, Dolma Hotel, Dolma Khangsar Guest House, Tourist Hut and many others. They all differ in services and offers, except for what remains common in entire hospitality sector.
Winter welcomes tourists with a temperature ranging from -13°C to 10°C while expect summers in pleasant 5°C to 22°C. Monsoons are cooler than summers but hotter than winters as one might easily guess. January is coldest and only an ardent lover of snow can feel at home.
Best time to visit
March to June remains the best time but newer experiences could be explored at all other times of the year.
How to reach
By Air : Tezpur in Assam has the nearest airport which can take a hill enthusiast to Tawang, crossing 320 Km of distance.
By Train : Nearest railhead is also served by Tezpur but with limited connectivity, next to which is Guwahati, 485 Km away connecting Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad to Tawang.
By Road : Tawang could be reached by Tezpur in jeep, taxis and buses.