Tawang Tourism

Tawang Overview

Tawang is a district in Arunachal Pradesh, which was a subdivision of West Kameng district up until the year 1984. The majestic Tawang Monastery, which is situated on the ridge that goes along the town Tawang, is thought to be where the name Tawang first appeared. According to the belief of the natives, His Holiness the Eighth Lama Lodre Gyatso gave the name ‘Tawang’ to the place. Etymologically, Tawang means ‘chosen by a horse’. Mythology states that a horse which belonged to Mera Lama Lodre Gyatso is said to have picked the location of the monastery.
A continuous chain of mountain ranges and hills, with heights ranging from around 3500 to 22500 feet, make up the district. “Gorichen” is the name of the tallest peak among all the mountain ranges of Tawang. A large diversity of tree types, blue pines, and orchids flourish here in the midst of priceless medicinal and herbal plants. The people who live in this area are mostly from the Monpa tribe. Since the Monpas have a warm, cordial, polite, and humble nature, they treat tourists to their land with the utmost hospitality. The Monpas are Buddhists, and their religious beliefs and customs revolve around the Tawang Monastery.
Tawang is renowned for its stunning natural settings and has its own unique religious and historical significance. Whether you want to experience the wonders of nature or learn about the area’s fascinating history, the town has something to provide for everyone. For people who want to ease off and unwind from the rush of city life, Tawang will be the most wonderful vacation destination for them.

What makes Tawang so famous?

Tawang is a stunning district in Arunachal Pradesh that has become quite well known for its alluring tourist destinations. The list of popular tourist destinations in Tawang is infinite and includes the Gorichen Mountain, Madhuri Lake, Nuranang Waterfalls, and Sela Pass. In addition to its stunning natural surroundings, Tawang is renowned for its Tawang Monastery, a 400-year-old monastery. It is a Buddhist monastery and a well-known destination for local pilgrims. Tawang’s rich culture and customs are another factor in the city’s attractiveness. You can learn about the ancient ceremonies of the indigenous tribes on just one visit to this location.

Best time to visit Tawang

Tawang is the cultural hub of Arunachal Pradesh, and visitors are welcome all year long. Still, planning a vacation during the festival season will be the best option. Summer is among the finest seasons to arrange a trip to Tawang, with minimum temperatures of 5°C and maximum temperatures of 21°C. It is the excellent time for sightseeing because the temperature in the Tawang region is pleasant during this period. The area sees moderate rainfall, which can occasionally cause a sharp drop in temperature. Yet, you can also come here in the monsoon season if you want to take in all the beauty of nature. A vacation should not be planned during the winter months (October to February), when temperatures range from -11°C to -12°C causing extreme cold.

How to reach Tawang?

By Roadways
The road system in Arunachal Pradesh is outstanding. It is linked to the other parts of India by two highways. The first is National Highway 52, which links Dirak and Jonai. Tawang and Tezpur in Assam are connected by a different highway. Arunachal Pradesh State Transport Services, the state’s bus transportation company, operates state-owned buses from several districts to Itanagar. Also, the roads in Arunachal Pradesh that connect the villages are built and maintained well. There are daily bus services available, and every single town in Arunachal Pradesh has its own bus station.
By Railways
There are no trains operating within Arunachal Pradesh. Though the closest train station to Arunachal Pradesh is Rangapara in Tezpur, Assam.  Guwahati, which is around 485 kilometres from Tawang, has good train connections with almost all of the major Indian cities.
By Airways
There isn’t an airport that is currently open in Arunachal Pradesh. The closest airport, Lilabari Airport, which is 57 kilometres from Itanagar and has Air India domestic flights to Kolkata and Guwahati, is your best bet if you’re going to travel by air to Arunachal Pradesh. Also to get to your location, you might consider hiring a helicopter. Daily passenger services are conducted by Pawan Hans under the authority of the Arunachal Pradesh government.

Language, History and People of Tawang

Languages Spoken-
The majority of Tawang residents speak Tawang Mon-Keth, albeit there are subtle phonetic and tonal differences from village to village. It serves as the community’s primary language. Although having several Tibetan words, Mon-Keth is unique from Tibetan. In Tawang, everyone is fluent in Hindi and English, making it easy to communicate with travellers.
The Monpa people live in Tawang. In 1681, the Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso established the Tawang Monastery at the request of the fifth Dalai Lama, who was the Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso. Tsangyang Gyatso, the 6th Dalai Lama, was born there. Tibet used to have authority over Tawang. The McMahon Line, which defined Tibet’s and British India’s shared border in the himalayan mountain region of Assam, was agreed upon at the time of Simla Conference in 1914. By way of this deal, Tibet gave the British control over several hundred square miles of its land, including Tawang. Tawang remained to be ruled by the Tibetans, who continued to levy taxes in the area, considering that Tawang was not recognised by China and was not taken over by the British. Tawang briefly came under Chinese control during the Sino-Indian War of 1962, but India once more held Tawang after China withdrew its soldiers at the end of the conflict.
Most of the population who live in this area are from the Monpa tribe. The Monpa is a member of the Mongoloid race. They have a fair complexion, a fair build, and a medium to tall frame. The Monpas have a pleasant, courteous, and mild character, and they naturally give amazing hospitality to tourists to their homeland. The Tawang Monastery serves as the focal point for the Buddhist beliefs and practices of the Monpas, who identify as Buddhists.

Top Tourist Attractions in Tawang-

Tawang Monastery

Tawang Monastery, also known as Tawang Ganden Namgyal Lhatse, is Asia’s second massive and ancient monastery. The sanctum is dominated by the 8-meter-tall graceful statue of Lord Buddha. The Tawang Monastery houses a residence for the monks, as well as a library, a museum, and a primary school. A magnificent yellow-roofed Tawang monastery, standing on a hill and dominating everything around and below it, was formerly a massive and fortified complex strategically located where the trade routes from Tibet, Bhutan, and West Kameng met.

Tawang War Memorial

The 40-foot-tall Tawang War Monument is a colourful structure commemorating the two thousand four hundred twenty martyrs of the 1962 India-Sino War. The Stupa design was carefully and purposefully chosen for the War Monument due to its overwhelming majesty and vastness, respect for the local religious sentiments, and compatibility with local architectural ideas. The memorial is encircled by snow-capped Himalayan peaks and looks out over the alluring Tawang-Chu valley. War Memorial is a site that you must see if you want to learn more about the town’s fascinating history.

Sangestar Tso (Madhuri Lake)

One of the most well-known lakes in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhuri Lake was originally known as Shonga-tser Lake and was created by a flash flood following an earthquake in 1950. The lake was given an alternate name following the shooting of the Bollywood movie Koyla, which featured the actress Madhuri Dixit. Very verdant valleys and snow-capped mountains surround the lake. The best approach to discover the lake’s gorgeous surroundings is by a leisurely walk.

Sela Pass

Sela Pass, which is occupying a height of 4170 metres, is a lifesaver for the residents of Arunachal Pradesh. This is the only pass that links Tawang to the entire nation. In addition to its physical significance, it is renowned for its ethereal beauty and hills covered with snow. Sela Pass is the place to go if you want to see the Eastern Himalayas in all their vibrant glory. It provides a breathtaking perspective of the hills and valleys that border the area. Owing to its closeness to Sela Lake, Sela Pass is unquestionably one of Tawang’s best tourist destinations for adventurers.  The best time to visit Sela Pass is during the summers because roads are regularly closed throughout the winter owing to heavy snowfall.

Jaswant Garh War Memorial

The Jaswant Garh War Monument, which is situated above the Jang Township and below Sela Pass, is a testament to the Indian Soldier’s valour in the face of overwhelming circumstances. Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, who gave his life along with two other soldiers during the 1962 conflict while opposing the Chinese Army’s march for roughly 72 hours, must be honoured before continuing on the way to Tawang. A bronze bust of Jaswant Singh, a painting of the battle heroes, and Jaswant Singh Rawat’s personal effects are all displayed at the Jaswant Garh Monument. The clay light that stands in front of the image of Jaswant Singh burns continuously. The courage of Indian soldiers is memorialised by a marble inscription that honours the 161 valiant men who gave their lives in the fight of Nuranang.

Pankang Teng Tso Lake

Also known as the PTso Lake, the site which is around 18 kms from Tawang, is very popular year-round with vacationers. The lake and its surrounds change colour every week, and the scene is drastically altered. It is more than simply a lake because of the breathtaking panoramas it catches; it is a magical place. The lake’s water is illuminated by a mist of green radiance created by the mountains’ gorgeous symmetrical fir forest. Locals and visitors can enjoy skiing on the ice-covered Pankang Teng Tso Lake in the winter.

Banggachhang Lake

In close proximity to the Banggachhang gonpa sits this lake. Winter snowfall keeps the road to the lake largely closed. Both walking and driving up to the gonpa from Sela will get you to the lake. The lake is linked to both pilgrims’ beliefs and stories from Monpa culture. The lake is close to the Sela pass and is located about 100 kilometres from Tawang town. In addition to the challenging and exciting path itself, the area’s lakes and mountains are equally magnificent.

Chumi Gyatse Waterfall

Holy Water Fall’s Chumi Gyatse Temple is a combination of 108 waterfall cascades.It is a four hours journey from Tawang Town and is next to Tsechu Hot Water Spring in Tsechu Village. The Monpas tribe of the state, who practise Tibetan Buddhism, hold Chumi Gyatse Temple in great regard. Its highly cleansed water has a variety of therapeutic benefits.

Nuranang Waterfall

The Nyamseir region is home to the Phong-phongma waterfall, also known as the Nuranang waterfall. It is located 2 km downhill from Jang and 40 kilometres from Tawang town. In Jang, adjacent to the Tawangchu River, is the magnificent and beautiful Nuranang waterfall. It is, to be precise, tremendous and captivating. It’s a unique location in Tawang where you may enjoy some quiet time in the midst of nature.

Bumla Pass

The Bumla pass, which is located at an elevation of more than 15000 feet, is about 37 kilometres (km) north of Tawang and takes around two hours to drive through. Because of its extreme elevation, the pass is covered in snow for virtually the whole year, providing a stunning perspective of the Tibetan plateau. There isn’t a border fence at the pass because the Line of Actual Control (LAC) serves as the de facto border. Also, the two sides arrange cultural events that the public can attend on specific occasions. The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Tawang is where you may receive the special permission needed to access the Bum La Pass.

Gorichen Peak

At a height of 22,500 feet, the Gorichen peak is the highest peak in the area and has captivated the desire of many mountaineers to climb it. It is located 164 kilometres away from Tawang town. Locally, it is referred to as Sa-Nga-Phu. The summit is allegedly visible from Shillong as well. The native tribes of Tawang revere this hill as a holy place that shields them from all harm.

Thingbu Hot spring

Thingbu Village is blessed with a beautiful hot spring that is situated in the Mago Chu River near Nguikteng, about 20 kms away from Jang. Since it only requires a brief 20-minute climb and only takes a drive of roughly 3 hours from Tawang or 1 hour from Jang to get there, most tourists can easily visit these hot springs.

Sela Lake

At the Sela Mountain pass, there are two beautiful lakes that seem to be extending an invitation to Tawang. Sela Lake is the most well-known. It is considered lucky if you see a couple of swans in Sela Lake.

Nagula Lake

One of the most popular Tawang sights is this high elevation lake. This lake is a stunning delight for nature enthusiasts with its surrounding backdrop of lush flora and snow-capped mountains. Due to its proximity to the border, the area has a considerable military presence, although tourists still go there.

Urgelling Gompa

Around five kilometres away from Tawang district, along the national highway, is the Urgelling monastery, which Ugyen Sangpo founded. It is reported that the temple’s initial construction was rather simple. But, since he was near death, the royal father asked that the gonpa to be renovated. The contemporary Urgylling gompa is a simple construction with a base area of just over 180 sq metres. It is a two-story building. Each niche along the temple’s exterior walls is filled with rows of prayer wheels. Nine chortens are located on the ground floor’s northern side. The statues of Buddha Shakyamuni, who serves as the main image, are located on a two-tiered altar.

Tak-Tsang Gonpa

It is known as The Tiger’s Den and is situated 50 kilometres from Tawang in a breathtaking setting of towering mountains and coniferous trees. It is supposed to have been sanctified during Guru Padmasambhava’s stay in the eighth century. The Guru and his horse are believed to have left an impression on the ground. According to legend, a tiger greeted the Guru when he arrived at the location, earning the place the local name Tak-tsang (Tiger’s den). Later, a temple known as the Tak-tsang Gonpa was built on this location.

Bapteng-Kang Waterfall

Another well-known waterfall is Bapteng-Kang, which is located 30 kilometres from Lumla and 80 kilometres from Tawang to Zemithang. It is generally introduced as BTK waterfall and is 100 feet tall.

Samten Yongcha Monastery

A famous tourist attraction in Tawang is this monastic complex. Together with other things like sculptures, buildings, and Buddhist artefacts, the monastery’s major attraction is a golden figure of the Lord Buddha. The verdant surroundings and stunning vistas of the mountaintop Samten Yongcha Monastery are well renowned. Both residents who want to learn more about the customs and culture of this region and several monks call this monastery home.

Dorjee Khandu Memorial Museum

As a memorial to the late Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Dorjee Khandu, his family, and well-wishers created the Dorjee Khnadu Memorial Museum in Famla village. His Holiness The Dalai Lama has bestowed his blessing on this memorial. Together with a museum, the blessed location also houses a stupa known as Jangchup Chorten.

Travel Advice on Tawang-

The ideal time of year to travel to Tawang will largely rely on your personal interests. The best months to visit would be October and November if you wanted to guarantee both a beautiful view of the scenery and clear skies. Following November, it usually gets chilly. The best months to visit if you want to see snow are from January through March. The months of April through August would be ideal to avoid the oppressive heat of the plains summer. Although the rainy season begins in April, it is more than made up for by the blooming rhododendrons and other blooms. Moreover, snow remains at higher elevations through May.
Always be in mind that landslides during the monsoon and heavy snowfall throughout the winter may cause roadblocks. It would be wise to travel in a party of eight or ten if you opt to take a rental light vehicle because this will offer you the freedom to ask the driver to stop at different locations along the journey so you can take in the scenery.

Tips for visiting Tawang-

Visiting Tawang would be an unique and amazing travelling experience and keep the below points in mind for a seamless tour:-

  • In the summer, you need light woollens, and in the winter, you need heavier ones.
  • Never stick to a strict timetable, and always plan a few additional days.
  • Checking the status of the helicopter service one day in advance is advisable for tourists and travellers using the Guwahati to Tawang helicopters service.
  • Except on Wednesday and Sunday, helicopter services are offered five days a week, depending on the weather.
  • You must travel to Tawang during the Torgya festival month if religious dances are your thing. This festival lasts for three days starting on the twenty-eighth day of the Buddhist calendar’s eleventh month, which is sometime in January.
  • An Inner line permission is necessary for all visits to Tawang and all other areas of Arunachal Pradesh. Visitors receive the permit frequently; thus, it shouldn’t be a hindrance to visiting Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Without the permission of the army commanders stationed there, do not snap photos of army installations or banned areas.
  • After arriving at Tawang, a lot of visitors experience acute altitude sickness. Thus, it is advised that all tourists and visitors acclimatise themselves with a one-night stopover in between at either Bomdila (8500 ft) or Dirang (4920 ft) in the West Kameng District.
  • With considering the regional laws and customs, plan the route in advance.
  • Visitors and tourists with heart conditions and other related illnesses should exercise extreme caution and seek medical attention beforehand. They should also make sure that there are medications and other life-saving therapies available.

Rainfall in Tawang-

The rainy season in Tawang is pleasant and primarily cloudy, whereas the dry season is chilly and primarily clear. Extreme seasonal variations in monthly rainfall are common in Tawang. From March through November, which is almost nine months of the year, 0.5 inches or more of rain typically falls over the course of 31 days. With a mean rainfall of 6.3 inches, July is the rainiest month in Tawang. From November to March, there are approximately five months without rain. And with a mean rainfall of 0.1 inches, January is the parched month in Tawang.

Things to do in Tawang-

Head over to the Chak-Zam bridge-

A follower of the first Dalai Lama by the name of Lama Chag-Zam Wangpo, was a builder of iron chain bridges, an architect and a philosopher. In the Himalayan region, he is credited with constructing more than 100 iron bridges. He constructed the Tawang-chu River bridge between 1420 and 1430 to allow access through Kitpi and Mukto. About 25 kilometres distance from the town is the bridge that displays the best metallurgy. Many stunning and vibrant prayer flags can be found on both sides of the bridge, which further adds to the area’s appeal.

Go boating on Madhuri Lake-

Madhuri Lake, one of the nation’s unknown lakes, lies tucked away at a height of 12000 feet. Just 20 kilometres from Tawang, the tranquil beauty gives enchanting views of rugged mountains and turquoise water. Many recreational pursuits are available at the lake, including hiking, boating, fishing, picnicking, and camping. Even when the lake freezes over in the winter, the scenery is still stunning.

Visit the Craft Centre-

The District Industrial Estate is situated around 2 km from the middle of town. There, a craft complex is set up with the intention of fostering the production of regional handicrafts. There is an emporium there where you may buy thangkas, carpets, masks, wooden bowls, carved wooden tables called chok-tse, and many other things. Visitors are allowed to bring home mementos from their trip to Tawang, including showpieces, decorative objects, and even everyday items.

Perform meditation in Buddha Park-

Buddha Park is situated next to the government Circuit House Tawang, in the middle of the town. At this peaceful park, one may take some time for prayer and meditation. Also, this park provides panoramic views of the entire town. It is also a fantastic location for clicking photos.

Attend the local Cultural Festivals-

Several festivals are observed by the Monpa tribes throughout the year. Their celebrations tend to have a religious theme, and each one has its unique significance and history. Making the most of The Tawang Festival, one of Arunachal Pradesh’s wonderful events, requires careful planning of your travels. It is the finest chance to engage in a variety of fun activities and get a taste of the local culture. You can participate in native sports, view traditional dance performances, learn more about the unique practices of some tribes, and savour a variety of delicious local dishes from various tribes, including their alcoholic beverages, at this event.

Adventurous Activities to do in Tawang-

Go for River Rafting-

Rafting on the Kameng River, one of Arunachal’s most beautiful rivers, is one of the exciting things to do in Tawang. Once you are in Tawang, you can make reservations for your rafting excursions. The summer months of April through July are the ideal time to go rafting. Also, previous rafting expertise is not required. You can add river rafting with some groups also in your tour plan.

Trek to Gorichen Peak-

Gorichen Peak is the highest mountain top in Arunachal Pradesh, and is the third-highest apex in the Northeast. This hike has the ideal setting and terrain to put your sense of adventure to the stand. This trekking route will amaze you with its imposing peak and spectacular beauty. This peak, which is found in between Kameng and Tawang districts of Arunachal Pradesh, is truly awe inspiring. It is only 164 kilometres from Tawang district and is tucked away at an elevation of 22,500 feet.

Go for biking in the mountain trails-

Tawang’s surroundings offer some of the most difficult mountain biking trails because of the area’s rugged topography. Even if you’ve never attempted it before, you are capable of doing so at Tawang. It becomes better if you are an experienced motorcyclist. You can pick from a number of broad trails with various degrees of difficulty to get to serene monasteries or breathtaking mountain top vistas. If you plan to visit Tawang in the summer, make sure that you register for bike tours since they are among the most enjoyable activities there.

Best Places to Stay in Tawang-

Tawang offers a wide variety of lodging options, including homestays, government guest houses and lodges, and commercial hotels. In and around the Tawang Township are where you’ll find the majority of private hotels and guest houses. The proper choice for a visitor who wants to stay in Lumla or Jang would be to get a room at the government Circuit House or Lodge.
Some of the tried and tested hotels are catalogued below. You can go through them-
Hotel Dekyi Pelbar, Hotel Taktsang, Hotel Tsering Yangkhil Khang, Hotel Menda-La, Vamoose North Hill, Vamoosetrail Tawang, Stay Inn Tawang, Dolma Khangsar Home Stay, Dondrub Homestay, Mony Lodge, Bumla Inn, Bliss Homestay.

The Weather of Tawang-

Tawang has a pleasant and tolerable climate in general. Tawang encounters considerably lower rainfall in the winter than it does in the summer. This climate falls under the Köppen and Geiger classification of Cwb. Tawang has an average temperature of 5.5 °C. 3080 mm of rain precipitation occurs yearly.
North of the equator is where Tawang is situated. September marks the conclusion of summer, which starts at the end of June. The summer months are June, July, August, and September. With only 41 mm of precipitation, December is the driest month. The highest rainfall month, on average, is July, with 643 mm. July has the maximum annual mean temperature of 12.1 °C. The yearly average temperature is lowest in January. It is -2.4 °C. Tawang experiences considerable snowfall during the winter, therefore it’s best to have a flexible schedule in case the roads close. Avoid going to Tawang between July and September during the rainy season.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tawang-

1. Which special sights can be found in Tawang?

Sela Pass, Tawang Monastery, Madhuri Lake, Nuranang Waterfall, Gorichen Peak, Bumla Pass, Jaswant Garh War Memorial, PTso Lake, etc. are a few of the well-known Tawang tourist attractions that you should definitely visit.

2. Which time of year is favorable for visiting Tawang?

The ideal times to travel are October and November. Following November, it usually gets very cold. The best months to travel to Tawang if you want to encounter snowfall are from January through March. The perfect period would be from April to August to avoid the brutal heat of the plains summer. Even so, the monsoon period begins in April. The winter months might see temperatures as low as minus 1 degree Celsius or even below that.

3. What attracts visitors to Tawang?

Tawang is a good destination for those who want peace, adventure, or a simple vacation. People can meditate, go trekking, shop, eat the best local food, and enjoy nature’s marvels. It is indeed a very attractive destination.

4. Which hotels in Tawang provide the most convenient accommodation?

Some of the best and comfortable accommodation in Tawang are; Hotel Dekyi Pelbar, Hotel Taktsang, Hotel Tsering Yangkhil Khang, Hotel Menda-La, Vamoose North Hill, Vamoosetrail Tawang, Stay Inn Tawang, Dolma Khangsar Home Stay, Dondrub Homestay, Mony Lodge, Bumla Inn, Bliss Homestay.

5. To travel to Tawang, is ILP necessary?

ILP is required to travel to Tawang. If you are flying into Guwahati, you can obtain ILP at the airport’s Arunachal Pradesh Tourist Desk. Also, you can obtain it from the District Courts of all other north-eastern towns. Visitors can apply for ILPs online through the Inner Line Permit Management System that the government of Arunachal Pradesh has created.

6. Does Tawang receive snowfall?

Tawang, a lovely town, experiences alpine weather. The brief and warm summers contrast with the chilly winters. The town experiences little rain between July and September. Visit Tawang in the months of December through January to behold the snowfall. Temperatures drop to 1-3 degrees Celsius during the winter, and snowfall may make travel challenging.

7. Is staying in Tawang safe and secure?

With the anomaly of the severe unseemly rains or winter snowfall, travelling to Tawang is typically safe and secured. In addition, whether you’re a solo traveller or going for a trip with your family, it is a secure area to visit and one of the most breathtaking and relaxing travel escape spots.
According to the reports, one of the most placid states of the north eastern part of India is Arunachal Pradesh. There are relatively few acts of violence or robbery, and everyone is exceedingly friendly and helpful. It is also safe to visit alone or with your family because of the various army camps nearby.

8. What authentic and special items can I get from Tawang?

There, a craft centre is set up with the intention of fostering the production of regional handicrafts. There is an emporium there where you may buy thangkas, masks, wooden bowls, carpets, carved wooden tables called chok-tse, tribal jewelleries, and many other things.

9. Is there an Internet connection at Tawang?

Yes, you can easily find wifi connections and mobile internet connection in the main town of Tawang. In some interior areas, you might not get proper connections.

10. For a trip to Tawang, how many days are required?

Even though Tawang can be visited for only 3 days, it takes at least 8 days to explore everything there and also the nearby places.

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