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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Serene and Majestic Tawang Gompa

This is the pride of Tawang. In fact, much of Tawang’s culture and tradition stems from this very gompa. It is one of the older Buddhist monasteries in the world and is the largest Buddhist monastery in India.


A visit to Tawang is not complete without visiting this Buddhist monument. In fact, people visit Tawang just to see this important Buddhist monastery in full glory.


The Tawang Gompa, situated at an altitude of 10,000 feet is located on a hill top and faces the rest of the Tawang town. The snow capped Eastern Himalayas surrounding it give it a majestic look. It is about 3 kilometres from the old market road of Tawang.


Founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyamtso, the Tawang Gompa is an epitome of Buddhist architecture and belongs to Gelukpa sect. One of the main attractions of Tawang monastery is its huge gilded statue of Lord Buddha. It also houses a rich collection of invaluable manuscripts, books and thankas (depicting Lord Buddha as well as other tutelary deities in diverse poses).


This monastery dates back to the year 1860-61 and holds a special place in Buddhist monastery for being the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama.


This monastery, like most other Buddhist monasteries is very well decorated and the colours and designs are very ornate. The beautiful front doors are bound to capture your attention even before you enter the monastery. The insides are even better. The peacefulness here is mind blowing. If you are from the UK and are looking at visiting such interesting places, then do look up last minute holidays for some fantastic offers.


One can spend just 15 minutes here and come out refreshed. The incense sticks, the lamps, the wall hangings, the murals, the paintings and the statues seem to exude a divine aura and all this just adds to the appeal.


There is a Buddhist learning centre right next to the main monastery. This is where all the monks get their learning. It is here that you can spot young monks busy reading manuscripts or chanting hymns.


Close by is the Museum where the tourists can see some of the artefacts and get a better understanding of the history of this great monastery. The entire monastery complex is spread over an area of 135 sq.m and it might be worthwhile to just walk along its cobbled path and see Buddhist life in various forms and moods.


The Tawang Gompa is located in Tawang in Western Arunachal Pradesh in North East India. It is connected by road to Bomdila and Assam and the nearest airport is Tezpur, about 350 kilometres away. If you are interested in Buddhism and tracing its roots, then this place should be high up on your list.



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