14 Top Things to Experience in and around Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

14 Top Things to Experience in and around Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Winding Himalayan roads surrounded by snow

India’s true Shangri-La, the 10,000 feet high hill station of Tawang in Western Arunachal Pradesh is home to ancient and rich Buddhist culture, unparalleled beauty, kind people and lots of hidden treasures. It’s spectacular landscape is made up of snow capped peaks, high altitude lakes, lush forests, smiling valleys, gurgling streams, picture perfect tribal villages and rich monasteries. It is here that one can see the heady mixture of breath taking vistas of Himalayan uplands, Monpa villages and the rich monasteries. If you are looking for a gorgeous Himalayan hill station with rich culture and beautiful vistas, then you should definitely visit Tawang in Western Arunachal Pradesh.

Below are the top 14 things to experience in and around Tawang. These experiences should definitely be a part of your dream Tawang holiday itinerary.

The pride of Tawang - Tawang Gompa

1) Tawang Gompa

This serene and majestic Buddhist monastery is the pride of Tawang. Located on a hilltop at an altitude of 10,000 feet and facing the Tawang town, Tawang Gompa is one of the older Buddhist monasteries in the world and the largest Buddhist monastery in India. A lot of Tawang’s culture and tradition stems from this very gompa. Founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyamtso, the Tawang Gompa is an epitome of Buddhist architecture and belongs to the Gelukpa sect. One of the main attractions of Tawang monastery is its huge gilded statue of Lord Buddha.

Tongpen La View Point, Arunachal Pradesh

2) Tongpen La View Point

Tongpen La view point is a gorgeous Himalayan vista located at an altitude of 15,150 feet above MSL. It is situated at Tongpen La, a high altitude mountain pass that connects the army base of Y junction with Bumla pass on the India-China army highway. This view includes the high altitude Tongpen lake and the snow covered Eastern Himalayas.

Penga Teng Tso Lake - a fantastic white setting

3) Penga Teng Tso Lake

Penga Teng Tso Lake or PT Tso lake is a serene looking high altitude lake located at around 12,000 feet in the Eastern Himalayas of Arunachal Pradesh. At about 23 kilometres from Tawang, PT Tso is located amidst sensational natural beauty with snow capped mountains surrounding it on all sides. This lake holds spiritual importance to the Buddhist community.

T Gompa near Sangetsar Lake

4) Tak Tsang Gompa

Tak Tsang Gompa or T Gompa is one of my favourite Buddhist monasteries in India. This remote and peaceful destination is so quiet that the only sound that you can hear is that of the wind blowing and your heart beating. Tak Tsang, which means ‘tiger’s den’ is a 12, 500 feet high Buddhist monastery located on the edge of a cliff in the Eastern Himalayas of Western Arunachal Pradesh. It is about 40 kilometres or 2 hours from Tawang. If self introspection or meditation is on your mind, this remote Buddhist monastery would be the ideal destination.

Sangetsar Lake from a distance

5) Sangetsar Lake

Sangetsar lake or Madhuri jheel is a high altitude lake in the Eastern Himalayas of Arunachal Pradesh that is considered holy by the Buddhists of India and Tibet. This remote lake, located at an altitude of 12000 feet, offers a heady mix of spirituality, awe inspiring mighty Himalayas surrounding it and eerie looking tree trunks jutting out of the lake. Sangetsar lake is located at about 30 kms north east of Tawang and it was where a few scenes of the movie Koyla (featuring Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit) was shot.

High Altitude and religious Sela Lake at 13,700 feet above MSL

6) Sela Pass and Sela Lake

Sela pass is a 13,700 feet high altitude Himalayan wonderland that connects the Buddhist district of Tawang with the rest of Arunachal Pradesh and India and it is known to be home to more than 101 lakes. Each of these lakes is considered very religious by the Buddhist community. One of these 101 lakes is the large Sela lake located on top of the Sela pass. Winding Himalayan roads of Western Arunachal Pradesh are an added thrill of this destination and one gets to experience such roads both while ascending and while descending Sela pass. Sela pass, which is covered in snow most months of the year is also a paradise for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Sela pass is more than just a pit stop that falls on the Bomdila – Tawang mountain highway. Its unparalleled rugged beauty, pristine mountain nature, exotic mountain birds, rich Buddhist connection and winding mountain roads make it a hot favorite in Arunachal Pradesh.

Jang Falls, Arunachal Pradesh, North East India

7) Jung Falls

Ranked as one the best waterfalls of Arunachal Pradesh, Jung Falls, lies in the valley between Sela and Tawang near the town of Jung. Fed by alpine lakes and snow streams, it tumbles in multiple steep steps into the river below from an appreciable height. The waterfall, which swells with water during the monsoons is a sight to behold. The waterfall, the hill stream below it, the surrounding greenery and the Himalayan mountains make it a top destination in the Tawang circuit.

Ugyenling Temple - Birth place of the 6th Dalai Lama

8) Ugyenling Monastery

The Ugyenling monastery, which is famous as the birth place of the 6th Dalai Lama, was built in the 15th century by Ugyen Zangpo, the youngest brother of Terton Pemalinga, the great treasure traveler. It is situated about 5 kilometres from Tawang and close to Tawang’s war memorial.

Inside the Ani Gompa along with the young Ani (nun)

9) Thukje Chueling Ani Gompa
Western Arunachal Pradesh is famous for its monasteries that are run by nuns. These Ani Gompas or nunneries are managed by sparkle-eyed nuns with clean-shaven heads. No male monks can be seen near these ani gompas. One such monastery is the Thukje Chueling Ani Gompa, that is located on top of a hill that faces the Tawang valley. This place is about 10 kilometres from the city of Tawang. Though this Ani Gompa is small in size, it makes up with its vibrant colours and unique surroundings.

War memorial stupa against the blue Himalayan sky

10) Tawang War Memorial

The Tawang war memorial, a pride of Tawang, is a 40 foot high memorial dedicated to the martyrs of the 1962 Sino-Indian war. This memorial, locally referred to as the ‘Namgya; Chorten’ has names of 2420 dead soldiers etched in gold on 32 black granite plaques. This war memorial, blessed by the Dalai Lama is nestled among picturesque snow-capped peaks overlooking the imposing Tawang-Chu valley. This scenic location ensures that the tourists get a chance to soak in pristine nature, while admiring the deeds of the Indian soldiers.

Western Arunachal Attire

11) Handicraft Emporium

If shopping is your thing, then you should definitely head to the Handicraft Emporium run by the Arunachal Pradesh government (open from 9 AM through 4 PM and situated close to the District Commissioner’s office). This is where you will find authentic goods from the wool weaving industry of Tawang. Shawls, carpets, chadars (wrap skirts worn by Monpa women), handcrafted bags and local tribal dresses are some of the more popular items to shop in Tawang. The other places to shop for in Tawang would be the Old market and the Tibetan settlement areas. Religious Buddhist goods (prayer wheels, flags, Buddha statues, wall hangings, good luck charms and other gift items), delicate chinese crockery, locally carved wooden utensils, traditional jewellery and yak cheese are some of the other things to shop for in Tawang.

Nagula Lake, Arunachal Pradesh

12) Nagula Lake

Nagula lake is a high altitude lake located at an altitude of 4,300 metres above MSL. This scenic lake is a delight for nature lovers and one can spot a number of Brahminy ducks around the lake. These ducks are considered lucky according to Buddhism. Located on the Tawang – Bumla road, the Nagula lake mesmerizes everyone with the beautiful reflection of the snow capped mountain peaks on its pristine waters.

At Y Junction

13) Y Junction

Y junction is a key military outpost on the Tawang-Bumla mountain highway towards the India-China border. It is here that the road forks into two. One heads towards T Gompa and Sangetsar lake while the other heads towards Bumla pass. This is a fabulous location to interact with the soldiers, have a cup of tea at the army canteen and enjoy the bleak and cold landscape.

Enroute to Bumla Pass

14) Bumla Pass

Bumla pass is one of the remotest mountain passes in the world. Located at an elevation of 15,200 feet, Bumla pass is a border pass between China’s Cona county in Tibet and India’s Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh. It is 37 kms from Tawang and is the old trading route between India and Tibet. It is here at Bumla pass that the fierce 1962 India-China war took place.

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