Tawang Monastery holds the rank of the largest monastery in India and the second largest one in Asia. This monastery is counted as one of the most beautiful attractions of Arunachal Pradesh, and that is also referred to as Galden Namgyal Lhatse. This sacred site is the nucleus of the Lamaistic faith of the Mahayana school of Buddhism in the north-eastern region.
Established in 1860-61, Tawang Monastery in Arunachal was founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyamtso as per the wishes of Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, the 5th Dalai Lama. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Buddhism.
Lying amidst the mighty Himalayan ranges, above the sea level of 10, 000 feet above the sea level, the monastery offers magnificent views of the Tawang-Chu valley. Tawang Monastery is not a religious center for the residents of Tawang but is also home to over 300 monks. This monastery holds 17 gompas in the region.
You can plan your vacation in Tawang and explore the monasteries through our Tawang tour packages. Contact our tour experts now and plan your holiday in this beautiful state of India.
Here is the detailed information about Tawang Monastery
Tawang Monastery Complex
The fortified complex of Tawang Monastery is spread across 135 sq.m. and is encircled by a 610 m long wall. It includes a total of 65 residential structures and 10 other buildings. There is also a library (Par-Khang) of the 16th century, which has a valuable collection of old scriptures in around 850 bundles. The entrance gate of Tawang Monastery is built like a hut of stone walls and ceilings with paintings of Kying-Khores and saints. And the gate on the northern side is around 15 feet long.
Other structures inside the Tawang monastery complex include the assembly hall or Dukhang, boasting magnificent interiors with beautiful works of art. While the inner walls contain sketches and paintings of Bodhisattvas, the northern wall has an altar where religious ceremonies are organized.
On the left of the altar is a silver silk casket with Thangkas, dedicated to Goddess Shri Devi (Palden Lhamo), the main deity of the monastery. This is the main structure inside the 3-storied complex and is north of the main courtyard.Placed in the back of the monastery, the other important structure is the stone-slab court, where religious ceremonies and dances are organized as per the lunar calendar of Monpa. The following important building is Rhum Khyang, a room for cooking food on special occasions and food for the monks on days of the festival. The residential quarter of the monks in the monastery complex is called Sha. Finally, the Centre for Buddhist Cultural Studies is the chief structure of the monastery. This is the learning center for the resident young monks where they gain traditional monastic education, Arithmetic, Hindi, English, etc.
Best Time to Visit Tawang Monastery
Tawang Monastery becomes the venue of two major religious festivals of the Monpas every year – Losar and Torgya. The Losar festival is the celebration of the beginning of the New Year. In each third year of Torgya, the Dungyur festival is also celebrated here. All the festivals celebrated at the Tawang Monastery are marked by great enthusiasm. And these are undoubtedly the best times to visit Tawang Monastery for an authentic experience.
How to Reach Tawang Monastery
Here are different ways to reach Tawang Monastery -
- By Air - The nearest airport to Tawang Monastery is located approx. 324 km away in Tezpur. You can take a bus to reach the monastery, taking approximately 9 hours and 45 minutes.
- By Train - Take a train to Rangapara North Junction in Assam. It is the nearest railway station and is located 320 km away. It will take around 10 hours to reach Tawang Monastery by bus or taxi.
- By Road - You can take a car, bus, or drive on a bike to Tawang Monastery. The unwinding roads leading to Tawang look beautiful, especially during winters. The bus connectivity is excellent. You can easily find buses from cities like Silchar, Tezpur, Guwahati, Itanahar, and Bhalukpong to Tawang.
Places to Stay near Tawang Monastery
Tawang Monastery stay allows you to know more about their culture and customs. Else, there are many hotels near Tawang Monastery you can choose for a comfortable stay as well. Here are our top recommendations -
- Hotel Tawang Heights (1.8 km away)
- Yul Pemakhar (0.8 km away)
- Vamoose Bliss (0.5 km away)
- Hotel Menda-La (1 km away)
- Hotel Tawang Holiday (1.5 km away)
Tips for visiting Tawang Monastery
- The weather during the winter months is extremely cold, so carry enough warm clothes with you
- There are many places to stay in Tawang Monastery for an authentic experience
- Book your tickets to Tawang in advance
- Respect the local culture and follow any rules they might have on-site
- Maintain peace inside and in the monastery surroundings
- Do not litter
- Wear sunscreen and keep drinking warm drinks to keep yourself warm from the inside