Tawang is a district as well as a town in western Arunachal
Pradesh. The town is located at an altitude of 11,500 ft at
the extreme North West corner of Arunachal Pradesh surrounded
in three sides by Bhutan and China. This makes Tawang difficult
to reach. But the visitors are well rewarded with the grand
views of the alpine mountains surrounding Tawang.
Apart from the grand mountain and lakes
that create an extremely beautiful background for the town,
Tawang is also famous for the 17th century Tawang Monastery
which is the second largest in Asia and also one of the most
beautiful. The local tribe “Monpa” are well known for their
friendly smile and the headgear they wear.
What to See
Jaswang Garh - On your way to Tawang, about
14 km before Sela pass and about couple of hours journey still
left to reach Tawang, you will reach Jaswantgarh War Memorial.
The place is a memorial for the soldiers who fought the 1962
Indo Chinese war. There are a number of crematories of the
soldiers and you can see a large number of bunkers as remnants
of the war. This is a good place to stop over on your way
to Tawang and have a cup of "Chai".
At an altitude of about 13700 ft this is one of the highest
pass in the area (la in Tibetan language means pass). Sela
can be reached after a steep ascent and the last mile to the
pass is quite treacherous. There is a very long ridge that
separates Tawang area from the rest of Arunachal. Sela is
the only pass through which a tourist can reach Tawang.
There is a lake on the pass offering beautiful view. You may
stop over at the tea stall near the lake and take a break
provided you are ready to brave the chilly wind blowing through
the pass almost through all hours.
As you move on from Sela pass you will soon get to see Tawang
on the mountain in front. But to reach Tawang you have to
go down to the valley below, cross a small stream and climb
the hill on the other side, spending more than 2 hours in
the process. As you reach the bottom of the hill, you will
pass by a small village called Jang. From Jang you take a
right turn and drive a couple of kms to reach the Nuranang
Water Fall. It is a large water fall amongst beautiful surrounding.
The site has been used for some hindi movies as well. There
is a 6 megawatt hydro electric plant adjacent to the water
The Monastery can be identified from a distance due to the
unique yellow rooftop of all the buildings. The Tawang Monastery
is the second largest in Asia and was build during the 17th
century. The Monastery is located a couple of kilometers away
from the center of the town. The Monastery is perched on top
of a hill. There is a museum inside the Gompa which showcases
large number of articles of historical as well as religious
significance. The monastery follows the Gelugpa sect of Mahayana
School of Buddhism. At the center of the Monastery complex
is the location of a large Assembly hall that contains a 28
ft high golden Buddha. There are 17 smaller monasteries in
the area which are controlled from the Tawang monastery.
to the lakes:
As you travel further North from Tawang, the terrain fast
changes. Tall trees are soon replaced by small bushes and
the terrain starts resembling closely the adjacent Tibetan
platue. These area beyond Tawang offers breathtaking view
of lakes the area is said to have more than a hundread lakes.
Normal tourist itinerary includes a visit to the Sangetsar
Lake, also known as the Madhuri lake. On the way you will
be passing by several lakes each offering its own attraction.
The Sangetsar lake is the last destination. The lake was originally
a grazing ground. During 1973 an earthquake occurred which
resulted in landslide blocking a stream nearby. As a result
the lake was formed. The trees that once stood in the land
are all dead but their black trunks coming out of the lake
water create a special effect for the beholder. The Sangetsar
lake was the sight where Bollywood movie koyla was shot with
famous heroine Madhuri Dixit dancing around the lake. This
gave the lake its popular name Madhuri Lake.