Tawang (Ta meaning horse and Wang meaning Chosen) is also known in another Tibetan name as Galden Namgey Lhatse, which means a true name within a celestial paradise in a clear night. Tawang is traditionally inhabited by the Monpa who follows Gelupa Sect of the Mahayana School of Buddhism It is the birth place of the sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyasto. It is known as “The Land Of The Lamas” surrounded by ancient Buddhist monasteries and beautiful lakes.
Places of Interest:
Tawang Monastery (Vihar): Tawang Monastery about 400 years old, situated at an altitude of approximately 10,000 ft. is the second largest Buddhist monastery in India. It also holds the distinction of being the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama. The monastery is the house of more than 700 monks. The monastery was founded by Merag Lama Lodre Gyamtso, in 1681 in accordance to the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Nagwang Lobsang Gyatso. As per the legend, the site of the Monastery was chosen by the horse of Merag Lama. Merag Lama, who had been unable to decide a site to establish the monastery. One day he was praying in cave, seeking a divine guidance. When he came out after the prayers, he found his horse was missing. On search, the horse was located standing quietly on a hilltop. Considering that as the sign of divine blessing he decided to construct the monastery at the very spot. The monastery is also called Galden Namgey Lhatse meaning celestial paradise. There is a magnificent 8 meter high statue of Lord Buddha. The ancient library inside the courtyard has an excellent collection of thangkas, painted with the blood from the nose of 5th Dalai Lamaand valuable Buddhist manuscripts mainly Kanjur and Tanjur numbering 850 bundles.
Urqelling Monastery: It is the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama who is the only Indian to have risen to such a high position in Gelupka Sect of Buddhism so far. Inside the monastery there are several Stupas (Vihar) and people from all walks of life visit this place during Buddhist new year to get the blessing for the coming year.
The Craft Center: The craft center in Tawang sells beautiful masks, hand woven carpets, jewellery in silver, coral and amber, ‘chubas’ the local dressand delightful affordable mementos.
Tawang War Memorial: The memorial is dedicated to the martyrs of the 1962 Sino-Indian war. The memorial is 40-foot-high and like a stupa in design. It is locally called ‘Namgyal Chortan’. The names of 2420 martyrs imprinted in gold on 32 black granite plagues.
Sella Pass: The entry point into the Tawang Valley is Sela pass at an elevation of 13700 ft above the sea level.. Legend says that a monpa woman supported sepoy Jashwant Singh during his battle with the Chinese. She brought sepoy Jashwant supplies and used to heal his wounds. When Jashwant got martyrdom she killed herself as an act of loyalty.
The glimpse of Paradise Lake in the Sella Pass makes your visit worth. Most of the time the lake is covered with thick blanket of snow.
Jaswant Garh: The war memorial is located 14 kms from Sella Pass on the way to Tawang. The memorial pay homage to Jaswant Singh Rawat, Mahavir Chakra Awardee posthumous (the second highest award from the Indian Army). In the famous battle of Nuranang against Chinese in November 1962, Rawat and two other soldiers from 4th Batallion Garhwal Rifles were instrumental in killing 300 Chinese soldiers in 72 hours.
Sangestser Lake: Popularly known as Madhuri Lake is located 35 kms away from Tawang near the China Border. The drive to Sangestser Lake is full of thrill and one can still see the war bankers that had been used during the Chinses aggression in 1962 and the beautiful PTSO lake.