11 awesome places to visit in Tawang
Located in the picturesque land of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is definitely one of the most sought after destinations in Northeast India. Located at an altitude of 10000 feet, the beauty of Tawang is totally captivating to its visitors. The winding roads with numerous hairpin bends would take you to this wonderland after crossing the snowy peaks of the Sela Pass. And once you reach this mystical land, you will be enchanted with the vistas, beautiful lakes, Buddhist monasteries, spectacular mountain views, towering waterfall and the harmony the place has to offer. So here is a list of wonderful places to visit in Tawang, also known as Mon-yul, the land of Monpa tribes.
List of Awesome places to visit in Tawang
Tawang Monastery is the main attraction of Tawang. Also known as the Gaden Namgye Lhatse, the monastery is the largest one in India. It was actually the palace of Monpa King Kala Wangpo. In 1680, a Buddhist monk Merak Lama established a monastery here to teach the principles of Buddhism to the native Monpa people as per the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama.
The monastery looks grand shrouded amidst clouds and perched on the hilltop. The prayer hall has a huge statue of Lord Buddha. The Parkhang Library is also an important place that houses a number of ancient manuscripts. The Tawang monastery is a treasure house of old Buddhist artefacts and other religious objects from Tibet and Tawang. Tawang Monastery should be definitely on your list of places to visit in Tawang.
Another historic and ancient monastery in Tawang is the Urgelling Monastery. Believed to be 400 years old, the monastery is the birthplace of Dalai Lama VI, who was a resident of Tawang. This monastery was destroyed by the attack of the Mongols and during the battles between Tibetans and Bhutanese. Only a small part of the original monastery remains today. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful and serene place where you can spend some time.
Sela Pass and Sela Lake
Sela Pass is actually the gateway to Tawang. This high altitude pass is located at an altitude of 13700 feet and is one of the highest motorable passes in India. The view of the surrounding mountains is surely going to leave you mesmerized. Just after the winters, the mountains remain snow-clad and look spectacular. After crossing the Pass, is the Sela Lake. Stop for some time at the lake and admire the beauty and serenity of the place. You can stop at Sela Pass and Sela Lake either on your way or while return from Tawang.
This is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the northeast. Cascading from a height of 100 metres, the waterfall is a treat to the eyes. Located only 40 km away from Tawang at Jang (a small town located between Tawang and Bomdila), the Nuranang Waterfalls originates from the Nuranang River and plunges into the Tawang River. As you will walk near the falls, you will feel water drops on your face. There is a Hydel Power station nearby where you can take a visit.
Tawang War Memorial
The Tawang War Memorial was built in honour of the soldiers who lost their lives in the 1962 Indo-China War which was fought in this region of Arunachal Pradesh. The memorial is located just as you enter the Tawang town. The memorial is made in the form of a huge stupa and has the names of 2420 Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the war engraved in granite plates. Stop here for some time and pay your homage to the brave hearts who lost their lives.
Jaswant Garh Memorial
The Jaswant Garh Memoria is the tribute to a single man who had fought valiantly during the Indo-Chian War. His valour and courage are praised even today. The wonder man was Jaswant Singh Rawat who single-handedly hold fort for 3 days at an altitude of 10000 feet to keep the Chinese invaders away. Located 21 km from Sela Pass, towards Tawang, do stop at Jaswant Garh Memorial to pay homage to the brave soul.
Bumla Pass is located around 37 km from Tawang at an altitude of 16000 feet connecting India and China. Rugged and bumpy roads lead to the post near Indo-China border. The place is also the meeting point of army commanders from both countries to discuss issues that are beyond the scope of ordinary citizens. A visit to this place can really be an eye-opener as you can see how the Indian army stays at such cold and inhospitable conditions.
An interesting fact about the Bumla Pass is that this was the route used by the Dalai Lama to enter India for refuge. The area remains under snow for most of the time of the year.
Your visit to Tawang would remain incomplete if you do not visit this beautiful lake. The Tsongatser Lake is more famously known as the Madhuri Lake after the famous Bollywood actor had shot for a song here. Surrounded by mountains all around, the Madhuri Lake looks simply spectacular. You can simply stroll around the lake and enjoy the picturesque beauty of the place.
The Madhuri Lake was actually formed by an earthquake in this region in 1971. Earlier it used to be grassland. You can see stumps of trees on the lake even now.
Pt Tso Lake
Tawang is a land of beautiful lakes. Pt Tso Lake is situated about 17 km from Tawang in a breathtaking location on the way towards Madhuri Lake. During winter the lake remains completely frozen and sometimes act as skiing ground for the locals. The surrounding vistas are absolutely beautiful and you will see many colourful flowers in the area. This place is definitely a nature lovers’ delight.
Travel to the last frontiers of Arunachal Pradesh towards the Zemithang village. One of the remotest villages, Zemithang is the home of the Monpa tribes where you can see the traditional lifestyle of the people. Visit the Gorsam Stupa which is a pilgrimage site for the Buddhists. A visit to Zemithang will give you all the solitude and peace you want.
The Chak-Zam Bridge is one of the most interesting places to visit in Tawang. The bridge is 600 years old and is said to be the oldest iron bridge in India. Located at a distance of 25 km from Tawang town across the Tawang River, the bridge depicts the architectural brilliance of Tangton Gyalpo, the architect and builder of the bridge. He was a disciple of the Dalai Lama and is said to have built about 100 iron bridges in the Himalayan region.
Trekking in Tawang
Trekking around Tawang can be quite challenging as well as rewarding. The trails are relatively unexplored and you can enjoy the beauty of nature at her best. The famous Bailey Trail is around the Tawang area exploring the virgin and unexplored lands of the Eastern Himalayas.
How to reach Tawang
The nearest International airport is at Guwahati, while Tezpur is the nearest domestic airport. The nearest Railway head is Guwahati.
From Guwahati, you have to come to Tezpur. From Tezpur, vehicles are available towards Tawang. The distance between Tezpur and Tawang is almost 325 km and often takes around 12 hours to cover the distance. It is better to break the journey and make halts at either Bhalukpong, Bomdila or Dirang, as per your choice.
Best Time to visit Tawang
The best time to visit Tawang is between October and November and March to May. You can also visit Tawang during the Tawang Festival to get a taste of the culture and tradition of the Monpas.
You need an ILP to visit Arunachal Pradesh. You can get easily obtain ILP for Arunachal Pradesh online. Know more about our post on obtaining ILP in Northeastern states.