It is said that India is a land of festivals. The diverse people and culture of the country celebrates their festivals in their own way. And these festivals do not only confine among religious and cultural aspects, nowadays festivals are more of a social togetherness. There are music festivals, tourism festivals, food festivals, and so many others. Tawang Festival is one such carnival celebrated at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh every year in October. Tawang Festival is organized by the Arunachal Pradesh Tourism Department and is being celebrated since 2012. This 3-4 days colourful extravaganza celebrates and showcases the beauty of Tawang along with its culture and scope of tourism. From traditional dances to Buddhist rituals, indigenous sports and display of local handicrafts, the 3 days of the festival decks up Tawang in a beautiful and colourful way. There is also display of films and documentaries that showcase the rich heritage of Arunachal Pradesh. The festival is attended by various dignitaries and distinguished personalities from across the world.
What happens at Tawang Festival?
Tawang Festival is a designed to promote tourism and along with that it keeps alive the tradition and culture of the indigenous tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The festival begins with ‘Sebang’, a religious tradition where the monks walk from the Tawang Monastery to the festival spot. This officially marks the opening of the festival. In the morning, there are various cultural programmes held, most of them having Tibetan flavor and showcasing the culture of the tribes. Some of the major events thathad taken place in the previous years are traditional mask dance, yak dance, Aji-Lhamu Dance and indigenous games and sports. Street performances and fashion shows wearing traditional attires are also a major part of the programmes. Apart from that there are flower shows, photography and painting exhibitions, interactive workshops and films and documentaries that shows the rich tribal heritage of the state.
What festival can be complete without food? Tawang Festival also has great food stalls with delectable cuisines from the Nyishi, Adi, Monpa and Apatani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Traditional food items and local alcoholic drinks are found at the makeshift bamboo stalls. You can taste some nice millet beer or apong from any of the stalls.
Handicrafts and handlooms also take a major part in the festival. The handicrafts of the various tribes are displayed at various stalls. You can buy souvenirs from these stalls for family and friends. For the evening, there is a separate venue for music and dance shows. The whole ground it lit up and the place becomes full of youngsters. The whole affair is quite grand and enjoyable. Last year in 2017, Tawang Festival had bagged the title of “Best Cultural Festival”. The festival ended with Tawang International Run, 2017, a race held at an altitude of 12000 feet.
How to reach Tawang?
Tawang is situated at an altitude of above 10000 feet. Tawang is situated approximately 490 km from Guwahati. The nearest international airport is at Guwahati, while Tezpur has a domestic airport. From Guwahati, you have to reach Tezpur, 4 hours away. From Tezpur, numerous sumos are available to Tawang. It takes around 11-12 hours to reach Tawang from Tezpur. It is recommended to stop at either Bomdila or Dirang for a night before heading to Tawang.
Tawang is a wonderful place. There are so many attractions at Tawang. The Tawang Monastery is the largest and one of the oldest monasteries of India. The Madhuri Lake, Nuranang Falls and the Sela Pass are some other attractions of the place. You can plan your trip to Tawang during the festival so that you get a glimpse of the rich and vibrant culture of the place. But do book your accommodations in Tawang before hand during the festival time.