Slip into the mesmerising beauty of the sleepy town
Surrounded by lakes, Tawang is a quaint, sleepy town perched at a high altitude of around 10,000 feet. With stunning valleys, drizzling rivers and breath-taking waterfalls, every corner of this appealing town is soothing to mind and soul. Encircled by Tibet to its northern side, Sela range to the east and Bhutan in the southwest direction, Tawang is also known to be the birthplace of sixth Dalai Lama. Housing 400 year old Tawang monastery, the valley of Tawang offers stunning views of picturesque lakes and snow clad peaks.
Bestowing a unique charm, the influence of the Tibetan – Buddhist fragments in culture, tradition and food, can be noticed in the region. If your digestive system allows you, then give a try to the fiery local food of traditional Monpa cuisine.
The place also offers a diversity of trekking trails from easy to difficult one, inviting trekkers from all parts of the country. With hospitable locals and ample natural beauty, the place is one of the less explored beauties of north east India.
Tawang faces moderate climate for most part of the year, but it get very cold during winters. If you want to experience the most pleasant weather of Tawang, then visit it from March to October.
Cascading waterfalls, high altitude lakes, old Buddhist Gompas are what waiting for you while your visit to Tawang. Pay a visit to the beautiful and ancient Tawang Monastery and have a look of the old Buddhist scriptures. Indulge yourself in the stunning views of lakes and snow cloaked mountains from Tawang Valley. Explore some drizzling waterfalls located around this serene place.
Situated at an elevation of 3000 m at a foothill in Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang Monastery is the largest monastery in India and the second ancient monastery in the world after Lhasa. The four hundred year old building is stunning and presents one of the most scenic views in its hut-like structure. It was established by Mera Lama Lodre Gyasto during the 17th century. It houses one of the biggest lamaseries of Mahayana sect and is given high importance by the followers of Buddhism. The structure is a treasure trove of astounding collection of manuscripts, books and other articles. The complex also includes sixty – five residential buildings for monks and is a centre of Buddhist Cultural Studies. The place offers mesmerising views of streaming Tawang River, snow-capped mountains and the beautiful green valley. Although Tawang Monastery is a less frequent destination, the significance and the panoramic beauty of the place is unparalleled.
Pankang Teng Tso Lake
Located at an altitude of 12,000 feet in the Eastern Himalayas, Pankang Teng Tso Lake is around 17 Km from Tawang. The calm water of the lake under the bold blue sky, patches of clouds floating in the sky and chirping of the birds, is all what you will get after reaching the place. The tranquil place gets frozen during winters and some part of it becomes favourable ground for skiing. In summer the nearby area of the lake is loaded with bright rhododendrons flowers, making it perfect time to visit.
Situated 78 Km from Tawang, Sela Pass is the only road connecting the town with the rest part of India. It is also known to be the only high-altitude mountain pass in the world that is accessible through any vehicle. Most of the year, the place is covered with snow and offers heavenly views. The beautiful Sela Lake which is sometimes also referred to as Paradise Lake falls en route this pass. The Himalayan region near Sela Pass holds a great religious significance for Buddhist community.
The 100 meter high Nuranang fall is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the north east part of the India. Located 40 Km away from Tawang, this waterfall is one of the major tourist attractions near the town. This spectacular waterfall is situated on the Nuranang River which originates from the northern slopes of the Sela Pass and ultimately drops into the Tawang River. It is also called Jang as it is close to a town named Jang, situated between Tawang and Bomdila.
Taktsang Gompa is situated, 45 Km away from Tawang and is one of the major tourist attractions near the town. Poised on the edge of a hill, this complex was first built in 1692. The place is notable as it is believed that Guru Padmasambhava (attributed to introduce Buddhism to Bhutan) meditated here in 8th century. The place covered with elegant peaks and deep coniferous woods, presents breath-taking views. It is the most suitable place to relax in the tranquillity and natural surroundings. The monastery is also noticeable for holding famous Bhutani Festival Paro Tsechu (Also a Buddhist Dance Fest), during March in the honour of Padmasambhava.
Also known as Madhuri Lake, Shonga-tser Lake is formed as a result of an earthquake that occurred in this zone in 1971. The lake is ideally located amidst the Blue Mountains, creating perfect backdrop for the charming place. Located 42 Km away from Tawang, the postcard beauty of the place has been featured in many Bollywood movies.
Jaswantgarh Army War Memorial
Jaswantgarh Army War Memorial is situated 25 Km away from Tawang, at Nuranang. Placed below the Sela Pass, the war memorial celebrates the bravery of the martyred Indian soldiers during 1962 Indo-China war. Built in the remembrance of rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, Mahavir Chakra Awardee who showed his heroism by fighting and holding the attacking Chinese soldiers for 72 hours all alone during the war. Pay homage to this brave hero, while visiting this war memorial.
The ethnic cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh is very nutritious and simple to cook. The use of oil and packed spices is avoided in the cooking. In spite of that the tribal cuisine includes vegetables, herbs, and fermented bamboo shoots as the integral ingredients. Rice is the staple food of all the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Wungwut Ngam (chicken with rice powder), Pasa (a soup) and Ngatok (ethnic fish curry) are some of the popular and savoured traditional dishes of the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The simple tribal dishes of the state are endless as there are many major tribes in the state and each tribe has many sub-tribes with different food habits and dishes.
The most common and readily available dishes in Tawang are Momos and Thupka which is can be best relished in road side food joints. Food in Tawang contains a lot of chillies and fermented cheese.
Yak butter tea and Gyapa Khazi (local Biryani) are some other popular delicacies of the region. Have a taste of the local dishes of Tawang in some of the best restaurants and eateries of the place.
Located in the Old Market, The Dragon is one of the most popular restaurants among foodies. It is known to serve some very freshly made local dishes like Churpa (delicious fermented cheese broth cooked with fungi and vegetables).
ADDRESS – Near Old Market, Lumla, Tawang
TIMINGS – 8 AM – 8 PM
PRICE - INR 80 – INR 160
Orange Bar and Restaurant
If you want to savour good with accompanied with exotic beverages in a cosy interior then come to the Orange Bar & Restaurant. The quick service makes the meal more enjoyable.
ADDRESS – Near Main Market, Tawang
TIMINGS – 10 AM – 9 PM
PRICE - INR 100 for beer
Hotel Mon Valley
Hotel Mon Valley is greatly recommended restaurants by locals in Tawang to relish traditional cuisines of Himalayan region. Authentic Tibetan and Indian dishes are also available in the restaurant. The place is remarkable for serving good quality food in reasonable price.
ADDRESS – Nehru Market, Tawang
Apart from being a scenic hill station, Tawang is also an important centre of Buddhist learning. This serene place celebrates many colourful festivals throughout the year. Let’s know something about these unique traditional festivals of Tawang.
It is the most important festival of Tawang, which is celebrated for 8 – 15 days at the advent of New Year. This festival is mainly celebrated by Monpas who comprises the major population in Tawang. Losar is a time of merriment for Monpas when they feast, drink and dance with friends and relatives. A lot of preparation is done before the celebration like cleaning the houses and throw out all the junks out. It is believed that by doing this prosperity, peace and good health is showered on the house members. The much awaited festival falls in the month of February and March.
The three days festival, Torgya is celebrated every year in the 28th day of the eleventh month of the lunar cycle which usually occurs in the month of January. The celebration of this fest is believed to wipe out evil spirits and harmful powers. A ritual monastic dances (Chham), which is performed by wearing colourful mask and traditional attires in Tawang monastery is one of the attractive feature of the celebration.
Dukpa Tse She
Dukpa Tse She is another festival in Tawang which commemorates the imparting religious discourse of Lord Buddha to his five disciples at Sarnath. This festival, which occurs in the sixth month of lunar calendar (in October), includes visit to different religious shrines.
According to the lunar calendar, Gaden Namchoe falls in the 25th day of tenth month. It marks the death anniversary of Je Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Gelukpa sect. In this event local people mourn his death by lighting lamps in their verandas in evening and drinking gruel make of flour dumplings.
Saka Dawa is an important festival in Tawang, which marks the attainment of Nirvana by Gautam Buddha.
Tawang Cultural Festival
To celebrate the cultural heritage of the state, five day Tawang Cultural Festival is organises by the state tourism department.
From traditional items to handicrafts, the markets of Tawang are loaded with immense shopping items. The place is famous for carpets, shawls, handmade bags and clothing items. The place takes pride for its beautiful carpets with exquisite designs on it and is greatly shopped by tourists.
There are many handicraft emporiums in the town which will offer you a variety of tempting products to shop for like chadors (wrap around skirts worn by women), shawls and tribal dresses. Other items that are readily picked by tourists as souvenirs are Buddha statues, wooden lucky charms, prayer wheels, rosaries etc.
You can also buy some beautiful piece of crockery here, as the place is famous for porcelain and chinaware. Items like tea pots, tea sets and mugs in Buddhist style is worth taking back home.
Some interesting local items, you should surely look for in Tawang are ornaments made of bamboo like bangles, waist bands, earrings and necklaces available in unique geometric designs. Grass necklace made by Wangcho women is an exceptional entity you can find here.
You can hunt all these shopping items in Old Market, various Tibetan settlement markets and Government handicrafts emporium.
The sleepy hill town, Tawang has a number of hotels to stay. From reasonable priced to lavish ones to budget hotel, the town has all ranges of hotel fitting to everyone’s wallet. Tawang Hotels not only offers to eyewitness the charming beauty of the place but also, gives a chance to soak in the local culture, enjoy local cuisine and mingle with native people.
Situated around 1.2 Km away from Tawang Monastery, Siddhartha Hotel provides comforting staying place in the town. Placed in the popular locales of Tawang, the hotel has nice, modern interiors. It is furnished with large, spacious rooms with all the necessary facilities.
ADDRESS – Opposite National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Office, Tawang
Located in the centre of Tawang, Monyul Lodge provides comfy accommodation to its guests. The main feature of this hotel is its setting near the taxi stand and Old Market.
ADDRESS – Near Taxi Stand, Old Market, Tawang
Hotel Dolma Chhinkar
Ideally located in the heart of the town, Hotel Dolma Chhinkar is just 1 km away from old market bus stop. The residing place is comfortable and known for its hospitality. The main tourist attraction of Tawang can be easily accessed from this hotel.
ADDRESS – Old Market, Near Post Office, Tawang
Gayki Khang Zhang
Gayki Khang Zhang is one of the lavish and comfortable stopovers in Tawang. It is furnished with luxurious rooms (variety of price range) and standard facilities. It also houses an in-built restaurant serving India, Chinese & Continental food and a Coffee House where you can sip freshly brewed coffee.
ADDRESS – Near D.C. Office, Cona, Tawang
Located in the main market of Tawang, Buddha Hotel is a homely and comfortable accommodation. Apart from all the general service, the hotel offers tasty pure vegetarian food in its onsite restaurant. The place will certainly impress you with its homely atmosphere and service.
ADDRESS – Old Bazar Line, Tawang
The transport system in Tawang is good and easily available. Although it is not directly linked by flight and train, but it can be conveniently reached by taking road route from the nearest railway station and airport. To move from one part to another part local trains and roads can be used. To move within the town, cab/taxi can be hired from the hiring agencies. You can also take buses or jeeps to move feasibly around the town.
Reaching Tawang by Air
The closes airport from Tawang is Tezpur, 160 km away. One can hire a jeeb/taxi to reach the town.
Reaching Tawang by Train
The nearest railway station is also the same Tezpur, located 160 Km away. But it has limited connectivity from other railway stations. The other feasible rail route to reach the town is from Guwahati, which is well connected to major railway stations of the country. Hire a jeep/taxi to take you to Tawang.
Reaching Tawang by Road
The town is well linked with regular bus service from Tezpur and Bomdila. There are several Arunachal State Transport buses as well as private buses running frequently to Tawang. You can also hire jeep/taxi/shared taxi to reach the place.