Tawang Travel Guide
Tawang is one of the most beautiful places in the north east. The mountainous Tawang district with its headquarters in Tawang is located on the western tip of Arunachal Pradesh. The district covering an area of of 2085 sq km has two international neighbours Bhutan in the southwest and Tibet in the north. In the east of Tawang is the Kameng and in the west it is separated by the Sela ranges.
Tawang with an altitude of 3500 m above the sea level is mostly nature left as it is in all its pristine natural glory.
Tawang perhaps got its name in the 17th century from Reverend Mera Lama Lodre Gyatso, Tawang Monastery’s founder. It was named on the horse of the Lama Ta (Horse) Wang (blessed).
Of late Tawang strategically placed between China, Tibet and Myanmar has been attracting quite an unprecedented attention perhaps since the days of Chinese aggression of 1962. Tawang with its grand view of the grand Himalayan peaks, fluttering prayer flags, old Monasteries, a bustling bazaar and fabulous tracks is a delight for tourists most specifically those smitten by the bug of adventure. The best way to discover this quaint yet vibrating place is to take long solitary walks.
Best Time to Visit Tawang
As Tawang gets snowfalls during the harsh winter months it is best visited between March and October. Even during the summer months light woolens and Jackets are required.
Permissions for Visiting Tawang
For the Indian citizens the last free frontier is the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border point of Bhalukpung. Beyond this point entry without permission that is the Inner line Permit is forbidden. Inner Line Travel Permits can be had from the Tourist Offices of Arunachal Pradesh at Delhi, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Guwahati. The Inner Line Permit a system in place form the British era is there to stop influx of outsiders that can alter the ethnic identity of the original inhabitants.
How to Reach Tawang
To get to Tawang there are mainly two options by road or by Helicopter. Guwahai is around 525 km away and a 20 hour drive from Guwahati. From Tezpur Tawang is 345 km or a 12 -13 hours journey. Regular bus services are available from Guwahati and Tezpur however if you are willing to shell some more money it is better to hire a Tata Qualis or any other rugged mountain vehicle to embark on one of the most fantastic journeys in this part of the world. This would allow enjoying the nature and the number of Monasteries on the ways and breaks in between.
How to Reach Tawang by Airways
The nearest airports to Tawang are the ones at Guwahati and Tezpur which are connected from the rest of India. After that it is all roads. From Guwahati Pawan Hans operates Helicopter services to Tawang. It is a 50 minute flight with the chopper also using Bhutanese air space.
How to Reach Tawang by Railways
Though the nearest railway station to Tawang is Rangapara North Railway Station (RPAN) which is 60 km from the Assam-Aruanachal border of Bhalukpong yet for all practical purposes Guwahati Railway station remains the most feasible option to go to Tawang from rest of India.
Attractions of Tawang
There are many attractions of Tawang an important center of Buddhist learning in India. Some of them are enumerated here.
Tawang Gompa: Tawang Gompa is definitely is the major tourist attraction apart from the the high point of the town. The gompa, also known as the Galden Namgyal Lhatse, is a famous Mahayana monastery. It was established in 1643-47 AD by Lodre Gyaltso, popular by the name of Meera Lama among locals. It is one of the largest Monasteries in Asia. The fortified complex built over an area of 165sq meters is perched on a 2,760 m high ridge. The compound wall is 610 meters long. The Gompa gives a kaleidoscopic view of the splendid valleys and beyond. A special attraction here is the beautifully gilded 8 metre high statue of Gautama Buddha. Other attractions include an ancient library comprising many rare books and manuscripts, idols, thangkas and murals. In 1997 the monastery was renovated.
Jaswantgarh: Jaswantgarh is 14 km away from the 14000 ft high SelaPass on the way to Tawang. It is basically an Indian army Memorial built to honour an extraordinary brave soldier of the Indian Army who fought the Chinese Army single handedly. Rifleman Jaswant Sing Rawat, of 4 Garhwal Rifles kept the advancing Chinese at bay for three days till he was captured and killed by the marauding forces. Jaswant Singh was awarded Maha Vir Chakra by the Government of India. The memorial has a plaque describes Rawat’s heroics. The temple-like Jaswantgarh memorial houses a garlanded bronze bust of Jaswant Singh. His personal belongings including Army uniform, cap, watch, and belt are also kept here. An earthen lamp keeps burning before the portrait of this Great War Hero.
Urgelling Gompa: Urgelling Gompa is the birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsanyang Gyatso who was born here on 1683. The temple is said to have been built around 1487 AD by Ugyen Zangpo, the youngest brother of Terton Pemalingpa, a Great Treasure Revealer. It is located to the south of Tawang at a close distance from the heliport.
Se La Pass: Se La Pass is on the way to Tawang. At around 14000 ft high (world’s third highest) it signals the entering into Tawang valley. The beautiful ParadiseLake considered a very sacred lake is also located here. The beauty of this place is hard to be described.
Madhuri Lake: Encircled by towering cliffs, the Madhuri Lake 42 km from Tawang is extremely picturesque. No body cares that the official name is Sangetsar Lake but since Madhuri Dixit shot some scenes here for the film Koyla it came to be known as Madhuri Lake. The lake is a result of a major earthquake in the area in 1950. The bare tree trunks could still be seen standing out from the lake that was once a forested area. The Lake remains frozen for most of the time.
Panggang teng Tso: Panggang teng Tso, Tso meaning lake is better known as PT Tso named after our sprint queen PT Usha. This lake is at around 14 km from Tawang and perched at an altitude of approximately 13,500 feet. The view is amazing here as the lake has the mountainous backdrop and set against the clear blue sky. The lake is 100-150 meters below the road.
The oxygen content of the area is low so trekking back to the main road from the lake side is a laborious task that is forught with inherent medical risks.
Brama Dungchung Ani Gompa : The nunneries or Ani Gompa is located about 5 Kms. north of the Tawang township. It was in 1826 a Buddhist monk named Kachen Yeshi Galek founded this nunnery. The practice of sending one girl from a family to the Ani Gompa is discontinued. The prayer hall of the monastery has the images of Shakyamuni Buddha, Avalokesetesver et al. A must visit.
There are some nice getaways from Tawang which a traveler must explore. Take a look.
Bomdila: The breathtakingly beautiful Bomdilla is situated at an altitude of 8500 feet is just around 190 km from Tawang. Bomdilla is an excellent jaunt for trekking, picnics and eco-tourism camps. It is saddled with many beatific spots to make a memorable excursion. There a fair number of gompas (small monasteries) due to its strong Buddhist and Tibetan influence, apple orchards, forests, waterfalls ready to be discovered. For those who like to devour Tibetan cuisine , Bomdilla has quaint little eating-places. For those scouting for souvenirs and traditional memorabilia the way is to head for the Craft Centre. The Bomdilla monastery is located at a higher elevation than the main township and it gives a commanding view of the valley below. The garden with its myriad variety of flowers is really soothing for the eyes. Bomdila is also a hub for hiking expeditions in the Kameng region. From small walks to serious trekking by experts Bomdilla is the place to be.
Dirang: Dirang is situated in between Bomdila and Tawang and is around 140 km from Tawang. Dirang lies in the West Kameng district. Dirang is ideal for Trekking and hiking and the attractions of Dirang include Kalchakra and Ngingmapa Monastery, YakResearchCenter, SangtiValley, kiwi and apple orchards, hot-water springs et al.
Bomdilla-Pangam: Located 64 Kms from Tawang, the travelers can traverse up to the ridge from where on the other side lies Bomdilla Monastery, which is worth visiting. From their travelers can drive on to Thembang, the seat of Gelugapa, or the yellow Hat School of Tiebetan Buddhism. From their trailing to the low end farms where the travelers can click some interesting pictures.
Ziro: Located in the heart of Lower Subansiri District, 5,839 ft above the sea level, it is a small town in Arunachal Pradesh still unexplored and concealed under the bask of the foggy clouds. The people who are really keen to trek through the tough passages of the mountain, spree to the villages where the houses are still constructed with bamboo sticks, and handcrafted artifacts showcases the religious memoirs of the region. While on a tour to the region, the vacationers can make a visit to district museum, mithun spotting, Talley Valley Sanctuary and can enjoy the processions of the Mloko Festival (March-April) celebrated during the commencement of agricultural cycle. Bobo is another sporting event in which the local denizens of the region here by perform acrobatics. The Dree festival (July) marks the end of the agricultural cycle. The nearest station is North Lakhimpur. The Sumo taxi costs about Rs 1,500-2,000. Shared cab is around Rs 110 per head.
Daporijo(172km): Part of the popular Itanagar-Ziro-Daporijo-along-Pasighat travel circuit, the vacationers can plan to discover the rich culture of the East India which can most surely be an eye opener for the people who have never seen the unspoiled beauty of the region. It is genuinely an excellent camping destination dotted at the rendezvous point of the Sippi and Subansiri rivers.
Khonsa: is located in a valley, Tirpa region in the South-East Arunachal Pradesh. Khonsa is the best point for sky-diving and bungee jumping. The travelers can venture through the unsullied forests and the perennial rivers of the region caressed by more than 500 species on its sea shores. Here you can track the extinctive species like elusive red panda, cross breaded cow "Mithun", gibbon monkey and rare exotic blossoms. While on a trek to Khonsa, the travelers can organize trips to Kheti and Lajo. The travelers can visit to Khonsa Museum, Namdapha National Park, Noadehing river and center for Tibetan refugees respectively. The nearest rail head is Tinsukia which is 169 km from Miao.
Tezu: Nestled amidst the Mishmi Hills in Lohit district lying in the eastern most corner of Arunachal Pradesh. The route from Guwahati trails from NH 37 till Dum Duma via Nagaon, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia; state road via Narmasai- Chowkham. While on an excursion entourage, the travelers while on a visit to the lower regions of the Lohit district can make a visit to the sprawling paddy fields, a few tea estates, Mlishimi Hills ands Walong exclusively. Besides this, the vacationers can trail to the opium fields and can see hundreds of mithun. While on a way there are also the war memorials showing an engagements of the 1962 India-China War.
Driving Directions Tawang
Tawang is snow blanketed region situated in Arunachal Pardesh, East India. The travelers visit Tawang to relish the commanding view of the hills girdling the whole region. At Tawang, the adventurers can go for trekking, skiing and rock climbing. NH 31 and NH 52 connects Tawang with rest of the county. Guwahati, Darjeeling, Sikkim, and many other Eastern states of the region gets linkage with Tawang through road route. The 4 wheelers, mainly the heavy vehicles like Jeep and safari are the best sturdy means of transport by which the travelers can explore the deeper precincts of the wilderness.
Tawang situated amidst the verdant hills offer the travelers with the commanding view of the picturesque landscapes. Besides its ravishing beauty, this destination is also blessed with infinite number of budget as well as premium hotels. The hotels in Tawang provides the travelers with an excellent view of snow capped mountains over looked by the balconies. The well furnished floors, air/non air conditioned rooms, alluring interiors; amalgam of traditions and modernity, all combine to greet revelers with an unforgettable holidaying moment. The Hotel Nefa, Hotel Shangrila, Tourist Lodge, Budhha Hotel, Sidhharth Hotel, Tawang Inn are some of budget and premium hotels in Tawang which could accommodate the families or friends with a great perfection. Apart from all, it is advised to make the advance booking of hotels in Tawang, especially during the months of December and March exclusively. During these peak seasons, immense numbers of vacationers throng to Tawang, to immerse themselves in the mesmerizing ambiance of nature trails.
Tawang Eat and Dine
Although there are very less number of good restaurant in Tawang but the duo that are quiet famous are located at Old Market. The Buddha hotel in Tawang offers the pure vegetarian cuisines at reasonable prices, satiating enough to douse the gastronomical desires. The hot-tongue-quirkier ‘momos and thupka’ comes out to be the best sizzlers when eaten with the mixture of grinded chilly-garlic paste. Another Chinese restaurant offers the travelers with lip smacking Chinese and Indian delicacies. With in the price range of 35 to 80 rupees, the food lovers can enjoy the best of the regional as well as local Indian food. There are also small restaurants in Tawang where you can heat up your body with a sip of butter tea. The restaurants in Tawang carry an influence of Chinese cuisines which can be generally witnessed in the delicacies prepared by the local population.
Kiomoi Must Dos
1. Must do a mountain trekking at Tawang: The travelers with the help of regional guide can think of planning an entourage in the treacherous terrains of the region. The people who like to make adventure as the part of a their audacious ordeal, can visit Bomdila, and Sela Pass respectively.
2. Visit a wild life reserve: The aspiring vacationers can think of planning a visit to Nameri Wild Life Reserve, where they can click some of the excellent photographs. Leopards, Tiger, Red Panda and more than 500 species of birds can be easily found by the revelers seeking for a complete adventure.
3. Army War Memorial: The giant war memorial nestled on the outskirts of China border. This memorial would remind the revelers about the days when a rigorous war was fought between India-China in the year 1962.
4. A temple and three small lakes: After crossing Shangrila and Baisaki army camps, the vacationers can make a visit to a temple and three small lakes.
5. A War museum at Jaswant Garh: located 21km from the Tanwang, the travelers can also visit to War Museum in Jaswant Garh.
6. 16th century Tawang Museum: Constructed in the mid 16th century, the monastery became the strong hold of the Gelugpa sect and has been a socio religious focal point for the past 400 years.
7. The other attractions include Ryabelling shrine, Khinme Monastery and Singshur monastery respectively.
Tawang Useful Facts
Geographical Facts: Tawang is located at an altitude of 3,400 meter in Arunachal Pradesh, East India, near the Tibet and Bhutan borders, 347 Kms from Tezpur and 187 Kms from Bhutan
By Air: Nearest airport is Tezpur(13 hours), which has a morning Indian Airlines flight from Kolkota.
Helicopter Service: from Tezpur to Tawang, Tuesday and Saturday only if weather conditions permit.(Rs 3,000/1 hour 20 minutes), Arunachal Tourism, Guwahati(tel - 0361-2412859)
By Road: from Guwahati, take NH 37 to Kuarital(163 KMS)via Nagaon. Turn Left on NH 37 A to Tezpur(23Km). Then NH 52 to Charduar and the long state hghway into Arunachal to Tawang via Bhalunkpong, Bomdial(overnight)m Dhirang and Se La Pass.
STD Code - 03794
Pin Code - 790104
By Rail: Nearest Rail Head is Guwahati (473Kms)/17 hrs). Overnight journey to Tawang with a night halt at Tezpur or Bomdila. From Tezpur to Tawang take a shared taxi which charges Rs 410 as the bus service is highly erratic and uncomfortable.
Permits: Indian nationals planning to visit restricted areas in Arunachal Pradesh require an inner line permit (ILP) to do so. The ILP(Rs 25) can be obtained from the Arunachal Pradesh offices located in Delhi, Kolkota or Guwahati.
Weather: During Winters - Maximum Temperature is 7 C
Minimum Temp: 1 C (December to February)During summers: 24 C Minimum 14 C (March to June)Rainfall: July to OctoberIdeal time to visit: October to March
Local Circuit that can be visited: Tawang Monastery - Sange Ryabgelling - Khinme Monastrey - Singhsur nunnery - Taktsang Gompa - Nameri Wildlife Reserve - Bhalukpong
During Winters: Maximum Temperature is 7°C Minimum Temp: -1°C (December to February)
During summers: 24°C Minimum 14°C (March to June)
Rainfall: July to October
Ideal time to visit: October to March
The best time to visit Tawang is during the summer season when its moderate weather in Tawang and the maximum temperature varies from maximum 24 Celsius to 14 Celsius respectively. While during winters, the maximum temperature in Tawang ranges from 7 Celsius to -1 Celsius, where as monsoons are quiet humid and misty and the ideal time to visit Tawang is: October to March.
Tawang Bank ATMS
State Bank of India (SBI)
Branch Code: 005844
Distt. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh - 790104
City: Tawang District: Tawang
State: Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang Local Holidays
List of Holidays in Tawang for the year 2011 Holidays Date
|New Year||1st January|
|Republic Day||26th January|
|Milad-Un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet)||15th Feb. 2011|
|Mahashivratri||03rd Mar. 2011|
|Mahavir Jayanthi||17th Apr 2011|
|Good Friday||22nd Apr 2011|
|Easter Monday||25th Apr 2011|
|Buddha Purnima||17th May 2011|
|Independence Day||15th Aug 2011|
|Janmashtami||22nd Aug 2011|
|Id ul Fitr (End of Ramadan)||30 Aug 2011|
|Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami)||28 Sep 2011|
|Gandhi Jayanti||2nd Oct 2011|
|Deepawali||26 Oct 2011|
|Guru Nanak Jayanti||2 Nov 2011|
|Idu`l Zuha/Bakrid (Feast of the Sacrifice)||6th Nov 2011|
|Muharram (Islamic New Year)||26th Nov 2011|
|Christmas Day||25th Dec|
Tawang Holiday Checklist
While you have made up your mind on these holidays, set aside all your temptations and quickly take a fleeting glance at the things-you-do prior to your travel date. Here is the list.
Before leaving your house
- Empty your letter box
- Fix up security for your house or ask some one to look after
- Water your plants and ask some one to take care of it
- Ask your newspaper vendor and milkman to stop supply
- lear out the fridge.
- Switch off the electric appliances
- Empty out kitchen, waste/dust-bin and kitchen area
- Lock doors and windows
- Recharge your mobile or carry coupons
- Carry traveller cheque or ATM cards
- Pay all due bills
- Turn off gas/water
- Call up the taxi driver/railway station/hotels and other important numbers to confirm and re-confirm
- Rail Tickets and travel documents should be checked twice
Packing your luggage
- Woollen/cotton Clothing
- Extra towels
- Extra pair of socks
- Night wears
- Bath robes
Jumper and track suits Equipment
- Battery Charger
- Mobile Charger
- Torch/Emergency Light, Headphones
- Brochures or holiday book
- Sewing kit
- Important stationary(scissors, tape and glue)
- lm rolls and digital chargers
- Ear Plugs
- Address Book
- Shoulder bags/ Safety pins
- Important Telephone Addresses/Travel Consultant
- Few non perishable eatables
- Books / magazines to read
- Credit/Debit Cards
- Diving License
- Maps/ directions(when in car)
- Photocopies of documents
- Travellers Cheque
- Passport/Visas (For travelling abroad
- ID Cards
- Small First Aid kit
- Sickness Pill
- Mosquito and insect repellent
- Vitamin and medications
- Pain Killers/Balm
- Personal hygiene items
- Anti-infection lotion
Tawang Tourist Offices
Sh. B. C. Barua, Liaison Officer, (O) 26544
Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Zoo Road,
Government of India, Tourist Office, (O) 231381
B. K. Kakati Road, Ulubari, Guwahati