Tawang: The Mon-Land- The Land of Rising Sun

 

The Tawang Township is a District Headquarter and is located in eastern part of Indio-China border, the Headquarter of Tawang District where 350 years old world famous monastery exists is a beautiful valley surrounded by pine tree clad mountains. The Original people inhabiting the township are Monpa by tribe. However the people migrating from nearby areas and the people from plain area (Non- Tribal’s) for seeking job and business opportunities now constitutes major chunk of the present population of the town. This is one of the fastest growing urban in the Tawang District of the Arunachal Pradesh. Topographically, it is a beautiful valley and climatically it is warmer and is centrally located in the whole of MON area where many beautiful and majestic Monasteries are coming up in the outskirts of the town, which will eventually attract foreign as well as domestic tourists in the days to come. It is well connected with nearest market centre Tezpur in the state Assam and Tawang the Headquarter of Tawang District in the Arunachal Pradesh by all-weather surfaced road network.

The beautiful land of the Monpa’s is located in the western part of Arunachal Pradesh on the international borders with China and Bhutan. It is situated at an average height of 3500 metres from the mean sea level on the mountainous range of the Northern Himalayas. Its snow capped peaks, numerous tranquil lakes; congenial climate and the hospitable people continue to entice the tourists from all around. This magical land evokes images of awesome mountain views, remote hamlets, quaint and sleepy villages, magical Gonpas, serene lakes and mesmerizing valleys. At Tawang, one has a heavenly tryst with nature and there is a heady mixture of ancient history, Lamaism, and glorious legends. Tawang is believed to have derived its name from the Grandiose Tawang Monastery perched on the edge of the ridge running along the western part of Tawang Township.

The People:

Tawang has a population of 49,950 persons as per the provisional Census of 2011. “Gentle, friendly, courteous, industrious, good to animals and good to children” is how Verrier Elwin describes the Monpas as. Decendents of Mongloid race, the Monpas are Buddhists by religion and Tawang Monastery is the fountainhead of their spiritual lives. The spread of Buddhism in the area started with the arrival of Guru Padmasambhava, the great Indian Saint in the 8th century. The Monpas are artistic by nature and usually live in cosy double storied houses, constructed of stone with plank floors, often with carved doors and framed windows. Wood carving works, carpets and bamboo utensils made by them are exquisitely beautiful and they adorn their houses very well. They are well known for their scroll paintings known as the Thanka, a traditional handicraft. The Monpas are also probably the only Indian community to continue the age-old tradition of paper-making.

Fairs & Festivals: – Festivals play an important role in building the spirit of community life among the Monpas. Festivals mirror the rich culture of the people. Like the other tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, the festivals of Monpas are mostly associated with Agriculture and Religion. The main festivals of Monpas are Losar and Torgya. Besides these, there are many other festivals like Saka Dawa, Drukpa Tse-Shi, Lhabab Duechen, Ganden Ngam Choe, and Choekor procession.

Places of Tourist Interest:

Traditional Monpa Dances:-Besides the monastic dances performed for three days during the Torgya festival, there are many other dances performed on different occasions. Some of them are: Aji Lhamu dance, Yak cham, Lion and Peacock dance, etc.

Tawang Monastery: Tawang Monastery is one of the largest monasteries of Mahayana Sect. The monastery is also known as Gaden Namgey Lhatse which translates to ‘Celestial paradise’. It was founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1680-168j. In accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, monastery is at an elevation of about 3,300 metres (10,000 ft) in the district capital, Tawang Town. It has a capacity of about 700 monks and presently is home to more than 450 lamas.

Taksang Gonpa: Meaning ‘Tiger’s Den’, it is nestled amidst breath- taking surroundings of coniferos forest and lofty mountains with their crowns covered by snow. The place is believed to have been visited by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century.

Tawang Monastery: Tawang Monastery is one of the largest monasteries of Mahayana Sect. The monastery is also known as Gaden Namgey Lhatse which translates to ‘Celestial paradise’. It was founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1680-168j. In accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, monastery is at an elevation of about 3,300 metres (10,000 ft) in the district capital, Tawang Town. It has a capacity of about 700 monks and presently is home to more than 450 lamas.

Sela Pass: The Sela Pass is in the literal sense the gateway to Tawang as this is the Demarcating line between Tawang and West Kameng. The pass is at a height of 14000 ft and it is 78 kms away from the heart of Tawang town. Gorichen Peak: The highest in the region with a height of 22,500 fts, the Gorichen peak has fascinated the minds of many mountaineers to scale it. Geshila Peak: Though not very high, the peak is more approachable as it is only 25 Kms away from Tawang.

Jaswant Garh: 19 kms away from Sela Pass is the Jaswant garh War memorial raised to

Pay homage to jaswant Singh, Mahavir Chakra awardees’ (Posthumous). ln the 1962 war with China, this brave soldier showed admirable valour by fighting and holding the invading Chinese for72 hours before he met a martyr’s end. Tawang war memorial: lt is located in the army cantonment of Tawang Township. A beautiful Stupa is built in memory of the brave 2410 soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the 1962 war with China. It is a place to pay homage to the soldiers. The saga of the heroic soldiers is written large in the War memorial in the following words:-“When you Go Home Tell Them Of Us And Say That For Your Tomorrow We Gave Our today”.

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