Arunachal Pradesh Diary : Chapter 3 - Tawang

 In Chapter 2 of this blog series, we finally reached Tawang after exploring Bomdila, Dirang and all the wonderful places along the route. It is recommended to go through Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 before continuing on this journey here. We stayed in Tawang for 5 nights at Jambey Villa homestay, and this became our base to explore the near-by places. It is here in Tawang where we met our friends from BRO who made our stay extra-special. We even got to celebrate Diwali in BRO temple.

Places to stay:

  • While Tawang is one of the least populated districts in the country, this town located on the mountain does have a good number of places to stay for the travelers. You can find good hotels and homestays to stay during your journey.
  • While all types of non-veg food is quite easily available in Tawang, it was not difficult to find veg food as well. We found decent parathas and momos at the Delhi Darbar restaurant in town. 

Travel Advisory:
  • Tawang is located at approx. 10000 ft (3,048 m) above sea level. The weather is also cold especially as the night approaches. It takes some time for the body to get adjust to these conditions especially when we travel from the plains of Guwahati. Therefore, it is recommended to not have a hectic scheduled and keep buffer of extra days while planning your trip. This will be also handy in case some roads are blocked due to snow fall or rain.

In this blog, we'll cover places located near Tawang. These include some of the famous monasteries of Tawang as well as our visit to nearby villages. The journey to Bumla and places along that route to be covered in the subsequent blogs.


Being a Buddhist town, Tawang has a number of monasteries, some of which hold a lot of historical and spiritual significance. We managed to cover below mentioned three monasteries, but missed out on a beautiful Nunnery, Gyangong Ani Gompa, located around 5 km from the town, due to bad weather. 

Tawang Monastery

The beautiful and historic Tawang Monastery is also known as the Tawang Ganden Namgyal Lhatse. The monastery has an 8 mtr tall Lord Buddha in the sanctum. Monastery has a residential building for the monks, a library, a museum and school for the basic education. The yellow rooftop residential building gives it a distinct look. The monastery is located at about 2 km from the town and it is better to visit it during the morning.

The Twanag Monastery is the oldest monastery in India and is the second biggest monastery in Asia.

Tawang Monastery

Urgeling Monastery

Urgeling monastery is located about 5 kms from the main town. This simple monastery was built around 1487 and was founded by Ugyen Sangpo. This place is the birth place of Tsangyang Gyatso, the 6th Dalai Lama. There is a holy tree in the compound of this monastery which is said to be planted by the 6th Dalai Lama. 

Urgeling Monastery

Khinmey Nyingma Monastery

Khinmey Nyingma Monastery also known as Sang-ngag-choekhorling. It is located at about 8 kms from Tawang in the Khinmey village. The main prayer hall has the statue of Buddhist sage Padmasambhava. The monastery was founded in 1440. His Eminence the 14th Thegtse Rinpoche is the current head of this monastery. The monastery provides accommodation and guidance to hundreds of monk students.

Khinmey Nyingma Monastery

Tawang War Memorial

The border town of Tawang has witnessed 1962 India-China war. Despite difficult geography, extreme weather and limited equipment, Indian army soldiers put a brave effort defending the country against much a superior armed force. Tawang War memorial is a beautiful stupa built in the memory of those brave soldiers.

The names of the brave soldiers of 1962 war who fought on this front are written around the central stupa.

Tawang War memorial

The memorial is located within the area of armed forces and there is a 30 minute light-n-sound show in the evening near memorial, depicting cultural heritage of Arunachal Pradesh and stories of 1962 war. As seating capacity is limited, make sure to reach on time for the show. The start time varies as per season, but normally it is 5:00 pm in winter and 6:30 pm in summer. There is a souvenir shop near by to collect memories. 


During our trip, we also explored some offbeat locations, not frequently visited by the regular tourists. One such location was a beautiful Lumla village, located approx. 40 kms from the Tawang town towards the eastern Bhutan border. There is a scenic waterfall as we enter Lumla with a well constructed viewing platform. Just opposite to the waterfall, on the main road, is Lobsang restaurant. We recommend having your lunch here as not many food options are there in the mail Lumla village.

Lumla is known for its Tara Devi Temple. The temple is mainly visited by the local Buddhist population. The chanting of monks inside the temple creates a divine aura. There is a big Tara Devi statue on top of the temple which gives it a unique view.

Tara Devi Temple, Lumla

On our way back to Tawang from Lumla, we also stopped by the Mahabodhi School in Teli village. The entrance of the residential school has many white stupas on one side of the road. The center was inaugurated in 2016 by the Chief Minister. Mahabodhi runs an integrated program where senior citizens and children are living together like in an extended family.

Chagzam Bridge

Yet another offbeat location around Tawang is the historic Chagzham Bridge. We explored this during our return journey from Tawang. This suspension bridge is more than 600 years old. It was built by Tangton Gyalpo, a disciple of the first Dalai Lama using iron chains, over Tawang-chu river to connect to a monastery. The bridge is of religious significance to the locals and is believed to fulfil the wishes of devotees. There is also a newer suspension bridge built adjacent to the original Chagzam bridge.

Chagzam Bridge is a 100 mtr long suspension bridge.

Chagzam Bridge

Tawang Cultural Festival

Tawang Festival is quite a popular event of Arunachal Pradesh that celebrates the culture of Monpa tribes. Unfortunately, November 2022 Tawang Festival was called off due to some reason. Luckily for us, our young driver Nima took us to attend the Shyo Village Cultural Event one evening. The event had four folk dances, depicting different stories. It even had the famous snow lion dance. The snow lions and bulls do come to audience as well during their performances.

With Snow Lions at Shyo Cultural Event

After exploring Tawang, we'll head north to go to the famous India-China border at Bumla pass and the places located on the north side of Tawang in our final chapter. Stay tuned for the updates as the things are going to be quite chilly.


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