The Virgin Beauty – Arunachal Pradesh Part 6

Author: Archan Dhar

Pune, Maharashtra, India

 

Travel Dreams Archive

The Virgin Beauty – Arunachal Pradesh Part 6 

It was almost midnight when we reached Tawang. We were all exhausted, yet happy that we had reached at last. There was snow all over the place and the near full moon lit night was really bright. We checked into a very decent Hotel Sela (03794 222487, 09436220473) and were soon deep in slumber.

Tawang is a land of monasteries, the land of Lamas and Trapas (my daughter called them Baby Lamas). The place is a unique blend of history, natural beauty and architecture. The solitude of Gudpi and Chong-Chugmi ranges and Tawang chu River and Valley constitute the nature. Tawang’s place in Mahayana Buddhism and the different aspects of Indo-Tibetian culture adds to the history. The Tawang Monastery of the Gelukpa founded by Mera Lama Lodre Gyaltso during the 17th century, and a contemporary of the 5th Dalai Lama add to the architectural brilliance.

This is the second largest Monastery in Asia and the largest one of its kind in the country which controls 17 Gompas in the region. The most imposing part of the Monastery is the three storied assembly hall which houses the temple and the 28 ft high Golden statue of Buddha. The monastery has a big library having an impressive collection of ancient books and manuscripts where the famous Buddhist scriptures Kangyur and Tangyur inscribed in gold are preserved. The monastery also houses 65 residential buildings in addition to the library. It was renovated by the 14th Dalai Lama, when the traditional structure was torn down and then rebuilt with concrete. The Tawang monastery is associated with the famous Torgya festival, which is held in the 11th Monpa month called the Dawa Chukchipah (i.e. December to January as per the Gregorian calendar). The festival brings out the Monpas from far and wide in all their colourful finery. The festival provides ample opportunities for the Gompas to sell an array of all their wares.


Urgyelling is the birth place of Thangyang Gyatso, the sixth Dalai Lama and another sacred place. Bramadung Chung/ Sengsarbu Ani Gompa, Gyanggong Ani Gompa are nunneries/ monasteries run by nuns. The Ani Gompas are among the oldest of such type in the country.Walking through the town of Tawang was simply a delight. Snow covered peaks in the vicinity and snow covered roof-tops and tree tops all around added to the radiance. A small, yet significantly important helipad could be seen. Tawang is nature’s gift at its best.

Tawang is also famous for beautiful natural Lakes, like the Sangetsar Lake with splendid natural beauty of the surroundings. It is home to snow pigeons and musk deers. PT Tso Lake is surrounded by a picturesque landscape. Sungester Lake situated about 42 km from Tawang became popular after shooting of a dance sequence for the movie “Koyla” and has since been rechristened as Madhuri Lake. We did try visiting the lakes, but were not allowed by the military folks as the weather was not suitable for tourist visit. But we got to play with a lot of fresh snow till wherever we could go to. And we also saw lots of colourful yaks all over the place.

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