Tawang Monastery stands atop a mountain,
3300 Meters high, overlooking the Tawang Chhu Valley. It is over
350 years old, and is the fountainhead of the spiritual life for
the followers of the Gelupa Sect of the Mahayana School of Buddhism,
which is followed by the Monpa, and Sherdukpen tribes of Arunachal
Pradesh. Surrounded by lofty peaks of over 4000 Meters in elevation,
it is built like a fortress and can house over 500 monks.
The surrounding Tawang Chhu Valley is a virtual Shangri-La, of
lush forests, smiling vales, gurgling streams, picture post card
villages and a lovely, smiling people, surrounded by high mountain
barriers above 4000 meters. This is a rare opportunity to explore
the Buddhist lifestyles of the unique and remote Himalayan tribal
culture of the Monpas. You get to see the various monasteries, Monpa
villages and the breathtaking vistas of Himalayan uplands. We also
visit two national parks; The Kaziranga and Nameri, and visit Bomdila,
with its set on monasteries, Sherdukpen and Bugin tribes.
The most imposing part of the monastery
is the Dukung, or the assembly hall - a three-storied building housing
the temple and the 8.3-m high Golden Buddha. The building also has
a library, a treasure trove of valuable sculptures, old books and
manuscripts, both handwritten and printed. Also housed here is the
establishment of the Rimpoche, or lama incarnate.