Tawang holds a lot of significance for Buddhist monks as there are a huge number of monasteries here, the most famous being the Tawang Monastery dating back to the 17th century, which is the most sacred for them. It has a massive, gilded statue of the Buddha inside it and is a major tourist attraction along with many others as I would be mentioning later on. March to September are the best months to visit Tawang.
The summer months are pleasant though the temperature may go down to a chilly 5 degree Celsius. This makes it perfect to roam around this charming town and get a feel of its rich culture and history as well as mingle with locals to gather information on an intimate level. You should try to catch the Moatsu festival celebrated during the summer season if you are keen to experience the local flavor and enjoy the culture and traditions of Tawang. The festival is held for three days and celebrates the end of the sowing period for crops. If you are interested in Tibetan medicine, which incidentally work wonders, you can drop by the Tawang Medical Dispensary.
From Bhalukpang we set out on the arduous drive towards Tawang which took us around 16 hours of driving. You can also go by bus, private taxis as well as shared ones. But I would not advise you to use these modes of transport as the roads are atrociously bad....the tarmac and gravel giving way to slippery mud intermittently. Government buses frequently break down and tourists have to resort to hitchhiking in private vehicles.
The journey was full of scenic beauty as we crossed the Bomdila Pass at 8000 feet, on towards the Sela Pass at 13,700 feet to reach Tawang at last. I however think it would be wiser to break your journey at either Bomdila or the charming village of Dirang. The Sela Pass is notoriously known for heavy snowfall during season, which would force you to stay for hours stranded on either side. Do make sure you take a very good driver as the roads are steep and uphill. Also keep in mind that the high altitude makes it difficult to breathe at times...do please carry inhalers in case you have a problem.
I must mention that along the way, sumptuous food is available, especially non vegetarian and vegetarian and vegetarian dim sums and cream buns, which we enjoyed to our heart's content.
Other points of interest are the Tawang War Memorial, which commemorates soldiers who died in the Indo-Chinese war of 1962, the Madhuri Lake or the Shungetsar Lake, named after the famous Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit, the spectacular Jang waterfall, which took my breathe away with its sheer beauty, the Anni Gompa, a monastery managed by nuns and of course the P T Tso Lake, which remains frozen for nearly half the year. The view is so splendid here that it's worth braving the bad roads to get there. The Indo-China border at Gumla in the outskirts is also worth a visit.
Just walking leisurely around the charming town gave us immense pleasure. However, Tawang being in the undeveloped zone of Arunachal Pradesh, finding good accommodation here can be quite a challenge. On the other hand, it's breathtaking scenery makes it all worthwhile. Apart from the Tawang Inn, which is the most modern and comfortable in Tawang, most other options are pretty basic. You could check out the Hotel Tawang View, which has the best view of the Gompa and the snow-capped mountains. Most hotels are in the market area. We were lucky enough to get a booking at the Circuit House and our stay was comfortable with simple, wholesome food at our disposal and clean rooms. The Government Rest House is another good option as well.
Therein I have to end my narrative for today and resume my fascinating sojourn of Arunachal Pradesh in the next excerpt.
Photo credits - Banner Left: eastasy.com; Banner Center: tourmyindia.com; tawang_nic_in Banner Right: Other points of interest are the Tawang War Memorial
Tawang holds a lot of significance for Buddhist monks as there are a huge number of monasteries here, the most famous being the Tawang Monastery dating back to the 17th century, which is the most sacred for them. It has a massive, gilded statue of the Buddha inside it and is a major tourist attraction along with many others as I would be mention