History of Buddhism in Tawang
Where is Tawang?
The town of Tawang at an altitude of 3048 m above sea level is the district headquarters of Tawang district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Tawang – the beautiful land of the Monpa tribe is an important strategic location for India because of its closeness to the international borders of China and Bhutan.
Located remotely cut-off from civilization, the small hill town of Tawang is best known for China’s invasion during 1962, the world famous Tawang Monastery and the politically important McMahon line that passes through the town. It is the remoteness of Tawang that has kept its beauty and serenity intact that unravels at every bend.
A tour of Tawang will amaze you by the exotic landscapes that looked like another world. Nourish your souls to the heavenly views, immerse yourself in the serenity and marvel that nature has in store for you at Tawang. This earthly paradise in the North-west extremity of Arunachal Pradesh is one of the first places to witness snowfall in Indian Himalayas. Tawang is an adventure seekers paradise and offers wonderful trekking opportunity to travellers while on a holiday in Tawang.
Buddhism reigns in all its glory at Tawang. The only sounds heard are the silence in the air, the chants of monks and the beats of traditional Buddhist instruments.
Sightseeing in Tawang
Tawang tour with a heady mix of nature’s grandeur, Buddhism and history offers a number of options for sightseeing in and around Tawang. Here is an account of some of the most popular Tawang sightseeing spots:
Undoubtedly the most popular sightseeing spot of Tawang is the Tawang Monastery which is an important seat of Mahayana Buddhism. This 400 year old Tawang monastery from which the town and in fact the district derives its name is the largest Buddhist monastery in India.
Situated right on the hill-top, the monastery dominates the whole landscape and an aura of purity radiates from this ancient structure.
Founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in accordance with the wishes of the fifth Dalai Lama, the Tawang Monastery is also known in Tibetan as Galden Namgey Lhatse, which translates to ‘celestial paradise in a clear night.’
The Tawang Monastery, which is the second biggest and oldest in Asia is three stories high and houses 65 residential buildings for monks, a museum, a school for basic education, a three-storied library and a few other structures. The three-storied Parkhang library inside the monastery complex with valuable old scriptures mainly Kanjur and Tanjur numbering 850 bundles is believed to hold the secrets of Tibetan Buddhism.
Covering an area of 135 sq. meters and enclosed by a compound wall of 610 meter long, the monastery at Tawang is no less than a fortified complex. The monastery controls 17 gompas and a few nunneries in the region.
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