Tawang, the headquarters of the Tawang district (2085 sq.km) located on the Western tip of the state on a mountain side at 12000 ft above sea level, is the land of the Monpa tribes and a major centre of the Mahayana Buddhists. Tawang is famous for its 400 year old Buddhist monastery which overlooks the wide Tawang Valley.
The best season to visit is from April to October. The nearest airport is Guwahati and Tezpur in Assam which is 345 km from Tawang (13 hours by road) and the nearest Railhead is Bhalukpong in West Kameng district, 280 kms away. Buses and Taxi ply regularly from Bhalukpong via Bomdila in West Kameng district to Tawang which is 180 km away and takes 10 hrs.
The Tawang Gompa ( Tawang Monastery) :
The monastery was founded by a monk, Mera Lama, a contemporary of the fifth Dalai Lama. It is a vast complex of 65 buildings – a treasure house of old scriptures, priceless images, painted tapestries, books and collection of gold lettered Buddhist scriptures. The ‘Parkhang’ hall of the monastery houses the library which holds the rare hand written and block-printed ‘Thankas’ or manuscripts of revered books like ‘Tangym’, ‘Kangyur’ and ‘Sungbhum’. The other rare works of Buddhist literature include 108 gold-embossed manuscripts of the ‘Teaching of Lord Buddha’ and 225 volumes of the explanations of Buddha’s teachings covered with specially designed moth – proof silk adorned with paintings. There is a towering 18 ft high gilded statue of the Buddha in the monastery complex.