Tawang is located in India’s very own state of Arunachal Pradesh which is also fondly called ‘Paradise on Earth’. Arunachal Pradesh is a mysterious state, full of beautiful places that have gained popularity over the years, especially seeing an increase in the region’s tourism.
When you visit this region, you will see that it is a unique crossover of India and China. It is characterized by white-capped mountains, a frozen lake, lush forests and valleys. If you are thinking of planning a trip to Tawang, here is a little guide that will come in handy!
Places to visit and Things to do in Tawang:
1) Visit the Tawang Monastery
When you are there, a visit to the Tawang Monastery is a must! Also known as the Golden Namgyal Lhatse, this monastery is seated at an approximate height of 3000 metres, above mean sea level and also happens to be the second largest monastery in the world, after the monastery in Lhasa.
As you might have already imagined, this monastery is home to over 300 monks. Legend has it that this monastery was built over 400 years ago. This huge monastery also houses an 8-metre tall Buddha statue which is also a major tourist attraction. Don’t forget to have a look at the Tawang-chu river and valley when you visit the monastery.
2) Soak in the tranquil vibes of Lake Madhuri
Located about 30 kilometres north-east, Lake Madhuri or Lake Sangetsar, as it is also called is one of the most beautiful places that you will visit in the region. When you reach the lake, you will feel like the scenes of painting have come alive.
Lake Madhuri is an all-season lake which is surrounded by towering mountains on all sides. The Bollywood film ‘Koyla’ was also shot at this lake and hence, became famous as Lake Madhuri, referring to Madhuri Dixit, the lead actress of the film.
3) Relax by the Nuranang Falls
Even though the Nuranang Falls are a little far from the region, they continue to be the main tourist attractions for travellers who visit Tawang. These waterfalls are like the beautiful Cascades of water gushing down from a height of 100 metres.
The Nuranang Falls are also popularly known as the BTK falls, which stands for- Bap Ten Kang. The water here is crystal clear, giving off the most serene vibes which only induce you to take a quick dip in the waters.
4) Visit Tawang War Memorial
The Tawang War Memorial is a structure dedicated to the Martyrs of the Sino-India war which took place in the year 1962. This forty feet tall structure is very vibrant, bursting with beautiful colours and is seated in the heart of region, in the midst of the peaking Himalayan ranges.
Make sure you have a look at the view from this War Memorial as it overlooks the valley, making it the perfect place to click some superb pictures.
5) Hike up the Gorichen Peak
The Gorichen Peak is the highest peak of Arunachal Pradesh, standing tall at an altitude of 22,500 feet. Lying between Tawang and the West Kameng districts on Arunachal Pradesh, this peak is also locally known as Sa-Nga Phu which means, the Kingdom of Deity.
The local Monpa tribe believes that the Gorichen Peak is a sacred mountain that protects them and their town from all evil. If you like trekking and hiking, you have to experience the thrill of trekking this peak.
6) Visit Jaswant Garh
Jaswant Garh is located about 21 kilometres away from Tawang and is one place that will leave you reflecting on the lives of soldiers, warriors and army men. This memorial site is dedicated to martyr Jaswant Singh, a warrior who fought the Indo-China war in 1962. Pay your tributes to this benevolent warrior at Jaswant Garh.
7) Stop over at the Sela Pass
The Sela Pass is the only gateway that connects Arunachal Pradesh to Tawang that is a great road trip. When you are on the Sela Pass, you will also see the Sela Lake which only adds to the mystical beauty of this connecting pathway. The Sela Pass is covered in snow all through the year and gives travellers access to unobstructed views of the Himalayan ranges.
Make sure you stop by and appreciate the views of the frozen lake and the Himalayan ranges when you are on the Sela Pass which is settled at a height of 4170 metres, above mean sea level. The Sela Pass is about 80 kilometres long.
8) Shop at the Tibetan Settlement Market
A vacation is never complete without shopping at the local markets. One such market is the Tibetan Settlement Market. Also known as Vihara Market, the Tibetan Settlement Market is full of small shops and local stalls selling traditional Tibetan items. Make sure you pick up some Chinese crockery from this market as most of these pieces are very authentic and are sold at very reasonable prices.
You will also find lots of items that relate to the Buddhist religion, including flags, prayer wheels, wall hangings, Buddha statues and lots more. Pack in some gifts from this little market for your loved ones back home, they will only thank you for all the goodies you bring for them from this traditional market.
9) Meditate at the Taktsang Gompa
Nestled on a little hill at an altitude of 13,000 feet above mean sea level, this monastery is definitely one place you must visit when you are in this region. You might have already heard of the Taktsang Gompa as it is one of the most well-known monasteries.
This monastery is surrounded by lush coniferous forest lands and heightened mountains which only add to the calm of the monastery. Make sure you keep enough time for yourself because once you visit this place, you will definitely not want to leave soon!
- If you are planning to travel to Arunachal Pradesh, you will have to arrange for an Inner Line Permit, either from the state office in Delhi, Tezpur or Guwahati.
- Here comes the good part, there are no liquor taxes in Arunachal Pradesh and so, you can enjoy some of the best wines and drinks when you are here.
How to reach Tawang?
Tawang can easily be accessed by road, rail as well as air.
Road: If you want to go to Tawang by road, you can either book a private cab/ car or go by the Arunachal Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) which is connected to cities like Tezpur, Bhalukpong, Nagaon, Missmari, East Kameng, Dhula, Itanagar, Udalguri and Sagali.
Rail: The closest railway station to Tawang is the Rangapara Railway Station which is about 383 kilometres away from the main town of Tawang. Trains from most major Indian cities also stop over at the Rangapara Railway Station.
Air: The nearest airport to Tawang is the Salonibari Airport in Tezpur, located at a distance of about 387 kilometres from Tawang. Air India flights from Kolkata and Guwahati also fly in at this airport regularly. The nearest International Airport is about 480 kilometres away from Tawang and is connected to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and even foreign places like Paro and Bangkok.
Best time to visit Tawang:
The summer months, from March to June are the best times to visit Tawang as the outdoor temperature around these months ranges from 5 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius. Make sure you pack warm clothes because it gets very chilly in the nights.
It experiences winters from November to February and the temperatures around these months go from 2 degrees Celsius to -10 degrees Celsius, we suggest you avoid going in these months as it gets too cold to even step out.
Some of the places that are becoming popular tourist attractions in Arunachal Pradesh are Ziro and Itanagar. You can plan a trip to these scenic regions of Arunachal Pradesh to experience a completely different side of India.