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Tawang Monastery

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Tawang Monastey is situated in Tawang city of Tawang district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It is basically located in the valley of the Tawang River, which is near the small town of the north- western part of Arunachal Pradesh very close to the Tibetan and Bhutanese border. In Tibetan, Tawang Monastery is popular as Galden Namgey Lhatse, which translates to celestial paradise in a clear night. Pre- dominantly founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1680-1681 on special demand of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso. The monastery belongs to the Gelug school of MahayanaBuddhism and had a religious association with Drepung Monastery of Lhasa, which continued during theperiod of British rule. The monastery is three stories high and is enclosed by a 925 feet (282 m) long compound wall. Inside the monastery complex, there are 65 residential buildings and one library which has some valuable old scriptures, mainly Kangyur and Tengyur. Torgya is the most elaborate and colourful festival celebrated, of all the festivals celebrated in the monastery.

How To reach:

By Air - The nearest airport is at Tezpur(Assam) which is 365 kilometers away, and is directly connected to Kolkata(West Bengal) by two flights weekly. Devotees also take a flight to Guwahati(Assam) which is around 555 kilometers away and connected by daily flights to different parts of the country.

By Rail - The nearest convenient railhead is at Guwahati(555km), which is connected to the cities like Delhi and Mumbai through Rajdhani Express and other trains.

By Road - This Tawang Monastery can be reached by a state transport or private bus, or a jeep taken from either Bomdila(185 km), Tezpur(365 km) or Guwahati(555 km) via SilaPass.

History

There are many legends and stories behind how the monastery was built. One of them is- Merak Lama had difficulty in finding a good place and after that he found that monastery. Story says that he decided to rest in a cave, where he prayed, meditated. When he came back, his horse was missing. After a while Merak Lama managed to find the horse, grazing at the top of a mountain. Merak Lama realised it as a good spot on which to build the monastery. In Tibetan, ‘Ta’ means horse and ‘wang’ means “chosen”, hence the name Tawang – chosen through a horse. The full name of the monastery is Tawang Galdan Namgye Lhatse – “The site chosen by the horse is the divine celestial paradise”.

Festivals Observed

There are many festival celebrations which are held in the large courtyard of the monastery, such as Losar (Tibetan New Year), Torgya, Ajilamu, Dungyur, andChoksar. Buddha mahotsava tawang is main festival celebrated in Tawang.  Tawang-Torgya is a festival exclusively held in the monastery. This festival commemorates annually, and is a celebration of the Monpa people, which takes place according to the Buddhist calendar. Other main festivals celebrated by the Tawang monastery are Losar and Torgya, which not only mark important days for the Buddhists, but at the same time people of the area assemble and celebrate their culture and tradition.

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  Cona, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh 790104, india