Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

Tawang Monastery, in Tawang city of Tawang district, is the largest monastery in India and second largest on the planet. The monastery has a beautiful location in the valley of the Tawang River at an altitude of over 3000 m. The monastery complex houses a collection of 65 residential buildings where monks reside and carry out various daily activities.  This sacred shrine of Buddhists was built in 1680-81. There are numerous legends associated with Tawang Monastery.

Structure
Tawang Monastery has three storeys, including a huge assembly hall, a centre of Buddhist studies, and a school. The most important structure in the compound of Tawang Monastery is Dukhang, the main assembly hall. The hall houses a grand 18 feet tall gilded statue of Lord Buddha sitting in the lotus position. The top of the statue can be seen from the upper floor. You will also find thangka, a Tibetan Buddhist style painting of Palden Lhamo here who is believed to be the guardian god of the monastery. The entire hall is adorned with beautiful carvings, splendid murals, and paintings flaunting traditional Buddhism architectural style.

The Monastery presents a huge collection of ancient manuscripts as well as handwritten and printed texts displayed in its library. Over 400 monks and lamas reside in the monastery premises. Both interiors and exteriors of the monastery look extremely colourful and it remains an ideal place to meditate.   

Major Festivals
Tawang Monastery hosts numerous significant festivals all year long. Losar (Tibetan New Year) remains the most popular one out of all. Other festivals to be attended here include Torgya, Ajilamu, Dungyur, and Choksar.

How to Reach
By Air: Salonibari Airport is the nearest airport located in Tezpur, Assam.
By Rail: Tezpur is the major rail head closest to Tawang.
By Road: Buses and Taxi run regularly between Tezpur (Assam) and Bomdila, and Tawang. It is a scenic journey and remains popular among travellers.

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