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  • Writer's pictureMadhusmita B Khaund

Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, India's biggest Buddhist monastery

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

The Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh is the biggest monastery in India. It has an interesting history about its establishment and name. Perched atop a hill about 2 Kms from the Tawang town, the yellow-roofed Tawang monastery dominates everything around and was originally a large and fortified complex strategically sited where the caravan routes from Tibet, Bhutan and West Kameng met. The Monastery is the second biggest and oldest in Asia and is known as the Tawang Ganden Namgyal Lhatse i.e., the celestial paradise of divine site chosen by the horse. It was founded by Merag Lodroe Gyamtso in the year 1680-81. The Dalai Lama gave him a painting of goddess Palden Lhamo (guardian deity of the monastery) to be kept in the monastery which is preserved in a silver casket inside the monastery.

Tawang Monastery

Inside the main temple an 8 metres high gilded statue of Lord Buddha which was brought from Tibet dominates the sanctum. The great rotating prayer wheels, priceless thangkas, monks in prayer, sputtering butter lamps are an evocative vision. The Tawang Monastery has a residential building for the monks, a library, a museum and school for the basic education. The main building was renovated in 2002 in the traditional Buddhist architectural style. It has been exquisitely decorated with paintings, murals, carvings, sculptures. The entire second floor of the monastery houses a library. The religious scriptures are used by the Lamas for conducting religious rituals. Some of these sacred scriptures are very old and some has letters washed in gold.

Four main festivals are celebrated in the Tawang monastery every year. They are Choksar, Losar, Ajilamu, and Torgya. Torgya, also known as Tawang-Torgya, is the most prominent one and is exclusively held in the Tawang Monastery, India. The dates of the festival corresponds to around 10th to 12th of January every year. In the three-day festival, costumed dances are very popular and held in the courtyard of the monastery with the objective of removing evil spirits and usher all round prosperity and happiness to the people in the ensuing year.

For visiting Tawang click on the following link :

Call : 7002412384

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