A trip to Tawang is every traveller’s dream. A serene and picturesque town situated at a height of 3500 metres, Tawang lies in the remote corner of Arunachal Pradesh. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, conifers covered in snowflakes, dense forests, valleys, crystal clear rivers and frozen lakes, it is a perfect summer retreat for those who love the mountains.
Tawang is bordered by Tibet in the north, Bhutan in the south-west and Sela ranges in the east. Famously known as ‘Mon-Yul’, Tawang has been traditionally inhabited by the Monpa tribe who are still a majority in this region – a reason why it boasts of rich history and culture.
Summer or before the onset of monsoon is the best time to visit Tawang. In fact, planning a trip between March and October is apt to enjoy the beautiful landscape and amazing weather offered by this quaint town. Let’s explore some of the most famous places to visit in Tawang:
Top Places to Visit in Tawang
1. Sela Pass – Gateway to Tawang
This high-altitude pass is situated at an elevation of 13,700 feet and connects Tawang to Dirang in Guwahati. It is considered to be one of the highest passes in India to be plied by vehicles. Legend has it that Jaswant Singh Rawat, an intrepid soldier of the Indian Army, lost his life fighting the enemies during the1962 Sino-Indian War. The pass was named after a tribal woman Sela, who had braved all odds to provide food and water to this valiant soldier and killed herself upon witnessing his death.
- Things to do in Sela Pass: Visit the Sela Lake located at the end of the Pass and enjoy the sight of crystal blue water.
- How to reach Sela Pass?
- By Air: Reach Tezpur Airport in Assam (250kms away) and hire a cab.
- By Road: Reach Tezpur via flight or train and book a cab to Tawang.
- By Rail: Reach Tezpur Railway Station and hire a cab to Sela Pass
To truly enjoy the serenity and beauty of the surrounding landscape of Sela Pass, you can break your journey and book a Treebo hotel stay to relax, refresh and prep up for the remaining journey.
2. Nuranang Falls – Spectacular Waterfalls
It is one of the most famous places to visit in Tawang. The spectacular Nuranang or Bong Bong waterfalls falling from a whopping 100 metres is a sight to behold. This waterfall is located 2 km from Jang town, a reason why it is also called the Jang falls. A small hydel plant situated near the base of this falls is used to generate electricity.
- Things to do at Nuranang Falls: Admire the beauty of the milky white waters and the thunderous roar of the mighty falls, and enjoy the beautiful landscape around it. Visit the hydel plant situated near the falls.
- How to reach Nuranang Falls?
- By Air: Pre-book helicopter tickets from Guwahati to Tawang and then hire a cab from Tawang to Bomdilla to visit these falls en-route.
- By Road: Hire a cab from Tawang to Bomdilla and visit these falls on the way. Alternatively, ASPRTC buses or private buses plying to different cities is also an option.
3. Panga Teng Tso Lake – Picture-Perfect Lake
Surrounded by mighty snow-covered mountains and bright rhododendrons in full bloom, Panga Teng Tso Lake or PT Tso Lake is a visual treat to every traveller. In summers, the lake sparkles with crystal blue waters and in winters it remains somberly frozen throughout.
- Things to do at Panga Teng Tso Lake: Unleash your photography skills and capture the immense beauty of this pristine lake for postcard-worthy pictures of the site. This is one of the fun things to do while visiting this lake!
- How to reach Panga Teng Tso Lake?
- By Road: Since it is located 13kms from Tawang, you can hire a cab from Tawang to visit this beautiful lake.
4. Bumla Pass – Indo-China Border Representative
Situated at a height of 5000 m above sea level, Bum La Pass represents the Indo-China border that is guarded by the soldiers of the Indian Army amidst difficult terrain and severe weather conditions. This Pass was used by the Dalai Lama to enter the Indian territory, which is also one of the reasons it is famous for. The dreadful condition of the road and the extreme weather makes it tough to reach this Pass. But once you reach here, you cannot ignore that overwhelming feeling of patriotism you will experience viewing the surroundings and the soldiers guarding this area.
- Things to do in Bum La Pass: Visit the route through which the Dalai Lama entered India to seek refuge. Also, visit the Sangestar Tso Lake, which is known for its natural beauty and clear waters. Click ample pictures to cherish your visit to this tough terrain.
- How to reach Bum La Pass?
- By Road: Hire an SUV with an experienced driver as the road to this Pass is very rough and strenuous. Most importantly, get a permit from the Office of the Deputy Commissioner in Tawang District and the Indian army cantonment of Tawang.
5. Shonga-tser Lake – The Biggest Madhuri Dixit Fan!
Shonga-tser lake or famously also known as Madhuri Lake is one of the finest places to visit in Tawang. The Lake got the name Madhuri after the Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit visited this lake for a film shoot. Located 47kms from Tawang, this beautiful lake was formed as a result of an earthquake in 1971, which is filled with clear waters and surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
- Things to do in Shonga-tser: Step out of your car, carry your camera and capture the enrapturing beauty of the lake. Shonga-tser is surrounded by many small lakes and you can also visit them
- How to reach Shonga-tser?
- By Road: Hire a local cab with an experienced driver to visit this lake and other nearby sites.
6. Nagula Lake – Beauty at Its Best
A small desolate lake, Nagula Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Tawang. The crystal clear waters that reflect the snow-capped mountains and the beautiful surroundings give pure bliss to the onlooker. Stay a while longer and you also can also spot the Brahminy ducks around the lake. The scenic beauty of the lake makes you forget all the fatigue you may feel travelling through terrible roads to reach this spot.
- Things to do in Nagula Lake: Relax in the blissful beauty of the surroundings and click pictures of the beautiful Brahminy ducks present near the lake.
- How to reach Nagula Lake?
- By Road: Hire a local cab with an experienced driver to visit this lake as the roads are extremely tough to drive.
7. Thingbu Hot Spring – Relaxing and Refreshing Dip in the Waters
Thingbu is a natural Hot Spring in a small village called Thingbu, which is a three-hour drive from Tawang and is present on the Tawang – Jang road. It is one of the must-visit places in Tawang and is easily reachable by road. The hot water spring is rich in sulphur and is believed to cure multiple skin ailments.
- Things to do in Thingbu Hot Spring: Take a dip in this hot water spring and enjoy the refreshing feeling of the sulphur water against your skin. Get healed of any skin ailments in this natural spring with medicinal properties.
- How to reach Thingbu Hot Spring?
- By Road: Thingbu is a 3-hour drive from Tawang and 1 hour from Jang. Hire a local cab with an experienced driver to enjoy the journey up to this place.
8. Gorichen Peak – Highest Peak of Arunachal
Situated at a height of 6858m, Gorichen Peak is the highest peak in Arunachal Pradesh and is located in Tawang. It is one of the toughest to climb and is often flocked by passionate mountaineers who wish to scale this peak. You can get a glimpse of this peak on a clear day when you are travelling from Bomdila towards Tawang. Gorichen Peak is one of the top tourist attractions in Tawang and is also considered sacred by the Monpa tribe who believe that this peak protects them from all harm.
- Things to do in Gorichen Peak: Trekking and camping are two of the most common activities to indulge in while visiting this magnificent peak in Tawang. One can also visit the mighty Nuranang Falls located only a few kilometres from this place.
- How to reach Gorichen Peak?
- By Road: The best option is to hire a local cab with an experienced driver from Tawang to visit this spectacular peak.
9. Bap Teng Kang – Swim in the Cleanest Waters
Bap Teng Kang is a spectacular waterfall located in Yumkhang, around 85kms from Tawang. It is 30 m in height and is one of the most popular places to visit in Tawang as travellers get a chance to swim in the fresh waters of the falls and enjoy the scenic beauty of the surroundings as well.
- Things to do in Bap Teng Kang: Travellers are sure to be mesmerized by this beautiful falls and the amazing view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. One can swim in the falls and enjoy being inside the crystal clear waters as well. A short trek leads to Yumkhang village which is also a quaint and beautiful village to visit.
- How to reach Bap Teng Kang?
- By Road: Hire a cab from Tawang towards Zemithang to reach this magnificent falls by road.
10. Geshila Peak – Soak in the Mesmerizing Views
Geshila Peak is a serene and spectacular peak located 25 km away from Khrimu and is the nearest peak to Tawang. The immense beauty of the view that this peak offers is something a traveller can experience very few times in his lifetime. That is also a reason why Geshila peak is a very popular attraction in Tawang.
- Things to do in Geshila Peak: Enjoy the tranquil and serene view of this peak and capture its immense beauty with a high-end camera!
- How to reach Geshila Peak?
- By Road: Hire a cab from Tawang to Geshila Peak as it is the best mode to reach this brilliant peak.
Religious Sites and War Memorials in Tawang
11. Tawang Monastery – Experience Inner Peace
Tawang Monastery, Tawang
Tawang Monastery or Gaden Namgyal Lhatse is a must-visit in your list of places to cover during Tawang sightseeing. The calm and peaceful ambience of this monastery is sure to soothe your soul. Located atop a hill (10,000 feet above sea level) close to the Bhutanese and Tibetan borders, this magnificent monastery offers a breathtaking view of the Tawang River and the entire district as well.
- Things to do in Tawang Monastery: Meditate or pray in the Dukhang or prayer hall, admire the paintings on the walls of the ‘Court’ and visit Par-Khang or library that safeguards several sacred scriptures of the Buddhist religion.
- Timings of Tawang Monastery: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
- Entry Fee: None
12. Tawang War Memorial – Salute the Indian Martyrs
Tawang War Memorial, Tawang
As the name suggests, this memorial was built in the memory of all the martyrs who lost their lives battling the enemies during the 1962 Sino-Indian War. It houses a spectacularly built stupa engraved with the names of all the soldiers who died a brave death during the war. The stupa and the artefacts preserved from the war is sure to give you goosebumps and is one of the most important places to visit in Tawang.
- Things to do at the Tawang War Memorial: Take the opportunity to salute the martyrdom of the brave soldiers who died in the 1962 War, saving India. Observe the artefacts preserved from the war closely to understand the intensity of the war.
- Timings of Tawang War Memorial: 7:45 AM to 6:00 PM
- Entry Fee: None
13. Jaswant Garh – Remembering the Intrepid Rifleman
Jaswant Garh, Tawang
Located 25kms from Tawang, Jaswant Garh is another war memorial with a scenic backdrop built in commemoration of the martyred soldiers of the 1962 war. It is named after the brave Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat who played a significant role in single-handedly holding back the Chinese army for 72 hours and succumbing to a bullet in the war. He was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously.
- Things to do at the Tawang War Memorial: Take time off to learn about and pay obeisance to the valiant Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, who lost his life protecting his country from the Chinese Army.
- Timings of Tawang War Memorial: 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM
- Entry Fee: None
14. Urgelling Monastery – Monastery that Stood the Test of Time
Urgelling Monastery, Tawang
Urgelling Monastery is considered the birthplace of the Dalai Lama VI. This 400-year old Gompa, located 3kms from Tawang, it is a tranquil place to visit with few visitors and holds great significance among the Buddhist people. It is believed that the Gompa was destroyed during the Mongol invasion and the battle between Bhutanese and Tibetans.
- Things to do at Urgelling Gompa: Visit the Gompa and the local monks to understand the significance and history of this monastery that has seen the birth of a Dalai Lama and the Mongol invasions.
- Timings of Urgelling Gompa: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
- Entry Fee: None
15. Taktsang Gompa – Glimpse of Buddhist Faith
Taktsang Gompa, Tawang
Taktsang Gompa is a monastery located on the hilltop 45kms from Tawang and is surrounded by dense coniferous forests and magnificent mountains. It is thought to have been consecrated by Guru Padmasambhava’s visit in the eighth century.
The monastery consists of three tiers, each dedicated to a Tibetan deity. It also houses the lair of Guru Padmasambhava at the back of the main complex. Include this place in your itinerary when you commence Tawang sightseeing to experience peace and calm like never before!
- Things to do at the Taktsang Gompa: One can admire the artistic beauty of this gompa and also take time out for a few minutes of meditation to relax and feel the tranquillity this monastery offers. Also, visit Madhuri Lake that is located close to this Gompa.
- Timings of Taktsang Gompa: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- Entry Fee: INR 500
16. Gorsam Chorten – The Tallest Stupa near Tawang
Gorsam Chorten is a famous and the highest stupa located in the Zemithang village, which is 90 km from Tawang. It is a 12th-century stupa that is believed to have been built by Lama Prathar. The top of the stupa consists of a semi-circular dome that is constructed over a three-terraced plinth.
Apart from this, the third terrace consists of four miniature stupas erected at the four corners of the structure. This magnificent structure is visited by thousands of pilgrims and tourists during the Gorzam Kora festival who go roundabout the stupa, chanting prayers.
- Things to do at the Gorsam Chorten: The majestic stupa and one of the oldest structures built here easily transports you to the era of its construction. The tranquil atmosphere lets you pray and introspect and be one with yourself for a while.
- Timings of Gorsam Chorten: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
- Entry Fee: Free
17. Manjushree Vidyapeeth – An Abode to Less Fortunate Children
Manjushree Vidyapeeth is the only orphanage in Tawang founded in the year 1998 by Lama Thupten Phuntsok. He was supported by the Army, the District Administration and individual benefactors to help him establish this school and orphanage. He started with just 17 children, and today takes care of more than 200 children.
The main aim of the founder was to provide home and a close-knit family to these less fortunate and differently-abled children in the Tawang district. Apart from taking care of these children, the Lama also provides them with good education, teaching them different subjects and moral values.
- Things to do at the Manjushree Vidyapeeth: Visit the children who are taken care of in this school an spend time with them to learn more about their life and education. Help these children in the smallest way possible and see them smiling wide with joy.
- Timings of Manjushree Vidyapeeth: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
- Entry Fee: Free
18. Gyangong Ani Gompa – Nunnery in Tawang
Gyangong Ani Gompa is a nunnery perched atop a serene hillock and is situated 5 km in the northern part of Tawang. It is an abode to around 50 Buddhist nuns and was founded by Mera Lam Lodre Gyamtso. This nunnery is believed to have been offered to Mera Lam Lodre Gyamsto by his elder sister.
This Nunnery is controlled and managed by the Tawang Monastery, which provides the nunnery with all the everyday essentials required for the nuns.
- Things to do at the Gyangong Ani Gompa: Visit this quaint nunnery in Tawang and interact with the Buddhist nuns to learn more about their lives, the religion and about Tawang in general.
- Timings of Gyangong Ani Gompa: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
- Entry Fee: Free
19. Singsor Ani Gompa – A Beautiful Gompa on the Gehshila Peak
Singsor Ani Gompa is perched on the Gehshila ranges, around 28 km from Tawang, near the beautiful Lhou village. It is one of the renowned and most beautiful nunneries in the Tawang District. The gompa is an abode to about 30 nuns.
- Things to do at the Singsor Ani Gompa: Visit this exquisite nunnery located above the Gehshila peak in Tawang and interact with the Buddhist nuns to learn more about their lives, the religion and about Tawang in general.
- Timings of Singsor Ani Gompa: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
- Entry Fee: Free
20. Brama Dung Chung Ani Gonpa – Oldest Gonpa of Tawang
Ani Gonpas are the nunneries or the abode of nuns in Tawang and Brama Dung Chung Gonpa is the oldest one in this district. In contrast to the Lamas or monks, the girls and women in Tawang join the nunnery as a nun on their own accord with no social pressure or tradition that makes this practice compulsory.
Brama Dung Chung Ani Gompa is located in the lap of a far off mountain and offers a natural scenery for a view to travellers and tourists visiting this place. It is around 9 km from the main town and was constructed by Karchen Yeshi Gelek Lama in the year 1595. He belonged to the Tsang province of Tibet. Currently, there are approximately 45 nuns in this nunnery.
- Things to do at the Brama Dung Chung Ani Gompa: Visit this beautiful nunnery located atop picturesque mountains and interact with the Buddhist nuns to learn more about their lives, the religion and about Tawang in general.
- Timings of Brama Dung Chung Ani Gompa: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
- Entry Fee: Free
Your trip remains incomplete without tasting Tawang’s food in some of its top restaurants that offer mouth-watering dishes such as Zan, Khura, Gyapa-khazi, Thukpa, Tsizinkyola, and others. You can also visit the local shops to buy souvenirs and traditional attires native to Tibetan and Buddhist culture that will remind you of this unforgettable journey in years to come.