Tawang is beautifully embedded in the heart of Arunachal Pradesh and is blessed with divine beauty. It stands perfectly at a height of 10,000 feet amidst the mighty Himalayas. The landscape of the place comprises beautiful snow-capped mountains, serene valleys and lakes, and thick forests. Besides the natural picturesque, there are Tibetan monasteries, and adventure sports to explore in Tawang too. In fact, adventure enthusiasts have even given it the name of “New Ladakh” in recent times. But since 2012, Tawang became even popular amongst tourists. The reason: a cultural festival named after itself – ‘The Tawang Festival’.
Arunachal Pradesh Tourism took the initiative as a means to promote its tourist attractions and traditional values. Tawang festival represents the richness of its tribes, Buddhist religious functions, and cultural dances. Besides that, it also showcases local handloom products and other crafts. Other attractions include photography and painting exhibitions, adventure sports and documentaries that focus on the rich history of Arunachal.
It’s a three-day festival celebrated every year, and this year it falls between 28th October and 31st October 2019. Like every year, the inception of the festival is always with a religious tradition: “Sebang”. It’s basically a procession where monks from Tawang rally to the festival venue from the Tawang monastery. The sight is always a treat for curious tourists. Famous personalities in India are always present during the Tawang Festival.
How to reach the Tawang Festival
Tawang lies at a distance of about 520 km, approximately 13 hours by road from Guwahati. The drive from Guwahati to Tawang is an experience that is sure to bring you closer to the virgin beauty of Northeast India. The curves and edges of the roads are thrilling. The mountain peaks submerged in the clouds create the perfect backdrop for a road trip.
The journey surely is challenging but the extremely beautiful terrain is what makes it worth it.
Things to do in Tawang
Besides attending the culturally enriched festival, there are a lot of Tawang tourist places to explore for visitors. We have curated a list of the exquisite things to do in Tawang for you.
#1 Gorichen Peak
Perched at a height of 22,500 feet, Gorichen Peak is the highest peak in Arunachal Pradesh. It is also the third highest peak in Northeast India. It’s a perfect trekking spot for hikers with the ideal atmosphere and a landscape to challenge the adventurer in you. Although a tough destination, the 360-degree view of the splendid surroundings is what makes it worth it for the tourists.
#2 Shonga-Tser Lake
Shonga-Tser Lake is a peaceful spot in the midst of an open valley, around 17 km away from Tawang. The unique and rare part about it is that it was formed during an old earthquake. The tranquil setting of the calmness of the lake, colorful and diverse birds on the banks, the snow-covered Himalayas in the backdrop is what makes it such an ideal spot for tourists.
#3 Taktsang Gompa
The sixth Dalai Lama of the Buddhists, Tsangyang Gyatso, was born in Tawang. And that’s why one of the most visited Tawang tourist places is the famous monastery of Taktsang Gompa. At an altitude of 13,000 feet, amidst dense coniferous forests and lofty mountains, this monastery is the answer to finding your inner peace. The atmosphere is so calm that you can literally hear your own beating heart while meditating there.
#4 Sela Pass
Sela Pass is a really important aspect of Arunachal Pradesh tourism. At an elevation of 13,700 feet, the Sela Pass is the only road that connects Tawang with the rest of India. It’s one of the highest motorable passes in the world. Legend has it that, around 101 lakes surround this pass, which is esteemed by the Buddhist community. However, amongst all of them, the magnificent Sela Lake deserves a special mention.
#5 Tibetan Settlement Market
If you’re one of those tourists who loves to shop during a vacation, don’t miss out on the Tibetan Settlement Market. Also known as Vihara, it’s a local market consisting of small shops and roadside shacks. You’ll find an abundance of Chinese crockery items here alongside traditional items. Since the town has always been home to Buddhists, you can find a lot of religious items. Buddhist flags, prayer wheels, wall hangings, statues of Lord Buddha and other items adorn the market.
#6 Nuranang Waterfalls
At a distance of around 40km from Tawang town, Nuranang waterfalls lie at an elevation of approximately 6000 feet. It’s a milky white waterfall that feels just like a dream. The natural beauty of this place makes it one of the most ideal Tawang tourist places and Arunachal Pradesh tourism.
#7 Madhuri Lake
The amazing part about Madhuri Lake is that it is managed by the Indian Army. Snow-capped mountains and lush valleys surround the lake. You can explore the picturesque surroundings of the lake by strolling by the lake with your loved ones. There’s also a cafeteria by the lake. Treat yourself with hot authentic momos, and Maggi with a cup of tea or coffee. Since the lake gets frozen during winters, the Tawang festival is the best time to visit Madhuri Lake.
#8 The Dragon Restaurant
The Dragon Restaurant is one of the very famous restaurants in the Old Market of Tawang. Their most famous dish is ‘Churpi’ which is actually fermented cheese and is prepared with fungi and vegetables. Other must-try dishes of this restaurant are Tibetan momos, chili-chicken, and salty Tibetan yak butter tea. If you’re a food lover, make sure to taste the local delicacies. These delicacies surely and perfectly represent the taste of Arunachal Pradesh.
All in all, the Tawang Festival in Arunachal Pradesh is the perfect opportunity for tourists to get acquainted with the culture of Arunachal Pradesh. You get the privilege to explore the beauty of Arunachal Pradesh and Tawang, along with witnessing its cultural heritage. You are sure to find yourself amidst a plethora of varied colors and traditions. Besides, the other things you can also experience activities like the Dance of Yak and Aji-lhamu dance during the festival. You can also taste their thukpa which is a dish comprising noodles and soup along with their famous rice beer.
It’s convenient to say that Tawang is one of the most desirable parts of Arunachal Pradesh tourism. during this time, the Tawang Festival is surely going to be an icing on the cake for every traveler. If you need help with planning a trip to any of these places, feel free to reach out to us on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram. We will help you #MarkAndEmbark on a journey of a lifetime.