A fresh day in Tawang. Host had prepared chow-men which was super yummy. Last night, we had given her lecture about, what is considered to be vegetarian and what is not. So she literally called us up, to show all the ingredients she wanted to use, before staring to cook.
Tawang Galdan Namgye Lhatse
This is the second largest monastery in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It is situated in the valley of the Tawang River. its a feast for eyes to see the architecture which stands on a high hill overlooking the valley.we took the side entrance as we had baby prams and later realized its a bad idea to take prams to tawang monastery.
The monastery looks like a large Mansion, is triple storied with a large assembly hall, with 65 residential quarters for students, Lamas and monks, and center for Buddhist cultural studies. We also saw a huge library but couldn’t get in.
The entrance has a well sculptured huge northern gate. Each gate gives a different view. Northern side, you can see the interlocking valley spur. Small settlements on the slopes of huge green mountains with alpine vegetation. It looked like a green waterfall. The southern side of the monastery is backed by snow cap mountains. Tawang river is also seen from the monastery.
Walking through these small yellow roofed houses and small passages leading to colonies, it felt like we were in a maze.
It is hard to believe that, there were 300 plus monks (kids) residing in the monastery, buy still there was absolute tranquil.
we found monks playing foot ball in the narrow passages, but not sure, what this monk was up to?
Courtyard in front of the main prayer hall is where we spent some time, watching kids running around and then we entered the main prayer hall. I always wonder! how they maintain absolute silence in monasteries?
There is a huge Buddha statue inside the prayer hall , where we tried to meditate. 🙂 kids absolutely ruled out the idea and pulled us out. We had to get out of the place not to disturb other people.
Travel tip: if you want to experience prayer time in the monastery, you should be there by 4 am. Put a complete round of the monastery as each side provides different views.
The best view of the monastery is from the giant Buddha statue, which is at same elevation, 3 km away from the monastery. If you look carefully in the picture above, the giant Buddha statue is seen at a distance through the gazebo.
It was a dull day, so we did not get bright photos of the monastery. Got some nice photos of us, with colorful buildings and hazy background.
Then we headed to the Giant Buddha statue, which is located near circuit house. Its a silent place not much of visitors. nice view of Tawang city. This is the area where you can find most of the famous hotels in tawang. the monestry view hotel.
Travel tip : hotel around buddha statue, rooms with monestry view usually costs more. we took a hotel near monastery, (valley view) so it was pocket friendly.
On a bright day, one can get fantastic view of monastery from this place. Do not forget the mandatory pic with monastery here.
After a lot of walking in the monastery, we all were very hungry. so we visited the most recommended cafe in Tawang.
The dharma cafe is a decent place, with pizzas, pastries, beverages and more. There was no power in tawang that day, so we had to choose only things which were readily available.
Not much vegetarian options in Tawang, hence this place was a delight for us. Post lunch, we went around the local market, to see if we can get some soveniors. Tawang’s teacup shops were a delight to eyes. we did not buy them, as we had 10 more days of travel. we refilled our daily supplies, cornflakes, milk, bread, etc. and decided to head back.
Every other shop sells winter wear and crockery, you will also see Military stores everywhere.
Dusk brought our jackets and caps out. we were about to head back home but then, our driver insisted on the sound and light show, in the war memorial. Its a brave story of Indo-china war in the bleak snowy mountains and the heroes who sacrificed life to protect borders. shoe happens in an open amphitheatre for around 60 min. Army personals took at most care of our seating arrangements, as we had two infants in the group.
Travel tip: carry jacket cap and gloves. The show starts at 5 pm, but by the time it ends, it will be chilling cold. Also reach the place by 4:30 to get tickets and to get seat with good view.
Finally the day ended with UNO game and very comforting roti, sabji and dal. we had awesome time in come inn home stay. Great people, great food and budget friendly place.
we went as guests and checked out as friends!