Tawang Monastery, History, Legend, Structure, Timings And Entry Fee

Tawang Monastery, History, Legend, Structure, Timings And Entry Fee

Tawang Monastery is one of the golden gems of Arunachal Pradesh. It is also known as Golden Namgyal Lhase. Situated at an altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level, the monastery is famous as the second largest monastery in the world. Let me tell you this place is unique. This monastery is one of the most sacred places in India for the followers of Buddhism. Belonging to the Gelugpa sect of Buddhism, the TawangMonastery is home to over 300 monks. There are 17 gompas here.

Offering a serene view of the Himalayan valley, Tawang Monastery is famous for its 16th century architecture. Apart from that there is much to see in TawangMonastery with a library. Which is a center of attraction for Buddhist pilgrims as well as tourists from abroad. If you are also planning to visit the world’s second largest monastery. Or want to know more about the famous monastery. So do read this article.

History of Tawang Monastery

Tawang Monastery was founded by Merek Lama Lodre Gemstow with the help of local people in 1680–81 at the request of the 5th Dalai Lama. According to Pandit Nain Singh, who visited the Math in 1874–75, the Math had a parliamentary form of administration. Which was known as Kato. Tawang and the monastery belonged to Tibet under the Shimla Agreement of 1913–14. It was given to the British.

After this, China attacked India on 20 October 1962. and had occupied Tawang including the monastery for six months. The Dalai Lama left Tibet in 1959 and reached the monastery after a difficult journey. On 8 November 2009, despite strong opposition from the Chinese, the Dalai Lama’s visit to the monastery was an important and historic moment for the locals.

Best Time To Visit Tawang Math

The best time to visit Tawang Monastery is considered to be from March to September. The weather here is pleasant in summers. And the temperature also remains between 10 to 21 degrees. Because of that, it is the perfect time for outdoor activities. The temperature of Tawang reaches 1-3 degree Celsius during the winter season. There is also a lot of snowfall because of it. If you want to enjoy snowfall here, then you can go to Tawang in winter.

Tawang Monastery Timings And Entry Fee

Talking about the opening and closing hours of Tawang Monastery, Monastery remains open from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm. Tourists can visit here during that time. But do take 2 to 3 hours to take a comfortable and expansive tour of the monastery. Talking about the entry fee of TawangMonastery, there is no entry fee for the entry and visit of tourists or devotees in the monastery. One can easily roam here without paying any fee.

Legend of Tawang Monastery

Two famous stories are connected in the construction of Tawang Monastery. According to the first legend, the site for the construction of the TawangMonastery was chosen by the horse of Mard Lama Lodre Gyatso. He was given by the 5th Dalai Lama to establish the monastery. He was unable to choose a location. And exhausted he went to a cave to seek the blessings of the Almighty. When he came out of the cave he could not find his horse and after a hard search finally found it grazing on the top of Tana Mandekhang mountain.

He had decided to build this monastery at that particular place with the help of the local people in 1681. According to another legend, a white horse belonging to the prince of Lhasa had strayed into the Monpa area. People searched for the horse and found it grazing at the present location of the monastery. They started worshiping the horse and the place. where it was found. Eventually to honor the holy site, TawangMonastery was built.

Structure of Tawang Monastery

Entrance And Exterior Walls

The colorful walls of the Tawang Monastery, built in the shape of a hut, are called Kakalinga. The ceiling of the Kakalinga has circles. The interior walls are painted with images of the divine and saints. There is another entrance next to the main gate of Kakalinga on the south side. It’s an open door. There are massive doors on the northern wall, to the south of the main entrance gate. Its length is 925 feet and height is between 10-20 feet. Apart from the main gate, the southern side of the monastery has an entrance with a huge gate.

Main Building

The three-storey Tawang Monastery has a large synagogue, ten other functional structures and 65 residential quarters for students, lamas and monks. There is a school, its water supply facility and center of Buddhist cultural studies. The ground floor of the monastery is Where ritual dance is performed. Even the curtains are painted with beautiful Buddhist symbols. Apart from residential buildings, the abbot of the monastery lives in a house near the gate in the south-east corner.

Main Temple or Dukhang

To the west of the entrance is the main temple of the monastery. Which is called Dukhang (‘Du’ means “assembly” and ‘Khang’ means “building”). Built in 1860-61, the temple has a huge 18 feet statue of Buddha in a lotus position. Next to the Buddha image is a silver coffin. Holds a special Thongka. This thangka image, is called the Dravidian goddess. Donated to the monastery by the 5th Dalai Lama. After being dilapidated, the temple has been renovated in the traditional Buddhist style.


Tawang Monastery has a huge library on the second floor. It contains translated Buddhist scriptures and books on Buddhist teachings. The books are used from literate Monpa lamas. Those who refer to it for the conduct of religious rituals. There is a printing press. Which uses locally made paper for the printing of religious books. The structure of the Monastery, built in the 16th century, is extremely attractive. It attracts art lovers and tourists from all over the country.

Tawang Monastery

Famous Festivals Celebrated in Tawang Monastery

Talking about the famous festival celebrated in TawangMonastery, the major festivals held in TawangMonastery are Choksar, Losar, Ajilamu and Torya. In Choksar, lamas recite religious texts. Villagers roam on agricultural land carrying scriptures on their backs. And pray for a good harvest. The Luxor festival is celebrated at the beginning of the Tibetan New Year. Toriya is known as Tawang-Torya.

It is an annual festival mainly held in the monastery. The purpose of the festival is to get protection from evil spirits. And pray for the prosperity and happiness of the people in the next year. During the three-day festival, dance performances are performed by artists in colorful costumes and masks. Which entertains and attracts a lot of tourists as well as local people.

Places To Visit Around Tawang Monastery

Nuranang Falls

Tawang War Memorial

Jaswant Garh

Sela Pass

Madhuri Lake

Gorichen Peak

P T Tso Lake

Hotels in Tawang

Vamoose Buddha Hotel Tawang

Nawang from Tawang Hostel                   

Yul Pemakhar

Vamoose Bliss

Vamoose Tawang Inn

Hotel The Oak

Vamoose North Hill

Vamoose Dolma

Hotel Tawang Centre Point

Vamoose Taktsang

How To Reach Tawang Monastery

TawangMonastery can be visited by taxi, bus or private car. The nearest airport to Wang is Tezpur. It is located 143 km away from Tawang. Its nearest railway station is Tezpur. You can easily reach Tawang tourist places by bus or cab from the station. Tawang is well connected to the surrounding cities by road. Buses run here regularly. Tourists will get direct buses from Tezpur (Assam) and Bomdila from which one can go to TawangMonastery.

Tawang Monastery Map

Video of Tawang Monastery

Interesting Facts

Tawang Monastery is located in Kona of Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

TawangMonastery is also known as Golden Namgyal Lhase.

This monastery is one of the most popular and extremely sacred for Buddhists.

Tawang Monastery is famous as the second largest monastery in the world.

It is one of the most beautiful and interesting places in India.

Tawang Monastery is famous for its 16th century architecture.

Tawang is located 450 km from Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh.


Q .Why is Tawang Monastery famous for?

The monastery is famous as the second largest monastery in the world.

Q .Can I stay in Tawang Monastery?


Q .Who built Tawang Monastery?

Merag Lodroe Gyamtso

Q .Is Tawang occupied by China?

The town lies to the north of the Tawang Chu river valley, roughly 10 miles (16 km) south of the Line of Actual Control with China.

Q .Is Tawang in Tibet?

Tawang was historically part of Tibet.


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