DAY – I :
- Begin your sightseeing with Tawang’s Landmark, the 400 year old Tawang Monastery : That is a short 5-10 minutes drive from the town centre. At the monastery, visit the enormous Central Hall (Dukhang) and pay obsicience to the magnificent statue of the Buddha and light a butter lamp at the altar. Thereafter, visit the Monastery’s Museum and Photo Gallery. Thereafter proceed to the Tawang Emporium, which is a short 10 minutes drive from the Tawang Monastery. Here you can purchase local handicrafts and traditional items.
- Thereafter, head to the Urgelling Monastery : The birth place of the 6th Dalai Lama,which is a short 15 minutes drive from the Emporium.
- Conclude the visits of the first half of the day with a short drive to the Jamyang Choekhorling Monastery : Marvel at the beautiful Stupa and the stunning view of the nearby Seru village.
- Head back to Tawang to have lunch : At any of the local Hotels or Restaurants like Gyaki Khang Zhang, Hotel Tashi Gatsel, Dragon Restaurant etc. Alternatively, if you want to try local traditional food, visit the quaint Tawang Home Stay, at Lebrang village near the Tawang Stadium which is a short 10 minutes drive from the Tawang town centre (Contact the District Tourism Officer, for prior arrangements).
- After lunch and a light rest, travel down to the beautiful Khinmey Monastery : 20 minutes’ drive and witness the magnificence of the statue of Guru Padmasambhava and the beautiful murals and wall paintings located inside the main hall.
- Thereafter travel down to Kushanang : The maternal house of the 6th Dalai Lama, located amongst the beautiful Baighar village, in Kitpi, which is 20minutes drive from Khinmey.If there is time (before Sunset), visit the nearby Chaksam Iron Bridge built by Lama ChksamWangpo which is said to be older than the Tawang Monastery. You will definitely experience the adrenalin rush while crossing the bridge.
- Thereafter head back to Tawang town : Have a stopover at the beautiful Tawang War Memorial, built in the memory of the Indian Soldiers martyred in the 1962 Indo-China War. Before leaving the memorial, check up with the Army personnel regarding the Light and Sound Show which can be witnessed after sunset at the small Amphitheatre located beside the War Memorial. Thereafter call it a day and have dinner at the place of stay.
- After an early breakfast, drive upto the beautiful P T Tso Lake : 30 minutes’ drive from the town centre that is located amongst snow-capped mountains, rhododendron bushes and lush fir forests.
- Thereafter, drive upto the Bumla Pass : 1 hour and 15 minutes drive and marvel at the stunning view of the Tibetan Plateau. Take time to also learn about the Border Personnel meets held by the Indian Army and the Chinese Army Authorities, at the “maitristhal” located at the pass.
- Thereafter drive down to the unique and beautiful Sangetsar Lake : 1½ hour’s drive and have a stroll along the lake and see the beautiful log Hut constructed inside the lake.Have a sumptuous lunch at the Army Cafe located at the lake or one can go with pack lunch.
- After having lunch, drive upto the T-Gonpa : 15 minutes drive where the great Master,Guru Padmasambhava had spent some time to meditate. As per legend, he was welcomed at the site by a tiger.
- Thereafter, drive back to Tawang : And on the way back, have a brief stopover at the Bramadungchung Ani Gonpa (1½ hour’s drive from the lake)and interact with the Nuns and learn about their daily routine.
- After returning back to Tawang explore the local markets : You can have a night out at the ’Orange bar’ or the lounge cum nightclub of Hotel Gakyi Khang Zhang.
DAY – III :
- After having breakfast, proceed towards Lumla HQs. : 45 Kms, 1 ½ hour’s drive from Tawang and see the magnificent Statue of Tara Devi, beside the Lumla Circuit House. You would also be able to have a view of Bhutan, from this point.
- Thereafter, travel down towards Zemithang : 45 Kms and on the way, stop at the Bapteng Kang Waterfall (BTK)for photographs.
- Thereafter, proceed toward Gorsam : 30 minutes drive and see the magnificent Gorsam Stupa, located on the banks of the Nyamjangchu river.
- Thereafter, proceed to Zemithang Circle HQs : 15 Minutes drive and have a brief stopover at the beautiful river shore and if you are lucky, you may be able to see the endangered Black necked Cranes on the river banks. Due to limited dining options at Zemithang, it is advisable to carry packed lunch which can be had on the river side. Alternatively Lunch can also be prepared at the Zemithang Inspection Bungalow/Tourist Lodge Zemithang for which prior intimation / request has to be made to Circle Officer, at Zemithang.
- Thereafter drive back to Tawang : And en-route have a stopover at the Manjushree Vidyapith which is an orphanage run by Padmashree Lama Thupten Phuntsok where you can interact with the graceful and knowledgeable Lama and also the Children.
- Thereafter, drive back to Tawang : Conclude the day’s visits.
White Tara in Lumla
Additional sites to visit
- Visit to Bangajang : This is located 18 Kms from Sela pass (100 Kms. from Tawang town). The site is considered to be very holy and has a number of beautiful and sacred lakes. The total trek time to see the lakes and the ancient BangajangGompa is Approx. 5 hours, thus it is essential to start early from Tawang, if you desire to stay in Tawang. Alternatively you can stay for the night at the Tourism department’s Nuranang Mini Resort (Approx. 1 hour drive back towards Tawang) or alternatively stay at Jang (1 ½ hour’s drive back). The Trek to Bangajang can be categorised as moderately difficult and travellers are thus advised to prepare accordingly. Further, as there are no eateries located at Bangajang, food items (only Vegetarian) should be carried along.
- Trip to Nuranang (Jang) waterfall and Thingbu Hot spring : The Nuranang (Jang) Waterfall is located approx. 30 Kms from Tawang town and is an ideal spot for a Picnic, where one can relax beside the river bed and bask in the Glory of the waterfall. It is advisable to carry packed food from the Hotel / local Market as there is no eatery nearby. Alternatively, arrangements for food can be made at the nearby forest lodge in consultation with the District Tourism Officer. Thereafter, head towards Thingbu Hydel point (1 hour and 15 minutes drive) and after a short trek (half an hour), reach at the Thingbu hot spring and have a dip in its Medicinal waters. There is a changing room and toilet at the hot springs but visitors must bring their own towels and carry spare sets of cloths (if needed).
- Visit to a Monpa village: There are various villages that can be visited, but the best and the nearest option is to go for a village excursion to the beautiful Kitpi, Shernup and Chaksam villages which are a short 45 minutes drive from Tawang town. The concerned Hotel Management / District Tourism Officer can help in arranging a picnic on the spot and you may also be able to see a traditional Monpa house.
- Trip to Geshela Peak. For travellers visiting Tawang, in and around the month of March, a trip can be planned to the easily motorable Geshela Peak (above 13,000 ft. Approx.) and located around 2 hours from the district headquarters. En-route, stop at the Sacred Thongmen Gompa and light a butter lamp there. The route to the Peak is very scenic and beautiful, lined by Rhododendron bushes of various colours. It is suggested to carry packed Lunch from the Hotel / Market for picnic.
- Visit to Zemithang: In terms of biodiversity, the valley is rich in diversity due to the presence of various habitat types like the Sub-tropical, temperate, sub-alpine forest types along with some high altitude wetland complexes and numerous streams in the valley. The valley is home to many species of rare and endangered species of wildlife including the red panda (Ailurusfulgens), which is found in good abundance along the upper. The valley is also vital as one of only two documented wintering sites of the globally endangered black necked crane (Grusnigricollis) at present in India. Majority of the valley has also been delineated as an Important Bird Area termed Zemithang-Nelya IBA (AR-28) and a checklist of more than 170 birds have been recorded from the area. Flora wise too, the valley is full of many rare and valuable species medicinal and aromatic plants including varieties of Rhododendron.Winter is the best season for the sighting of Red Panda and the Black necked Crane. Birding is best in the region during winter and monsoon. The best season to see more than 15 varieties of Rhododendron is May-June followed by the flowering season of the rare herbs in July-August.
Major attraction of the Valley: Red Panda, Black necked Crane, Himalayan birds, high-altitude lakes, Forest treks, camping, homestays, village walks, historical Gorsamchoiten, etc.
- Tawang Festival: Tawang Festival is a mega tourism extravaganza organised by the Department of Tourism,Arunachal Pradesh which showcases the rich,varied and unique lifestyle,culture and traditions of Arunachal Pradesh.Traditional heritage of the region is highlighted during this festival.
- Tawang Ropeway: This cable car service is available to travel from Tawang Monastery to Gyangong Ani Gonpa,Tawang.The fare for a trip (one way) for nuns & children (below 10 years) is Rs.25/- and for general public is Rs.100/-. While taking a ride on it, one can enjoy the serene beauty of snow capped mountain (during season) , grazing area, villages at a distance etc.
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