Tawang, perched on the Himalayas right in the heart of Arunachal Pradesh, is bestowed with nature’s unspoilt beauty that makes it a perfect escape. Snow-capped mountains, lakes, valleys, dense forests, quaint villages, serene monasteries and an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level – everything about this destination is spellbinding. Here are seven top things to do in Tawang to turn your next getaway into the most fulfilling holiday ever:
Visit the Tawang Monastery
This iconic religious structure is without a doubt where the heart and soul of Tawang rests. The largest monastery in the country and the second largest in the world, the Gaden Namgyal Lhatse, which means celestial paradise in clear night in Tibetan, should definitely be right at the top of your list of things to do in Tawang. Take a tour of the expansive structure, marvel at the architecture and ornate interiors, sit in the presence of the majestic Buddha statue and let the calmness of the place work its magic on you.
Get in Touch with Your Inner Self at the Taktsang Gompa
While the Tawang Monastery has its own tranquil charm, it also attracts a lot of visitors owing to its popularity. Use your time away from the humdrum of life to get in touch with your inner self with a meditative session at a gompa. For this, you must add a trip to the Taktsang Gompa to the things to do in Tawang. Situated at an altitude of about 13,000 feet, this Gompa in the midst of towering mountains and dense forest is the epitome of serenity. The sound of your own heartbeat against the backdrop of whistling woods adds a hypnotic quality to this place that’d make you want to stay put forever.
Book a Home Stay
Hotels and resorts may spoil you silly with comfort and pampering, but the best way to get to know a place inside out is to live like a local. The trend of homestays and BnBs has made this easier than ever before. Spend at least a couple of days at a homestay where you can break bread with the natives and actually cook in their kitchen, learn about their lifestyle and witness their culture from up close. This is a must on your things to do in Tawang list if you are an experiential traveller.
Hike to the Gorichen Peak
Love being outdoors? Add a hike to the Gorichen Peak to the things to do in Tawang and be prepared to have your mind blown with the raw natural beauty at every step of the way. At 22,500 feet, the Gorichen Peak is the highest in all of Arunachal Pradesh. Of course, it is going to be a physically extracting trek but the trail is blessed with a landscape that will have you hooked throughout the journey. If you manage to make it to the top, the panoramic view of the surrounding may well turn out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Located just 40 km from Tawang, a day-trip to Nurarang Waterfalls can turn out to be one of the most fun things to do in Tawang. Also known as Bong Bong falls, this waterfall with a 100-metre high cascade makes for a magnificent meeting point between Nurangang River and Tawang Chu River. A refreshing mist rises from up from the waterfalls and blends right in with clouds hung so low you feel like you can reach out and touch them. This mighty milky waterfall is like a dream in motion and a perfect destination for planning a picnic in Tawang.
Drive through Sela Pass
In all probability, you will check this item on your list of things to do in Tawang by default, as it is the only passage linking Tawang to the rest of the country. However, the key is to turn this journey into an experience to appreciate the beauty of this high-altitude motorable pass. Do plan a stopover to appreciate the beauty of the picturesque Sela Lake. Locals believe there are a total of 101 lakes dotting this pass, so if you have time at hand, explore as many of these water bodies and revel in the beauty of nature.
Shop at the Tibetan Market
Prayer wheels and flags, silver jewellery made with jade and other colourful gemstones, souvenirs, gift items, crockery, handbags, jute handicrafts, you know what awaits you at this flea market. No matter how many such markets you have shopped at before, the experience is still irresistible. Add a visit to the Tibetan Settlement Market to the things to do in Tawang and wrap it up with some decadent local delicacies.
If you have time at hand, there is no dearth of passes, gompas and lakes to explore in Tawang. Apart from these top things to do in Tawang, you can also consider visiting the Shonga-Tser Lake, Bumla Pass, Anni Gompa, Urgelling Monastery, War Memorial in Jaswant Garh and Zemithang village that is home to the Monpa tribe. Take the time to play football with the local kids, hire a cycle to get around and interact with the locals as much as you can to come back with heart-warming memories for a lifetime.