Tawang, a remote hill station in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, is a destination brimming over with natural beauty, cultural heritage and military history. Sharing its border with Tibet to the north and Bhutan to the west, Tawang is dotted with majestic mountains, breathtaking gorges, passes and water bodies that add a hypnotic charm to this place. That’s why a travel guide to Tawang is on every vacationist’s radar.
The natural beauty aside, this hill town is home to one of the highest motorable passes and the second largest Buddhist monastery in the world, the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama, the epicentre of the Indo-China war and continues to be disputed territory between the two countries. However, given the remote location of this place, coupled with unpredictable weather and poor road conditions, travelling to Tawang isn’t the easiest. That’s why we have put together this travel guide to Tawang, complete with the best time to visit Tawang, to help you plan a glitch-free trip:
Attractions in Tawang
As you may have seen in the pictures, Tawang abounds in breathtaking beauty and untouched natural locales. In this travel guide to Tawang, we’ve put together some of the top attractions in Tawang that you must include in your itinerary:
- Tawang Monastery: The largest monastery in India and the second largest in the world. The place stands out for its beautiful location and calm atmosphere. The 4 am prayers here is an experience worth soaking up.
- Taktsang Gompa: This Himalayan Buddhist temple located by a cliff, perched on a hilltop, is one of the most serene places to visit in Tawang.
- Sela Pass: Considered the lifeline of Arunachal Pradesh, as it connects the Tawang district to the rest of the country, Sela Pass is also one of nature’s most picturesque gifts you can witness in a lifetime.
- Bumla Pass: Its abundant natural beauty aside, Bumla Pass on the Indo-China border makes that cut as one of the top attractions in this travel guide to Tawang for its historical significance as well. The Dalai Lama took this route when he escaped Tibet to seek refuge in India.
- Gorichen Peak: Looking to get your dose of adventure from your Tawang holiday? The Gorichen Peak offers myriad trekking opportunities to seasoned climbers as well as beginners.
- Nuranang Waterfalls: Also known as Bong Bong Falls, this natural waterfall with a 100-metre high cascade is one of the most stunning in the country. Even though the Nuranang Waterfalls has served as the backdrop of several Bollywood songs, it remains largely unknown to most tourists. This element of obscurity definitely adds to the charm of this tourist attraction in Tawang.
- Bap Teng Kang Waterfalls: Another silver cascade flowing amidst lush green jungles, Bap Teng Kang Waterfalls find a mention in this travel guide to Tawang for its bounteous beauty. It is also one of the most popular picnic spots in the area. So, if you are travelling with family or a group of friends, a picnic here can be a great way to unwind.
- Pankang Teng Tso Lake: Located in an open valley some 17 km from the main town, this blue-water lake is surrounded by the Blue Lapis flowers in summer and encased by a blanket of snow in winter, both of which make for a breathtaking setting.
- Shonga-tser Lake: A clear-water lake that took form as a result of an earthquake that rocked the region in 1971, Shonga-tser is flanked by green rolling hills on all sides. There is a small cafe run by the Indian Army near the lake where you can enjoy piping hot snacks and tea after a small excursion.
- Jaswant War Memorial: This memorial has been created in honour of Indian soldier Jaswant Singh Rawat, who bravely fought the Chinese troops for 72 hours straight before making the ultimate sacrifice during the 1962 Indo-China War.
Travel Guide to Tawang: Climate in Tawang
Being a hill station, Tawang has moderate summer and harsh winter climate. Also, being located in the north-eastern part of the country, the destination gets its ample share of rainfall. Summer spans from March to June and the weather remains pleasant during this time of the year, with the mercury hitting a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius. The monsoon season, between July and September, is pleasant with low humidity and frequent rains.
The weather conditions are harshest during the winter that sets in early November and lasts till February, with temperatures dipping to a freezing -12 degrees Celsius. The climatic conditions are an important consideration for any travel guide because planning your trip at the best time to visit Tawang is the only way to experience this breathtaking destination in all its glory.
Best Time to Visit Tawang
The months from March to June, and then, September and October are the best time to visit Tawang. The weather is conducive for outdoor explorations, hikes, treks and more, and the landscape beautiful with blooms flowers and soothing lush greens all around.
Travel Guide to Tawang: Getting There
Tawang does not have any direct rail or air connectivity. You can either take a flight or train to Guwahati or Tezpur. Thereon, you have to travel by road to Tawang via Sela Pass. It takes about six hours to reach Tawang from Tezpur and the town has fairly good connectivity to most major cities in the country. If you are pressed for time, accessing Tawang from Tezpur is the best approach.
If time is not a consideration and you enjoy being on the road, you can plan a road trip from Guwahati to Tawang, and explore Bhalukpong and Bomdila on the way.
Since the condition of the roads in this part of the country takes a hit during the monsoon season, it is advisable to plan your visit during the best time to visit Tawang.
Arrive at Guwahati and hire a cab to take you to Bhalukpong. It’s an almost six-hour journey, so it is best to start from Guwahati as early as possible. At Bhalukpong, spend the afternoon exploring the village, eating with the locals. If you are not too exhausted, you can even include a trip to the Pakhui Nation Park to your itinerary. Bhalukpong to Bomdila is another six-hour drive, so you can choose to break your journey with a night halt, or travel to Bomdila late in the evening and plan a day-long break there.
At Bomdila, start your day with a trek up to the RR Hill, which is the highest point in the vicinity and offers breathtaking views of the landscapes of Bhutan and Tibet. Treat yourself to a hearty meal upon your descent and get some rest. In the evening, plan a visit to the Bomdila Monastery. If you have time at hand, the Kameg river, Bomdila Apple Orchard and Eaglenest Sanctuary are worth exploring.
Bomdila to Tawang
Set out for your journey to Tawang as early as possible. The drive can take anywhere from eight to 11 hours, depending on the road conditions, weather and the pit stops you plan along the way. Save this day for travel alone, stopping at attractions like Sela Lake, Jaswant Memorial and other lesser-known picturesque sights you encounter along the way.
Tawang: Day 1
You ought to start your explorations with a visit to the Tawang Monastery. There are just no two ways about it. Follow it up with Pankang Teng Tso Lake and the local Tibetan market.
On your second day in Tawang, plan a trek to the Gorichen Peak in the morning and follow up the adrenaline rush with the zen-like synergy at the Taktsang Gompa and then head out to the Nuranang Waterfalls in the evening.
Make this an action-packed day, with visits to a Shonga-tser Lake, Bap Teng Kang Waterfalls, and Bumla Pass, along with any other attractions you may learn of from the locals.
Spend your morning exploring Tawang on foot, and head out to Tezpur after brunch. It is a six-hour journey from Tawang to Tezpur, and there are no evening flights operating out of here, so it is best to arrive at Tezpur late in the evening, get some rest and return home the following morning.
A week in Tawang is just about enough to be able to explore this place inside out, without turning the holiday into a tiring excursion. So, give your friends a shout out and plan a holiday during the best time to visit Tawang and soak up the experience of a lifetime. This travel guide to Tawang is here to set you up to a good start.