The ancient monastery of Tawang is over 350 years old. It was established when this area was part of Greater Tibet. The monastery was founded by the Mera Lama Lodre Gyasto in accordance to the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Nagwang Lobsang Gyatso. It is the principal head of the spiritual life of the followers of the Gelupa sect of the Mahayana School of Buddhism, which is followed by the Monpa and Sherdukpen tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The magnificent fortress like structure, a couple of kilometers beyond the town, is a home to 500 monks.
The three storey fortified monastery covers the total area of 135 sq. meters enclosed by a compound wall of 610 m long. The monastery houses 65 residential buildings, chortens,lanes and by lanes. There is a main shrine room inside the monastery that is richly decorated and contains several statues including a beautiful thousand armed Chenrezig (or Avalokitesvara). Two ani gompas are visible from the main gate, clinging to the steep mountain slopes in the distance. The Parkhang hall lodges the library that contains the valuable old scriptures mainly Kanjur and Tanjur numbering 850 bundles. Than there is a craft center, which produces exquisite woolen carpets.
Fairs and Festivals
Losar is the major festival celebrated here, that continues for the period of continuous 15 days. It is the time for the Tibetans to be with the family and friends. The spectacle of thousand of monks dressed in scarlet celebrating the Tibetan New Year is as sight not to be missed. The festival is marked with the religious ceremonies, the performance fights between the good and evil, rejoicing and passing the passing the fire torches among the crowd. The festival is full of dancing, music and merry making.