Tawang is a town situated at an elevation of approximately 3,048 metres (10,000 ft) in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh of India. The area is claimed by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of India as a part of South Tibet. The town once served as the district headquarters of West Kameng district, and became the district headquarters of Tawang district when it was formed from West Kameng. Tawang town is located approximately 555 kilometres (345 mi) from Guwahati and 320 kilometres (200 mi) from Tezpur. Tawang has an average elevation of 2,669 metres (8,757 ft).
Tawang was historically part of Tibet inhabited by the Monpa people. The Tawang Monastery was founded by the Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1681 in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, and has an interesting legend surrounding its name, which means "Chosen by Horse". The sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso, was born in Tawang.
Tawang Monastery was founded by the Mera Lama Lodre Gyasto in accordance to the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Nagwang Lobsang Gyatso. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect and is the largest Buddhist monastery in India. The name Tawang means Horse Chosen. It is said to be the biggest Buddhist monastery in the world outside of Lhasa, Tibet. It is a major holy site for Tibetan Buddhists as it was the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama. It is also famous for Snowfall which occurs every year during December-January
Visitors to Tawang require special Inner Line permits from the government which are available in Kolkata, Guwahati, Tezpur, and New Delhi. Most of the travel from the plains is on a steep hill road journey, crossing Sela Pass at 4,176 metres (13,701 ft). Tourists can travel to Tawang from Tezpur, Assam by road. Tezpur has direct flights from Kolkata. Guwahati, Assam, is 16 hours by road. In Oct 2014, two times a week helicopter service from Guwahati was started by the Arunachal Pradesh government.
How to reach
The nearest airports are at Salonibari Airport, Tezpur, and Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati, which are roughly 14 hour drive from Tawang. Along road Tawang is 262 km from Bhalukpong, 319 km from Tezpur, 320 km from Missamari, 383 km from Nagaon, 381 km from East Kameng, 390 km from Udalguri, 402 km from Dhula, 408 km from Paneri, 440 km from Itanagar and 502 km from Sagali and is very well connected with buses of APSRTC and some private travel services. Tawang has no railway and the nearest railway station is at Tezpur, which is connected to the all major cities of Assam. Broadgauge railway line connecting Missamari in Assam with Tawang is proposed and the survey for the line was sanctioned in the year 2011 and is due to commence shortly