NE/11: 09 Days Tawang the Monpa Paradise

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TOUR DETAILS

Travel along a mind boggling road from the Assam plains to the 3048 meters high Tawang valley, crossing over the 4150 m high Se la pass.

Explore Bomdila with its several Buddhist monasteries, and the picture postcard Dirang Valley. See the entire range of flora from Subtropical to Alpine, Himalayan uplands, Alpine lakes and, tribal hamlets. Peep into the lifestyle of the Monpas.

The highlight of the trip is a visit to the 150 years old Tawang Monastery – the fountain-head of the spiritual life of the Gelupa Sect of the Mahayana School of Budhism. The Monastery retains priceless tankhas and the Ka-gyur (scriptures) written out in gold and silver , as also a 26 feet high gilded statue of Lord Buddha. Also included in the tour are Ani gompas (Buddhist nunneries), and more.

The Monpas are Buddhist by religion and the Tawang Monastery is the fountainhead of their spiritual life. They are courteous, friendly, gentle and industrious.

  
The traditional dress of the male members consists of a short woolen trouser called Kangnom or a full-length woolen trouser called Dhorna. The upper garments consists of an shirt of Tibetan style over which a full sleeved woolen jacket of red colour with opening in the front called Chuba is worn with red colored sash wound round the waist.
The ladies dress consists of an upper garment comprising a lavishly embroidered shirt with opening in the front called Kyanchen Thoe-thung, over which is worn a red colored gown with white stripes covering the body right from the shoulders to the knee level called Shingka and is girdled at the waist by a sash. A flat rectangular piece of woolen cloth is worn at the rear of the waist. Monpa women love jewellery.

Monpa headdress for both males and females is the characteristic Yak hair cap with five drain pipes to drain off the rain water.
Agriculture and animal husbandry is their main occupation of the Monpas. The main crops are Rice, Millet, Potatoes, buck wheat, and pulses. Horticulture is being developed and Apple, walnut, almonds and oranges are grown taking advantage of altitudinal variations.
Monpas live in cozy double-storied houses, constructed of stone with plank floors, often with carved doors and window frames.

Artistic by nature the Monpas weave cotton and woolen cloth and carpets, and are adept at wood carving, and bamboo handicraft. They have earned a niche for themselves as skilled painters of Buddhist monastic art –such as “thankas” and hand-made paper.

The Monpas specialize in the manufacture of incense, out of Juniper stems, barks of other trees and herbs. The incense is generally used for Puja prayer offering and purification, but it is also used as air freshener in homes and as a mosquito repellent.

Although polygamous and polyandrous marriages are in vogue, monogamy is practiced by the majority. Marriage by negotiation is the general practice. Divorce is admissible. Widow has the right to re-marry.

ITENERIES

Day 01: Fly to Guwahati and drive to Tezpur

Arrive Guwahati. Drive by car to Tezpur. 195 Kms in 4 hrs. Overnight at hotel (transit halt).

Day 02: Drive Tezpur to Dirang, 1600 m

Drive to Dirang, 211 Kms in 06 hrs, crossing over the 2800 m high Bomdila pass to the picture postcard Dirang Valley at an elevation of 1600 m. Enroute visit the Tippi Orchid research centre. Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Dirang Valley sightseeing

Explore Dirang Valley visiting an ancient Monpa Village and Gompa, the Kalachakra Monastery, and the Sangti Valley to get a peep into the life styles of the Monpas, and see their unique method of agriculture. Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Drive Dirang- Tawang

Drive to Tawang, 165 kms. In 5.30 hrs. over the 4150 meters high Se-la Pass, which was once the battle ground between the Indian and Chinese armies. Enroute visit an Alpine Lake and Se-la temple. Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: Tawang

Explore the 350 years old Tawang Monastery

    

The famous Galden Namgyal Lhatse, was founded in the year 1860-81. This monastery is the fountain-head of the spiritual life of the Gelupa Sect of the Mahayana School of Budhism, The inner walls of the Dukhang – the assembly hall are painted with murals of various divinities and saints. The silver casket wrapped in silk containing the Thankas of Goddess Sri Devi (Palden Lhamo) the principal deity of the monastery, is kept here. It was given to Merak Lama by the Vth Dalai Lama. The Thankas were painted with blood drawn from the nose of the Fifth Dalai Lama.

A colossal richly – gilded statue of Lord Buddha occupies the middle of the northern side. It is the largest image of the monastery and is about 26 feet high.
In the afternoon visit the Urgelling Monastery dating back to 1489 followed by the Seru Monpa village, and the craft center.
The Urgelling Monastery – the birth place of the Sixth Dalai Lama, who was deposed in 1706. In 1714 the destruction of all Gelupa Gompas was carried out by Sokpa Jomkhar, a Mongolian warrior who invaded from Bhutan.

During this campaign, the Dalai Lama’s original monastery at Urgelling was destroyed. All valued possession of Urgelling monastery were taken to Tawang Monastery.

It was during this time that the Ka-gyur (scriptures) written out in gold and silver arrived at the Tawang monastery, where they are preserved to this day. Today a modest Gompa stands at the site of the original monastery Overnight at your hotel.

Day 06: Day excursion to Himalayan uplands, Alpine lakes and Buddhist Monasteries

    

Tawang-monastery
panorama-Tsela
Drive up the “spiral staircase” road leading to the Tibet frontier, to Peng Teng Tso ( PTSO) Lake at an altitude of 4100 meters. Continue to Shungetser Lake and Taksang Gompa . Amazing scenery of Himalayan uplands. On return journey visit a Ani Gompa ( Budhist monastery) close to Tawang town. Overnight at your hotel.

Note:This trip to PTSO lake may be modified or curtailed depending upon local restriction imposed, due to security concerns relating to the Indo- Tibet border. In such a case alternative will be offered.

Day 07: Tawang- Sela—Dirang- Bomdila

Drive back 165 Kms in 5.30 hrs over the Se-la pass to Dirang. On the way stop over at Jang to visit the Indo-China War memorial. Continue from Dirang to Bomdila, another 45 kms in 1.30 hrs. Upon arrival visit the Rabgyaling Gontse Gompa, Upper Gompa , and the Thupchob Gatseling Gompa. Overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Bomdila- Tezpur

Drive back to Tezpur 166 Kms in 05.30 hrs. Overnight transit halt at hotel.

Day 09: Tezpur- Guwahati

Drive 195 kms to Guwahati airport in 04 hrs to board your departure flight to Kolkata or Delhi.
Extention: 02 nights extension available to visit Kaziranga National Park.

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