Tawang Monastery

Address :Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh 790104

District : Tawang

Phone :  Not Available

Completed : 1680-81

Deity : Tibetan Buddism

Famous For : Torgya, also known as Tawang-Torgya


Tawang Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India. It is the largest monastery in the country. It is situated in the valley of the Tawang Chu, in close proximity to the Chinese and Bhutanese border. Tawang Monastery is known in Tibetan as Gaden Namgyal Lhatse, which translates to “the divine paradise of complete victory”. It was founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1680–1681 in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso. It belongs to the Gelug school of Vajrayana Buddhism and had a religious association with Drepung Monastery of Lhasa, which continued during the period of British rule. The monastery is three stories high. It is enclosed by a 925 feet (282 m) long compound wall. Within the complex there are 65 residential buildings. The library of the monastery has valuable old scriptures, mainly Kangyur and Tengyur.
The full name of the monastery is Tawang Galdan Namgye Lhatse. Ta means “horse” and wang means “chosen”, which together forms the word Tawang, meaning “the location selected by horse”. Furthermore, Gadan means “paradise”, Namgyal means “complete victory” and Lhatse means “divine”. Thus, the full meaning of Tawang Galdan Namgye Lhatse is “the site chosen by the horse is the divine paradise of complete victory”. Three legends are narrated to the establishment of the monastery. In the first legend it is said that location of the present Monastery was selected by a horse which belonged to Merag Lama Lodre Gyatso who was on a mission assigned to him by the 5th Dalai Lama to establish a Monastery. After an intense search, when he failed to locate a suitable place, he retired into a cave to offer prayers seeking divine intervention to choose the site. When he came out of the cave, he found his horse missing. He then went in search of the horse and finally found it grazing at the top of a mountain called Tana Mandekhang, which in the past was the palace of King Kala Wangpo. He took this as a divine and auspicious guidance and decided to establish the monastery at that location. Seeking the help of the local people, Mera Lama established the monastery at that location in the latter part of 1681.

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