Discover Arunachal Pradesh

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Tangkha painting is a traditional form of Tibetan Buddhist art. Learning this craft can take three years and is part of a monk’s education. Monks who have left monastic life can continue painting Tangkhas in craft centers like the one we visited in Bomdila. In the workshop we met Tenzin, a former monk who once studied in Bomdila Monastery. He sat cross-legged near a window through which a shaft of pale sunlight… Read More

Located 15 kilometres from Rupa village in West Kameng District, the Sang-Ngag Choekar Dargyeling Monastery is built on a promontory which offers spectacular 270 degree views of the surrounding Eastern Himalayan valleys. More commonly known as Chillipam Gompa, the secluded sanctuary is adorned with some of the region’s most magnificent Buddhist art. It was an afternoon in late April and staccatos of fat raindrops plunked on our windscreen as we wound our… Read More

The Ani Gompas or nunneries of Tawang are steeped in the same time-honoured Tibetan Buddhist traditions as their larger all-male counterparts, the monasteries. Devoted to the study and practice of Lord Buddha’s teaching, the nuns known as ‘Anis’ commit their lives to helping others. Coming from a Western society which generally views random acts of kindness by strangers with suspicion rather than with faith, it was only after moving to India that… Read More

Founded in AD 1680, Tawang Monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in India. Situated in Tawang town at an elevation of 3300 meters, the mesmerizing Buddhist citadel comprises 65 residential buildings which are home to 450 lamas. A centre for Buddhist cultural studies and a library with an invaluable collection of 400-year-old manuscripts are also found inside the compound. While Tawang Monastery itself is sometimes shrouded in mysterious fingers of cloud,… Read More

Picture an azure sky, fields of green and a trio of pinnacles shimmering in the morning sun. This was our first glimpse of Khinmey Monastery. But no sooner had we shaded our eyes to see them better, the road wound away and the three golden spires slid out of sight again. We drove on in silence, transfixed by the panorama. The history of medieval Arunachal Pradesh is captured in monastic manuscripts and… Read More

Located on the outskirts of Tawang town, Urgelling Monastery was built around AD 1487. Almost two centuries later Tsangyang Gyatso, H.H. the Sixth Dalai Lama, was born here in 1683. Miraculous deeds were attributed to him, one of which is recounted on a plaque outside the temple. It reads, “Legend has it that at the time of leaving for Tibet, Tsangyang Gyatso planted his walking stick and prophesied that he would once… Read More

For the devotees of Tibetan Buddhism in Arunachal Pradesh, prayer wheels are a means of spreading blessings and spiritual well-being. They are commonly found and accessible to anyone who wishes to set the wheels in motion. Each cylindrical wheel has a long scroll of paper wound around its inner axle which is imprinted many times over with the mantra, “Om Mani Padme Hum”, a prayer entreating the Compassionate One to bestow the… Read More

Tibetan Buddhism makes use of eight symbols of good fortune to embellish sacred art and architecture and also to decorate secular household objects. These auspicious motifs are said to represent offerings made by various deities to the Lord Buddha upon his enlightenment. Whether they appear on a temple wall hanging or on quotidian items, these signs are seen as part of the spread of Buddha Dharma across society as a whole. Photographed… Read More

In Arunachal Pradesh, roughly 13% of the population are devotees of Tibetan Buddhism and are settled largely in the districts surrounding their spiritual center in Tawang. In Tibetan mythology, the Lungta is a creature which uses the pace of the wind and the might of a horse to carry prayers from Earth up to heaven. On an everyday level, the Lungta or ‘windhorse’ is associated with positive energy and often appears as… Read More

Located in the extreme Northeast of India and sharing international borders with Myanmar, China and Bhutan, this frontier state cradled in the foothills of the Himalayas is slowly being opened up to visitors. All tourists who wish to enter this majestic region require a permit but with the formalities best taken care of by a local guide, a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience awaits.   Explorers of the great outdoors can do guided treks… Read More