Arunachal Pradesh is known for its rich biodiversity, with numerous endemic species of plants and animals. The state is also home to several indigenous tribes, each with its own unique culture and traditions. The landscape of Arunachal Pradesh is dominated by the Himalayas, with peaks reaching up to 7,000 meters. The state has several popular tourist destinations, including Tawang, Bomdila, and Itanagar. In this article, we will look at the temples in Arunachal Pradesh that deserve to be on your bucket list:
The Tawang Monastery, also known as the Galden Namgyal Lhatse, is a prominent Tibetan Buddhist monastery located in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, India. Built-in the 17th century, the monastery is the largest in India and the second-largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It is situated at an altitude of 10,000 feet and offers stunning views of the surrounding valley.
The monastery is home to over 450 monks and is an important center for Buddhist teachings and practices in the region. The main prayer hall of the monastery houses a three-storyed golden statue of Lord Buddha, along with many other sacred objects and relics. The monastery also has a library that contains rare manuscripts and ancient scriptures.
Tawang Monastery attracts tourists and pilgrims from all over the world who come to witness its stunning architecture, intricate murals, and beautiful surroundings. The annual Torgya Festival, celebrated in the monastery, is a major tourist attraction that showcases traditional dance, music, and religious rituals. Overall, the Tawang Monastery is a significant cultural and religious landmark in India and a must-visit for those interested in Buddhist culture and history.
Bomdila, the capital of the west Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh, is home to the GRL (Gentse Gaden Rabgyel Ling) Gompa Monastery, a major center of Mahayana Buddhism. The twelve-incarnate Tsona Gontse Rinpoche of Morshing, west Kameng, constructed it in 1965 and 1966.
The monastery is a replica of the Tsona Gontse Monastery in South Tibet, established during the 15th century. It features a prayer hall for peace prayers, a Buddha temple, and residential quarters for the monks. In addition to taking part in prayers and tantra practices, the young monks also receive teachings from senior Lamas and monks about the monastic life, tradition, and various subjects.
The Bomdila Gompa is a pilgrimage site and tourist attraction located about 160 kilometers (km) from Guwahati, the capital of Assam. It's a great place to study the Buddhist teachings of the Lamaistic sect, Mahayana Buddhism, and to relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
Urgelling Monastery is a magnificent spiritual center situated just 5 km away from Tawang town. Urgen Sangpo, the youngest brother of the renowned treasure-revealer Terton Pempalingpa, laid the foundation of this monastery in the 15th century. This is also the birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso, making it an essential pilgrimage site for followers of Buddhism.
The monastery has significant historical importance, as it survived an attack by the Mongols in the 18th century. To protect the precious statues and scriptures written in gold and silver, they were transported to the Tawang monastery during the attack. The responsibility of restoring and extending the monastery was given to Chong-gye Gonpo Rabten in 1699 by Desi Sangye Gyamtso.
The revamped establishment comprises several remarkable structures, including a double-storied main temple, an eight-pillared assembly hall, a four-pillared altar room, a two-pillared chapel for protective deities, a residential quarter for the Sixth Dalai Lama, a Ka-gyur house, a chapel for practicing new Tantra, a vast courtyard with twenty pillars, and twenty rooms for monks. As there is no airport or railway station in Tawang, road transportation is the only way to reach this magnificent monastery.
Located close to the small town of Zemithang, the Gorsam Chorten Stupa is the area's most recognizable landmark due to its towering height (roughly 100 feet, or the height of a 10-story building). The Stupa sits on the valley floor, close to the Namjang Chu river. Since no documentation exists, we can only speculate as to when it was built.
Local legends, however, attribute its construction to Lama Sangye Pradhar (Monpa) in the early 18th century, and others suggest that it could be over 400 years old. Legend has it that Lama Sangye Pradhar made the trip to Kathmandu and sculpted a radish into a miniature chorten.
The Stupa is remarkably similar to Boudanath, a famous landmark in Nepal, with its large hemispherical dome resting on a square three-tiered base, topped by a pyramidal head, and adorned with four enormous eyes of the "all-seeing Buddha," as well as small stupas at the corners of the plinth. It is estimated that it took thirteen years to build the chorten.
The Taktsang Gompa in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, is a sacred Buddhist monument located at an altitude of 12,500 to 13,000 feet atop a hill that seems to overhang amidst high mountains. Known as the "Tiger's Den," this gompa is considered one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Arunachal Pradesh. At first glance, the gompa may seem intimidating, but it is actually a peaceful and pristine place where the only sounds you may hear are the blowing wind or your own heartbeat.
The significance of Taktsang Gompa dates back to the 8th century and is attributed to Guru Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet. According to tradition, the guru meditated on this gompa for some time, and he is revered as a miracle creator in local legends.
Nestled amidst dense coniferous forests and majestic highlands, the gompa attracts many devotees. As the gompa is located at a high altitude between towering mountains, visitors are advised to carry warm clothes. The serene surroundings of the gompa offer a divine retreat from the bustle of city life, making it a popular tourist destination where visitors can admire the natural beauty and take away unforgettable memories.
It is situated at a distance of just 1 Km from Tawang and was founded by the former Rigya Rinpoche. The charge of the gompa was taken over by his secretary, Chang-sey, after his death. The monastery is bounded by a lush green pine grove.
Famous as the largest Buddhist monastery in India, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh controls seventeen gompas in the area. The commanding part of the monastery comprises three storied assembly complexes featuring the temple and the 28-foot-high golden statue of Buddha. Also known as Galden Namgyal Lhatse in Tibetan, meaning celestial paradise in a clear night, Tawang Monastery is mostly visited and followed by Mahayana Buddhists. The Library in Tawang’s main complex preserves an impressive collection of ancient books and manuscripts including the famous Buddhist scriptures Kangyur and Tangyur inscribed in gold.
The Parasuram Kund temple is a Hindu pilgrimage site. It is situated in the lower region of the Lohit River, in the Lohit district. Lord Parasuram washed off his sins in these waters, and hence, the temple is named so. Legends say that Lord Krishna married Rukmini here and Maharishi Vyasa meditated here. The site is visited by thousands of devotees each year, including people from the neighboring country of Nepal. On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, over 70,000 devotees take a dip in the holy water, as a dip in this water washes off sins.
This temple is located in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga and is a pilgrimage spot for Hindu devotees. The temple exhibits Odisha-style architecture. According to the legends, when Sati, the wife of Shiva, died, the lord wandered with her dead body. Lord Vishnu then cut her lifeless body into pieces with his ‘Sudarshan Chakra’ to bring Lord Shiva out of his attachment to the dead body. One piece of the body is said to have fallen on a spot, now known as Akashi Ganga.