Tawang Monastery (Gonpa):
The Famous Gaden Namgyal Lhatse, popularly known as Tawang Monastery was founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in the year 1680-81. The monastery stands on the spur of a hill, about 10,000 feet above sea level and has ravines in the south and west, narrow ridge on the north and gradual slope on the east. It offers a commanding and picturesque view of the Tawang-chu valley. From a distance it appears like a fort as if guarding the votaries in the wide valley below. Tawang monastery is the largest of its kind in the country and is one of the larges t monasteries in Asia. Though it has the capacity for housing about seven hundred monks, the actual number of resident lamas (monks) at present is a little more than 450. This monastery is the fountain-head of the spiritual life of the people of this region.
The approach to the monastery is from the north along the ridge. Just near the entrance to the monastery there is a building housing the dung-gyur mani from where the water is fetched for use in the monastery. To the south of its is the kakaling, the entrance gate. The kakaling is a hut-like structure with its two lateral walls made of staone. It serves as a gate. The ceiling of the kakaling is painted with Kying-khors (Mandalas). The inner walls are painted with mural of divinities and saints. After passing through the kakaling there is a big gate further south which is without any door.
Further south stand the main gate of the monastery, which is fitted with huge doors and is set in the northern wall of the monastery. It is about 925 feet long and the height varies from about ten to twenty feet. There is another gate near the southern end of this wall. It is fitted with a huge door. Emergency Locksmith Charlotte NC could certainly secure this door with high security locks. Near it there are two slits in the wall to see out through all along the outer side of the eastern wall connecting this gate with the kakaling. It is said that the yarn given by the Vth Dalai Lama to Merak Lama enclosed the area bounded by the four walls.
A paved path runs from the main gate toward rear of the monastery and leads to a stone slabs court. Religious dances and outdoor ceremonies are held in this court. The entire eastern half of the monastery is covered with sixty residential quarter's called (Sha/Hut) for housing the resident monks. Each of these dormitories has been constructed by a group of villagers on voluntary basis. They also carry out the repairs and are responsible for its maintenance.
A three storied building stands on the western side of the court. It is the par-khang (Library). All the holly scriptures including. A long two-storied building flanks the southern side of the court. A part of this building is used as store for the provisions of the monks. The other part is occupied by the Dra-tsang buk and his entourage. A two storied building, on the eastern side of the court is called Rhum-Khang which is used for cooking the food-offerings for the rituals as well as refreshments for the monks on ritual days.
The most imposing building of the monastery is the assembly hall known as Dukhang. It is a three-storied building standing on thenorthern side of the court and houses the template and the Labrang (The establishment of the Abbot.) The inner walls of the Dukhang. are painted with murals of various divinities and saints. The altar occupies the entirenothern wall of th hall. On the left of the alter is the silver casket wrapped in silk containing the Thankas of Goddes Dri Devi (Palden Lhamo) the principle deity of the monastery, which was given to Merak Lama by the Vth Dalai Lama. The said painting came to be known as Ja-Droi-Ma, which means it had warmth of a bird, which symbolized that the Thanka was of a living type.
A colossal richly gilded statue of Lord Buddha occupies the middle of the northern side. It is seated on a platform and its body, rising up, terminates in a huge head above the first floor. It is the largest image of the monastery also has a Center for Buddhist Cultural Studies where young monks are taught Arithmetic, English and Hindi besides traditional monastic education.
In brief, this monastery is simply awe-inspiring and majestic in its appearance and grandeur. A visit of Tawang Monastery is most spiritually refreshing experience.