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Photographer's Note

I recently visited Tawang. The beautiful Tawang Monastery is seen here with a chopper flying in the foreground.

Tawang Monastery stands atop a mountain, 3300 Meters high above sea level, overlooking the Tawang Chhu Valley. It is over 350 years old, and is the fountainhead of the spiritual life for the followers of the Gelupa Sect of the Mahayana School of Buddhism, which is followed by the Monpa, and Sherdukpen tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Surrounded by lofty peaks of over 4000 Meters in elevation, it is built like a fortress and can house over 500 monks.

The surrounding Tawang Chhu Valley is a virtual Shangri-La, of lush forests, smiling vales, gurgling streams, picture post card villages and a lovely, smiling people, surrounded by high mountain barriers above 4000 meters. This is a rare opportunity to explore the Buddhist lifestyles of the unique and remote Himalayan tribal culture of the Monpas.

The most imposing part of the monastery is the Dukung, or the assembly hall - a three-storied building housing the temple and the 8.3-m high Golden Buddha. The building also has a library, a treasure trove of valuable sculptures, old books and manuscripts, both handwritten and printed. Also housed here is the establishment of the Rimpoche, or lama incarnate.

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Additional Photos by Subhash Ranjan (sranjan) Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9 W: 16 N: 86] (310)
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