MONASTERIES & NUNNERIES

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» East India
» Arunachal Pradesh
Famous Monasteries: Tawang Monastery, Urgelling Monastery, Gorsam Chorten, Taktsang Monastery, Rigyaling Gompa
Famous Nunneries: Brama Dung Chung Ani Gompa, Gyangong Ani Gompa, Singsur Ani Gompa
Best Time To Visit: April To October


MONASTERIES
Tawang Monastery
Covering the peak of a hillock at a height of about 10,000 feet above sea level the monastery about 350 years old, is the largest of its kind in the country and controls 17 gompas in the region. It is the fountainhead of spiritual life of the followers of the Gelugpa sect of the Mahayana school of Buddhism. The Tawang Monastery is associated with the famous Torgva festival, which is held in the eleventh Monpa month called the "Dawa Chukchipah". During the festival, the Monpa tribes come from far and wide wearing their traditional custumes to participate in the festival. Many of them set up shop inside as well as outside the monastery to sell a wide variety of items like cloth, yak butter and handicraft, which attracts a large number of visitors. more...
Urgelling Monastery
About 5-km to the south of Tawang Township stands the Urgelling monastery. It was first of the three monasteries built by Urgen Sangpo, the youngest brother of Terton Pempalingpa, the famous Treasure-Revealer. It was built sometime before the year 1489. It was here in 1683 Tsangyang Gyatso, the Sixth Dalai Lama was born. more...

Gorsam Chorten
The largest Chorten (Stupa) of the area is the one at Gorsam near Zemithang, which is about 100-km away in the north of Tawang. Lama Pradhar, a Monpa monk, constructed it most probably in the early part of eighteenth century. The hemispherical dome rests upon a three-terraced plinth. Four miniature Stupas are set on the four corners of the lower most terrace of the plinth. The base is square with each side about 170ft. in length, with a niche running all along its whole length and 120 Manis are set in frames of wood in the niche of each of the base. A paved path goes all around for the pilgrims for circumambulation.

Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Den )
Tak-Tsang Gompa, serenely situated about 50-km away from the Township, is believed to be hallowed by the visit of Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century A.D. Beautiful hills snow-capped peaks surround the place. This is one of the oldest monasteries of the district.

Old Bazaar Gompa
This Gompa is situated at the heart of the Tawang Township. It is beleived that in the olden days the place where the present Gompa stands was popular known as "Massamg Key-ling Boothmey" which means a place where a strongman of a society used to play a melodious sounds with the flutes. With the passage of time a Gompa was built in that particular place.

Rigyalling Gompa
Rigyaling Gompa is situated at a distance of 1-km from Tawang Township. The former Rigya Rimpoche constructed the Gompa. After his death, Chang-sey, the secretary took charge of the Gompa. The re-incarnated Rigya Rimpoche, Rev. Tenzin Tsedhar is presently in South-India, completing his education. This Gompa is surrounded by a thick plantation of tress planted by 'Changsey' under the guidance and supervision of forest department, Tawang.

NUNNERIES
Brama Dung Chung Ani Gompa
Tawang district has a long tradition of nunneries called "Ani Gonpas", which are the abode of nuns. Unlike the monks (Lamas), the girls become nuns and join the nunnery on their own and there is no social pressure or tradition making the practice compulsory.

Brama Dung Chung Ani Gompa (nunnery) is the oldest Ani Gompa (Nunnery) in Tawang District. It is situated in the lap of a far off mountain laced with natural scenery. It is located at a distance of 9-km from the main town. This nunnery was constructed by a Lama named Karchen Yeshi Gelek from Tsang province of Tibet in the year 1595 A.D. Presently there are forty five ('Anis') nuns in this Monastery. Being very poor, the inhabitants of Brahmadungchung Ani Gonpa depend on begging for sustaining themselves.

Gyangong Ani Gompa
Gyangong Ani Gonpa is a beautiful Nunnery, having about 50 Buddhist Nuns, located on top of a beautiful hillock about 5-km away in the north of Tawang founded by Mera Lam Lodre Gyamtso and was subsequently offered by him to his elder sister. Thus the Gyangong Ani gonpa came into existence.

This Ani Gonpa is under the administration of Tawang Monastery and the nuns of this monastery get provision from the Tawang monastery Location of nunnery and the customs being followed by nuns remind visitors of the period of Maurya Dynasty, when the Buddhism was preached in remote hilly areas under the shade of green trees.

Singsur Ani Gompa
This Gompa is one beautiful nunneries of Tawang district. It is situated at a distance of around 28-km west from the Tawang Headquarters towards the Geshila road. It houses around 30(thirty) Anis (Nuns). The new Singsur Anie Gompa was built by the previous Rev. Gonpatse Rimpoche in 1960. The old Singsur Ani Gompa is also in existence and is situated in the midst of the 'Shaa' (huts) of the Anies.
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