(Last Updated on : 12/10/2013)
Tawang district is amongst the 16 districts which are located in the North-East Indian state
of Arunachal Pradesh
. The term Tawang is a derivation of the words 'Ta' which implies horse and 'Wang' which means 'chosen'. The ancient Tawang Monastery based here is believed to have been the true inspiration behind the name of Tawang. Tawang district is surrounded by Sela
range of West Kameng
in the eastern side, Tibet in the northern portion and Bhutan in the south-western part and is based at an altitude of 10,000 feet above mean sea level. The area occupied by this Indian district is a part of Tibetan territory, historically speaking.
History of Tawang District
Tawang district is home to the Monpa
s. Historical records assert that a ruler named Monyul or Lhomon used to administer this region from 500 BC to 600 AD. However, this kingdom was brought under the jurisdiction of the nations Tibet and Bhutan. The Tawang Monsatery situated here was established by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in the year 1681, bowing to the wishes of Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso who was the 5th Dalai Lama. There exists an interesting legendary tale stating the reason behind the construction of this religious structure. It says that Mera Lama Lodre Gyatso was praying in a cave for divine assistance which would enable him to choose a suitable spot for constructing the Tawang Monastery, when suddenly his horse went missing. When he discovered his loss, he looked for his horse and finally noticed it atop the Tana Mandekhang hill, where King Kala Wangpo's palace once existed. Considering it a good omen, he erected the monastery at this very spot. There goes another story tracing the origin of Tawang district. Terton Pemalingpa offered initiation like 'Ka-gyad' and 'Tamdin' and therefore this region received the name of Tawang, wherein 'Ta' is the abbreviation of Tamdin. Wang mans to initiate. Due to the settlement of the Monpas, this place is also referred to as 'Monyul'.
As per the principles of the 1914 Simla Accord, a new boundary was established between Tibet and British India under which a major portion of this kingdom, including the area of Tawang slipped into the control of the British Raj. However, Tibet was permitted to collect taxes from this region and the British did not rule Tawang. From 1935 onwards, the British directed its concentration towards Tawang following the arrest of a British botanist named Frank Kingdon-Ward in 1935. An army led by Captain G.S. Lightfoot was sent by the British in 1938, to Tawang, in order to gain control over it. The government of Assam
initiated numerous political measures to tighten their reign over the North East Frontier Agency
or NEFA, following the war with Japan in the year 1941. During 1944, the British started controlling Tawang after suppressing Tibetan revolts.
In 1950, Tawang district was absorbed into the newly developed People's Republic of China after India attained independence. Major Ralengnao 'Bob' Khathing assumed power over the other parts of Tawang in February 1951. Thus the Tibetan administrative power was crushed. In the year 1962, during the Sino-Indian war, China briefly controlled Tawang but finally withdrew its forces when the war concluded. In 1989, Tawang district came into being, after it was severed from West Kameng district.
Geography of Tawang District
The total area occupied by Tawang district measures about 2,172 square kilometres and is located between longitude 90 ° 15 minutes east and latitude 27 ° 45 minutes north. Elevations inside this district vary between 6,000 to 22,000 feet. The regional residents have settled down at lower altitudes, since a comfortable, temperate climate is experienced. The tribal portions of this district provide shelter to tribes
likes Adi, Bhotia
and Monpa. Snowfall occurs during winter.
Demography of Tawang District
The 2011 census states that the population of Tawang district amounts to 49, 950, which imparts it a ranking of 633 in the country, out of 640. During the period 2001 to 2011, this district experienced a population growth rate of 28.33%. The literacy rate of this district is 60.61%. Monpas are the main inhabitants of Tawang, who dwell in the 163 villages situated here. Takpa tribals are found in the western and northern parts of Tawang.
Culture of Tawang District
The Tibetans, Takpas and Monpas who stay in this district follow Buddhism
. Shamanist and Pre- Buddhist
Bon influence is also noticed. Torgya
, Dungyur, Choskar and Losar
are the various festivals celebrated in Tawang district. Torgya and Dungyur festivals are observed in the Tawang Monastery with great pomp. The Tawang Monastery belongs to the sect of Gelugpa and is known to be the biggest monastery in the nation. Galden Namgey Lhatse is another name of this monastery. The regional tribes of Tawang are dependent on agricultural activities for earning their livelihood. Due to the cooler climes of this district, yak
and sheep are bred by the local farmers. The people of Tawang follow monogamy but polyandry is also prevalent here. They reside in comfortable houses made of blocks of stone and are amicable by nature.
Administration of Tawang District
The district is classified into three major subdivisions known as Jang, Lumla and Tawang. The two administrative circles of this region are Kitpi and Tawang. The subdivision of Lumla is again divided into four administrative circles called Zemithang, Bongkhar, Lumla and Dudunghar. Jang is divided into four administrative circles known as Lhou, Mukto, Thingbu and Jang. Three Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly constituencies are existent here called Mukto, Tawang and Lumla. They all belong to the Arunachal West Lok Sabha
Tourism of Tawang District
Tourist destinations of Tawang district include the beautiful Tawang Monastery which is quite ancient. Jang waterfalls present here draws innumerable tourists every year. Sela Pass
and several other exotic tourist locales are important tourist attractions of the Tawang district.