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Fri, 06 Dec 2019

Northeast Today

The Tawang Festival: Brace yourself for one of Northeast’s biggest celebration of diversity

The Tawang Festival:  Brace yourself for one of Northeast’s biggest celebration of diversity
October 17
14:03 2019

NET BUREAU

Located at an elevation of approximately10,000 feet above sea level, Tawang is the soul-searcher’s ultimate dream. It is a serene abode characterised by majestic celebration of Arunachal’s life, ethnicity and culture. With a population of less than 5000 people, floating Buddhist chants, mystical monks, Tawang is one of the best tourist destinations of North-East India. Being home to several tribes—the major highlights of the festival include a huge fair, dance of Yak, tribal participation with various dances and traditional rituals, traditional monastic dances, street performances, the traditional parade, Buddhist religious functions, and more! Keep your INP (Inner Line Permits) ready and you are good to go!

Here are some of the major attractions (out of the many) to look forward to:

1. The Yak dance

The Yak dance is an excellent way of remembering our cultural roots and folklore in the wave of modernization. In this dance, a dummy yak is made by covering the body-frame made of bamboo with black cloth and setting a wooden head on it. Four masked men representing Theopa Gali, who was said to have discovered the yak, and his family members, dance round the yak narrating this pantomime for the joy of the community.

  1. Rituals of the Buddhist Monks

Tawang is the site of the 400-year-old Tawang Monastery, one of the oldest and the largest monasteries in India. Tawang shares boundaries with Tibet in the north, Bhutan in the south west and Sela range of West Kameng in the east. That makes it one of the rich cultural zones in South East Asia. As the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama, it is a holy site for Tibetan Buddhists and a prominent center for Gelug or Gelugpa, the pre-eminent Buddhist school in Tibet. One can hear the peaceful Buddhist chants well upto the sunset.

 

  1. Delicacies of Monpa cuisine

Monpa cuisine is very diverse—it’s most popular for its usage of yak-based products.  The varieties of Thukpa, Thenthuk, salt butter tea come with exquisite flavours not to be found anywhere in the Himalayan region. There lies its speciality. Some of the authentic local foods of Tawang like Zan, Khura and Gyapa Khazi are sure to tease your taste buds. Keep an eye for the local street eateries as well!

 

  1. Local crafts of Arunachal Pradesh

 Arunachal—the land of the rising sun also has a glorious heritage of local crafts. Their craftsmanship is manifested in various trades like weaving, bamboo work, wood works, paintings, papermaking, incense making, pottery, etc. Crafts have a melange of Bhutan, Myanmar, Tibet and neighbouring places but also give a unique signature to the people of Tawang. Unlike other states in the Northeast India, there is not separate artisan classes in Tawang but people are free to take up an expertise of their choice after selecting their master/trainer. Isn’t that perfect?

 

  1. Aji Hamo

 Aji hamo is the one of the most prominent folk dance forms practiced by the Monpa Tribe of Tawang. It is basically the Tibetan version of the Hindu Epic Ramayana. The characters have mythological origin. This dance form is performed during the Losar Festival and is quite a fascinating spectacle to watch. The Tawang festival is an ode to these lesser known folk dances and passing on the message of peace and prosperity through it.

 

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