Travelling in the North-East in the summer of 2006
Guwahati >> Eaglenest >> Tawang >> Nameri >> Kaziranga >> Shillong >> Cherrapunjee
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The first thing that comes into the mind when talking about Tawang is the the monastery. And that is where we headed next morning.
The monastery, blue skies and the snow caps
Tawang Monastery is said to be the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in India and second largest in the entire world. It did not look very big in size though. When we went there, the morning prayers were finished and it was quiet inside. We were the only people inside, though we found a few people and monks wandering around the monastery.
Buddha statue at the monastery
We walked in and spent a few moments in its beautiful interiors. Every inch of the monastery is decorated in bright colors. Several lines of mats are laid out in parallel as seating for prayers, between a tall statue of Buddha and the main entrance. We lit incense sticks and sat inside quietly for a while. I love the prayerful feeling emanated from the interiors of a place of worship, and the quietness of the monastery made it all the more charming.
The Monk’s Assets
We struck conversation with a monk student when we came out. He told us a few things about the monastery, and when we requested if we can walk around with him and see his room, he was very obliging. He was happy to help us around, treated us like worthy guests and served us coffee and snacks when we were in his room. The approach to his room was through a narrow wooden staircase that led to his small but warm wooden dwelling, shared by two monks. It was a neatly arranged place with many books, tools of prayer and pictures of worship. A tape-recorder and a some Hindi movie tapes were a few things that seemed out of place!
and more smiles..
even more smiles..
One thing that often strikes me with the Tibetans is how friendly and open they are. I see them smiling and happy all the time. They open up very easily and without any qualms, and seem to be comfortable with anyone at any time. It is the same story I have seen with the Tibetan Buddhists in all places. I don’t know if it is something in their blood or if it is their practices that keep them so alive. Even children are friendly, open and smiling all the time. The monk we met was also extremely humble and seemed to follow the phrase ‘athithi devobhava’ in every instance, even with us strangers. We saw so many smiling faces all around Tawang in the day, it would take many months to see so much smiles anywhere else!