From Theravada to Mahayana Buddhism
- Visit the Buddhist establishments of Theravada and Mahayana
- Drive through the pass once a border of Tibet – Sela Pass at 4500 m
- Explore one of Asia’s largest monasteries
The largest state of northeast, Arunachal Pradesh is a serene land tucked into the north eastern tip of India. It is bordered by Assam in the south and Nagaland in the south east. Myanmar forms the eastern boundary whereas Bhutan occupies the part west of the state. To its north lies the Mc Mohan Line separating it from the People’s Republic of China. Around 13 % of the population (which is 1,091,117) of Arunachal Pradesh follows Buddhism. The Buddhist population of the state resides in the region Tawang, West Kameng, remote regions in close vicinity of Tibet and near the Burma border. Tibetan Buddhism is practiced in the first two regions while Theravada Buddhism guides the life of people living near the Burmese border.
You will start this tour by discovering an old Burmese settler tribe called Khamti/Hkamti. This people are very strong believer of Theravada Buddhism.
The tour gradually changes to Tai Phakial culture (the Tai words ‘Pha’ meaning wall and ‘Ke’ meaning ancient or old). The Phake is also known as the Phakial as they migrated from Thailand to Assam in the 18th century and speak Thai language. Even during the modern time they still follow their traditional culture. They have a fine tradition to keep their family record (Ho Likboi), generally the elder of the family known as the Pathek is well versed prepare the record. There is a Buddhist monastery in Namphake village established in 1850. The monks (Chow Moun) also speak the Pali language. The residents claim to be 100% literate. One interesting fact is that the villager claims the police had never entered the premises because the monks settled the disputes among the villagers. They also rely on herbal cure. They marry within their community only but there is no restriction if someone wants to marry an outsider. It is a patriarchal society. The son inherits the father’s property. In spite of an identity crisis, the Tai Phakes have been able to maintain their glorious legacy.
You will then get to know the Mahayana culture by exploring the beautiful and small town of Miao, located on the bank of Noa-Dehing River, where a Tibetan refugee settlement produces on the best colorful woolen carpets of various designs.
Finally, this holy journey leads you to Tawang – the land of the Monpas; a tribe that has a culture which is a mix between indigenous beliefs and Mahayana Buddhism.
Having many names, such as The Hidden Paradise and Land of Snowy Mountains; the region offers breathtaking mountain landscapes, tribal villages, treasures of many rare orchid species, numerous magical Gompas, serene lakes and many other mysteries.
But more than anything else, it is the presence of that purity that only Buddhism offers. Numerous holy monasteries make this region a sacred environment. The second largest Buddhist monastery of the world, the Galden Namgey Lhatse Monastery (translated as ‘celestial paradise in a clear night.’), is situated right at the heart of Tawang town, dominates and enlightens the entire landscape with an aura of spirituality.
This itinerary gives you a single opportunity to explore Buddhism sanctums where you will find diversity in unity. Here, people from different Buddhist live in such harmony and celebration of each festival make the area very special.
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