Itanagar: Over 500 monks of 400-year-old Tawang Monastery bordering China and those in nearby West Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday cast their votes for two Lok Sabha and 49 of the 60 Assembly seats.
"The monks invariably take part in the electoral exercise as citizens of India," Tawang district electoral officer Abhisek Deb and his West Kameng counterpart AK Singh said.
Theg Tse Rimpoche, the brother of TG Rinpoche, head of Gaden Rabgye-ling Monastery in West Kameng district headquarters Bomdila contested as an independent in direct contest against Congress` Jambey Tashi from Lumla.
Tawang Monastery, also known as Galden Namgey Lhatse, founded in 1680-1681 by Merak Lama Lodre Gyasto in accordance with the wishes of the fifth Dalai Lama, is the biggest Buddhist monastery in the world outside Lhasa in Tibet.
Located at an elevation of about 10,000 ft it is famous for a 27 ft golden Buddha in the meditating posture.
The monastery, home to about 450 lamas, is a three-storey structure spread over 140 sqm, with 65 residential buildings and 10 other structures.
It has a library with a collection of 400-year-old Kangyur scriptures in addition to many other invaluable manuscripts.
Guru Tulku who is the chief priest (abbot) of the monastery could not be contacted for comment.