Tawang Monastery is built like a fortification as, in the 17th century, other sects of Buddhism were hostile to Merak Lama’s intentions to built a monastery. Hence, the compound was built with defence in mind. The monastery was occupied by Chinese troops during the 1962 Indo-China War, though they caused no harm. Prior to that, the current (14th) Dalai Lama took shelter in the monastery in 1959, when he fled Tibet after a failed rebellion against the government of China.