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Explore Arunachal Pradesh

Explore Arunachal Pradesh
Explore Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh – Overview

A picturesque land tucked into the North-Eastern tip of India, Arunachal Pradesh greets you to relax in its beautiful hills and dales, to enjoy its salubrious climate and to meet its simple and hospitable people. Whether you are a simple holidayer or an adventure freak, Arunachal Pradesh will surely mesmerize you with its centuries-old spectacular vistas and diverse tribal heritage.

Area-wise, Arunachal Pradesh is the biggest state in the north-east region and it spreads over an area of 83,743 sq.kms. Arunachal Pradesh is bordered by the Indian states of Assam in the south and Nagaland in the south-east. Bhutan lies to the west of the state, Myanmar lies to the west and the Line of Actual Control separates it from the People’s Republic of China to the north. As per 2001 census, the state has a population of 1,091,117 and main languages spoken by the people are Assamese, English, and Hindi. Itanagar is the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, other major cities are Along, Daporijo, Tezu, Seppa, Pasighat, and Naharlagun.

So, plan your next trip to India very soon, head towards the mysterious land of Arunachal Pradesh and discover the interesting traditions of ancient lifestyles, lived out against one of the most diversified ecological settings of the country. With its verdant valleys, lofty mountain peaks, shimmering rivers and some of India’s rare and endangered flora and fauna, Arunachal Pradesh offer a plethora of attractions for you.

Arunachal Pradesh – History

Apart from the north-western parts of the state, little is known about the history of Arunachal Pradesh. Although the Apatani tribe had some legendary knowledge about the history of the region but recorded history was only available in the Ahom chronicles of the 16th century. According to historic records of Monpa and Sherdukpen tribal, the northwestern parts of the state came under the control of the Monpa kingdom of Monyul, between 500 B.C and 600 A.D. Arunachal came under the loose control of Tibet and Bhutan, especially in the northern parts, while the remaining parts came under the control of the Ahom and the Assamese until the accession of India by the British in 1858.

During the Shimla Conference, in 1913-14, the British administrator, Sir Henry McMahon, drew up the McMahon Line (550 miles), as the border between British India and Tibet. After the Shimla Conference, for the first two decades, the Survey of India did not show the McMahon Line as a border between British India and Tibet. In 1937, the Survey of India published a map showing it as the official boundary and in 1938 they published a map showing Tawang as a part of Tibet. In the year 1944, the British established their administrations from Dirang Dzong in the west to Walong in the east.

However, in late 1947, Tibet altered its position on the McMahon Line, the Tibetan government wrote to the newly independent Indian Ministry of External Affairs laying claims to Tibetan districts south of the McMahon Line. In 1950, India unilaterally declared the McMahon Line to be the boundary and forced the Tibetan administration out of the Tawang area in 1951 despite PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) protests. In 1954, the NEFA (North-East Frontier Agency) was created and the issue remained quiet till the Sino-Indian War in 1962. During the 1962 war, the PRC captured most of the NEFA, very soon China declared its victory and voluntarily withdrew back to the McMahon Line and returned Indian prisoners of war in 1963.

Arunachal Pradesh – Tourist Destinations

Arunachal, literally meaning “the land of the rising sun”, is home to many picturesque townships, villages, and hamlets. Consisting of 16 districts, Arunachal Pradesh offers everything that a tourist expects from such type of wonderful destination. Itanagar is the state capital, other important destinations are Tawang, Tezpur, Bomdila, Ziro, Pasighat, Parasuram Kunda and Tezu. Apart from these, the tribal villages of the state offer a dynamic insight into the fashioning of this enchanting land and its lively people. So, don’t forget to include the tribal villages in your itinerary.

Arunachal Pradesh – Monasteries

From time immemorial, Arunachal Pradesh has been a major center for Buddhist Pilgrimage. All over the state, you will come across a large number of Buddhist monasteries. Tawang monastery is the most popular monastery of Arunachal Pradesh which catches the attention of the visitors with its magical background. The Taktsang Monastery or the ‘Tiger’s Den’ is another noted monastery which is located at a distance of 45 kms from Tawang. Some other important monasteries are Urgelling Monastery at Tawang and the Rigyalling monastery.

Brahma dung hung Ani Gompa is one of the oldest Ani Gompa (nunneries) of Arunachal Pradesh, situated 12 kms away from Tawang. The Gyanganga Ani Gompa is just 5 kms away from the town and it is home to about 50 nuns. The Singsur Ani Gompa was constructed by Gonpaste Rimpoche and is 28 kms away from Tawang. The 12th century Gorsam Chorten at Zemithang is 92 kms away from Tawang.

Arunachal Pradesh – People & Culture

Nature has blessed the people of Arunachal with a deep sense of beauty which finds wonderful expression in their songs, dances, and crafts. Arunachal Pradesh is a treasure-trove of ethnic diversity and old traditions molded by its geographic boundaries. Around 65% of the state population belong to 20 major-collective tribes and 82 minor-tribes, most of them are either of Tai-Burmese origin or Tibetan origin. Notable tribes found in Arunachal Pradesh include the Adis, Akas, Apatanis, Mijas, Monpas, Mishis and Nyishis.

People of Arunachal Pradesh practice three kinds of religion. Monpas and Sherdukpens in Kameng and Tawang district follow Lamaism of the Buddhist faith, while the Khamptis in Lohit district follow Mahayana Buddhism. The next group, Noctes, and Wanchos in Tirap district, due to their long association with the Assamese has converted into Hinduism. The third group, comprising Adi, Abas, Apatanis, Nyishi, forms a majority of the total population and worships the Donyi Polo (The Sun and Moon).

Arunachal Pradesh encompasses a tradition of artistic craftsmanship manifested through a variety of crafts such as weaving, painting, pottery, wood carving, basket making, smithy work, etc. Monpas are skilled weavers, known for their artistry in carpet weaving and making painted wooden vessels. Apatanis, Hills Miris, and Adis are famous for making attractive articles in cane and bamboos. Ranchos are known for wood and bamboo carved figurines and also for intricate necklaces of colorful beads.

Arunachal Pradesh – Fairs and Festivals

Arunachal Pradesh abounds with numerous fairs and festivals throughout the year. Fairs and Festivals are an essential part of the socio-cultural life of the state people and they are linked with various religions. Most of the festivals of Arunachal Pradesh are connected with agriculture and are celebrated with ritualistic gaiety either to thank God for his providence or to pray for a good harvest. The festivals celebrated by the people of the state reflect the culture, their artistic genius, and skill in music and dance. Some of the popular festivals of the state include Losar Festival, Torgya Festival, Saka Dawa, Dupka Tse-Shi, Lhabab Duechen, Ganden Ngamchoe, Nyukom Yellow, Mopin, Solun, Reh, Oriah and Dree.

According to the Monpa calendar, the Losar festival is the beginning of the New Year, the 15-day festival usually falls in January/February. The Torgya festival is a 3-day affair, it signifies the destruction of evil spirit and seeks happiness amongst the people. The Saka Dawa festival is celebrated in the 4th month of the lunar calendar and it marks the Lord Buddha’s achievement of Nirvana. Mopin is an agricultural festival of the Galos group, celebrated every year on 5th April. The solution is a colorful festival celebrated by the Adi-Minyong group. Dree is the main festival of the Apatanis and is celebrated on the 5th of July.

Arunachal Pradesh – Adventure

Arunachal Pradesh is bestowed with lush green forests, several streams, rivers, gorges and thousand of species of flora and fauna covering an area of more than 60%. Kameng, Subansiri, Lohit, Siang, and Tirap are five major rivers of the state that wind their way through the sylvan green of the hills. Rivers of Arunachal Pradesh are ideal for adventure sports like angling, boating, and rafting.

On the other hand, its terrain is suitable for trekking, hiking and holidaying amidst a serene atmosphere. Arunachal Pradesh government has identified four major trekking routes namely – Pashighat-Jenggin-Yinkiong, Bhalukpung-Bomdila-Tawang, Roing-Mayodia-Anini, and Tezy-Hayling. The upper reaches of the state offer an ideal landscape for adventure sports of almost all kinds and it is best suited for tourists looking for plenty of adventure opportunities.

Arunachal Pradesh – Wildlife

Due to the huge variation in altitude and climatic conditions, Arunachal Pradesh boasts of four type of forests that provide shelter to a range of flora and fauna. Arunachal Pradesh is the only state which is home to four major cats namely Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and the lesser feline species like the Golden Cat and the Marbled Cat. You can spot more than 500 avian species in Arunachal Pradesh, many of which are highly endangered and restricted only to this state. Some of the popular bird species which you can see here include White Winged Duck, Sclater Mongal Bengal Florian, etc.

Apart from these, you will also see seven species of Primates that include Takin, which is found only in Arunachal Pradesh. A large mammal called ‘Mithun’ (a cross between the Wild Gaur and Domestic Buffalo) is a major attraction of Arunachal Pradesh. Each district and region of Arunachal Pradesh has its own special and rare variety of orchid. Arunachal Pradesh also houses one of the biggest orchidarium (located in Tipi) in Asia. One of the most significant wildlife sanctuaries in India, Namdapha Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh is home to a fabulous range of endangered flora, fauna, and avian life.

Arunachal Pradesh – Shopping

Any trip to Arunachal Pradesh is incomplete without doing some shopping. Arunachal Pradesh is known for some of the most brilliant carpets and shawls in the northeast, skillfully weaved by the Monpas. You can buy these hand-woven wonders in the Bomdila and Tawang craft centers. The Apatanis are famous for their weaving, you can pick their shawls and jackets which make great souvenirs to take home. Arunachal Pradesh is also known for its colorful masks, leather goods and agarbatti (incense sticks). You can also purchase Tangkha paintings, a lovely religious art-form that make for wonderful gifts for friends and family members.

Arunachal Pradesh – Climate

Arunachal’s climate varies with the elevation. The climate varies from hot and humid in the lower altitude to heavy rainfall in the Shivalik range. It becomes cold as one moves northwards to higher altitudes. Summers are not very hot, temperature ranges from 25oC to 35oC. Winters are cold, the temperature remains between 1oC to 15oC. Arunachal Pradesh observes heavy rainfall, average rainfall recorded is 3,300 cms.

Best Time to Visit

Best Time to visit Arunachal Pradesh in October to May.

Arunachal Pradesh – Transportation

Airlines: the Nearest airport is located at Lilabari (North Lakhimpur) in Assam, at a distance of 60 kms from Itanagar. Flights of Alliance Air connect Guwahati with Lilabari airport. Frequent bus services are available from Lilabari to Itanagar.

Helicopter Services: Arunachal Pradesh Helicopter Service operates daily helicopters between Guwahati and Naharlagun. Helicopter services are also available for other centers within Arunachal Pradesh. Services are available from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, and Itanagar to Tawang, Ziro, Along, Deporijo, Pasighat, Roing, Anini, Tezu and Khonsa.

Railways: Harmuty (33 kms) in Assam is the nearest railhead from Itanagar. Arunachal Express connects Harmuty with Guwahati. Another convenient railhead is North Lakhimpur in Assam which is 60 kms away from Itanagar and 407 kms from Guwahati. For an onward journey, bus services are available from Harmuty and North Lakhimpur to Itanagar.

Roadways: National Highway No. 52 connects Itanagar with Guwahati (429 kms). Direct buses to Itanagar are available from Guwahati, the journey time is about 11 hours. Direct buses to Itanagar are also available from Shillong (482 kms), Tezpur and other destinations in Assam such as Jorhat, Dibrugarh, and Tinsukia. Within Arunachal Pradesh, buses operate between various places at a regular interval.

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