Overview

Arunachal Pradesh

Rafting on the river Siang in Arunachal Pradesh, is the Missing link the unexplored channels that formed the link between the Tsangpo of Tibet and the Brahmaputra of Assam. Photo courtesy Arunachal Pradesh Tourism Dept

Arunachal Pradesh is a mountainous state in the  north-eastern part of India. Also known as ” the land of the rising sun,” it forms one of the most compelling holiday destinations of India. From the snow capped mountains to the unruffled streams, it offers a wide range of interest. There are a number of  travel circuits available for the tourists.

The state is the largest among all the North-East States considering its vast area comprising of 83,743 Sq. km. The State has a long international border with the kingdom of Bhutan in the West covering 160 km,  China in the north and north-east covering 1,080 km and Myanmar in the east covering 440 km, and Assam to the south and Nagaland to southeast. Part of the famous Ledo Burma Road, which was a lifeline to China during World War II, passes through the eastern part of the state.

Arunachal Pradesh attained its statehood on 20th February 1987.  Its densely forested hills are home to at least 106  distinct ethnic groups. Most of the native population is either of Tibetan or Thai-Burmese origin.

Recorded history from an outside perspective only became available in the Ahom chronicles of the 16th century. The Monpa and Sherdukpen do keep historical records of the existence of local chiefdoms in the northwest as well. Northwestern parts of this area came under the control of the Monpa kingdom of Monyul, which flourished between 500 B.C. and 600 A.D. This region then came under the loose control of Tibet and Bhutan, especially in the Northern areas. The remaining parts of the state, especially those bordering Myanmar, came under the titular control of the Ahom and the Assamese until the annexation of India by the British in 1858. However, most Arunachali tribes remained in practice largely autonomous up until Indian independence and the formalization of indigenous administration in 1947.

The climate of Arunachal Pradesh varies with topography and elevation. The foothill zone is subtropical and has a hot and humid climate; in the lower valleys, summer temperatures in June, July, and August typically rise into the mid-90s F (mid-30s C), while winter high temperatures in December, January, and February usually reach the mid-50s F (about 13 °C). Average temperatures decrease as elevations increase in the mountains. Arunachal Pradesh receives heavy rainfall of 80 to 160 inches (2,000 to 4,100 mm) annually, most of it between May and September.

STATE CAPITAL: Itanagar

AREA: 83,743 km2 (32,333 sq mi)

POPULATION: 1,382,611 (2011 census)

DISTRICTS: There are 16 districts namely Tirap District, Changlang District, Lohit District, Anjaw District, Lower Dibang Valley, Upper Dibang Valley, East Siang, West Siang, Upper Siang, Lower Subansiri, Upper Subansiri, Kurung Kumey, Papum Pare, East Kameng, West Kameng, Tawang District and Longding District

LANGUAGES: The tribal groups speak about 106 languages and dialects, most belonging to the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.  However, the working language of the government is English, while Hindi is also  widely spoken across the state.

RELIGION: Hinduism (34.6%), Indigenous Donyi-Polo (30.7%), Christians (18.7%), Buddhism (13 %), Muslim (1.9%).

MAJOR TOWN/CITIES: Itanagar, Naharlagun, Tawang, Bomdila, Rupa, Bhalukpong, Seppa, Ziro, Daporijo, Along, Pasighat, Yingkiong, Roing, Tezu, Namsai, Khonsa.

FESTIVALS: Tawang Festival, Mopin, Solung, Nyokum, Lossar, Si-Donyi, Boori-boot, Dree, Reh, Sipong Yong, Chalo-loku, Kshyatsowai, Tamladu, Sarok, Nichido, Sangken and Oria.

BEST SEASON TO VISIT:

The state experiences monsoon rains between the months of July and September and snowfalls in winter in most parts of the state. The ideal time to visit Arunachal Pradesh is between the months of October and March.

HOW TO REACH ARUNACHAL PRADESH:

By Air: The nearest airport for Itanagar is Lilabari airport, Tezpur in Assam. The airport is located at a distance of 73 km from Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh. The airport connects regular flights to Kolkata. For more flight frequency, Guwahati airport is well-connected with Delhi, Kolkata and all prime cities of India. Itanagar (Naharlagun) is daily connected by Pawan Hans Helicopter services from Guwahati.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is Harmuty, which is only 33 km from Itanagar. However, the closest convenient railhead is in North Lakhimpur, Assam around 66 km from Itanagar.

By Road: Arunachal Pradesh State Transport operates regular bus-services including deluxe night buses from Itanagar to different routes in Arunachal Pradesh and its neighboring states. There are many private coach operators and cab services who operate their services from Guwahati touching Itanagar and major places of Arunachal Pradesh.

MONASTERIES & RELIGIOUS PLACES OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH:  

The 400-year-old Tawang Monastery, also known as the ‘Galden Namgyal Lhatse’, is it the largest monastery of India and the second largest of Asia. Other well-known monasteries are Bomdila Monastery, Urgelling Monastery, Taktsang Monastery and Rigyalling Monastery. Malinithan temple located in West Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh is one of the of the famous a pilgrimage site for devotes all around the country.

PLACES OF INTEREST:

Mechuka Valley, Parashuram Kund, Gombu Latso Lake, Bumla Pass, Tawang, Bomdila, Ziro, Sela Pass (the second highest pass in the world) and Shungetser Tso lake etc.

WILDLIFE:

Arunachal Pradesh is perhaps the only Indian State which has four major cats; tiger (Panthera tigris), leopard (Panthera pardus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and snow leopard (Panthera uncia). There are two national parks namely Namdapha National Park and Mouling National Park.

The nine wildlife sanctuaries in the State are Sessa Orchid Sanctuary, Pakhui wildlife sanctuary, Itanagar wildlife sanctuary , Daying Ering wildlife sanctuary, Mehao wildlife sanctuary, Kane wildlife sanctuary, Eagle’s Nest wildlife sanctuary, Kamlang wildlife sanctuary and Dibang wildlife sanctuary.

ADVENTURE & OUTDOOR SPORTS:

Arunachal Pradesh offers wonderful opportunities for those who want to experience the true calling of nature. The mountainous ravines, the rapid rivers and the vast area of unconquered virgin forests are waiting for those with a bounce in the shoes. The trek route passes through a wonderful jungle studded with magnificent waterfalls and lakes. There are various interesting outdoor activities in Arunachal Pradesh, that one can choose to indulge in.

Trekking routes: Bomdila- Daimara-via-Ramlingam and Chakku. Bomdila- Seppa, Jong-Mago, Along- Mechuka, Daporijo- Taksing, Pasighat – Tuting, Pasighat – Mariang and Daporijo – Along etc

River rafting:  Try River Rafting along Kameng (Seppa- Bhalukpung), Subansiri (Taliha- North of Daporijo), Siang (entire course), Dibang (Anini- Assam Border) are some of the trips that one can try.

Fishing and Angling: Arunachal Pradesh provides excellent opportunities for for angling and fishing lovers. The innumerable streams and the meandering rivers have an abundance of aquatic life offers numerous possibilities to catch fish especially trout and Mahseer. Some places like Yingkiong, Bodak, Siom, etc., are the good spots for fishing & angling. The colder waters of the higher reaches of Arunachal have the golden and the rainbow trouts.

Tezu on the Lohit river, or Tipi and Bhalukpong (on the river Kameng), and Pashighat (on the Siang River) is the ideal locations for trout fishing.

PERMITS:

In addition to an Indian visa, foreigners must obtain Protected Area Permit (PAP) to visit Arunachal Pradesh, the permits can be obtained from all Indian missions, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), New Delhi, All Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs) at New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkatta, Chief Immigration Officer, Chennai, and Home Commissioner (Govt of Arunachal Pradesh), Itanagar for a period of 10 (ten) days for a group consisting of four or more persons. The application giving details of name, passport number, its issuing authority and the expiry date, place of birth, profession, proposed duration of stay and the purpose of visit should be made to the Home Commissioner Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar or Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, New Delhi-110001.

Foreign Tourists visiting Arunachal Pradesh on their own arrangement are require to pay US $ 50 per person to Government of Arunachal Pradesh. Please refer to the information quoted below to read more or apply.

WHERE TO STAY:

Head over to the official Arunachal Pradesh Tourism Department website (click here) and scroll over the top menu title under Accommodation to browse the full list of hotels, private homestay and other related accommodation details available across the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

IMPORTANT WEBSITES:

Department of Arunachal Pradesh Tourism: www.arunachaltourism.com
Arunachal Pradesh Information Commission: www.arnsic.nic.in
Government of Arunachal Pradesh: www.arunachalpradesh.nic.in

ARUNACHAL PRADESH TOURISM OFFICES:

Itanager: Department of Tourism, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh. Phone: 360-2214745
Jorhat : Rowriah, Jorhat, Assam. Phone: 0376-2320724
Guwahati: R.G. Baruah Road, Guwahati, Assam. Phone: 0361-2412859/ 416720
Calcutta: CE-109, Sector-1, Salt Lake City, Kolkatta, West Bengal. Phone: 033- 23341243/23589865 (F)
Shillong: Shillong-1, Meghalaya. Phone: 0364-2224247/2224476
Tezpur: Parvati Nagar, Tezpur, Assam. Phone: 03712-260141/260173.
New Delhi: Arunachal Bhawan, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Phone: 011-23013915/23013956/26880901 (R)

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