Arunachal Pradesh – The Land of the Rising Sun

Arunachal Pradesh Introduction:

Arunachal Pradesh is divided into nineteen districts. Arunachal Pradesh borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south, and shares international borders with Bhutan in the west, Burma in the east and the country of Tibet in the north. Itanagar is the capital of Arunachal Pradesh. Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh largely includes the tribes like Adis, Apatanis, Buguns, Hrusso, Singphos, Mishmis, Monpas, Nyishi, Sherdukpens, Tagins, Khamtis, Wanchos, Noctes, Yobin and Khambas and Membas.

Nature has bestowed her plentiful bounties on Arunachal Pradesh, the land of rising sun. The evergreen forests, the virgin floral and faunal varieties, the turbulent streams and roaring rivers meandering their way through deep gorges and lush green valleys, the inspiring mountains and snow clad peaks all make the State a unique place of tourist attraction. Arunachal Pradesh’s endless variations of scenic beauty are the first to greet sunrise in the country and it offers a variety of options for tourist who wants something different.

Arunachal Tourism

Some of the famous places in Arunachal Pradesh are Itanagar, Tawang, Bomdila, Bhismaknagar, and Akashiganga. There are 4 National parks and 7 wildlife sanctuaries in the state, which are the prime attractions for the tourists. Blessed in abundance in natural beauty the land of the moonlit mountains Arunachal Pradesh has evolved over the years as a happening tourist destination in India. Places of tourist interest in the state include Bomdila, Tawang and the nearby Buddhist monastery, which happens to be the largest in India. Itanagar is famous for its excavated ruins of the historical Ita Fort, and the attractive Gyaker Sinyi or the Ganga Lake. Malinithan and Bhismaknagar are the two important archaeological sites in the state, and Parashuram Kund is a prominent pilgrimage site.

Arts and handicraft

Arunachal offers several handicraft items to its tourists. The local tribes are known to weave exquisite fabrics. Amongst the many items you may pick up are coats, shawls, sashes, carpets and bags. These items are made from cotton, wool or even bark fiber. Besides woven items, you may buy the traditional handicrafts items in bamboo, cane and wood. You must check out the Tibetan Buddhist paintings or the thankas. Hand-knitted carpets are a specialty of the people of Tawang and Bomdila.

Festivals

Many of the festivals celebrated in Arunachal Pradesh are closely linked to agriculture, the main occupation of the state. Celebrated on a grand scale, these festivals are characterized by prayers that are later followed by merry making. Among the most popular festivals of Arunachal Pradesh are Solung, Nyokum, Loku, Boori Boot, Kshyat Sowai and Sanken. Whatever be the motive behind the celebration of a fair or festival in Arunachal Pradesh, every such event depicts the beauty and cultural variety of the state in a very flattering manner. Besides, Arunachal Pradesh is home to a good number of tribes. So you can find some festival or the other happening in Arunachal Pradesh at any time of the year.

Wildlife

The state of Arunachal Pradesh is truly one of those states that procures domicile to as many as 25 different taxonomic groups of mammals which is absolute amazing. The wildlife in Arunachal Pradesh is however not restricted to mammals, there is an opulence of other forms of wild beasts that fall under the category of reptiles, avian creatures as well as aquatic creatures.  Arunachal Pradesh is the perfect destination for wildlife enthusiasts as there are several naturally well endowed sanctuaries as well as national parks. Some of the notable one are: Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Kane Wildlife Sanctuary, Mouling National Park, Dr,D.Ering Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary, Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary, Dihang-Debang Biosphere Reserve and Namdapha Wildlife Sanctuary. Namdapha Wildlife sanctuary in the Changlang district is home to the rare Hoolock gibbon.

Food

Cuisines of Arunachal Pradesh vary as per the region, as there is a lot of tribal influence in the food of Arunachal Pradesh. Non vegetarian is a preferred choice here and the food is cooked with minimum spices thus making it bland. Rice is the staple food of the state and people have it with meat, fish and vegetables. Rice is prepared in different ways. Dung Po and Kholam are the two different processes of cooking rice. Pasa is a fish soup prepared from fresh raw fish and Ngatok is an authentic fish curry prepared here.  Rice beer or Apang is a popular alcoholic drink in Arunachal Pradesh, which is made from fermented rice or millet.

How to Reach Arunachal Pradesh

Air: There are no direct flight services to Arunachal Pradesh. The nearest airport to Itanagar is Lilabari/Dibrugarh in Assam. The distance between Lilabari airport and Itanagar can be covered in two hours by bus or a taxi. You can also fly into Ghy or Tezpur Airport and avail taxis and buses to Arunachal Pradesh.

Rail: The nearest railhead is Harmuty, 33km from Itanagar but the most convenient disembarkation point is North Lakhimpur, some 60km distance from Itanagar. The Arunachal Pradesh Express serves Harmuty. Taxis and buses link both railway stations to Itanagar.

Road: You can drive into Itanagar and Naharlugan from neighbouring Assam and Meghalaya and expect a mix of reasonably good motorways and ill-maintained tracks. Tezpur (Assam) also has a direct and frequented road to the tourist spots of Bomdila and Tawang. Direct buses are available from Guwahati, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukhia and Nagaon in Assam as well as from Shillong (Meghalaya) to Itanagar.

POPULAR ATTRACTIONS & TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH

(1) ITANAGAR (Places of interest)

(a) Ita Fort: It is a historical fort of an irregular shape, built mainly with bricks, dating back to the 14th-15th centuries. The total brickwork done on the fort comprises of 16,200 cubic-metre length. There are also three gates on three sides viz; Eastern, Western and Southern, which are said to be built by Ahom rulers. The name Itanagar is believed to be derived from the name of this fort.

(b) The Buddhist Temple: This is a beautiful yellow-roofed shrine. It rises from well-maintained grounds behind a stupo tree planted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The ground of the temple offers a beautiful view of the Itanagar town.

(c) Ganga Lake (Gyaker Sinyi): The 6-km drive to the lake from Itanagar takes the visitors through some superbly primeval jungles with bamboo groves, orchid masses of tall trees, which are some of the vegetation which can be identified by the interested travellers. At the top of the ridge, one looks down on a tranquil green forest lake, which one has to cross in a row boat. Today, it is a beautiful spot for outings, boating and picnics.

(d) Polo Park: An amazing little botanical garden at the top of a ridge overlooks the Itanagar town. One should notice the cane thickets; it looks a bit like a palm with spines on its stems, but grows as a bush. There is a small zoo, worth a visit.

(e) Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum: Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum provides a brief picture of Arunachal Pradesh and one can see woodcarvings, musical instruments, textiles, handicrafts and archeological finds, while a workshop in the Handicrafts Centre specializes in traditional cane manufacture.

(f) Namdapha Wildlife Sanctuary: Namdapha Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most unusual and an important wildlife sanctuary in India. With its rich bio-diversity, Namdapha provides shelter to a wide range of endangered flora, fauna and avian life. Here you may spot the all four great cats namely – snow leopard, the clouded leopard, the leopard and the tiger. Namdapha Sanctuary is also home to the endangered hoolock gibbon, red panda and capped langur.

(2) ZIRO (Places of Interest)

(a) Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary: The sanctuary is home to various endangered species. The beautiful forests that enjoy a much less human intervention have a wide range of flora and fauna. Silver fir trees, orchids, stunning ranges of bamboo and ferns are some of the trees found here.

(b) Meghna Cave Temple: This ancient cave temple dates back to 5000 years and it was rediscovered in the year 1962. Located at an altitude of 300 feet, the temple offers stunning views of the surrounding area.

(c) Sidheshvar Nath Temple: It is believed, that Linga of lord Siva is having highest length here i.e. 25 Feet in length and 22 Feet width. This is self-made Shiv ling having garland of static, naturally, water keep flowing continuously on lower side of Shiva Linga.

(d) Dilopolyang Maniipolyang: Dilopolyang Maniipolyang is a twin hillock situated on the way to Talley Valley. The scenic grasslands views are awe-inspiring.

(3) BHALUKPONG :  Here one can find about three hundred species of flora glass house. Just 5 km away from Bhalukpong, there is another beautiful place called Tipi where lots of exquisite Orchids are flourishing and 24 kms away from Tipi at Sessa,  there is a beautiful Orchid Sanctuary. Over 2600 Orchids representing 80 species have been cultivated in natural surroundings. Scenic beauty, high water falls and the bank of river Kameng surrounded by evergreen forests are simply breath-taking. There, in Kameng River adventure sports lover can grab an opportunity for white water rafting and angling.

(4) TAWANG (Places of interest)

(a) Sela Pass: Sela Pass, world’s second highest pass at 14,000 ft. height, which runs through a small ridge and along the Paradise Lake.

(b) Jaswant Garh: Jaswant Garh,. The War Memorial rose to pay homage to Jaswant Singh, Mahavir Chakra awardee (Posthumous) of 4 Battalion Garwal Rifles.

(c) Monasteries: Tawang Moanstery, The Urgelling Monastery - The Urgelling Monastery in Tawang is associated with the birth of the 6th Dalai Lama. The Taktsang Monastery 45 km away from Tawang, is also known as the Tiger’s Den. Rigyalling Monastery; Ani Gompa (nunneries) located 12 km away from Tawang and Gorsam Chorten at Zemithang 92 km away from Tawang.

(5) PASIGHAT (Places of interest)

(a) The Daying Ering Wild Life Sanctuary, which is located at a distance of 13km and this is one of the few sanctuaries located in the island.

(b) Akashiganga This is a sacred place situated near Lekabali at a distance of 100 km from Pasighat. The place is associated with the legend of Kalika Puran according to which the head of the Sati (Parvati) fell at this place when she was cut into pieces by Vishnu.

(c)) Malinithan, this place is an archaeological site in Arunachal Pradesh situated at the Arunachal – Assam border in the Likabali area of the West Siang District. The place is associated with the legend of Lord Krishna and his wife Rukmani.

(6) ROING: It is a splendidly beautiful place. 56 km away from Roing, there is a unique hill resort called Mayudia.

There is a fort called ‘Hill Fort’ made by burnt bricks. The ruins of the Hill fort dates to circa 12th century A.D a fort called Chirimi Fort or Rukmini Nati.

About 90 kms away from Roing there is a picturesque small town, Hunli and nearby in Kupunti there is an interesting cave temple.

(7) PARSHURAM KUND: At some distance from Roing, there is Parasuram Kund, which steeped in the tribal legend, ismuch venerated by Hindus. The holy sage Parasuram is said to have wandered all over India to atone for the sin of matricide initiated by his father.

Near to the Kund, there is a small place called Walong. There is a war memorial as a mark of respect and remembrance to brave Martyrs, who laid their lives during Chinese aggression of 1962. The army authorities have constructed a gigantic War Memorial at Walong.