Arunachal Pradesh – The Land of Rising Sun
When the Sun strikes in India, its first shines upon Arunachal’s wild jungles and tribal communities. Arunachal the name means the land of rising Sun. Arunachal Pradesh, a serene land tucked into the North Eastern tip of India. The land stretches from the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas to their peaks, invites you to relax in its picturesque hills and valleys, enjoy its salubrious climate and meet its simple and hospitable people, with their glorious heritage of arts and crafts and colourful festivals that reflect their ancient faith in the inexorable. Arunachal is one of the most sparsely populated states of India, bordered by China, Bhutan and Myanmar. The state is the home of the complex mix of various communities, who are friendly, colourful and simple people. The rich flora ranges from the Alpine to the subtropical, from rhododendrons to orchids. Its verdant forests, tumultuous streams, condescending mountains and snow clad peaks make it a unique destination.
Arunachal Pradesh is considered to be the Nature ‘s treasure house and home to orchids, known for their elegantly beautiful blooms, from one of the leading region with more than six hundred species, growing in different elevations and climatic conditions throughout the state. The age old monasteries and gumphas, sacred lakes, ruins of forts & palaces, beautiful and ever smiling people with graceful hospitality will greet you, throughout your sojourn in the state.
The capital of the state, Itanagar is scattered with light, earthquake-proof, wooden-framed buildings rising up the slopes of green hills. Traditional huts are strewn amongst the more recent constructions. The residence of the Governor crowns one peak while a new Buddhist Temple crowns the other. Between them lie administrative officers, shops, daily bazaars and thatched houses.
Important Tourist Spots
Tawang the land of the Monpa and Sherdukpen tribes with centuries-old monastery, Dragon gates, hundred pristine lakes and numerous waterfalls, situated high up in the misty-eyed Eastern Himalaya. The true beauty lies in the unhampered vistas, the serenity of its lakes, restlessness of the brooks, and the spiritual fragrance and ever smiling people. The soggy, rocky mountains, snowcapped summits and old Monasteries looming large on the skyline, are the real treasures of the place. The township stands on the spur of a hill over 12,000 ft above the sea level. It is the major centre of the Mahayana Buddhist and the headquarters of Tawang district.
Tawang is famous for its 400 years old Buddhist Monastery locally called Gumpha. It is the fountainhead of spiritual life of the followers of the Gellupa sect of the Mahayana school of Buddhism. The Tawang Monastery is associated with the famous Torgva festival which is held in the eleventh Monpa month called the Dawa Chukchipah during Dec-Jan as per the Buddhist Calendar. There is an 8 meter high gilded statue of Lord Buddha here. A must visit is the craft centre which produces very fine woollen carpets of colourful designs and masks.
Se La Pass,
Lies on the way to Tawang .The World’s Second highest Pass, the Sela Pass at 4,125 meters, which runs through a small ridge and along a placid lake called the Paradise Lake , in India. The highest pass of the state of Arunachal Pradesh and the third highest in the world is a wonderful place to visit. Pakang Teng Tso Lake, the spectacular lake lies at about 17km from Tawang and a dazzling example of the hidden treasure amidst the vast green vegetation.
Bomdila is the headquarters of West Kameng district is situated at a height of 2,530 metres. Offers spectacular panoramic views of Himalayan landscapes and snow clad mountains, lies amidst apple orchards, wild orchids, forests and cascading waterfalls. This area has had strong Tibetan and Buddhist influences over many centuries and hence there are many Buddhist monasteries called ‘Gumphas’ here. There is a craft centre here which produces very fine carpets of colourful designs and masks. Other places of interest here are apple orchards and the Ethnographic Museum.
Bhalukpong is a beautiful picnic spot was the capital of Bhaluka, the grandson of King Bana. This beautiful place lies at 64km from Tezpur on the foot of Aka Hills (Arunachal Pradesh). The remains of the fortification of the kings are still visible. The hot spring, a big orchid garden at Tipi and the unspoiled beauty of nature, is the prized possession of the place. Jia-bharali River passing through the place is an angler’s paradise. This picturesque spot lies on the way to Bomdila and is the gateway to Arunachal Pradesh, from the south west.
Tipi is Asia’s largest orchidarium, the Orchid Research Centre is located here in the West Kameng district. The Orchid centre on the bank of river Bharali, surrounded by evergreen forest has more than 500 species of orchids. On display are some of the finest species with names like the Dainty Lady’s Slipper or the more formal sounding Dendrobium. Arunachal has the largest range of orchids in India and at Tipi; scientists are creating new, hybrid species using the latest techniques of biotechnology. Buses are also available from Bomdila and Bhalukpong.
Dirang is the sub-divisional headquarters in West Kameng districts; situated in between Bomdila and Tawang. Of interest are Apple orchards, yak breeding farms, a few kilometres from Dirang and hot springs where people go for a holy dip to wash away sins and diseases and
Kalachakra Gompa is a place ideal for Trekking and hiking. Recommended clothing is heavy woollen in winter and light woollen in inclement weather and cotton in the summer.
Itanagar is a modern settlement built in the vicinity of the ruins of a medieval capital. The capital of Arunachal Pradesh, it is a beautiful historic city, also known as ‘the Land of the Dawnlit Mountains ‘. It is located to the east of Tawang and has been identified with Mayapur, a city of the 14th or 15th century A.D. Itafort is a historical fort situated at the heart of the capital complex in Papum Pare District. The other places of interest are the Buddhist Monastery, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Museum, and the Emporium and Ganga Lake where boating facilities are available.
Naharlagun is situated at a distance of 10km from Itanagar, is a twin town of Itanagar. One can visit the Zoo, Craft Centre, and Polo Park. The place is ideal for trekking, hiking, boating and canoeing on the River Ganga and angling on the River Dikrong.
Ziro is a picturesque valley of the Apatani plateau to the north of Itanagar. The valley is surrounded pine covered mountains. The place is the home of Apatani tribes. High altitude fish farm, Pine Bamboo groves, villages, indigenous method of rice cultivation, craft centre are the major attraction of the place. The smell of the mist, the taste of the breeze and the sound of the forest make it worth travel. The place is an Anthropologist’s delight.
Talley Valley is a tale in Apatani dialect is the name of a plant and to many other tribes the word means paradise. Talley valley is 30 kms from Hapoli (Ziro) the densely populated township in the Apatani Plateau and the headquarters of the Lower Subansiri District. It is a picturesque little township with the local population growing paddy, which is the main agricultural produce in terraces. The concept of paddy-cum-pisciculture has attracted people and has turned economically purposeful for their prosperity.
Talley Valley Wild life Sanctuary is situated at a distance of 35km is the natural botanical garden, is a treasure trove of flora and fauna. The Sanctuary houses many exotic orchids. It is the home of the Mithun (cross breed of Wild Gaur and Buffalo), a shy type of animal.
Daporijo is a large village town situated at the confluence of the Sippi and Subansiri rivers. It is the District Headquarters of Upper Subansiri district and is situated on the right bank of River Subansiri. Places of interest are the local villages in and around and a beautiful cave a few kilometres away. The place is ideal for trekking and angling on River Subansiri.
On the way to Along one can see the historical Malinithan temple. The Legendary Akashi Ganga, a point from which one gets an unusual overview of the Bhramhaputra and its tributaries. Mithun and Jersey cross breeding farm at Kamki, 25 kms from here is another interesting visit.
Pasighat is the headquarters of East Siang district, situated on the right bank of river Siang. Siang is the name of river Bhramhaputra in Arunachal Pradesh. A visit to Dr. D. Ering Wildlife Sanctuary where wild buffalos, tigers, samber deer and wild ducks are found in plenty is a must. Other places of interest are the surrounding villages and the Emporium. Pasighat is Ideal for river rafting, boating, angling, trekking and hiking. The Bhramhaputra Darshan, the festival has become a bi-annual feast.
Shopping in Arunachal Pradesh can be a pleasant experience. The state boasts of its wide variety of handicrafts. The tribes of Arunachal Pradesh are traditionally skilled at aesthetic craftsmanship. The same manifests through weaving, painting, pottery, wood works which turn up exquisite souvenirs of a wonderful tour to Arunachal Pradesh. While shopping in Arunachal Pradesh, be on the look out for Colourful utility items like cups, dishes and fruit bowls scooped out of local Monpa wood.Sherdukpen shawls, Apatani Jackets and scarves Adi skirts, Mishmi shawls, Wancho bags Baskets and masks made of bamboo and cane Ornaments and bangles made of beads Although you cannot find plush air-conditioned city-like shopping malls, there are Government Emporia as well as private shops to make your shopping in Arunachal Pradesh easy. Bargaining with the vendors on the main streets may also appear delightful experience.
Carpet making is one of the major occupations in the District of Tawang, West Kameng, Changlang and Upper Siang, Arunachal Pradesh. Mostly women are engaged in carpet making in Tawang. Arunachal Pradesh carpet has been acclaimed National & International repute by considering the quality of carpet weaving in different motive and design. Carpet making is a specialty of the Monpa tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and with an increase in demand, production of the carpets is now being undertaken on a large scale. A part of carpets other items in the same form of carpets are produced here such as wall hanging, cushion pad, telephone pad, floor covering etc.
For an amazing holiday, you need to go to an amazing destination. So if you are seeking to step into a world of extraordinary beauty and discover experiences found nowhere else on earth, Arunachal Pradesh is the place for you. Go and enjoy the salubrious climate and discover the intriguing traditions of ancient lifestyles of 26 tribes and 110 sub tribes. Host to many vibrant and colourful festivals, this Himalayan state offers an experience like no other which is why once you visit, you will come back time and time again…….
How to Reach
By Air: The nearest Airport is Lilabari in Assam, 57 km from Nahariagun and 67 km from Itanagar.
By Rail: Nearest Railway station is Harrmoty in Assam. 23 km from Naharlagun and 33 km from ltanagar. The station is served by Arunachal Express.
By Road: Itanagar is connected by daily bus service from Guwahati and the other cities of Assam. Arunachal State Transport buses are plying throughout Arunahcal, Assam and Meghalaya.
Sreerekha Ranjith Nair