Arunachal Pradesh ,one of the most sparsely populated states of India, covers an area of 83743 sq. Kms. Being situated in the North-Eastern part of India with 83743 sq. kms area, Arunachal has a long international border with Bhutan to the west (160 km), China to the north and north-east (1,080 km) and Myanmar to the east (440 km). It stretches from snow-capped mountains in the north to the plains of Brahmaputra valley in the south.
Arunachal is the largest state ,area-wise, in the north-east region, even larger than Assam which is the most populous. It is situated between latitude 26° 30' N and 29° 30 ' N and longitude 91° 30' E and 97° 30' E. Itanagar is the capital of Arunachal Pradesh .It is a land of lush green forests, deep river valleys and beautiful plateaus. The land is mostly mountainous with the Himalayan range along the northern borders criss-crossed with ranges running north-south. These divide the state into five river valleys: the Kameng, the Subansiri, the Siang, the Lohit and the Tirap. All these are fed by snow from the Himalayas and countless rivers and rivulets. The weather and the climate of Arunachal Pradesh are quite distinct from the rest of the country. The climate of the State is dominated by the Himalayan system and the altitudanal variations. The climate is highly hot and humid at the lower altitudes and in the valleys covered by swampy dense forest particularly in the eastern section, while it becomes exceedingly cold in the higher altitudes. Average temperature during the winter months range from 15 to 21 degree celsius and 22 to 30 degree celsius during monsoon. Between June and August the temperature may go up to 40-42 degree celsius.The rainfall of Arunachal Pradesh in amongst the heaviest in the country. The annual average rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh is more than 350cm. There are 26 major tribes and a number of sub-tribes inhabiting the area. Most of these communities are ethnically similar, having derived from original Mongoloid stock but their geographical isolation from each other has brought amongst them certain distinctive characteristics in language, dress and customs. Broadly, the entire population may be divided into three cultural groups based on their socio-politico-religious affinities. The Monpas and Sherdak Pens of Tawang and West Kameng districts follow the lamaistic tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. Culturally similar to them are Membas and Khembas who live in the high mountains along the northern borders, Khamptis and Singphos inhabiting the eastern part of the State are Buddhists of Hinayana sect. They are said to have migrated from Thailand and Burma long ago and still using ancient scripts derived from their original homeland. The second group of people of Adis, Akas, Apatanis, Bungnis, Nishis, Mishmis, Mijis, Thangsos etc. who worship the Sun and the Moon God, namely, Donyi-Polo and Abo-Tani, the original ancestor for most of these tribes. Their religious rituals, largely coincide with the phases of agricultural cycles. They traditionally practise Jhuming or shifting cultivation. The third group comprises Noctes and Wanchos in the Tirap district . These are hardy people known for their structured village society in which the hereditary village chief still plays a vital role. The Noctes also practise elementary form of Vaishnavism Aru climatic conditions have given rise to different forest types which create corresponding natural shelter , food etc. to varieties of wildlife. It has two National Parks and four Wildlife Sanctuaries. It is home to many rare and highly endangered species of Wild life like Mishmi, Takin, Hoolock Gibbon, Musk Deer, Bharal, Hisbid Hare, Flying Squirrel and more than 500 species of birds. Namdapha National Park amongst them has perhaps the widest diversity of habitat of any of South Asia's protected areas. It is unique, with it's elevation varying between 200 to 4500 mts. and has all four large cats, the tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and snow leopard in addition to lesser feline species like the Golden cat and marbled cat
Its virgin isolation, due to restricted entry regulations has been a blessing in disguise as Arunachal still retains its centuries old pristine vistas, diverse tribal heritage and unpolluted geographical features.
Strung out along the misty hill tops and deep valleys, Arunachal’s picturesque townships and villages are the first in the land to be kissed by the rays of the morning sun giving Arunachal its unique position as literally ‘ the land of the rising sun’.
Dotted along the foothills dividing Assam and Arunachal, Bhalukpong is famous for its orchid centre, Angling , wildlife and river rafting. It is one of the main entry points to Pristine Arunachal. Tipi, 6 km further from Bhalukpong is famed for its orchidarium enriched with numerous varieties of native orchid and its cutflower experiments. River Kameng (also known locally as Jiabharli) flowing all along Bhalukpong makes the place the ideal one far from the madding crowd. The Altitude is 213m / 699 ft. and the distance is 242 km from Guwahati.
Bomdila is the country of clouds. Cloud dominates the panorama of Bomdila with their innumerous figures changing almost every minute and their very own rich stock of pastel makes the sky an colourful extravaganza. The lower Monastery in Bomdila is a place to visit. Bomdila is also famous for its craft centre enriched with beautiful handicrafts by the tribes.
At a distance of around 144 km from Bhalukpong Dirang is a tiny town famous for Hot spring, Monasteries, Sheep Breeding Farm and the National Yak Research & Breeding Center at Nigmadung. The entire place is surrounded by apple & kiwi orchards and the atmosphere is picturesque. Sangti valley which is just 9 kms away is famous for Siberian Black Necked Storks who visit this place during winter.
Nested in the mystic lap of Himalayas at an height of 3500 meters lies Tawang –the beautiful land of Monpas. A dramatic drive through mesmeric alpine country from Dirang would take you to this place. The sinuous road to Tawang passes through the dragon gates on the awesome heights of the great SELA PASS (13714 ft ) .Jaswantgarh located here is a memorial to the brave soldier who single handedly tried to hold the approaching Chinese from the pass during the 1962 Indo-Chinese war. The stupa –like Tawang War Memorial also salutes the heroes of the war. The famous Tawang Monastery against the dramatic setting of the snow – mantled peaks would certainly linger in memory while back home. The stunning 8 mtr high gilded statue of Buddha dominates the sanctum.The Tawang Monastery is supposed to be the second biggest just after Lhasa’s Potala.The Nunneries, the place for the Anis, as the nuns are called is another place of attraction around Tawang. The craft centre in Tawang sells beautiful masks, hand-woven carpets, tangkhas, jewelleries and other delightfully affordable memories
The land of the dawnlit mountains, Itanagar, Arunachal’s capital is also its biggest town. The Jawaharlal Nehru Museum has archaeological finds from Ita Fort to which you can trek up. Housed here is also an interesting collection of arts and crafts, jewellery, textiles and a variety of tribal headgear, which gives you an insight into Arunachal’s tribal culture. You might stumble upon some of the Nyishi tribals who live around here. You’ll recognize them by their massive knot of hair rolled into a bun over their forehead. In their headdress they wear feathers of the great hornbill, Arunachal’s signature bird. 6 km away is the picturesque setting of Ganga Lake ( Gekar Sinyi).
Picturesque Ziro is 200 km from Itanagar. Situated on thee Apatani Plateau ( in the lower Subansiri region) and surrounded by pine mantled hills all around, it is spectacular. Ziro, the district headquarter of upper Subansiri, is a tourist’s delight with its dazzling landscapes and tribal culture. Make a point to visit Tarin, the high-altitude fish farm, the famous whispering pine grove and the craft center. Ziro is the home of Apatani Tribes. The Apatanis are one of most advanced and intriguing of Arunachal’s tribal people. Both men and women tattoo themselves and the women are distinctive with their great nose plugs (dat) made of bamboo and face tattoos. It has now been banned. The Apatanis grow rice by terrace farming; they also have created an indigenous irrigation system which is unique amongst the Arunachal tribals. The Apatani village comprises of long rows of houses with a fertility totem in front of each one. In their cooking, they use an indigenous herbal salt that’s rich in iodine. Living in perfect harmony with nature, for every tree they fell, five fresh saplings are planted. The weaving skills of their women are legendary as can be seen from the wonderful Jikhe pattern, woven jackets and intricately patterned Jilang shawls. The men are skilled in metallurgy and bamboo craft.
Home to the Tagin, Hill Miri and Adi tribes, Daporijo is a fairly large village town located at the confluence of the Sippi and Subansiri rivers. The 160 km ride to Daporijo takes anywhere from six to eight hours.
Along is a small town surrounded with small beautiful villages. Along located at a distance of 178 km from Daporijo is the district heatquarters of West Siang district. Its situated on the south bank of the river Yongo and an ideal place for trekking, hiking and angling. Patum bridge over Yongo river, Museum are the places of tourist interest.
Situated at 155 mtr with its scenic splendors, pasighat is Arunachal’s oldest town and also the district headquarters of East Siang. The turbulent Siang river races across the district heading for the plains, where it is met by the Dihing and Lohit rivers, and then roars into Assam as the mighty Brahmaputra. The region is the home of Adi tribe who are remembered for their colourful Ponung dance. The archaeological site of Malinithan (100 km) is linked to the legend of Lord Krishna and his wife Rukmini. The dismembered head of Sati (Parvati) is said to have fallen at Akashiganga (100 km) according to ancient Hindu myths. This is a sacred place for Vaishnavites.
Tezu is in southern part of Lohit District, which lies in the plains. The area interspersed with paddy fields and a few tea estates. North of Tezu lie the Mishmi Hills, which are entirely covered in lush vegetation, tropical evergreen in the foothills and pine forests in upper reaches. The indigenous Mishmi peoples live for the most part as they have for centuries in small biodegradable settlements constructed almost entirely of bamboo. They practise shifting jhum cultivation, grow a substantial crop of opium poppy and devote their lives to the acquisition of large herds of mithun. They dote on the beast but also sacrifice them in large numbers.
This area is also populated by the Tai Khampti people, whose culture is remarkable in different ways. The Khampti people migrated to this region from Northern Burma in the eighteenth century and retain links with their confreres in that country as well as in Thailand. They have retained their language – a curlicued South-East Asian script and their Theravada Buddhist religion.
Parasuram Kund is approximately 25 km from Tezu. Parasuram Kund is not just beautifully located, it is also steeped in tribal legend and is much 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. On the advice of some sages he came to bathe in the kund in this remote land. The axe that was stuck to his hand, fell away cleaving the mountain from which sprang the Lohit River.