Arunachal Pradesh is one of the northeastern states of India. It is bordered by Bhutan in the west, China in the north and northeast, Myanmar (Burma) in the southeast, and the states of Assam and Nagaland in the south.
- 1 Itanagar — the state capital
- 2 Bhalukpong — located in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh - home to Pakke Tiger Reserve and the Tipi Orchard Research Centre
- 3 Bomdila — a small town with 3 famous Buddhist monasteries
- 4 Deomali — a village that is a treat for environmentalists, biologists, and nature lovers, with several varieties of fruits and rich flora and fauna
- 5 Dirang — a city with several forts and the remnants of Dirang Dzong (a fort)
- 6 Pasighat — one of the oldest places in the state, and an educational hub
- 7 Rupa — a municipality of the state
- 8 Tawang — Himalayan town with the second-largest Buddhist monastery (gompa) in the world, built in 1681
- 9 Yingkiong — a small town often used as the start of the journey to the Pemako area, on the border with Tibet
- 1 Mouling National Park — (humid and wet area) named after Mouling peak part of the Dihang-Dibang Biosphere Reserve
- 2 Namdapha National Park — the largest national park in India, known for its biodiversity and for being home to the northernmost rain forest in India
Arunachal Pradesh was part of the state of Tibet until 1914, when a treaty between the British Indian government and the Tibetan government brought the Himalayan region under British control. However, the then Republic of China thought that the Tibetan government was a local government and it had no power to sign treaties with another sovereign state. Therefore, China thought the treaty meaningless and claimed the region as part of Tibet still to this day.
Arunachal Pradesh was known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) till 1987, when it was renamed to the current name. The current name literraly means the "province of the dawn-lit mountains".
People of Arunachal Pradesh understand Hindi, English. There are more than 36 major tribes and more than 306 sub-tribes, but most of them know Hindi.
Fees and permits
Foreigners need a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to enter the state. The PAPs are issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, but the easiest approach is to get your Indian visa with a special endorsement allowing travel in the state. Individual travellers are generally granted 15 days (extendable once), but are allowed access only into major towns and sights; travels off the beaten track generally require a registered tour group of four or more people.
Indian citizens require an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter the state, which can be acquired from any of the AP Houses situated in New Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati. The ILP is provided for each of the following sectors:
- Bomdila, Dirang, Tawang
- Itanagar, Ziro
- Namdapha, Changlang
One can get the ILP for any one of the above sectors.
There is a helicopter service available from Guwahati to various destinations like Pasighat and Tawang. The service is operated weather permitting. The fares are reasonably priced. There are no public taxis operating at the helipad in Tawang. If you want to trek from the helipad to Tawang town, make prior arrangements for road transport before boarding the flight.
If you are visiting Bomdila sector, then the easiest way to reach there is by road from Tezpur (Assam). One can then go to Tezpur by state transport buses. From Tezpur, shared vehicles are available every morning from 05:30. It's recommended to use a reputed travel agency to book seats. Requesting your driver to stop at Sela pass during the winter allows you to see picturesque snow-covered views. The roads are good and well maintained by Border Road Organisation (BRO), but there can be landslides in the rainy season.
- Bomdila is a great place for adventure sports, rafting, angling and trekking. The best time for trekking is October to February.
- Pashighat is one of the oldest cities of Arunachal Pradesh. This is a great place for tourists who wish to experience the beauty of nature. The city is the entrance point for the Arunachal Pradesh.
Places to visit around Tawang include:
- Tawang Monastery. A Tibetan Buddhist gompa (fortified monastery) that was constructed in 1681. It is the second-largest Buddhist monastery in the world.
- Anni Gompa, a Buddhist monastery managed by nuns.
- Nuranang Falls, a large waterfall near Tawang.
- Tawang War Memorial is not to be missed. It is maintained by the Indian Army and has inscribed therein the names of those who died defending Tawang during the Chinese intrusion in 1962. A sombre place, it elicits awe, gratefulness and perhaps a tear in the eyes of many Indian visitors.
- Greener Pastures - An Eco-tourism venture that offers travelers an escape into the unexplored mountains of Arunachal Pradesh. They organize tribal cultural exchanges, treks, extreme river rafting challenges, and sightseeing tours around the region.
- Kameng River Rafting: - This River was known as the Bhareli River, before it was renamed Kameng. This river flows on the India-Tibet border, in India it flows from Arunachal Pradesh. This is one of most challenging river for the river rafting in India.
- Rafting - Brahmaputra is counted as one of the best rivers for rafting in world. This river gives an amazing and exciting, lifetime memorable rafting expedition experience into North-East part of India. The Tsang Po River flows in the east side of Tibet, passing through great Himalayan. This river also passes through the Namche Barwa, highest unclimbed mountain and then reaches to Arunachal Pradesh. Brahmaputra river rafting is an challenging activity in which one can experience the “ Zebra ock” and “ Roaring Rikor”. Tourists can also set their camp on beaches in the night time. This journey also includes a ride at Dibrugarh on the Brahmaputra River also the densely forested river valley from the plains of Pasighat.
Tibetan delicacies like thupka, momos or simple and delicious paratha-sabzi eaten hot from the roadside shacks on cold misty days are a treat. Most restaurants in Tawang serve them. A small shack called Annapurna serves delicious alu (potato) chips. The traditional Monpa cuisine uses a generous amount of chillies and fermented cheese which has a strong flavour.
Some traditional Arunachal dishes are:
- Gyapa khazi is a type of pulao made of rice, fermented cheese, small dried fish or shrimp, chillies, ginger and other spices.
- Khura is a pancake, often taken with tea.
- Momo is made by stuffing minced pork and onions into dough and then steaming the dumpling in a three-layer steamer or frying them.
- Thukpa is a soup filled with noodles, minced meat and vegetables, also known as der thuk. Ashum thukpa is made of maize, beans and meat.
- Zan is the staple dish of the Monpa tribes. It is usually made of millet flour, and is served with vegetables or meat, to which fermented cheese, soya bean or herbs are added.
Saraku is a local alcoholic drink.
Arunachal Pradesh is a safe state. The inhabitants are generally friendly and ready to help visitors. However, there are dangers of altitude sickness for the visitors of the state, especially in the mountainous areas.