Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh is a state in North East India, bordering China and Bhutan. The word Arunachal means the land of dawn-lit mountains. It was given to the state as it borders the easternmost extremity of the Himalayas, which are sun-kissed early in the morning.

It is a large and mostly forested Himalayan and sub-Himalayan State in North East India. The landlocked state borders Tibet (Xizang) to the north, Bhutan to the west, Myanmar to the east and Assam to the south.

Arunachal Pradesh is divided into fourteen districts, namely East Kameng, Kurung Kumey, Upper Subansiri, West Kameng, Papumpare, East Kameng, Lower Subansir ī, Kurung Kumey, Nari-Nebam, Siang, Anjaw Changlang and Tirap. Tawang district is in the west of Arunachal Pradesh and one of the most beautiful districts with its picturesque landscape and charming tribes. It is also a prominent Buddhist centre.

This north-eastern state of the country has three main geographical regions: Western, Central and Eastern Himalayas. The land is mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys. Arunachal Pradesh is rich in wildlife, exotic plants and rare flowers. It is also famous for its numerous picturesque hill-stations, waterfalls and places of interest.

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It is a land of contrasts where the breath-taking beauty of snow-capped mountains, forested hillsides and picturesque valleys also have their darker sides - steep cliffs, treacherous paths and potentially dangerous wildlife. The State has significant strategic importance for India, hence its sensitive location bordering China. Only recently it has been opened up for tourism.

Arunachal Pradesh is blessed with great natural beauty, flora and fauna of exceptional diversity, hills interspersed with mighty rivers, picturesque valleys and forested mountains. This exotic Himalayan State is rich in wildlife, exotic plants and rare flowers. With snow-capped mountains, enchanting lakes and waterfalls, Arunachal has much to offer for the tourist.

The charm of this enchanting Himalayan State is also enhanced by its cultural diversity. The inhabitants of Arunachal Pradesh are not only culturally distinct but they have a high degree of sophistication despite living in relative isolation from the rest of India. Some 83% of people are tribal folk and the tribe and clan is still very much a part of their lives. They follow some age-old traditions and customs that have been codified into some very stringent laws, surprisingly without any feeling of rigidity, but rather with a unique sense of pride.

Arunachal Pradesh can be divided into three geographical regions - East, West and South.

The Eastern Himalayas, in the northern part of Arunachal Pradesh, is close to Burma and Bhutan. It is mountainous with high ridges and deep gorges. The land here is rocky, with stretches of bare rock making it unsuitable for cultivation. However, the people in this area are very enterprising and practice shifting cultivation.

The Eastern Himalayas are covered with thick tropical and sub-tropical forests which support a rich variety of fauna - elephants, clouded leopard, barking deer, black bear, red panda etc. The people here are also very colourful in their dress.

Towards the south of Arunachal Pradesh, the land is rugged and there are huge mountain peaks. The valleys between the mountains have been carved out by rivers forming deep gorges. In this part of Arunachal Pradesh, one can find a good number of waterfalls - the most famous being the Sela falls in East Kameng district. It is also an ideal trekking region.

The Central Himalayan region in Arunachal Pradesh is located in the middle of the State. It is an undulating plateau with wide valleys and high ridges. This area has good forest cover, good soil for agriculture and is suitable for cultivation. The people here are semi-tribal but well advanced in the arts of cultivation, handicrafts and weaving. It is also an ideal trekking region.

The Western Himalayas are located mainly in the extreme north of Arunachal Pradesh. There is a wide variety of minerals present here - copper, iron ore, mica, uranium etc. The area has tremendous potential for hydroelectric power generation.


The history is closely connected with the Dalai Lama of Tibet and Bhutan. It was under the control of the Chogyal Kings of Sikkim until 1826 when it became independent till 1914. After India became independent in 1947 both China and India claimed this state as their territory. However, the Chinese withdrew its claim later on due to certain reasons which are still unclear. There was a civil war among the tribes in 1958 after which the state became fully involved with the republic of India and it became an Indian state on 20 February 1987.


The total area of this beautiful state is 83,743 sq km. It falls between 26°-20' North latitudes and 90°-35' East longitudes. The State is bounded by Tibet on the north, Bhutan on the west, Myanmar on the south-west, Bangladesh on the south-east, Assam on the south and China on the east. The state lies at an average altitude of 848 metres above sea level. Mount Saramati (3140 m) is the highest peak in the state.

Arunachal Pradesh Tourism

This North-Eastern Indian state attracts a large number of tourists from all over India as well as from abroad for different kinds of tourism related activities. The state has a variety of tourist attractions including forests, mountains, rivers and lakes etc.


An annual feature in Arunachal is the Wangala festival. The players form two circles, one inside the other and they sing as they rotate the circles around each other. It sounds very simple but there are many complexities that one has to keep track of if he or she wants to understand all that is happening.

The people here are greatly influenced by the Tibetan way of life. They are Buddhists and follow their ancient traditions and customs with great devotion. The Dalai Lama is greatly revered here and his picture is seen in many homes near Tawang, particularly around the monastery. Visitors have to be careful while visiting these monasteries as they are completely different from those found elsewhere in India.


The cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh is very much like that of other North-Eastern states. It has its own typical dishes and drinks, but the major part is the same as in Assam and Meghalaya. So, it can be called a composite cuisine with many similarities to other parts of India such as Assam and Sikkim.

The staple food of the people here is rice. When it comes to meats, they prefer pork and beef as compared to some other parts of India that do not eat these as much. Chicken, mutton and fish are also consumed at times.


According to the Census of India 2011, there are 16 major tribes and about 50 sub-tribes in Arunachal Pradesh. Out of these, the majority of the population belongs to Monpa, Khampti, Aka, Adi Minyong, Nishi and Mishmi. The State has a total population of 1,151, 468 as per the 2001 census and 809, 944 as per the 1991 census with a decadal growth rate of 11.16%.

The best time to visit Arunachal Pradesh

October to March when the weather is pleasant and very cold at night.