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Arunachal Pradesh Travel Guide

Arunachal Pradesh 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 a range running north-south.

On the eve of the new millennium newspapers carried reports of a small and breathtakingly beautiful valley hidden in the hills. The reports said that the valley of Dong, in Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh, and not Katchal of Andaman & Nicobar Islands was marked as the place to receive the first rays of the millennium sun in mainland India. This fact, further confirmed by scientists and Survey of India officials promoted a rush of intrepid visitors to the remote spot, which was dubbed the Sunrise Village.

People

Arunachal has 26 major tribes and many sub-tribes living in 3649 scattered villages. Although a number of tribal groups constitue the total population, the density of population is very less. People are Mangoloid stock but each tribe has certain distinct characteristics in language, dress & costume. They have a rich cultural heritage. The People are simple, friendly and hospitable. Their colourful festivals are manifestations of their faith and belief.

Festivals

Festivals form an essential aspect of the socio-cultural life of the people of the state. As a matter of fact, festivals are the mirror of the people's culture. Since agriculture is the mainstay of the population , naturally, the festivals celebrated by the people are closely connected with their occupation. Such festivals are celebrated at a larger sale for thanking the Gods for their providence and for saying a prayer a prayer for a bumper crop. Throughout the year festivals are celebrated by some tribe or the other. Some of the important festivals are Solung, Mopin, Losar, Boori Boot, Dree, Nechi Dau, Khan, Kshyat-Sowai, Loku, Longte Yullo, Mol, Nyokum, Ojiale, Reh, Sanken, Si-Donyi and Tamladu.

Destinations

Aruachal Pradesh is home to many monuments and archaeological sites. Which are acting as sources of inspiration for many Historians since long. These places of worship and pilgrimages such as Parasuram kund, 400 years old Tawang Monastery, Gorsam Chorten are drawing large numbers of pilgrims every year. The archeological excavations like Milinithan, Itafort, Bhismak Nagar, Vijayanagar and Nakshaprabhat etc. are historian's delight.

Perched atop a hill, overlooking the ridge and surrounded by thick clouds, the legendry 17th century Tawang Monastery is the fountainhead of spiritual life of the flowers of the Gelugpa sect of the Mahayana School of Buddhism. The building is about 113 feet long and 80 feet wide and houses valuable antiquities, book and manuscripts- hand written and printed.

There are four main tourist travel circuits namely:

Tezpur - Bhalukpong - Bomdila - Tawang

This Circuit starts from Tezpur in the plains of Assam and takes you up to the seventeenth century Tawanag Monastery built on jutting spur overlooking the wide Tawang valley at an altitude of 10,000 ft. The Sela Pass en route through a high altitude Lake of simmering crystal blue. Both sides of the lake are decked with miles of rhododendrons of various hues. The monastery is a vast complex of 65 buildings housing Lamas and antique scriptures written in gold letters. The route traverses through Nuranang which offers snow and rainbow trout fishing. The Sela Pass enroute runs through a high altitude lake of crystal blue water. Both sides of the lake are decked with miles of rhodendrons of various hues. Another important station along the route, consists of Tipi, a botanical station housing 500 varieties of orchids which grow abundantly in different parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Places of Interest
Tawang Monastry, Orchid Sanctuary at Tipi, Buddhist Gompa, Hot Spring at Dirang, scenic beauty, high waterfalls.

Tinsukia - Tezu - Hzyulyang

This circuit commences at Tinsukia, a road-rail head in Assam, leading to Tezu, Roing, Parasuramkund and and Hayulyang in the Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh. Some 21 kms to the north-east of Tezu, the District Headquarter, lies Parasuramkund where, according to the legend recorded in the Kalika Purna, Parasuram washed away the sin of kiling his mother in the waters of Brahma kund. On Makar Sankranti each year, a mela is held at the kund where visitors wash away their sins. Roing is known for the historical fort of Bhishmaknagar built with clay bricks and embellished with pottery. The Bhishmaknagar Fort was first excavated in 1996-97 which testifies to the penetration of the Aryan culture into Arunachal in the 4th century A.D.

Places of Interest
Parasuramkund Bhishmaknagar, Mayadia, Mehao lake, boating in Salley lake, War memorial at Walong, Sunrise Village at Dong valley.

Margherita - Miao - Namdapha

This circuit begins at Margherita, a road-rail in Assam about 64 kms away. Namdapha National Park is the only park in the world which covers a range of altitudes of 200 to 4,500 metres. It is also the only park where four of the cat felines are found : the tiger, the leopard, the snow leopard and the clouded leopard.

Places of Interest
Namdapha National Park, Miao Mini Zoo, Tibetian camp where colourful wollen carpets of various designs are produced.

Itanagar - Ziro - Daporijo - Along - Pasighat

This circuit Itanagar - Ziro - Daporijo - Along - Pasighat starts from the State Capital Itanagar which has Geker Sinyi (Ganga lake), a beautiful spot for picnic, outing and boating. The Jawaharlal Nehru Museum, The Ita-Fort (ruins), Buddhist Temple etc enroute Ziro a hill station which stands at 5754 ft enclosed by blue pine-clad rolling hills. At Daporijo, the Menga cave (Temple) can give immense satisfaction to the believer of Lord Shiva. The way to Along and Pasighat is of immense scenic beauty with beautiful river banks. Most ideal locations are available for river rafting, angling with splendid picnic spots.

Places of Interest
Itafort, Gekar Sinyi (natural lake), Talley Valley, Menga Cave, D'Ering Wildlife Sanctuary, Mouling National Park.

Orchids

In Arunachal Pradesh orchids occur naturally in diverse habitats. In the rich tropical forests of the Tirap district, clusters of the beautiful blue vanda (Vanda Coerulea) adorn the trees. Their large blue - violet blooms are delicately veined. The bamboo orchid, Arundina Graminifolia, a pretty evergreen species attractive pink - purple flowers is common in open sunny areas near Tipi where an Orchid Research Centre boasts of a good collection of orchids.

Species like Dendrobium Gibsonii with its clusters of beautifully formed yellow flowers having centres of rich maroon and Dendrobium Nobile with white and purple flowers can be seen on the trees in the forests along the road from Tipi to Sessa. Sessa, 24 km from Tipi, has an Orchid Sanctuary which abounds in a variety of species including the beautiful white Coelogyne Nitida (which grows on moss covered rocks), the tree borne yellow, Cymbidium Elegans and Dendrobium Chrysanthum (bright yellow flowers with two dark reddish brown blotches in the centre) which present a magnificent sight when in bloom.

Wildlife

Arunachal Pradesh is home to a very rich mammalian wildlife population as the wide variety of altitudinal and 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.

Seven species of primates i.e. Hoolock Gibbon, Slow loris, Assamese macaque, Rhesus macaque, Pigtailed macaque, Stumptaile macaque and Capped langur are found here.

All the three goat antelopes found in India i.e. Serow, Goral and Takin are found here. Arunachal Pradesh is the only place in India where Takin is found.

Among the large mammals, Mittan, which is a cross between the wild Gaur and domestic cattle, buffalo and elephant are all found in the plains and adjoining hills.

The other high altitude animals include Himalayan Black bear, Red panda etc. The Musk deer is found in some areas of the state while the bharal has been reported in the western part of the state.

Among the smaller mammals a large number of rodents(squirrels, porcupine and rats), civet, mongoose, linsang, shrew and bat species are found here.

More than five hundred bird species have been recorded in Arunachal Pradesh, many of which are highly endangered and restricted to this state , e.g. White winged wood duck, sclater monal, temminck's tragopan, Bangal florican etc. This state has the highest number of species of pheasants with some ten species at different altitudinal levels. Arunachal Pradesh is equally rich in reptiles, amphibia and pisces. Pythons and snakes of all colours and descriptions are found in the forests all almost all the levels upto the temperate zone.

The invertebrate faunal communities are found in the dense and evergreen forests of Arunachal Pradesh. Numerous species of butterflies, moths, beetles and all other kinds of small creatures make Arunachal Pradesh a paradise for Entomologists and Naturalists.

Arunachal also has more than 500 rare species of Orchids.

Name of Sanctuary/National Park District Divisional Hq. Area in Sq. Kms. Major animals
WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES
Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary
East Kameng
Seijosa
861.95
Elephant, Tiger, Gaur, Sambar Barking Deer, Binturong, Leopard, four Hornbill species, Pea-cock-Pheasant, Kalij pheasant.
Itanagar Wild life Sanctuary
Papumpare
Naharlagun
140.30
Elephant, Barking Deer, Tiger, Leopard, Serow, Birds, Orchids.
Dr. D. Ering Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary
East Siang
Pasighat
190.00
Honger, Hispid Hore, Bengal florican, Raptors, and migratory water birds.
Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary
Dibang Valley
Roing
281.50
Hoolock Gibbon, Tiger, Leopard, Red panda, Elephant, Tiger, etc.
Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary Lohit Miao 783.00 Hoolock, Gibbon, Tiger,Leopard, Capped Langur, Red panda, Takin.
Eagle Nest Wildlife Sanctuary East Kameng Seijosa 217.00 Elephant, Tiger, Leopard, Sambar, Serow, Goral, Red panda, Himalayan, Black bear.
Kane Wildlife Sanctuary West Siang Along 55.00 Elephant, Small Cats, Deer.
NATIONAL PARKS
Namdhapa National Park (Tiger Project) Tirap Miao 1985.23 Hoolock gibbon, Capped Langur, Red panda, Takin, Musk deer, Tiger, Leopard, Snow-leopard, Clouded leopard, rare birds, etc.
Mouling National Park East Siang Jengging 483.00 Takin, Serow, Goral, Clouded Leopard, Black bear, Leopard, Red panda, Pheasants, etc.
Sessa Orchid Sanctuary West Kameng Tipi 100.00 Varieties of orchids, Red panda, pheasants, Serow, Goral, etc.
Dihang-Debang Biosphere Reserve Dibang Valley - 4149.00 Musk deer, Serow, Takin, Goral, Black bear, Red panda, Leopard, Monal Tragapan, Kalij and other pheasants, rare birds.

Arts & Crafts

Arunachal Pradesh is a land of beautiful handicrafts comprising a wide variety. Artistic craftmanship has been passed on from one generation to the other and sense of aesthetics has been manifested through a variety of crafts such as weaving, painting, pottery, smithy work, basket making etc.

From the viewpoint of the art and culture the state may be very conveniently divided into three zones. The first of these zones includes the Buddhist tribe; the second occupies the central part (from east Kameng in the west to Lohit in the east); and the third zone is the eastern part of the territory.

The people of the first zone make beautiful masks. They periodically stage pantomimes and masked dances. Those of the second zone are expert workers in cane and bamboo. The cane and bamboo industry of the state has made a name for itself. The people of the third zone are famous for their wooden carvings. The Monpa wood carver scoopes out beautiful cups, dishes and fruit bowls and magnificent ceremonial masks for dances and pantomimes. Weaving is the occupation of the womenfolk throughout the territory. They have an excellent sense of colour. The designs are essentially geometric varying from a formal arrangement to lines and bands. Items that could make excellent buys are Sherdukpen shawls, Apatani jackets and scarve, Adi skirts, jackets and bags, Mishmi shawls, blouses and jackets; and Wancho bags. Crafting ornaments is another art widely practised by the Arunachalis. Besides multicoloured beads, feathers of birds and wings of the green beetles are also used as embellishments. The Akas make bamboo bangles and earings which are occassionally decorated with pokerwork designs. Paper making, smithy work, carpentry, pottery and ivory work aare the other crafts practised by the Arunachalis.

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