A view of the Tawang monastery.
Arunachal Pradesh is in the northwest of India, with Itanagar as its capital city. It is the most eastern state in India, which has earned it the Sanskrit name for “land of the dawn-lit mountains” or “land of the rising sun”. It is surrounded by Assam, Nagaland, Burma, Bhutan and Tibet. In fact, most of this state actually belongs to China as part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Likewise, most of the members of its population have their roots in Tibet or Burma.
Although there is no agreed upon history for Arunachal Pradesh, it is generally accepted that tribes migrated from Tibet at least 2500 years ago. This was before Tibet was a Buddhist country. These migrating tribes were then met by other travellers from Tibet, Burma and further East before settling in the area today known as Arunachal Pradesh. The Mahabharata and Ramayana are just two of several Vedic legends that refer to the existence of this area and the migration of these people into it.
These are some of the earliest writings in existence. However, this is a land of oral traditions; and stories were carried down from one generation to the next via word-of-mouth. While these tales have provided many clues regarding the inhabitants and tribes of ancient India, they are not always reliable as they become exaggerated, changed and twisted according to the storyteller, his audience and the context in which they are living. Formally recorded history only became available during the 1500’s in the form of the Ahom chronicles. These chronicles told of how the chiefdoms changed over time. The Monpa Kingdom ruled between 500 BCE (Before our Common Era) and 600 CE (Common Era). After that, the Tibet and Bhutan powers took over the area. When the British officially took control in 1858, the area naturally became theirs to rule, despite the fact that most tribes in the area
A view of the Tawang monastery. remained autonomous. In 1913, representatives from China, Tibet and India got together to agree upon the borders to be established. It was at this time that most of Arunachal Pradesh came to be part of the People’s Republic of China’s land (after much negotiation and disagreement). The rest of India gained independence from British rule in 1947.
Arunachal Pradesh is characterised by its particularly mountainous terrain as it is home to a large portion of the Himalayan Mountain Range as well as the Patkai hills. In addition, semi-evergreen forests, conifers and alpine shrubs create a particularly beautiful environment in which to savour India. Because of the different levels of elevation in this state, the climate can vary considerably. High areas are cold and dry, while low-lying areas are sub-tropical – moist and hot.
Each of Arunachal Pradesh’s 16 districts has its own District Collector, who is responsible for the needs of his area. Some of the districts include East Kameng, Lohit, Lower Dibang Valley, Tawang, Upper Siang and West Kameng.
The state of Arunachal Pradesh is sustained by the agricultural industry. Its main crops include rice, sugarcane, ginger, various pulses, wheat, maize and oilseeds, as well as fruit orchards.
This area does not use tourism as a source of income. Many areas are restricted or protected, limiting accessibility for those coming to India to explore its natural and cultural abundance. It is also a rather expensive state, despite its population remaining very poor. However, for those that do make it to Arunachal Pradesh, some popular must-sees are the Tawang Monastery, the Namdapha Tiger Project in Changlang, Sela Lake, Lekhabali and Parshuram Kund in Lohit.
Tourism web site: http://www.arunachaltourism.com
Goverment web site: http://arunachalpradesh.gov.in/