About Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh is India's easternmost state and lives up to its name (Arun = dawn, Achal = land) by being the first to meet the rising sun in the country. It borders China on the north, Myanmar on the east and Bhutan on the west. Set in the Eastern Himalayas, the state is covered by hill elevations ranging from 50m to 7000m, the whole cut across by a number of rivers and their valleys. The five major rivers are Kameng, Subansiri, Siang, Lohit and Tirap. There are 61,000 sq km of forests of pine, oak, maple, fir and rhododendron in order to protect which the timber industry has now been banned in the state.
65% of the Arunachali's belong to tribes, mostly of either Tibetan or Thai-Burmese stock with diverse cultures and languages. Some important tribes are the Adi, Nishi, Monpa and Apatani. There are almost equal numbers of aninimists and Hindus, followed by Buddhists and Christians. They practise shifting cultivation, grow crops and fruits, and make bamboo and cane handicrafts.
Border security considerations restricted entry into Arunachal till recently. The state offers less by way of infrastructure but more in terms of unspoilt areas.
Arunachal can best be understood as a western, a central, and an eastern belt. Westernmost Arunachal can be seen as the Bomdila-Tawang circuit (accessible from Tezpur in Assam) covering the 13,700-feet high Sela Pass and Sela Lake. Tawang monastery has been, for almost 400 years, a center of the socio-religious life of the Monpa people and a fortress-like protector of the resident monks. It contains priceless paintings and ancient manuscripts.
Towards central Arunachal, capital Itanagar is the base of the Nishi tribe and is a good point to access picturesque Ziro, home of the Apatani tribe and another scenic location, Pasighat.
On the extreme east is the Tezu-Namdapha circuit (accessible from Dibrugarh in Assam). At 2000 sq km, the Namdapha National Park covers valley heights of 200m and snowy peaks of 4500m. It is the only natural habitat to hold the four big cats: Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Clouded Leopard.