India Guide

Arunachal Pradesh India Guide to Arunachal Pradesh Tourism

Arunachal Pradesh India Holiday Guide to Arunachal Pradesh Tourism

The Land of Dawn Lit Mountains remains largely unspoilt and unseen because of the difficulty in gaining access to the area which is a shame considering the white tipped mountains that is its backdrop. Covering an area in north eastern India, Arunachal Pradesh shares its border with the Himalaya Ranges that separates it from Tibet to the north, Assam to the south and Bhutan in the west. Its geographical position influences the terrain which in turn influences the climate which strays from alpine, subtropical to temperate climates with the variety of elevation. Encompassing the edge of the Himalayan Mountains, with large valleys and sparse areas of plains, Arunachal has a bit of everything.

Arunachal Pradesh

Although the states history is surrounded by speculation, the mystery is part of what makes Arunachal unique. Many have some wonderful stories of what they believe to be the states history, but many believe that the first ancestors were from pre Buddhist Tibet even though the majority of the communities align most similarly to the Burma area.

History aside, Arunachal Pradesh today is largely an untouched region that is home to more than 25 tribal communities that live mainly within the valleys. In fact the valleys aren’t a bad place to be with flowing streams and pristine rivers curving through the mountains. The tribes live with their own traditions and customs and you can often see these differences while travelling through. You may come across older Apatani women with somewhat ‘strange’ face tattoos so it is good to understand a bit of their history to gain an understanding of why they carry eternal ink on their faces. In the past, a neighbouring tribe of the Apatani people used to frequently kidnap their women, so to prevent this from continuing, they purposefully defaced their women with sometimes hideous tattoos (more like graffiti) and nose plugs to put off their captures. So if you ever see older Apatani women with facial tattoos you have seen part of their history.

However it is getting into this state that poses the most difficulty. The borders are heavily guarded by the military and special passes need to be obtained by tourists to even get a glimpse of the scenic beauty that lies within. These passes are strict and often very expensive, hence the dwindling tourism. Unfortunately the money coming from these “restricted area permits” and the tourism revenue that follows does not end up into the hands of the people but rather into the hands and deep pockets of the government officials. This failure to hold these officials accountable has meant the state has suffered enormously with its dwindling economy and crumbling infrastructure. The 2009 elections saw the leading candidates exposed as having exuberant amounts of money (racking up to the millions in US dollars) while the people of the state only earn around one or two dollars a day. This corruption is presumed to be one of the worst in the whole of India.

Never the less, the economy that exists, orbits around agriculture and increasingly hydroelectric power. Agriculture is the main economy driver currently with most people working in the sector; however there have been increases in the production potential of hydro power and with 42 extra schemes proposed by the government, this could potentially gain momentum and have more of an influence on their economy. Though if the government corruption is sustained then this may have little effect on the people of Arunachal Pradesh unfortunately.

If you do manage to acquire a permit for the state, there are some amazing sights you must try and see. A trip through the Namdapha National Park must be high on the list as it is the one park in the world that spans over an area that envelops the altitude ranges of 200 to 4500m while it is the home of some of the most magnificent of the cat species including the snow leopard.

The Tawang Valley is also another big attraction. Here you can find the Tawang Gompa that is said to be the second largest of the world’s Buddhist monasteries. It is well known for its extensive library amongst the Buddhists of the world. What makes this a magical place its backdrop of stunning snow capped mountains. Also popular in the area is trekking and rafting with the copious mountains and rivers located in the area.

Similarly the festivals provide a major attraction. Festivals are a major part of life for the Arunachal Pradesh people and tribes, and because agriculture is also so important, the two are often connected. Many festivals are to thank the Gods and prayer to encourage bumper crops for the upcoming season. With so many festivals including Solung, Boori Boot, Mopin and Losar, it won’t be hard to plan your travels to coincide with experiencing one of the festivals.

Lilabari is Arunachal Pradesh’s closest airport so getting to the area is no problem. There are a variety of accommodation options to suit every traveller from economy options through to the deluxe stays. So whatever your situation, you can be sure to have a great time.