Arunachal Pradesh is the easternmost state of India. Arunachal Pradesh borders with the Indian state of Assam to the south and Nagaland to the southeast. Burma/Myanmar lies towards the east, Bhutan towards the west, and its boundary with the People’s Republic of China to the north is disputed and the McMahon Line is not recognized by the Chinese authorities. Itanagar is the capital of the state. Although Arunachal Pradesh is administered as an Indian State, the People’s Republic of China (China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan) claim portions of the state as South Tibet.
Arunachal Pradesh means “land of the dawn lit mountains” in Sanskrit. It is also known as “land of the rising sun” (“pradesh” means “state” or “region”) in reference to its position as the easternmost state of India. Most of the people native to and/or living in Arunachal Pradesh are of Tibeto-Burman origin. A large and increasing number of migrants have reached Arunachal Pradesh from many other parts of India, although no reliable population count of the migrant population has been conducted, and percentage estimates of total population accordingly vary widely. Part of the famous Ledo Burma Road, which was a lifeline to China during World War II, passes through the eastern part of the state.
Much of Arunachal Pradesh is covered by the Himalayas. However, parts of Lohit, Changlang and Tirap are covered by the Patkai hills. Kangto, Nyegi Kangsang, the main Gorichen peak and the Eastern Gorichen peak are some of the highest peaks in this region of the Himalayas.
In 2006 Bumla pass in Tawang was opened to traders for the first time in 44 years. Traders from both sides of the pass were permitted to enter each other’s territories.
The Himalayan ranges that extend up to the eastern Arunachal separate it from China. The ranges extend toward Nagaland, and form a boundary between India and Burma in Changlang and Tirap district, acting as a natural barrier called Patkai Bum Hills. They are low mountains compared to the Greater Himalayas.
The climate of Arunachal Pradesh varies with elevation. Areas that are at a very high elevation in the Upper Himalayas close to the Tibetan border enjoy an alpine or Tundra climate. Below the Upper Himalayas are the Middle Himalayas, where people experience a temperate climate. Areas at the sub-Himalayan and sea-level elevation generally experience humid, sub-tropical climate with hot summers and mild winters.
Arunchal Pradesh receives heavy rainfall of 80 to 160 inches (2,000 to 4,100 mm) annually, most of it between May and September. The mountain slopes and hills are covered with alpine, temperate, and subtropical forests of dwarf rhododendron, oak, pine, maple, fir, and juniper; sal (Shorea) and teak are the main economically valuable species.
Various tribes in the state of Arunachal Pradesh have evolved their own individual dialects which distinguish them from other tribes. Some of the most widespread dialects are Nishi, Monpa, Adi, and Dafla. Arunachal Pradesh has over 50 distinct languages and dialects, mostly of the Sino-Tibetan language family. However, Assamese is widely spoken. Recently English and Hindi have also become widely used languages. English is quietly replacing Nefamese (a pidgin of Assamese and the various dialects of Arunachal Pradesh) as the lingua franca of Arunachal Pradesh. Nearly the entire population of the state can understand and converse in Hindi.
The state’s airports are located at Daparjio, Ziro, Along, Tezu and Pasighat. However, owing to the rough terrain, these airports are mostly small and cannot handle many flights. Before being connected by road, they were originally used for the transportation of food.
As a capital city, Itanagar is well connected with the rest of the country by road and air communications. Pawan Hans provides helicopter service between Guwahati and Naharlagun (Itanagar). Deluxe buses are available from Guwahati. The nearest railway station is Harmoti in Assam.
Arunachal Pradesh has two highways: the 336 km (209 mi) National Highway 52, completed in 1998, which connects Jonai with Dirak, and another highway which connects Tezpur in Assam with Tawang. As of 2007, every village has been connected by road thanks to funding provided by the central government. Every small town has its own bus station and daily bus services are available. All places are connected to Assam, which has increased trading activity. An additional National Highway is being constructed following the famous Stillwell Ledo Road, which connects Ledo in Assam to Jairampur in Arunachal.
Arunachal Pradesh attracts tourists from many parts of the world. Tourist attractions include the Namdapha tiger project in Changlang district and Sela lake near Bomdila with its bamboo bridges overhanging the river. Religious places of interest include Malinithan in Lekhabali, Rukhmininagar near Roing (the place where Rukmini, Lord Krishna’s wife in Hindu mythology, is said to have lived), and Parshuram Kund in Lohit district (which is believed to be the lake where Parshuram washed away his sins). Rafting and trekking are common activities. A visitor’s permit from the tourism department is required. Places like Tuting have wonderful, undiscovered scenic beauty.
- Itanagar – the state capital
Largest city Itanagar
Governor Joginder Jaswant Singh (2008-)
Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu (2007-)
Legislature Unicameral (60)
Population 1,091,120 (26th)
Language(s) Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, English, and many local languages.
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area 83,743 km2 (32,333 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 IN-AR