Nestled in the shadow of the eastern tip of the Himalayan range, Arunachal Pradesh is a land of steep heights, dense bamboo jungles and deep ravines. A land that literally translates to ‘the land of dawn lit mountains.’ Commonly known as ‘nature’s treasure trove’, it is a land filled with enchanting valleys, snow clad mountain peaks, scintillating rivers, lush green meadows, and exotic species of flora and fauna. Doesn’t it sound wonderful?  … Join in as we explore this mystical land!

From natural scenic beauty, to rich historical heritage and culture, Arunachal Pradesh is a state that finds its mention in ancient literature such as the Mahabharata, Ramayana and other Vedic legends. It is said Parasuram Kund is a place of great sanctity attracting large numbers of pilgrims from all over India for a dip in the Kund during Makar- Sankranti Mela every year. According to legend, Parasuram washed away his sin of killing his mother, in the water of Brahma Kund.

Amongst the principle destinations of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is perhaps one of the most frequently visited and is well known for its 400 year old Buddhist monastery, established by Mera Lama, a monk of the time of the fifth Dalai Lama. Located at the border between India and Bhutan at an altitude of 3500 meters, the monastery contains many age-old scriptures, images, Buddhist scriptures with gold letters, tapestries and books and is often referred to as Gompa or Galden Namgyal Lhatse. The monastery is the second largest Monastery in Asia and is famous for its 28 ft high golden statue of the Buddha.

Located inDibang Valley district, another important destination here is Bhismaknagar, a sacred heritage place of the Idu Mishmis who belong to one of the primitive tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh. A strong hold of the Chutiyas during the 12th-16th centuries, recent excavations has thrown new light on its much earlier antiquities. It is said that Bhismaknagar stands for what is best in the tribal and Aryans way of life.

While the spectacular natural views, apple and kiwi orchards and sheep breeding farms are what surely attract tourists to Dirang, the place is also known for its springs famous for its medicinal value. Devotees from different corners of the India also visit it for a dip into its holy waters.

Miao is the homeland of Tibetan refugees – so get ready to experience Tibetan culture there. Though people speak mostly in Tutsa, Tangsa, Assamese and Singpho, English and Hindi are common languages here. Do look out for good quality carpets which are available here. The mini zoo is a delight for its variety of animals, a must if travelling with kids.

Moving to Itangar, its capital, from the picture perfect Ganga Lake to the panoramic view of the lush green forest adjacent to the lake, Itangar is heavenly in every way! Must visits here include the Buddhist Monastery and the Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum known for its display of archaeological findings, wood carvings, musical instruments, etc.

A must for nature lovers, the famous Kaziranga National Park is located in Bhalukpong of Arunachal Pradesh. A world heritage site by UNESCO, it came into existence in 1940 and is home to the famous one horned rhinoceros that belongs to the prehistoric period. The Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary which is located here is called the green paradise on earth! Apart from the Bengal tiger and great pied horn bill, other wildlife found here includes the sambar, peacock, leopard, binturong, gaurs. This sanctuary also preserves many rare species of birds which include the white winged wood duck. With over 500 varieties of orchids, found in the Tipi Orchidarium can anyone afford to give it a miss?

What can one expect from a place when it’s been referred to as a ‘mini paradise’? This is Bomdila, a place that is exquisite & picture perfect in every way! Popular as a Buddhist pilgrimage center, attractions here include the Orchid Research and Development Center, Ethnographic Museum, craft center and apple orchids.

Other places of interests here include Sessa a natural orchid sanctuary, Sela Pass the world’s second highest motorable pass at 14000 ft, Nurannang home to Coldwater Snow and rainbow Trout Fish Hatchery where one can enjoy fishing in the chilly waters, Talley Valley a rich habitat of many unique and endangered plants and wildlife, the Shivling at Kardo Hills, one of the largest shivalinga measuring 25 ft in height and 22 ft in circumference, Menga Cave a natural cave dedicated to Lord Shiva and last but not the least is Malinithan, known for its temple ruins and valuable sculptures associated with the mythological legend of Lord Krishna.

Arunachal Pradesh s not just a favorite amongst nature lovers but also wildlife enthusiasts! With over a dozen sanctuaries and as many as 25 different taxonomic groups of mammals found here, wildlife here can be summed up as ‘absolutely amazing’! Some of the exotic wildlife found here include the Tiger, Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard, leopard cat, golden cat, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Ghoral, Temmincks Tragopan, Sclater’s Monal, White Winged Wood Duck, Mishmi Wren, Bengal Florican and many more dazzling species.

Arunachal Pradesh also provides a wonderful platform for meditation and worship. While pilgrimage centers here mainly uphold the Buddhist culture, a few Hindu pilgrimage centers like Parashuram Kund, Malinithan, Akashiganga are also found here.

If you would like to know more about the history of the place, must visits here include the Nehru Memorial Museum, Ita Fort and the Bhishmaknagar Fort. The Ita Fort is one of the most important historical sites built as early as the 14th or the 15th century. Archaeological evidences of the Bhiskmaknagar Fort date back to the 4th century AD.  Excavations here are very valuable as they represent some of the earliest examples of intermingling between the tribal people of the place and the Aryans. A major center of the Chutiya dynasty from 12th century AD to 16th century AD, the Bhiskmaknagar Fort is mainly constructed with bricks made of clay and exhibits some fascinating specimens of pottery.

Adding to the excitement, are the amazing adventure sports associated with the place! From trekking, river rafting, fishing, angling, archery, boating, camping, biking and golfing… adventure lovers this place has it all – from some of the best forest trekking opportunities in entire India to colorful varieties of trout!

Shopaholics please note the tribes here are traditionally skilled at aesthetic craftsmanship and the same manifests through weaving, painting, pottery and  wood works. Looking for exquisite souvenirs for family and friends?  From cups, dishes and fruit bowls scooped out of local Monpa wood to  Sherdukpen shawls, Apatani Jackets, Mishmi shawls, Wancho bags or even baskets and masks made of bamboo and cane …find it all here.

A place that can be described as nothing short of heavenly! Visit it to revel in nature in its full splendor!

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