HISTORY OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH
There is a degree of uncertainty about the history of Arunachal Pradesh, as much of its proper ‘History’ becomes available only during the period of the Ahoms, in the 16th century. The Northwestern parts of this area are inhabited by the Monpas,a people of Tibetan descent, but living in the Indian territory of Arunachal Pradesh. They had established the Monpa kingdom of Monyul, which flourished between 500 B.C. and 600 A.D. They kept considerable historical records of their existence, written in their own language. Later this region came under the loose control of Tibet and Bhutan , especially in the Northern areas. The remaining parts of the state, especially bordering Myanmar, were under the Ahoms until the annexation of India by the British in 1858. Arunachal was popularly called North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA) before 1962 and was a part of Assam. Later in 1987 it became a separate state from Assam.
The inhabitants of this area are of tribal origin and have their distinct culture and heritage. The tribes consist of the Daflas, Bangnis, the Monpas and their religion is mainly Buddhism. The Apatanis were the agriculturists. The other main tribe of Arunachal is Adi, previously known as Abor meaning 'those who cannot be controlled' They also called themselves as Adi, with the different meaning of ‘Hill Man’.
A treaty was signed between China, Tibet and Britain in Shimla in 1913-1914, in an attempt to fix the northern boundary, known as the McMahan Line, about 550 miles long, and still in dispute between India and China. Arunachal Pradesh is surrounded by Myanmar on its east, Bhutan on the West ,China on the North and the Northeast. It is the largest State in the North E ast that covers an area of 83,743 sq km, with ever green forest covering more than 82 percent of the state. Average rain fall is about 3000mm per year and the climate varies from the sub- tropical in the south to Alpine in the north. Inhabited by 26 major tribes and a number of sub- tribes. Arunachal has the thinnest population density in India with only 13 persons per sq km. Home to more than 500 varieties of orchids. it is the only state that can claim to have four major varieties of the big cats : the jungle tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and snow leopard.
Tawang (Ta meaning horse and Wang meaning Chosen) is also known by another Tibetan name, Galden Namgey Lhatse, which means a true name within a celestial paradise in a clear night. Tawang is traditionally inhabited by the Monpa, who follow Gelupa Sect of the Mahayana School of Buddhism It is the birth place of the sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyasto. It is known as “The Land of The Lamas”, and is surrounded by ancient Buddhist monasteries and beautiful lakes.
Places of Interest:
Tawang Monastery (Vihar): Tawang Monastery, about 400 years old, is situated at an altitude of approximately 10,000 ft. It is the second largest Buddhist monastery in India. It also holds the distinction of being the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama. The monastery is a house of more than 700 monks. The monastery was founded by Merag Lama Lodre Gyamtso, in 1681, according to the record of the 5th Dalai Lama, Nagwang Lobsang Gyatso. As per the legend, the site of the Monastery was chosen by the horse of Merag Lama. Merag Lama, who had been unable to decide a site to establish the monastery. One day he was praying in cave, seeking a divine guidance. When he came out after the prayers, he found his horse was missing. On search, the horse was located standing quietly on a hilltop. Considering that as the sign of divine blessing he decided to construct the monastery at the very spot. The monastery is also called Galden Namgey Lhatse meaning celestial paradise. There is a magnificent 8 meter high statue of Lord Buddha. The ancient library inside the courtyard has an excellent collection of thangkas, painted with the blood from the nose of 5th Dalai Lamaand valuable Buddhist manuscripts, mainly Kanjur and Tanjur, numbering 850 bundles.
Urqelling Monastery: It is the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama who is the only Indian so far to have risen to such a high position in Gelupka Sect of Buddhism. Inside the monastery there are several Stupas (Vihar) and people from all walks of life visit this place during Buddhist new year to get the blessing for the coming year.
The Craft Center: The craft center in Tawang sells beautiful masks, hand woven carpets, jewellery in silver, coral and amber, ‘chubas’ (the local dress), and many delightful affordable mementos.
Tawang War Memorial: The memorial is dedicated to the martyrs of the 1962 Sino-Indian war. The memorial is 40-foot-high and like a stupa in design. It is locally called ‘Namgyal Chortan’. The names of 2420 martyrs are imprinted in gold on 32 black granite plagues.
Sella Pass: The entry point into the Tawang Valley is Sela pass at an elevation of 13700 ft above the sea level. Legend says that a Monpa woman supported sepoy Jashwant Singh during his battle with the Chinese. She brought sepoy Jashwant supplies and used to heal his wounds. When Jashwant got martyrdom she killed herself as an act of loyalty. The glimpse of Paradise Lake in the Sella Pass on its own would make your visit worth while. Most of the time the lake is covered with thick blanket of snow.
Jaswant Garh: The war memorial is located 14 kms from Sella Pass on the way to Tawang. The memorial pay homage to Jaswant Singh Rawat, Mahavir Chakra Awardee posthumous (the second highest award from the Indian Army). In the famous battle of Nuranang against Chinese in November 1962, Rawat and two other soldiers from 4th Batallion Garhwal Rifles were instrumental in killing 300 Chinese soldiers in 72 hours.
Sangestser Lake: Popularly known as Madhuri Lake, it is located 35 kms away from Tawang near the China Border. The drive to Sangestser Lake is full of excitement and thrill and one can still see the war bunkers that had been used during the Chinses aggression in 1962. We can also see the beautiful PTSO lake
On the way to Tawang , situated at height of 8500 ft (distance from Tezpur 180 kms), Bomdila is a picturesque town in the foothills of Himalayas and the capital of the West Kameng District, in the land of the Monpa, the Sherdukpen, the Aka (Hrusso) and the Miji and Bogun (Khawas) tribes. One can see the brilliant landscape and snow-clad Gorichen ranges of the Himalaya on a clear day. With its apple orchards, Buddhist gomphas and a magnificient view of the Kameng Valley, Bomdila has been called a mini paradise. Bomdila is also an ideal place for nature lovers with several trekking and hiking trails are now opened for the adventure seeker.
Places of interest:
Bomdila Monastery: The monastery has been built under the guidance of Dalai Lama. It is a residence of more than 200 Buddhist monks. From the monastery one can have the breathtaking view of all of Bomdila. The time of prayer is at dawn and dusk, attending which one can attain absolute peace of mind.
Tipi Orchid Sanctury and Research Center: An Orchidarium at Tipi (5 kms from Bhalukpong) on the way to Bomdila is another b otanical paradise. About 300 species of orchids can be seen in the flora – glass house. Some of them are rare and endangered species. By the side of the glass house there is an orchid museum too.
Dirang: Dirang 40 kms from Bomdila is situated at an altitude of 1497 meters. It is an ideal hill resort in West Kameng district with beautiful Apple Nursery, Kiwi Farm, Yak Research Centre, Buddhist Gompa, Hot Water Spring and ancient Dirang Jong (Fort). It is the base camp for trekking to Gorichen peak and to other bird watching trails.
The Capital of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar is situated at the foothills of Himalayas. The name Itanagar is derived from the historical Ita-fort (Ita meaning brick) which dates back between 14th and 16th century. The major tribe in Itanagar is the Nishies. Situated on the top of the hills the city offers a very pleasant climate. The Capital city is being divided into two zones, about 10 kms apart, one of which is known as Naharlagun. Itanagar became the Capital of Arunachal Pradesh on 20th April 1974.
Places to visit:
Ita fort: The historical Itafort situated in the middle of the town. It is a fort of irregular shape built with more than 8 million pieces of brick The fort was built during the Jitari Dynasty which dates back to 1360 to 1550 A.D.
Ganga Lake: Situated in the foothills of the Himalaya, the lake is locally known as Gekar Sinyi (confined water)
One can also visit Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum, Craft Centre, Emporium, Donyi –Polo Centre.
Ziro, a small picturesque town situated at an altitude of 5000 feet with Pine and Bamboo groves, surrounding villages, a craft centre and the high altitude Tarin Fish Farm - an ideal place for relaxation.
Places of interest:
Talley Valley: Talley valley is located 30 Kms away from Ziro. Tale in Apatani dialect is the name of a plant and to many other tribes the word means paradise. The local population grow paddy in terraced fields all over the valley. The Apatanis, the main tribe of this region, grow rice by terrace farming and their indigenous irrigation system is unique amongst the Arunachal tribals. The Apatani village comprises of long rows of houses with a fertility totem in front of each house. They use an indigenous herbal salt that's rice in iodine - quite unique. As a real nature lover, for every tree they fell, five fresh saplings are planted. The Apatani women are very skilled in handicraft and handloom as one can be see from the wonderfull JIKHE pattern, woven jackets and intricately patterned JILANG shawls. The men are expert in metallurgy and bamboo craft.
Mayodia, a unique hill resort situated at an altitude of 7000 feet. It is named after Maya, a Nepali girl who went missing in the snow and could not be traced. It is an ideal trekking destination and paradise for bird watcher as many endangered specis are recorded including the Trogopan. The scenic beauty of the snow clapped Miodia during winter is stunning. Miodia is 56 kms from Roing, the district head-quarters of Lower Dibang Valley.
NAMDAPHA NATIONAL PARK
The unique features of Namdapha derive from the wide range of altitude, from 200 meters to 4500 meters. It is the only National Park in the country four big cats i.e. Tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and snow leopard. The other animals are bison, sambar, barking deer gaur, elephant, Himalayan black bear, takin, the wild goat peculiar to the Patkoi range, musk deer, slow loris and the red Panda etc. Spread over an area of 180,782 hectares it was declared as a National Park in 1972 and in 1983 as a tiger reserve
Guided Trekking & bird watching
Camping inside the park.