Arunachal Pradesh - the "Land of dawn-lit mountains", erstwhile North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), is situated at the north-east extremity of the country. Geographically, Arunachal Pradesh lies between 26°28" to 29°30" N latitudes and 91"30" to 97”30" E longitudes with the total area of 83,743 sq. km. It is bounded by Bhutan to the west (160 km), China to the north and north-east (1,080 km) and Myanmar to the east (440 km). It shares inter-state boundary with Nagaland in the east and south-east and Assam in the south.
The past knowledge about Arunachal Pradesh and its people is known mainly through oral literature and a number of historical ruins found mainly in the foothills. Legend has it that the sage Parashuram atoned for his sin, sage Vyasa meditated, King Bhismaka founded his kingdom and Lord Krishna married his consort Rukmini in this region. This place is believed to be the Prabhu Mountains, as mentioned in the Puranas. As such, many believe that the earliest citations about the origin of Arunachal Pradesh are found in the epics of Mahabharata, Ramayana and other Vedic legends.
The widely scattered archeological remains - Itafort, Malinithan, Bhishmaknagar, Rukmininagar, Bhalukpung, Nakshaparvat, Parsi-Parlo, etc. found at different places in Arunachal Pradesh bear testimony to its rich cultural heritage and linkages with the rest of the country. During the medieval period, a number of Buddhist monuments of Mahayana tradition were constructed at Tawang, Dirang, Kalaktang and Mechuka. The Tawang Monastery of 1681 A.D. is the largest and most celebrated Buddhist monastery of the State.
As per 2011 Census, Arunachal Pradesh has a total population of 13, 83,727 persons of which 7,13,912 are male and 6,69,815 are female. The literacy rate is 65.38%. The scheduled tribe population accounts for 64.22 per cent of the total population, as against 88.50 per cent in 1961.
Arunachal Pradesh records an enormous increase of percentage of urban population over the years. In 1971 the percentage of urban population to total population was 3.70%, 6.56% in 1981, 12.80% in 1991, 20.75% in 2001 and 22.94% in 2011. Prior to 1971 Census, no place of Arunachal was accorded the status of an urban area. There are 29 urban centers at present, which are towns by census norms.
Arunachal Pradesh is basically an agricultural state. About 68 per cent of the total working population is engaged in agricultural and other related activities. With very few exceptions, they practice `jhum' (shifting cultivation) on the hill slopes, the practice that is rooted in their culture and tradition. The secondary sector accounts for 6.66 per cent of the total working population. Total rice production in 2014-15 is 28,5000 MT. About one fourth of the total workforce i.e. 23.90 per cent is engaged in tertiary sector.
Forests play significant role in the ecology, economy and socio-cultural life of the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. It is the primary source of natural wealth of the state. Forest covers accounts for 80.99 per cent of total area of the territory spreading over 51,540 sq.
The Lamaistic tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. Culturally similar to them are Membas and Khambas who live in the high mountains along the northern borders of Upper Siang and West Siang. The Khamptis and the Singphos, inhabiting the eastern part of the state ,are Buddhists of Hinayana sect. They are said to have migrated from Thailand and Burma long ago. The Zakhrings of the Lohit Valley are influenced by Buddhism of Mahayana sect. They have migrated from Zeyus in Tibet. They are characterized by their expertise of carpet making, weaving, dancing, painting, mask -making and elaborate dresses.
The second group consists of the Nyishis, the Apatanis, the Adis, the Mishmis, the Tagins, the Mijis, the Akas, the Sulungs (Puroik) and the Khowas. The religion of this group can be termed as animistic-naturalistic. They worship natural objects and ancestors. The Tani group of people - the Apatanis, the Nyishis, the Adis, the Galos and the Tagins worship Sun (Donyi) and Moon (Polo). These tribes are excellent in weaving and fine works of cane and bamboo.
The third group comprises the Noctes, the Tangsas, and the Wanchoos of Tirap and Changlang districts. These tribes are known for their masculine dances, and art of woodcarving. They have been known for their association with the practice of headhunting and their contacts with Burmese tribes.
The festivals, marked by elaborate rituals and dances, form an essential element of the socio-cultural life of the people. Some of the important festivals are Mopin of the Galos, Solung of the Adis, Losar of the Monpas, Dree of the Apatanis, Si-Donyi of the Tagins, Nyokum of Nyishis and Reh of the Idu Mishmis.
All the languages of the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh except Khamtis belong to "Tibeto-Burman family". The Khampti language belongs to Tai group of the Chinese Siamese family. English is the official language of the state. Hindi and Assamese serve as the lingua franca in absence of a commonly accepted language for all the tribes.
BHISMAKNAGAR, in Lower Dibang Valley was once a stronghold of Chutiyas (12-16 Century AD). Excavations of ruins of ancient fort have revealed the high standard of civilization that once prevailed there.
MALINITHAN, near Likabali in West Siang district is a site of rich granite sculptures belonging to 14-15 century AD, the more important being Indra on Airavata, Surya on Chariot and the huge Nandi bull. The temple dedicated to Goddess Durga at Malinithan is built on the classical tradition of Orissa.
According to the local legend associated with the place, Lord Krishna carried away Rukmini the daughter of King Bhismaka, on the eve of her marriage with Shishupal. Krishna and Rukmini were welcomed here by Parvati with garlands. Parvati thus acquired the name Malini and the place Malinithan.
PARASHURAM KUND, in the lower reaches of Lohit river is the legendary place where Sage Parashuram atoned for his sins. It is a place of pilgrimage and on Makara Sankranti day people in large numbers come to have a holy dip in the Kund.
ITANAGAR, located at an altitude of about 1,700 ft. above sea level between 93° east longitude and 27° north latitude. The Capital which houses the Raj Bhawan (the official residence of the Governor) has also other worth visiting places in and around Itanagar. These include the legendary Ganga lake (Gyekar Sinyi), Zoological Park (Chimpu), Buddhist Gompa, Donyi-Polo Vidya Bhawan a Premier Public School, North-Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology (Nirjuli), Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum (Itanagar), Rajiv Gandhi University (Doimukh), government piggery and poultry farm (Nirjuli), and Government Fish Farm Emchi (Doimukh). Itafort (built in 14th-15th century AD), the famous archaeological site after which Itanagar is named is also located here.
TAWANG, apart from being the headquarters of Tawang district, is the abode of the 400 years old Monastery of Mahayana Buddhist. Located at an altitude of 10,200 ft above sea level, the Monastery is even today the focal point of spiritual life of the Buddhists of the region and still houses more than 500 Lamas. It consists of a huge complex with 65 residential buildings and a main temple structure. It is also the second largest monastery of Asia. Apart from Tawang monastery itself the area has number of other temples and is the birth place of the VIth Dalai Lama.
BOMDILA, the headquarters of West Kameng district located at the height of 8500 ft, has a lot of attractions for the tourists with its cool climate, apple orchards, artistic people, snow-capped Himalayan peaks and Buddhist Gompas.
This place has a tourist lodge, a craft centre displaying local crafts and a shopping centre where the visitor gets his first feel of the local version of Himalayan Buddhist life. 0 Local site-seeing to Dirang valley and the famous Sela Pass (13,700 ft above sea level) are thrilling experience for visitors on way to Tawang. The Orchid Research and Development Station and the orchidorium at Tippi and two other orchid conservation sanctuaries located pat Sessa and Dirang are worth seeing.
ZIRO, the headquarters of Lower Subansiri district at an altitude above 5000 ft is a pine-10 clad plateau of scenic grandeur. It is famous for the vast Apatani plateau and its fish-cum-paddy culture. A number of important developmental projects which include high altitude fish-seed farm and Ranganadi Hydel Project (NEEPCO) are located in and around Ziro. It is a five hours drive from the state capital, Itanagar.
AALO, the district headquarters of West Siang district, located on the banks of Siyom river , offers an attractive tourist place. On way to Aalo one can see the historical Malinithan temple, the Legendary Akashi Ganga, a point from which one gets a breathtaking overview of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. Siyum river also provides an excellent fishing ground.
TEZU, the headquarters of Lohit district is a growing town, famous for its scenic beauty. liliThousands of pilgrims visit this place on way to Parashuram Kund, located 45 kms away where every year Parashuram Kund Meta is held in the month of January.
NAM DAPHA, located in Changlang district, is famous for its wildlife national park. There are a large number of tigers and elephants in it and the white winged wood duck, a rare and iiendangered species, has been sheltered in the Park.