Arunchal Pradesh, one of the most sparsely populated states of India, borders China, Bhutan and Myanmar. There are five major rivers – Kameng, Subansiri, Siang (later the Brahmaputra in Assam), Lohit and Tirap and the mountation ranges follow the river systems. Arunachal Pradesh, 'the land of the dawn lit mountains', is one of the most pristine areas in India. Home to a complex mix of communities, its people are friendly, colourful and simple. The history of Arunachal Pradesh is a virtual treasure trove of myths and fascinating traditions, but the recorded history of this state is available only from the 16th century onwards, when the Ahom kings began to rule Assam. Since 1947, it was a part of the North East Frontier Agency and was later made a Union Territory. Arunachal Pradesh was made a full fledged state on 20th February, 1987.It is a land of lush green forests, deep river valleys and beautiful plateaus. The land is mostly mountainous with the Himalayan range along the northern borders criss-crossed with ranges running north-south. These divide the state into five river valleys: the Kameng, the Subansiri, the Siang, the Lohit and the Tirap. All these are fed by snow from the Himalayas and countless rivers and rivulets.
There are 26 major tribes and a number of sub-tribes inhabiting the area. Most of these communities are ethnically similar, having derived from original Mongoloid stock but their geographical isolation from each other has brought amongst them certain distinctive characteristics in language, dress and customs. Broadly, the entire population may be divided into three cultural groups based on their socio-politico-religious affinities. The Monpas and Sherdak Pens of Tawang and West Kameng districts follow the lamaistic tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. Culturally similar to them are Membas and Khembas who live in the high mountains along the northern borders, Khamptis and 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 and still using ancient scripts derived from their original homeland.
The nearest airport is Lilabari (North Lakhimpur) in Assam, 57 kms from Naharlagun and 67 kms from Itanagar.
The nearest railway station is Harmuty (near Banderdewa check gate) only 23 km from Naharlagun & 33 km from Itanagar.
Road network connects Itanagar with Guwahati (381 km) & other important Cities of India.
Arunachal has 26 major tribes and many sub-tribes living in 3649 scattered villages. Although a number of tribal groups’ constitue the total population, the density of population is very less. People are Mangoloid stock but each tribe has certain distinct characteristics in language, dress & costume. They have a rich cultural heritage. The People are simple, friendly and hospitable. Their colourful festivals are manifestations of their faith and belief.
The society is patriachal and primogeniture and the fundamental laws of inheritance with variations are not uncommon. They follow endogamy and strictly observe the rule of clan exogamy. Polygamy is socially sanctioned and is practiced by most of them. The people are highly democratic, and each tribe has its own organised institutions that maintain law and order, decide disputes and take up all activities for the welfare of the tribes and the villages. The members constituting these organisations are selected by the people.
Arunachal Pradesh is a land of beautiful handicrafts comprising a wide variety. Artistic craftmanship has been passed on from one generation to the other and sense of aesthetics has been manifested through a variety of crafts such as weaving, painting, pottery, smithy work, basket making etc.
From the viewpoint of the art and culture the state may be very conveniently divided into three zones. The first of these zones includes the Buddhist tribe; the second occupies the central part (from east Kameng in the west to Lohit in the east); and the third zone is the eastern part of the territory.
The people of the first zone make beautiful masks. They periodically stage pantomimes and masked dances. They also make exquisite painted wooden vessels and silver articles. Carpet making is a speciality of the Monpas, the Buddhist community. Carpets with exotic designs of dragons, geometric and floral patterns are made here. Carpet weaving has today become a major occupation of the womenfolk and with an increase in demand, production of the carpets is now being undertaken on a large scale.
Wooden Mask those of the second zone are expert workers in cane and bamboo. The cane and bamboo industry of the state has made a name for itself. As a matter of fact most of the domestic requirements are made of these materials. Hats, baskets, canes vessels, cane belts - woven and plain, bamboo mugs and carvings, a wide variety of ornaments and jewellery items are all crafted by workmen. The shawls and jackets, shoulder bags and coats all stand for the perfection that the people have attained in this art.
In Arunachal Pradesh festivals are celebrated throughout theyear... in fact festivals form an essential part of the life of the tribals.Most of the festivals are related to agriculture and celebrated in aritualistic manner. Festivals are celebrated either to thank God for his divineintervention or to pray for a good harvest. Dances form an essential part oftheir festivals and are performed to express their joy of life. Some of theimportant festivals are Mopin and Solung of Adis, Losar of Monpas, Sherdukpensand Boori-Boot of the Hill Miris, Dree of Apatanis, Si-doni of Tagins, Nyokumof Nishis, Reh of Idu Mishmis etc. Animal sacrifice is a habitual ritual in allfestivals.
Solung - Adi festival
Mopin - Adi Festival
Myokoh - Apatani Festival
Losar - Monpa Festival
Jomu - Monpa Festival
Chosker - Monpa Festival
Traveling to Arunachal Pradesh requires a number of entryformalities, which however, should not intend tourists. The formalities aregeneral to visitors entering some of the other seven sister states ofNorth-Eastern India. At the same time government policy has also opted forcertain safety measures to allow for a gradual cultural interaction andinfluence in the state that is comparatively new in the field without hurtingtraditional values and degrading the state's pristine beauty. Any domestictourist coming to Arunachal Pradesh has to obtain an Inner Line Permit.
Foreign Tourists intending to visit Arunachal Pradesh require aRestricted Area Permit. The foreign tourists can obtain the Protected AreaPermit from: All India Missions abroad, All Foreigners Regional RegistrationOfficers (FRROs) at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata Chief Immigration Officers, ChennaiHome Ministry, Govt. of India Home Commissioner, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar.The permit can be obtained for a period of 10 (ten) days for a group consistingof four or more persons. The application giving the details like Name, passportnumber, its issuing authority and the expiry date, place of birth, profession,proposed duration etc.