The Land of the rising sun in India, Arunachal Pradesh is famous for its simplicity and exquisite beauty of the flora and fauna in the deep valleys flanked by highland plateaus and ridges that rise to the peaks of the Great Himalayas. Arunachal lures travellers with the promise of adventurous journeys to remote mountain valleys and encounters with some of its 26 indigenous tribal peoples. A treasure trove of culture, nature’s beauty, rich history and warm people, Arunachal is truly a land that you cannot afford to miss.
Best Time To Visit
The months from October to April are ideal to plan a visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal is located at a high altitude, and so has pleasant weather throughout the year. July to September is the monsoon season in the state when the terrain transforms into a beautiful green paradise, but many tourist attractions may be closed due to heavy rainfall. Although summer happens to be an offseason you can visit refreshing local sites like amazing wildlife reserves, beautiful waterfalls, holistic temples and monasteries and more. Plus, the best holiday deal you can get in Arunachal Pradesh during summers is that one can get great selection of hotel and budget travel deals.
During summers, the maximum temperature recorded in the foothills is 40 degree Celsius. However, the average temperature during winters varies from 15 to 21 degree Celsius. The entire territory forms a complex hill system with varying elevations ranging from 50m in the foot-hills and gradually ascending to about 7,000m, traversed throughout by a number of rivers. Arunachal Pradesh is best to visit during the months of October-March. The higher regions witness snowfall during winter. The snowfall and the alpine climate of Arunachal Pradesh largely draw tourists from the different parts of the world to tour the upper reaches of Arunachal Pradesh.Heterogeneous climate and soil conditions of the state are an advantage. There is a vast area suitable for temperate fruits of both high and low chilling requirements. But the major areas of the state are fit for tropical and subtropical fruits.
How To Reach
Well-connected to Kolkata and Guwahati, Lilabari (North Lakhimpur) Tezpur airport in Assam is the nearest airport, 260 km (around 4hours drive). You can catch direct flights to Kolkata and Guwahati from all prime cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. There is easy availability of taxis and bus services going towards the state.
Around 43 km away (just an hour drive) from the state capital Itanagar, Harmuti train station (Assam) is the nearest train station connecting Arunachal Pradesh to other major cities of India. Further, take bus or hire a taxi for your onward journey towards the state.
The state is easily reachable by road from all prime cities and nearby states. There are sufficient number of inter bus services available from all major towns of Arunachal Pradesh to Meghalaya (around 790 km), Assam (560 km) and Nagaland (456 km).
Best Places To Visit
Tawang captivates you with its scenic beauty, located 10,000 feet above sea level. Tawang has beautiful lakes around it and you will love the view offered by the place. The 400-year-old Tawang monastery is not only one among the oldest but it is named one among the largest Indian monasteries. Among the most important tourist attractions, Tawang proudly cradles are the largest monastery in India and Tawang War Memorial built to commemorate the martyrdom of soldiers who laid down their lives in Sino-Indian war.
Best time to visit: March to June and September-October
Itanagar has various attractions to offer which include Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Ita Fort, The State Museum, Ganga Lake, Polo Park and a lot more. Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary is a sprawling sanctuary that houses various species including langur, antelopes, Himalayan black bear, porcupines, goral and many more. Itanagar is named after Ita fort meaning fort of bricks, built in 14th century AD. The gallery in State Museum has great collections that speak of the rich heritage of the tribes in the state. Ganga Lake offers scenic views with the green forests and orchids. Polo Park is a botanical garden and it soothes your mind.
Best time to visit: October to April
With majestic Himalayas bestowing its shadow, the beautiful town of Bomdila is an absolute delight for tourists. It is a perfect place if you are aiming to have a stunning view of snow clad Himalayan mountain ranges. It is situated 8000 feet above the sea level. Both Buddhist and Hindu temples are to be found here. Some of the other places to be visited include a number apple orchards and The Eagle Nest Wildlife Sanctuary, which is just a little away. The visitors can also indulge into the arts and crafts popular in the area, as well as trekking and hiking complimented by the terrain.
Best time to visit: April to October
Bhalukpung is a small town located along the southern reaches of the Himalayas in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh in India. The town is located at 213m above sea level. The options are many if you seek adventure. You could go hiking, trekking and river rafting. The hills that surround Bhalukpong offer you great opportunity to go trekking. The tiny little hamlet’s inhabitation of various ethnic tribes makes it an anthropologist’s paradise too giving them ample opportunities to have a sneak-peek into these native tribe’s fascinating cultures, lifestyle and traditions. Truly, one of the best kept secrets of the North East India, Bhalukpong is sure to leave anyone and everyone enchanted for their lifetime.
Best time to visit: October to March
Situated at an altitude of 4910 ft above the sea level, Dirang a beautiful hill station comprises of Tribal Mahayana Monapas sharing their traditions and heritage which are similar to Western Bhutan. Sangti Valley, located at 7 km from Diragng is one of the seasonal homes of the majestic creature called the black-necked crane that flies across from China and perhaps Leh, right into its laps. Locally termed as tung tung ka uk by the people. According to locals, the black-necked cranes, migrate in the valley during November and December, feeding and breeding during the winter months and then revert back to their original homes along with their young ones during the months of April and May every year. The other famed tourist spot is the Hot Water Spring, which is also the main attraction for locals, who supposedly take bath in the Hot Springs as its water is said to possess curative properties.
Best time to visit: November to February
6. Sela Pass
Tezpur is the nearest major city to Arunachal Pradesh, the land of natural wonders, and Sela Pass is the connecting point of Arunachal Pradesh to the rest of India. While moving towards Tawang, one has to go over this mystic motorable pass. It is 2244 m high from the sea level and a wonderful trek to be explored by the bikers and other trekking fans. The blue water natural lake, snowcapped mountain peaks and scarce grass coating portray the landscape of this stunning getaway. Strolling on the pass turns pleasing when moving clouds touch you with its freezing feel.
Best time to visit: October to May
Daporijo is one of the unexplored getaways of Arunachal Pradesh. The main attraction of the city is its rich variety of flora and fauna and its ethnic diversity. Calm and cool environ and pleasant weather makes it an ideal retreat for each city dweller. It is located at an elevation of 600 m above the sea level. Daporijo is a small scenic town where one can see suspension bridges over Subansiri River made from bamboo and cane – a testimony of rich tribal craftsmanship. Daporijo is known for its ied ethnicities and culture. It is home to several ethnic groups such as Tagin, Nyishi, Hilmiri and Galo. Different festivals are celebrated by different tribes throughout the year. Daporijo’s rich culture adds to its charm. This beautiful valley is also referred to as a hidden jewel in North-East India.
Best time to visit: December to February
Situated in the Upper Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh, it lies at an elevation of 754 m above sea level and is spread over a small area of 10 sq km. This town is accessible through the railway station of Guwahati, which is situated at a distance of 26.1 km from the place. Less trodden trekking trails, wonderful meadows, fierce rafting levels guarantee adrenaline rush. If you want to get indulged in more trekking, embark on the Yingkiong-Tuting-Tsitapuri trail or the Yingkiong-Tuting-Devakota trail. There are numerous shrines that are located on the route of these trails which will give an insight into the religious importance of the place. For water rafting, Siang River is the ideal place.
Best time to visit: September to December & March to June
Pasighat also known as “Gateway of Arunachal” is located along the Siang River Valleys and the Himalayas. It is the oldest town of Arunachal Pradesh founded in 1911 and makes for a perfect destination to explore the tradition and culture of the people living here. Situated at the eastern foothills of the Himalayas at 155 meters above mean sea level, Pasighat is Arunachal’s oldest town. In case one is up for an unmatched adventurous experience in Pasighat, is sure to have an enthralling time; the ‘Siong River’ serves host for various adventure activities like white water rafting, kayaking, angling and fishing. For wildlife lovers, the town hides in its store ‘Daying Ering Wildlife Sanctuary’, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Pasighat and home to an endless variety of animals and birds, perfect for those looking forward to a thrilling wildlife safari expedition or a captivating bird watching tour.
Best time to visit: October to March
Nestled in the mountains of West Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh, Along is a beautiful town comprised of small villages. It is located near the borders of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on the banks of two rivers Yomgo and Sipu, tributaries of river Siang. It is situated at an altitude of 619 m from the sea level. The scenic beauty of the town and the calm and tranquil valleys of the mountains take you to a never-ending journey of nature. It is also the headquarters of the West Siang district. Along is an ideal tourist destination for trekking, River Rafting and hiking. Along is well known for its cane and bamboo products and some handloom products, like shawls, jackets and bags, made by the tribal people of the region.
11. Nuranang Falls
Nuranang Falls (also known as Jung/Jang Falls or Bong Bong Falls), in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, are located about 6000 ft above sea level and are about 40 kms from Tawang town. Relatively undiscovered by tourists, these are one of the most stunning waterfalls in India. The Nuranang river originates from the Sela pass and before meeting Tawang river it forms into this beautiful waterfall. Take a detour and stop here on your way to Tawang and visit the hydel plant near the base of the falls that generates electricity for the surrounding area.
A small town nestled in the foothills of Himalayas in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, Bhalukpong is known for its breath-taking scenic beauty and serene and tranquil ambience which casts a spell on its every visitor. Home to virgin forests, bubbling brooks and gurgling Kameng River, the place, besides providing for a soul-soothing retreat to all the distressed souls, also makes as an excellent adventure tourist destination offering a scope for plethora of outdoor activities like hiking, trekking, fishing, angling, camping and river rafting. The tiny little hamlet’s inhabitation of various ethnic tribes makes it an anthropologist’s paradise too giving them ample opportunities to have a sneak-peek into these native tribes’ fascinating cultures, lifestyle and traditions. Truly, one of the best kept secrets of the North East India, Bhalukpong is sure to leave anyone and everyone enchanted for their lifetime.
Surrounded by the towering ranges of Eastern Himalayas, blessed with pleasant weather round the year with maybe some light snowfall in the winter months, covered with fruit orchards (kiwi fruit, apple, apricot, orange), dotted with pristine forests and meandering fast hill rivers and home to a very interesting culture and tradition. This valley is not a very popular tourist destination which is another reason for you to visit it if you are seeking a peaceful holiday away from crowds and uproar. The scenic vistas of the towering mountains, gushing river, and green openings will win your heart. The quaint valley houses a variety of flora and fauna in addition.
Changlang District shares international boundary with Myanmar (Burma) and is best known for its bio-diversity and scenic beauty and a unique culture that makes it standout from the nearby areas. Changlang has a subtle uniqueness in its attitude, nature and environment, hinting towards an exotic and distinct identity. What it shares, however with the rest of the state is lush green surroundings, pleasant environment and picturesque sceneries. One can visit the Namdampa National Park and enjoy the natures blessings to the area.
Nestled amidst the serene Mishmi Hills in Arunachal Pradesh, Tezu, basking in nature’s magnificent glory finds its name enlisted amongst the most popular tourism places in North East India. The town’s bewitching scenic beauty sprinkled with gorgeous fruit orchards, pristine lakes and verdant forests, lends it’s an unmatched captivating charm which lures innumerable nature lovers, trekking buffs and wildlife enthusiasts from across the nation. The little hill town is a famous Hindu pilgrimage spot too and is swarmed by uncountable devotees who travel here to absolve their sins and purify their souls by taking a dip in the holy waters of the sacred ‘Parashuram Kund’, one of the most famous tourist attractions of the town. Besides, this exotic hill hamlet has a lot more in its store that can cater to the requirements of every kind of traveller.
Roing is a picturesque town in a valley by the side of the Dibang River. The Lower Dibang Valley District is located in the eastern most part of Arunachal Pradesh. The topography varies from flat to snow peaked mountains. The district is hilly in the north and gentle to plain in the south. The district is criss crossed with numerous streams, rivers and rivulets. You can also trek to some places to catch a colourful sunset or visit the lake to enjoy the boating in the middle of the lush forest and appreciate the natural grandeur. Mayudia, Bhismaknagar Fort, Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mehao Lake, Sally Lake, Nijomaghat, Rukmini Nati, etc. are some of the places you should not miss when you visit this exciting place.
Mechuka also known as Menchukha is a small town nestled 6,000 feet (1,829 m) above sea level in the Mechuka Valley in West Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh, India.The name Men-chu-kha means medicinal water of snow where men is medicine, chu is water and kha is snow. Menchukha is situated in a forested valley, surrounded by pine trees and thornbushes. The river Yargyapchu flows in the valley of Menchukha. Mechuka is 180 kilometres northwest of Along and is only 29 kilometres away from Indo-Tibet border. The nearest airport is Lilabari Airport in Assam. Mechuka Valley is home to the people of the Memba, Ramo, Bokar and Libo tribes. The major tourist attraction here is a 400-year-old Buddhist Monastery, which is located at a hilltop in the westernmost part of Mechuka. Numerous ancient statues can also be found here.
18. Hayuliang Village
Hayuliang is a city located in Anjaw in Arunachal Pradesh. The name of the destination means ‘the place of my liquor’ and is currently a sub-divisional headquarter. Situated at an elevation of around 750 m, Hayuliang offers a beautiful view of the confluence of Lohit River and Dalai River. Also, tourists can visit nearby places like Namdapha, Roing and Dibru-Saikhowa.
Best Things To Do
1. Red Panda spotting in Namdapha National Park.
Namdapha National Park, spread over 1985 sq km of dense forest in far eastern Arunachal Pradesh, is an ecological hot spot with a mind-boggling array of animal and plant species. The Red Panda is the only surviving species of the genus Ailurus and the family Ailuridae, which are a type of bear family. India has about 20 protected areas aimed at conserving the Red Panda population and Namdapha National Park is one of them. Namdapha National Park is renowned as the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalayas, and this hotspot of biodiversity is also the third largest national park in India.
2. Urgelling Gompa
The ancient if modest Urgelling Gompa, a 3km walk below Tawang town, is where the sixth Dalai Lama, a Monpa, was born in 1683. Before he left for Lhasa, it’s said that he stuck his walking stick into the ground just inside the monastery gate and it eventually grew into a giant oak tree. Within the main hall are hand-painted portraits of all the Dalai Lamas, and imprints of the forehead and feet of the sixth Dalai Lama. The gompa is 6km from town if you go by road. Note that it’s often closed, and if the caretaker isn’t around you’ll only be able to enter a small side hall with nine chortens.
3. Trek to Talle Valley
Talle Valley is a beautiful mountain valley in Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh, fondly known as the land of ancient tribes. This easy to moderate level trek spans six days. Besides some of the most breathtaking forest trails that wind through dense forests, mountains, and rivers, the trek brings you a beautiful medley of culture and traditions exclusive to the land of Arunachal. The trail snakes through the Talle Valley Wildlife Sanctuary that stretches over 330 sq.m. and is replete with vibrant floral species and vegetation. At the altitude of 2400 metres, Talley is a plateau with dense forest of silver fir trees, pine clad plateau of beautiful grandeur, and a vast wasteland. The area has some of the most important endangered species including the clouded leopard.
4. Visit the largest district of India, Upper Dibang Valley
Dibang Valley is a district of Arunachal Pradesh named after the Dibang River or the Talon as the Mishmis call it. Although the Dibang Valley district is the largest district in the state with an area of 9,129 square kilometres, it is the least populated district in India. Dibang Valley consists of undulated-rugged mountains with breath-taking green valleys, deep-down gorges, enchanting waterfalls, natural lakes of various dimensions and innumerable meandering rivers and turbulent streams. Several ranges, Pine filled mountains and Hillocks with meandering rivers are ideal spots for tracking, picnicking, angling and paragliding etc. The upper stretches of Mihundo village is a fit place for rock climbing. Mention may be made of the paragliding that was introduced for the first time at Anini on 17th, Jan’ 03 by the parachuting team of 29 Assam Rifles.
5. Ziro Festival of Music
The most happening music festival in the laps of the green valley of Arunachal Pradesh, the Ziro Music Festival is an outdoor music festival that showcases the talent of independent artists in India. This festival brings together the most significant musical talents of India and a diverse audience to witness it. Ziro Music Festival is an amalgam of vibrant culture, music, and art. Initiated in 2012, by Bobby Hano and Menwhopause guitarist Anup Kutty spans over four days and is hosted by the members of the Apatani tribe in Ziro. The festival is organised between the months of September and November every year.
6. Taste Thukpa And Rice Beer At The Solung Festival
The Solung Festival is celebrated for seven days in the months of August and September. The festival begins with a ceremonial sacrifice of the Indian bison or a pig and for the rest of the days, Apong or rice beer is brewed and served fresh along with a large variety of meat delicacies. The festival is one of the best ways to witness the interesting culture of the indigenous tribes who are not represented in the modern world.
7. Attend the Losar Festival at Mechuka
The Mechuka Valley in the West Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh is a hidden gem near the Tibetan border. Guarded by the Indian Army throughout the year, Mechuka is a solitary valley, which can be reached only by the most ardent of travellers. The Mechuka town conserves a beautiful yet austere 400-year-old Buddhist Monastery, which houses ancient Buddhist statues that were carried centuries ago by monks from Tibet. The people of Ramo Tribe are natives of the Mechuka. Accommodations are available at government lodges and homestays that are offered by locals.
8. Go White Water Rafting in Kameng River
River rafting in Arunachal Pradesh is not meant for faint-hearted beginners. The best time to head here for river rafting is after monsoons when the Kameng River is at full force. To reach the rafting spot one has to trek through the hills that make the treacherous gorges of Kameng. It takes four days to just reach the Seppa, from where your rafting begins. Seppa is one of the last places of the Himalayas, where you can see white sand beaches with ancient forests that are maintained to perfection by the tribal people who guard them. All rapids of the Kameng River are Grade 4 and above, meaning you have to have some experience before attempting to float your raft here.
Best Places To Eat
Best Places To Stay
1. Abasa Home-stay, Ziro
The rice bowl of Arunachal Pradesh, Ziro is famous for its beautiful home-stays. Staying with an Apatani (the local tribe of Ziro) and getting a glimpse of their laid back life is quite an experience. The owners of Abasa home-stay have their own farmland where they grow various fruits and vegetables like kiwi, tomatoes and even rice. Visitors are always welcome to give the owners a hand in the kitchen garden. The rooms are cozy, clean and comfortable, albeit a bit smaller. The food is homely and absolutely delicious.
2. David’s Hotel Clover, Aizawl
David’s clover is sort of in-house stay, run by David and his sister Dolly. They make you feel so much at home that you would not need a tourist guide or a shopping guide. The menu of the in-house restaurant mainly focuses on Chinese, but one can always get the local delicacies made, as David and Dolly makes sure that the visitors can get to eat whatever they want to. It is not very luxurious, but the location is central and the ambience welcoming.
3. Dolma Khangsar Guest House, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
On your next visit to this exotic snow clad town of Arunachal Pradesh, make it a point to stay in this beautiful little house. It is in a distance of 2kms from the main town and gives a complete view of the snow covered Tawang valley downhill. It is a family run property, hence not very fancy, but has all the basic amenities like room heaters, running hot and cold water, TVs and parking space.