February 4, 2023 2:27 pm

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Exploring Arunachal, The Land of the Rising Sun

With the Trans Arunachal Drive (TAD), Arunachal Pradesh has opened up new areas for exploration, and people are particularly keen to travel to what was once the least visited region of India.

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Being the easternmost state of India that is closely connected to Mother Nature, Arunachal Pradesh is a part of the larger northeast known for its incredible landscape, diverse culture and heritage that offers a colourful representation of its people and lifestyle. The state is home to more than 26 tribal communities and over 100 sub-tribes, making it an exclusive hub of cultural vitality. The Mahabharata and the Kalika Purana both refer to Arunachal with great reverence. The Lohit District is claimed to be where Maharshi Vyasa meditated, Sage Parshurama atoned for his sins, and Lord Krishna married Rukmini.

Various indigenous populations represent three distinct cultural groups in Arunachal Pradesh. First among these are Monpas and Sherdukpen of Tawang and West Kameng districts who practise Mahayana Buddhism. The second group consists of people who worship the Sun and Moon God, including Apatanis, Adis, Galos, Tagins, and others. The third group, which includes the Noctes, Wanchos, and Khampti, follow Vaishnavism and Buddhism and are governed by hereditary chiefs. The majority of Arunachalis are animists who worship nature. They have faith in an all-powerful deity who is both omniscient and omnipresent and fair and kind.

Arunachal Pradesh, often known as the “Land of Dawn-lit Mountains,” is the most isolated state in India and the first Indian land to welcome the rising sun. Additionally, it is claimed that Arunachal’s deep woods are home to more than 500 rare varieties of orchids. Colourful festivals are the heart of Arunachal’s cultural lifestyle. People commonly celebrate festivals as a gesture of gratitude to the Almighty for bringing them a good harvest because agriculture is the main source of income in this area. The artistic prowess of the various tribes is also showcased during these festivities. Since ancient times, the people of this state have become experts at collecting two crops of fish along with each crop of paddy. Some of the harvest festivals are Myoko by Apatanis and Podi-Barbi by Adis, Tam-la-du by Miju and Digaru Mishmis Boori-Boot by Hills Miris etc. 

In Arunachal Pradesh, the village serves as the core of community life. To preserve social order, every village has a council that operates on the rules of custom. Building the local histories of many tribe groups using and analysing the accessible oral literature has laid a route for many tourists in modern times. The people of Arunachal who work on development, transportation and communication, social inclusion and state representation are often multilingual. Due to linguistic diversity, English has become both the official language of administration and the primary language of instruction in schools

Arunachal is yet to be fully explored. For tourists and adventurers, the remote locations, in particular, provide such singular and breath-taking experiences. Countless innovative tourist destinations have emerged due to the newly finished Trans-Arunachal Drive (TAD). From the valleys to the highlands, the TAD travelled a total of 2000 kilometres throughout Arunachal, discovering numerous new locations, and passing through various untouched and well-known tourist attractions. The Arunachal Tourism Board organised the drive with the objective of promoting Arunachal as one of India’s top driving destinations. This places Arunachal in an extremely good place on the tourism map of India. The approach is also beneficial for rural tourism as Homestays will become a significant component of travel because there won’t be any luxurious hotels in such remote areas.

Since Arunachal Pradesh is a restricted area, every domestic visitor who wishes to visit Arunachal Pradesh must first get an Inner Line Permit (ILP). For tourists, receiving a permit is standard procedure. The Issuing Authorities of the Government of Arunachal Pradesh are tasked with issuing ILPs.  

“Tourism will bring many jobs and can help develop other industries that will employ our youth. I also want more people like you to come to Arunachal and tell the rest of India about our state. With new airports and air services, I believe more tourists will come to Arunachal and discover our state. But at the same time, we must encourage environment-friendly tourism and develop proper waste management,” stated Chief Minister Prema Khandu, who was also concerned about the dichotomy of encouraging tourism and letting the state keep some of its unadulterated, natural beauty. “I want to see the people here prosper, and tourism is the answer, but at the same time, seeing every scenic spot full of plastic waste is heartbreaking. We must ensure that places like Dirang and Tawang do not become the next Manali or Mussoorie,” said Cindy Khrime, an international snowboard instructor and member of the Monyul tribe of the Tenga Valley. 

However, the Central government has put in efforts to boost the potential of Arunachal Pradesh as a tourist hub with the recent drive. 

Highlighting the success of the Trans-Arunachal Drive, Amit Shah tweeted sometime in May that “Modi govt has strengthened the connectivity in the entire northeast, which was one of the region’s biggest problems before 2014. Soon, Arunachal Pradesh is going to get its airport. Also, tourists from all over the country will be able to visit Parshuram Kund by train.” 

Rima, Lishu, Bomjir, Geku, Maryang, Kambu, and Gori are just a few of the areas that the TAD helped put on the map as some of the best places for driving and road trips. The area is home to places like Tawang, Itanagar, Mishmi Hills, and more that have been luring many out-of-state visitors who come here in search of nature. 

Given the growing demand for travel to the North East, the state could become a popular tourist destination in the coming years. Many people have been travelling to Arunachal to see some of the picturesque landscapes. This recently completed drive has revealed more of the scenic locations of this state, which has been bestowed with enormous beauty.

TIA Fellow
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