A member of the Seven Sister States of India, Arunachal Pradesh is indeed blessed with treasures that ought to be explored by each traveler. Formerly known as the North-East Frontier Agency, Arunachal is the easternmost of all the Indian states. Tranquil lakes, mesmerizing mountains, remarkable monasteries, and a number of unexplored landscapes, the Orchid State has just got the right mix of all.
If you’re inquisitive about tribal culture and would love to know about the intricacies that weave their diversity together, this state, which is home to over 26 tribes, is yet again the best place to go. Words aren’t truly enough to capture the essence of this gem, but exploring the scenic valleys in the state is sure to please every wanderer. To help you make the most of your trip, here’s our pick of the top 8 things to do in Arunachal Pradesh that will leave you with an experience like none other.
Dotted with lush green paddy fields and scenic landscapes, Ziro is one of the must-visit places in Arunachal Pradesh. The valley is perched at an elevation of over 1,500 meters above sea level and has a number of pine hills and mischievous rivulets. Ziro is also home to the unique Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The cultural practices of this tribe will not only give you a peek into the diversity of the state but also leave you fascinated with the rich culture our country displays. For instance, women of this tribe practice the custom of getting facial tattoos and everyone in the tribe is truly invested in practicing permanent wetland cultivation in the hilly terrains.
One of the best aspects of visiting Ziro is that it offers pleasant weather all throughout the year. And while you can plan a trip here at any time that you may please, the month of September is the most popular choice among people, thanks to the famous Ziro Music Festival. Indie, fusion, funk, and rock, all kinds of music lovers flock to Ziro to witness one of India’s most celebrated music festivals. This festival is considered to boost the tourism of Northeast India. Some other popular tourist attractions in Ziro include the Tarin Fish Farm, Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Meghna Cave Temple, and Siddheshwarnath Temple.
Also Read: 7 Unique Things To Do In Northeast India
Once considered to be a part of Tibet, Arunachal Pradesh is home to a number of Tibetan monasteries that attract visitors from far and wide. These structures display the rich heritage of the state as well as showcase a blend of Indian and Tibetan cultures. Amongst all the monasteries in the state, the ones at Tawang, Bomdila, and Urgelling are some of the most famous ones.
The largest monastery in India and the second-largest in Asia, Tawang Monastery is a must-visit destination for all spiritual seekers. Built as early as 1860, it is also called Galden Namgey Lhatse which translates to “celestial paradise in a clear night”. The monastery is situated at an altitude of almost 3,000 meters and offers an impressive view of the Tawang-Chu Valley.
Another interesting monastery in the state is the Bomdila Monastery. It was built around 1965 and is considered to be a replica of a monastery in South Tibet. Locals also refer to this monastery as Gentse Garden Rabgyel Lling and Mahayana Buddhism is practiced by the people here. The Urgelling Monastery is located just 5 km south of Tawang and is considered to be the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama. Do add a visit to these monasteries not just to learn further about the culture and religion but also to feel a sense of calmness and tranquility.
Also Read: Monasteries In Sikkim
Known for its hot water spring and apple orchard, Dirang is an enchanting town located in the West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh. A walk around this picture-perfect town will give you a glimpse of ancient houses, wildlife, bridges laced with Himalayan flags, and prayer wheels as well. All nature lovers are sure to be blown away by the alluring beauty of Dirang, but this town is also a delight for all trekking and adventure seekers.
Interestingly, this town is often considered a transit destination by travelers wanting to visit Tawang. But if you’re looking for a surreal trekking experience, exploring the Dirang Trek is sure to be worthwhile. One of the most popular trekking routes leads to the Sangti Valley or you can also explore the trail from Dirang Dzong to Napdey Village. The view of the sprawling fields speckled with wildflowers is truly a sight to behold when you successfully complete the trek. A few of the other popular trekking trails for adventure junkies include the Talley Valley Trek, Ziro Trek, Bomdila-Seppa Trek, and the Pasighat-Mariang Trek.
Also Read: Valley Of Flowers Trek In Uttarakhand
Located on the border between the Tawang and West Kameng districts of Arunachal Pradesh, the Sela Pass is a high-altitude mountain pass that boasts of stunning natural beauty. The pass enjoys an elevation of around 4,170 meters and is blessed with a blanket of milky-white snow almost throughout the year. Along with being a popular tourist attraction that is reckoned for its geographical importance, this pass is also considered a sacred place by the Buddhists. It is believed that there are 101 lakes around the pass which add to the charm of this natural wonder.
You can enjoy a tranquil drive through the pass to soak in the beauty around you. One of the most popular attractions of this pass is Sela Lake. Also known as Paradise Lake, this natural wonder transforms into a frozen spectacle during the chilly winter months. The serenity offered by this lake adds to the grace and beauty of the snow-laden pass. Your trip to Arunachal will surely feel incomplete without exploring the artistry of Sela Pass.
Also Read: Treks In Northeast India
One of the most interesting features that make the state of Arunachal Pradesh stand out from the rest is the unique culture and traditions practiced by a variety of tribes here. Each tribe has a unique way of celebrating festivals but singing and dancing are the common elements that connect them all. And not to forget are the unique delicacies you get to taste at these festivals, the best of which is only found in Arunachal.
Relishing the thukpa and rice beer at the Solung Festival in Pasighat is one such unparalleled experience. Celebrated by the Adi tribes in the first week of September, the Solung Festival seeks prosperity and a good harvest for the tribe. The Losar festival at Mechuka is also another unique celebration to witness in the state. This festival is celebrated by the people of the Monpa tribe and is observed to ward off evil spirits and welcome the new year with happiness and prosperity. If you love witnessing the traditions of various cultures and learning more about the tribes, experiencing these local festivals should be among the things you must when visiting Arunachal.
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The Nuranang Falls is yet another picture-perfect place in Arunachal that gives you a chance to explore the spectacular natural wonders. Dropping from a height of around 100 meters above the ground, the silvery streams of this fall are a perfect contrast to the lush greenery around. Also known as the Jung falls and the Bong-Bong Falls, spending some quality time in the tranquil nature of these falls is definitely one of the top things to do in Arunachal Pradesh.
The months from June to November are considered the best time to visit these magnificent falls. It is located close to the Tawang district and there are regular buses that ply between the two destinations. From nature lovers to photography enthusiasts, and anyone who is longing for a serene atmosphere, the Nuranang Falls will surely not disappoint.
Also Read: Experiencing Dhuandhar Falls In Bhedaghat
Sprawling over 1,985 square kilometers, the Namdapha National Park is the third-largest national park in India. Recognized as the largest protected area in the eastern Himalayas, this park is surely a hotspot of biodiversity. From rich flora and fauna to unique species like the red panda, there’s a lot to spot at the Namdapha National Park. Interestingly, the red panda is the only surviving species of the family Ailuridae and is found in only 20 protected areas in the country.
With a number of towering mountains and playful water bodies amidst the jungles, you can enjoy camping, trekking, and even boating at the Namdapha National Park. This Park is located in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh and is open to the public from 8 am to 5 pm on all days. The months from October through March are considered to be the ideal time to experience everything that the Park has to offer.
Also Read: Best National Parks To Visit In India This Summer
Every once in a while, unwinding from the chaos of our stressful life is something that most of us yearn for. A visit to Arunachal not just helps you explore a world away from the cacophony of city life but also lets you connect better with your soul, witnessing the allure of nature around you. One such surreal experience is soaking in the beautiful sunset in Roing. Set near the Dibang River, Roing is a cool and refreshing place that is best experienced with the palettes of the setting sun.
Along with catching a glimpse of the colorful sunset, you can also appreciate the grandeur of nature when boating amidst the lush green forests in Roing. Bhismaknagar Fort, Sally Lake, Mayudia, Rukmini Nati, Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary, and Nijomaghat are some of the popular tourist attractions in Roing. For cultural enthusiasts as well as nature lovers, Roing is nothing less than a treasure trove filled with wonderful surprises.
Also Read: Adventure Activities In India
What Should One Not Miss When One Visits Arunachal Pradesh?
From milky waterfalls cascading through the snow-capped mountains to mesmerizing sunsets that transport you to another world, the picturesque beauty of Arunachal Pradesh will make you fall in love with all parts of the state. While it’s difficult to pick from the best of the lot, Ziro Valley, Tawang, Roing, Pasighat, and Bombila are a few places you definitely shouldn’t miss out on when visiting Arunachal.
What Is Ziro Famous For?
Rolling green hills covered with layers of flora and quaint villages nestled between rice fields are the words you’ll use to describe the beauty of the Ziro Valley. Best known for its paddy fields and pisciculture cultivation, Ziro is home to the unique Apatani tribe. Along with this rich tribal culture and sprawling greenery, Ziro is also famous for a number of tourist attractions including the Tarin Fish Farm and the Meghna Cave Temple.
Not to forget is the Ziro Music Festival, considered to be one of India’s most celebrated music festivals. This 4-day festival is usually organized in the month of September and attracts people from different corners of the world.
What Is Famous Food Of Arunachal Pradesh?
Bamboo shoot, lukter, pika pila, and pehak are some of the best-known delicacies of Arunachal Pradesh. While bamboo shoot is eaten across a number of North Eastern states, lukter and pehak are special Arunachalee side dishes usually eaten with rice and meat, their staple foods. One of the most famous traditional drinks of Arunachal is apong or rice beer in simple terms. Home-made and free of chemicals, this traditional beer is an important part of Arunachal cuisine.
What Is The Coldest Place In Arunachal Pradesh?
Sela Pass located in the Tawang district is considered to be the coldest place in Arunachal Pradesh. Not only in the state, but the Pass situated at an elevation of nearly 4,200 meters is considered to be one of the coldest places in the whole country. The Pass serves as a connection between the city of Tawang and Tezpur and Guwahati. With snow-clad peaks and chilled lakes, the temperatures here can drop down to -10°C in winter.
How Many Days Are Enough For Arunachal Pradesh?
If you plan on visiting a majority of the famous attractions of the state, around 8 to 10 days would be enough to experience the beauty of Arunachal Pradesh. Depending on the routes you take and the activities you plan for your itinerary, you could either increase or decrease the number of days on your trip.
Which Language Is Spoken In Arunachal Pradesh?
Interestingly, English is the official language of Arunachal Pradesh while Hindi is most commonly used to communicate with the locals. What’s even more interesting is the fact that each local tribe in the state has its own dialect or language to communicate in. Some of the most commonly spoken languages in Arunachal include Dafla, Adi Galong, Mishri, Khamti, Monpa, and Aka.
What Permits Are Required In Arunachal Pradesh?
There are two main kinds of permits to be acquired for traveling in Arunachal Pradesh. You can apply for permits in Delhi, Kolkata, and Guwahati.
Inner Line Permit (ILP): Residents of India who wish to visit Arunachal have to acquire this permit before the trip. You can apply for it online and the costs could vary depending on when you want the permit in hand. If you need it on the same day, the cost would be around INR 400 and if you pick it up later, the cost would be around INR 100.
Protected Area Permit (PAP): Valid for 30 days, this permit is required for foreign tourists who intend to visit the state of Arunachal. It costs around $50 and the payment needs to be made in INR at the time of acquiring the permit.
Is Arunachal Pradesh Safe?
Yes, Arunachal Pradesh is considered one of the safest cities in Northeast India. So, you can explore without worrying about any mishappenings.