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Arunachal Pradesh

Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains

Arunachal Pradesh /ˌɑrəˌnɑːtʃəl prəˈdɛʃ/ is one of the 29 states of India. Located in northeast India, it holds the most north-eastern position among the other states in the north-east region of India. Arunachal Pradesh borders the states of Assam andNagaland to the south, and shares international borders with Bhutan in the west, Burma in the east and the country of Tibet in the north. Itanagar is the capital of the state. China claims the northern part of the state as a part of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Name

Arunachal Pradesh, whose name means "land of the dawn-lit mountains", is also known as the Orchid State of India or the Paradise of the Botanists. Geographically, it is the largest among the North-east Indian states commonly known as the Seven Sister States. As in other parts of Northeast India, the people native to the state trace their origins from the Tibeto-Burman people. In recent times, large number of migrants from various parts of India and foreign lands have been affecting the state's population. No reliable population count of the migrant population exists, and the percentage estimating the total actual population accordingly vary. Arunachal Pradesh has the highest number of regional languages in South Asia enriched with diverse culture and traditions.

History

The history of pre-modern Arunachal Pradesh remains shrouded in mystery. Oral histories possessed to this day by many Arunachali tribes of Tibeto-Burman stock are much richer and point unambiguously to a northern origin in modern-day Tibet. Again corroboration remains difficult. From the point of view of material culture it is clear that most indigenous Arunachali groups align with Burma-area hill tribals, a fact that could either be explainable in terms of a northern Burmese origin or from westward cultural diffusion. From the same perspective the most unusual Arunachali group by far is the Puroik/Sulung, whose traditional staple food is called "tasey" or "taase" made from sago palm and whose primary traditional productive strategy is foraging. While speculatively considered a Tibeto-Burman population, the uniqueness of Puroik culture and language may well represent a tenuous reflection of a distant and all but unknown pre-Tibeto-Burman, Tai and Indo-Aryan past.

According to the Arunachal Pradesh government, the Hindu texts Kalika Purana and Mahabharata mention the region as the Prabhu Mountains of the Puranas, and where sage Parashuram washed away sins, the sage Vyasa meditated, King Bhishmakafounded his kingdom, and Lord Krishna married his consort Rukmini.

Recorded history from an outside perspective only became available in the Ahom and Sutiya chronicles. The Monpa andSherdukpen do keep historical records of the existence of local chiefdoms in the northwest as well. Northwestern parts of this area came under the control of the Monpa kingdom of Monyul, which flourished between 500 B.C. and 600 A.D. This region then came under the loose control of Tibet and Bhutan, especially in the Northern areas. The remaining parts of the state, especially those bordering Myanmar, were under the control of the Sutiya Kings until the Ahom-Sutiya battle in the 16th century. The Ahoms held the areas until the annexation of India by the British in 1858. However, most Arunachali tribes remained in practice largely autonomous up until Indian independence and the formalisation of indigenous administration in 1947.

Recent excavations of ruins of Hindu temples such as the 14th century Malinithan at the foot of the Siang hills in West Siang were build during the Sutiya reign. Another notable heritage site, Bhismaknagar, has led to suggestions that the Idu (Mishmi) had an advanced culture and administration in pre-historical times. Again, however, no evidence directly associates Bhismaknagar with this or any other known culture but the Sutiya rulers held the areas around Bhismaknagar from the 12th to 16th century. The third heritage site, the 400-year-old Tawang Monastery in the extreme north-west of the state, provides some historical evidence of the Buddhist tribal people. The sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso was born in Tawang. Major tribe of Nyishi,Apatani, Galo, Adi, Monpa, Mishmi, Shingpo, Khamti, Serdukpen,

Entry Formalities

Indian tourists
Visiting Arunachal Pradesh require an Inner Line Permit. All places are open to domestic tourists except those of defense importance. Permits take approximately three weeks to be issued so you need to plan in advance. Contacts below:
1. Resident Commissioner, Arunachal Bhawan, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi: 110001 Tel: 91-11-23013956
2. The Liaison Officer, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, 4B Chowringhee Place, Kolkata: 700013 Tel: 91-33-2486500
3. The Liaison Officer, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, R.G.Baruah Road, Guwahati, Assam: 781021 Tel: 91-361-26544.

All visitors to India are required to carry a passport valid at least for the next 6 months. Visa exemptions include:
1. Bhutanese and Nepalese visitors who are staying for less than 3 months,
2. Nationals from the Maldives, if they are staying for a maximum of 90 days (this includes any periods they may have spent in India up to 6 months prior to the visit in question),
3. Transit passengers who have a follow-on ticket within 72 hours of arrival as long as they are not going to leave the airport.

Foreign tourists
intending to visit Arunachal need clearance from the Home Ministry and a Restricted Area Permit. A Permit takes approximately three weeks to be issued so you need advance planning.
The Permit is valid for 10 days. Minimum of four must travel together on a tour arranged through an approved travel agent.
Passport and Visa number, validity, nationality, purpose of visit, period you intend to stay in Arunachal have to be stated in the application form for the Permit. You need 2 passport-size photographs.
Foreign tourists are allowed to visit Itanagar, Ziro, Along, Pasighat, Miao, Namdapha, Tipi and Bhalukpong. Permits may be applied for at any overseas Indian consular office or at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi 110003.
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