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Arunachal Pradesh - Geography

Arunachal Pradesh is the largest state in the northeast in terms of area (32,000 square miles) and it borders China, Burma and Bhutan as well as the Indian states of Assam and Nagaland. With a little over one million inhabitants, the density of population (31 per square mile) is the lowest among all Indian states. More than 80 percent of Arunachal's land area is covered with forest and parts of the state remain unexplored. It has limited transport and communication infrastructure. With few highways, helicopter services or footpaths are the main transportation lifelines.

Arunachal Pradesh is 96 per cent hill terrain and, it is the hills which have acted as the natural boundaries for the different communities that inhabit Arunachal. Much of the land is forested and the landscape and forests vary from the western end of the State to the east and with changing altitude. There are alpine forests, temperate and subtropical forests, and semi-evergreen forests. The temperate forests are mainly conifer, larch, juniper and spruce. Temperate bamboos form shrubby undergrowth in many places and the broad- leaved forests include magnolia, oak, rhododendron, chestnut, sal, teak, and poplar. There are wetlands, where the rivers meet the Brahmaputra, and grasslands in the mountains as well as riverine grasslands.

Arunachal Pradesh, "the land of the dawn-lit-mountains", is one of the last unspoilt wildernesses now under Indian colonial occupation. It is situated north of Assam extending eastwards from the high Himalaya near Bhutan towards Burma, with the mountains of Tibet away to the north. Scarcely any roads penetrate this vast state, formerly known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA), whose new capital, Itanagar, is just across the border from Assam. Entering Arunachal, the road to Tawang runs through rugged hills, engulfed by virgin forests, with silver ribbons of rivers far below; a complete contrast to the denuded paddy bowls of Assam, though most of the Himalayan foothills must once have looked like this.

The big attraction is the state's dazzling array of flora and fauna, in a habitat that combines glacial terrain, alpine meadows and sub-tropical rainforests. Namdapha National Park, in the northeast, is home to the rare Hoolock gibbon; other animals include the legendary snow leopard, tigers, musk deer, bears, panda and elephant, while Arunachal also abounds in bamboo and cherishes over 500 species of orchids.

The town of Itanagar, just under 400 km northeast of Guwahati, has been developed as the capital of the state largely because of its convenient location, and holds little to interest visitors. It is built on a saddle overlooked by two hills, one occupied by the Governor's house and the other by a new Buddhist temple; new lightweight earthquake-proof houses mingle with older traditional structures, a market and offices. Facilities are shared with its twin town, Naharlagun, 10km away in the Assam Valley.

Consecrated by the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist temple reflects the extensive Tibetan influence in this frontier land, and provides good views of Itanagar and the surrounding countryside. An extensive ethnographic collection devoted to local tribes in the Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum includes wood carvings, musical instruments, textiles, handicrafts and archeological finds, while a workshop in the Handicrafts Centre specializes in traditional cane manufacture. The adjacent salesroom sells tribal handicrafts. The emerald Gyaker Sinyi (Ganga Lake), 6km away, is surrounded by primeval vegetation, providing a small taste of the magnificent forests of the state.

Bihar Bihar Map Arunachal Pradesh Map Arunachal Pradesh Map Arunachal Pradesh Map Arunachal Pradesh Map Arunachal Pradesh Map

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 14:49:22 ZULU