Arunachal Pradesh, the northeastern-most state in India, is here waiting to be explored and experienced. Snow covered Bomdila, Tawang Monastery and Ziro Music Festival comes to mind when we speak of Arunachal Pradesh but it's not just these that defines Arunachal, there's so much more that gives the state its unique side. Be it the wild rivers, deep and impenetrable forests, endemic bird and animal species or over 500 species of orchids, they all make Arunachal Pradesh what it is today–a natural wonderland. And here are reasons why Arunachal should be on your travel bucketlist.
The Forests are Deep
Arunachal Pradesh enjoys diverse topography and climate, due to which, there are lush forests that are home to astonishing varieties of plants, animals, birds and amphibians. Tropical evergreen, semi evergreen, deciduous, pine, temperate, Alpine and grassland, types of forest are spread across the state. The forests are not only home to birds and animals but are also the backbone of the people of Arunachal Pradesh. Consisting of over 4500 species of flowering plants, 35 species of bamboo, 52 species of rhododendron, more than 500 species of orchid, Arunachal is a haven for nature lovers. These are just few of many more that are there but we as travellers don't often think of exploring. All these have contributed in putting India in the list of 17 megadiverse countries in the world. Stirred that desire to explore these verdant forests yet?
The Rivers Wide and Wild
There are four major rivers in Arunachal Pradesh–Siang, Subansiri, Lohit and Kameng–and many tributaries. When in Arunachal, there are two sights one can't miss–forest covered hills and rivers meandering through hills and valleys. They are everywhere and as beautiful as they come. How one can enjoy rivers in Arunachal depends completely on the topography. While many river banks make for perfect picnic spots, there are some known for their wild nature–perfect for adrenaline junkies. River rafting is big and challenging in Arunachal Pradesh. Subansiri River, the biggest tributary of Brahmaputra, is known for its powerful descent upon entering Arunachal Pradesh. Siang and Subansiri rivers have Grade 3 and 4 rapids, whereas, Lohit has Grade 4 and 5. It goes without saying that the waters in Arunachal are not for the fainthearted. Kameng River is perfect for kayakers.
Whether we start with 500 species of orchids or 4500 species of flowering plants, we know where this is going. We may as well call Arunachal a flowery paradise. Arunachal is also called Orchid State of India, and rightfully so (state flower is foxtail orchid). Driving through the state one will find varieties of wild orchids, which in itself is a fine thing to see and experience. But if you want to really get into the heart of orchid paradise, the Orchidorium at Tippi, orchid sanctuaries in Sessa and Dirang in West Kameng are places of interest.
Call of the Wild
Arunachal Pradesh is home to some of the finest wildlife sanctuaries (WLS) and national parks (NP) in India. The state's two national parks–Mouling NP and Namdapha NP–and wildlife sanctuaries like Pakhui (Pakke) WLS, Eaglenest WLS, Kane WLS, Dr. D. Ering Memorial WLS, Mehao WLS and Dihang-Debang Biosphere Reserve, are worth a visit. Wildlife conservation is vital in the case of Arunachal Pradesh because it is home to some of the most endangered species of flora and fauna like hornbills, white-winged wood duck, red panda, Gee's golden langur, clouded leopard, among many.