The picturesque town of Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh’s capital, is located in the southern foothills of
The picturesque town of Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh’s capital, is located in the southern foothills ofthe Himalayas. Pleasant weather, rich biodiversity, and vast stretches of breathtaking landscapes make Itanagar a superb destination for long holidays, throughout the year. Home to a large number of Nyishi tribes who speak a language of Sino-Tibetian origin, the city is known for its unique culture and friendly people.
A visit to the city’s Craft Centre and Emporium is the best way to acquaint yourself with the impressive collection of handicrafts that Itanagar has to offer. From thangkas (paintings) and traditional textiles and costumes to wood and cane products, this place has something for everyone to take home. Itanagar also has a bustling market, where visitors can browse through a range of handicrafts from across the state.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Itanagar was declared the capital of Arunachal Pradesh in 1974. Situated at an elevation of 350m, the quaint town is renowned for its fine Tibetan architecture and varied tribal culture.
Constructed in 15th century CE by the Ahom dynasty, Ita Fort lends its name to this town. The fort is in the centre of the Capital Complex and has three magnificent entrance gates. It was an imperial structure, and is said to have been constructed using 80 lakh bricks. Now, only the ruins remain, standing amidst sprawling gardens and offering splendid views of the city.
Also known as Gyakar Sinyi, this popular picnic spot is 7km from the city. The charming lake is surrounded by thick forests. The lake is frequented by locals and visitors alike, but still manages to remain serene, enabling one to enjoy solitude. You can carry some food and feed the fish in the lake, and even enjoy a boat ride.
Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum
Located on the State Museum Road, this museum speaks volumes about the vibrant culture of the tribes of the state. It has an impressive collection of textiles, wood carvings, weaponry and household articles. A gift shop sells handicrafts made by tribals.
Perched atop a hill, this striking yellow-roofed temple was recently consecrated by the Dalai Lama. There is a stupa of a Buddhist monk in front of the temple. A small garden encircles the structure.
The city and its outskirts offer plenty of outdoor activities such as rafting, trekking and angling. Trekking is a popular activity here, with Itanagar- Pashighat being a famous trail. It passes through Ziro and Daporijo. Other trails are the Jong-Tawang and the Jorhat-Tawang trails.
Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is home to antelopes, Himalayan black bears and over 400 bird species.
WHERE TO STAY AND EAT
Hotel Donyi Polo Ashok (Tel: 0360- 2212626-27; Tariff: ₹4,650–7,500) is the best choice here. Hotel Todo (Tel: 2290347, Cell: 09774282545; Tariff: ₹2,000–4,950) and Hotel Blue Pine (Tel: 2212042; Tariff: ₹1,200–2,500) offer well-furnished rooms and dorms. The restaurant onsite serves Indian and Continental dishes. Hotel Kameng (Tel: 2212869; Tariff: ₹1,200– 2,000) is also an option.
Inputs by Shreya Sarkar
When to Go May–June, October–March
Directorate of Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Papum District, Itanagar, Tel: 0360-2214450/ 2214745
Deputy Resident Commissioner, GS Road, Rukiminigaon, Dispur, Guwahati, Tel: 0361-2412859/ 2416720/ 2412859
Deputy Resident Commissioner, Parvati Nagar, Tezpur, Assam, Tel: 03712-260173
Resident Commissioner, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri New Delhi. Tel: 011-23013915, STD code 0360
Scattered ruins of the centuries-old Ita Fort
State Arunachal Pradesh
Location In the Papum Pare District, at an elevation of 750m above sea level
Distance 317km NE of Guwahati
Route from Guwahati NH37
Air Nearest airport: Lilabari in North Lakhimpur (60km). Taxi costs ₹4,000– 6,000 per day (seasonal), which includes fuel, vehicle and driver
Rail Nearest railhead: Harmuty (33km) in Assam, served by Arunachal Express from Guwahati. This train also connects North Lakhimpur. Buses, taxis connect Harmuty to Itanagar
Road From Guwahati (430km) catch NH37 to Kaliabor, then NH37A to Tezpur and NH52 to North Lakhimpur Bus State and private buses operate (11–12hrs) daily between Guwahati and Itanagar from ISBT. Shared taxis or private Sumos are another option