Known as “the Land of the Rising Sun”, Arunachal Pradesh constitutes the mountainous area in the extreme northeastern part of the country and is bordered by Bhutan to the west, the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north, Myanmar and Nagaland to the south and southeast, and Assam to the south and southwest. The capital of the State is Itanagar.
It has long been recognized as part of the Indian subcontinent, receiving mention in such ancient Hindu literature as the Kalika-purana and the epic poems Mahabharata and Ramayana. Formerly known as the North East Frontier Agency (from the British colonial era), the area was part of Assam until it was made a Union Territory on 20 January, 1972. In 1987, it became an Indian State. Surprising as it may sound, Hindi is the lingua franca (common language) of Arunachal. The state bird of Arunachal is the Hornbill. Some of the major tribes like Nyishi wear hornbill hats at traditional rites and rituals and weddings.
Most of Arunachal Pradesh’s terrain consists of deep valleys flanked by highland plateaus and ridges that rise to the peaks of the Himalayas. The State encompasses three broad physiographic regions. Farthest south is a series of foothills, similar in type to the Siwalik Range (a narrow sub-Himalayan belt stretching across much of the northern part of India that ascends from the Assam plains to elevations of 1,000 to 3,300 feet). These hills rise rapidly northward to the Lesser Himalayas, where some ridges and spurs reach 10,000 feet. Farther north, along the Tibetan border, lie the main ranges of the Great Himalayas, where Kangto, the highest peak in the State, dominates the landscape, reaching about 23,260 feet.
People of Arunachal
Arunachal Pradesh is home to dozens of distinct ethnic groups, most of which are in some way related to the peoples of Tibet and the hill region of western Myanmar. More than two-thirds of the people are designated officially as Scheduled Tribes. In western Arunachal the Nissi (Nyishi or Dafla), Sherdukpen, Aka, Monpa, ApaTani, and Hill Miri are the main tribes.
The Adi, constituting the largest tribal group in the State, live in the central region. The Mishmi inhabit the northeastern hills, and the Wancho, Nocte, and Tangsa are concentrated in the southeastern district of Tirap. The Wanchos inhabit the Patkai hills of Longding District. They have a population of 35,000. Culturally Naga, they are ethnically related to the Nocte and Konyak Naga of the Mon and Tirap districts.