ARUNACHAL PRADESH, situated in the north eastern part of India is 83,743 sq km in area and has a long international border with Bhutan to the west (160 km), China to the north and north-east (1,080 km) and Myanmar to the east (440 km). It stretches from snow-capped mountains in the north to the plains of Brahmaputra valley in the south. Arunachal is the largest state area wise in the north-eastern region, even larger than Assam which is the most populous.
It is a land of lush green forests, deep river valleys and beautiful plateaus. The land is mostly mountainous with Himalayan ranges along the northern borders criss-crossed with mountain ranges running north-south.
These divide the State into five river valleys : the Kameng, the Subansiri, the Siang, the Lohit and the Tirap. All these rivers are fed by snows from the Himalayas and countless rivers and rivulets except Tirap which is fed by Patkai Range.
The mightiest of these rivers is Siang, called Tsangpo in Tibet, which becomes Brahmaputra after it is joined by the Dibang and the Lohit in the plains of Assam.
High mountains and dense forests have prevented intercommunication between tribes living in different river valleys. Isolation imposed by geography has led different tribes with several dialects to live and flourish with their distinct identities.
Nature has endowed the people with a deep sense of beauty which finds delightful expression in their songs, dances and crafts.
Trees of great size, plentiful climbers and abundance of cane and bamboo make Arunachal evergreen. Tropical rain forests are to be found in the foothills and the hills in the east on the border with Myanmar. Northern most border is covered with Alpine forests. Amidst the highly rugged terrain, there are green forests and plateaus.
The climate varies from hot and humid in the Shivalik range with heavy rainfall. It becomes progressively cold as one moves northwards to higher altitudes.
Arunachal Pradesh became a full-fledged State on February 20, 1987. Till 1972, it was known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA). It gained the Union Territory status on January 20, 1972 and renamed as Arunachal Pradesh.
On August 15, 1975 an elected Legislative Assembly was constituted and the first Council of Ministers assumed office. The first general election to the Assembly was held in February 1978.
Administratively, the State is divided into sixteen districts. Capital of the State is Itanagar in Papum Pare district. Itanagar is named after Ita fort meaning fort of bricks, built in 14th Century AD.
Arunachal Pradesh finds mention in the literature of Kalika Purana and Mahabharata. This place is the Prabhu Mountains of the Puranas.
It was here that sage Parashuram atoned of his sin, sage Vyasa meditated, King Bhismaka founded his kingdom and Lord Krishna married his Consort Rukmini.
The widely scattered archeological remains at different places in Arunachal Pradesh bear testimony to its rich cultural heritage.