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Indian Himalayan Region

The Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) is a range that spans ten states of India namely, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura as well as the hill regions of two states - Assam and West Bengal. The region is responsible for providing water to a large part of the Indian subcontinent and contains varied flora and fauna.The IHR physiographically, starting from the foothills of south (Siwaliks), this mountain range extends up to Tibetan plateau on the north (Trans-Himalaya). Three major geographical entities, the Himadri (greater Himalaya), Himanchal (lesser Himalaya) and the Siwaliks (outer Himalaya) extending almost uninterrupted throughout its length, are separated by major geological fault lines. Mighty but older streams like the Indus, Sutlej, Kali, Kosi and Brahmaputra have cut through steep gorges to escape into the Great Plains and have established their antecedence. The Karakoram ranges are the northern-most ranges of India. To the south of the Karakoram range lie the Zangskar ranges. Parallel to the Zangskar ranges lie the Pir Panjal ranges. These three mountain ranges lie parallel to each other in the north-western part of India, most of its area lying in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The 10 highest mountains on earth are found in the region. Many rivers considered holy like the Ganga and Yamuna flow from the Himalayas.

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Jammu & Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is a state in northern India. It is located mostly in the Himalayan mountains, and shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south. Jammu and Kashmir has an international border with China in the north and east, and the Line of Control separates it from the Pakistani-controlled territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan in the west and northwest respectively. The state has special autonomy under Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
A part of the erstwhile Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu, the region is the subject of a territorial conflict among China, India and Pakistan. The western districts of the former princely state known as Azad Kashmir and the northern territories known as Gilgit-Baltistan have been under Pakistani control since 1947. The Aksai Chin region in the east, bordering Tibet, has been under Chinese control since 1962.
Jammu and Kashmir consists of three regions: Jammu, the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital, and Jammu is the winter capital. The Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, and Jammu's numerous shrines attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year. Ladakh, also known as "Little Tibet", is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture.It is the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population. Jammu and Kashmir is home to several valleys such as the Kashmir Valley, Tawi Valley, Chenab Valley, Poonch Valley, Sind Valley and Lidder Valley. The main Kashmir valley is 100 km (62 mi) wide and 15,520.3 km (5,992.4 sq mi) in area. The Himalayas divide the Kashmir valley from Ladakh while the Pir Panjal range, which encloses the valley from the west and the south, separates it from the Great Plains of northern India.

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Along the northeastern flank of the Valley runs the main range of the Himalayas. This densely settled and beautiful valley has an average height of 1,850 meters (6,070 ft) above sea-level but the surrounding Pir Panjal range has an average elevation of 5,000 meters (16,000 ft).
Because of Jammu and Kashmir's wide range of elevations, its biogeography is diverse. Northwestern thorn scrub forests andHimalayan subtropical pine forests are found in the low elevations of the far southwest. These give way to a broad band of western Himalayan broadleaf forests running from northwest-southeast across the Kashmir Valley. Rising into the mountains, the broadleaf forests grade into western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. Above the tree line are found northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows. Much of the northeast of the state is covered by the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe. Around the highest elevations, there is no vegetation, simply rock and ice.
The Jhelum River is the only major Himalayan river which flows through the Kashmir valley. The Indus, Tawi, Ravi and Chenab are the major rivers flowing through the state. Jammu and Kashmir is home to several Himalayan glaciers. With an average altitude of 5,753 metres (18,875 ft) above sea-level, the Siachen Glacier is 76 km (47 mi) long making it the longest Himalayan glacier.The climate of Jammu and Kashmir varies greatly owing to its rugged topography. In the south around Jammu, the climate is typically monsoonal, though the region is sufficiently far west to average 40 to 50 mm (1.6 to 2 inches) of rain per month between January and March. In the hot season, Jammu city is very hot and can reach up to 40 °C (104 °F) whilst in July and August, very heavy though erratic rainfall occurs with monthly extremes of up to 650 millimeters (25.5 inches). In September, rainfall declines, and by October conditions are hot but extremely dry, with minimal rainfall and temperatures of around 29 °C (84 °F).
Across from the Pir Panjal range, the South Asian monsoon is no longer a factor and most precipitation falls in the spring from southwest cloud bands. Because of its closeness to the Arabian Sea, Srinagar receives as much as 635 millimeters (25 in) of rain from this source, with the wettest months being March to May with around 85 millimeters (3.3 inches) per month. Across from the main Himalaya Range, even the southwest cloud bands break up and the climate of Ladakh and Zangskar is extremely dry and cold. Annual precipitation is only around 100 mm (4 inches) per year and humidity is very low. In this region, almost all above 3,000 meters (9,750 ft) above sea level, winters are extremely cold. In Zangskar, the average January temperature is −20 °C (−4 °F) with extremes as low as −40 °C (−40 °F). All the rivers freeze over and locals make river crossings during this period because their high levels from glacier melt in summer inhibits crossing. In summer in Ladakh and Zangskar, days are typically a warm 20 °C (68 °F), but with the low humidity and thin air nights can still be cold.
Before the insurgency intensified in 1989, tourism formed an important part of the Kashmiri economy. The tourism economy in the Kashmir valley was worst hit. However, the holy shrines of Jammu and the Buddhist monasteries of Ladakh continue to remain popular pilgrimage and tourism destinations. Every year, thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit holy shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath, which has had significant impact on the state's economy. It was estimated in 2007 that the Vaishno Devi yatra contributed Rs.4.75 billion (US$75 million) to the local economy annually a few years ago.The contribution would be much more now as the numbers of visitors have increased considerably. Foreign tourists have been slower to return. The British government still advises against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir with the exception of the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, travel between these two cities on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, and the region of Ladakh. Besides Kashmir, Jammu region too has a lot of tourism potential. There are various places in Jammu which are worth seeing. Bhau Fort in Jammu city is the major attraction centre for the tourists visiting the city. Bage-e-Bahu is the another tourist destination. Aquarium established by the fisheries department is being visited by many these days. Jammu is being majorly visited by the tourist from across the India as a pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi. Mata Vaishno Devi is located on the trikuta hills which is around 40 to 45 km away from Jammu City. Approximately 10 million Pilgrims visit this holy place every year.
Tourism in the Kashmir valley has rebounded in recent years, and in 2009, the state became one of the top tourist destinations of India. Gulmarg, one of the most popular ski resort destinations in India, is also home to the world's highest green golf course.However, the decrease in violence in the state has boosted the state's economy and tourism. It was reported that more than a million tourists visited Kashmir in 2011.
Airports : Jammu, Srinagar, Leh.
Railway Station : Jammu Tawi, Katra, Srinagar, Baramullah

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Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh literally "Snow-ladden Region") is a state in Northern India. It is spread over 21,495 sq mi (55,670 Sq. kms), and is bordered by Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west, Haryana on the south-west, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east. Himachal Pradesh is famous for its abundant natural beauty. After the war between Nepal and Britain, also known as the Anglo-Gorkha War (1814–1816), the British colonial government came into power. In 1950 Himachal was declared a union territory, but after the State of Himachal Pradesh Act 1971, Himachal emerged as the 18th state of the Republic of India. Hima means snow in Sanskrit, and the literal meaning of the state's name is In the lap of Himalayas. It was named by Acharya Diwakar Datt Sharma, one of the great Sanskrit scholars of Himachal Pradesh. The economy of Himachal Pradesh is currently the third fastest growing economy in India. Himachal Pradesh has been ranked fourth in the list of the highest per capita incomes of Indian states. This has made Himachal Pradesh one of the most wealthiest places in entire South Asia. Abundance of perennial rivers enables Himachal to sell hydroelectricity to other states such as Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan.


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The economy of the state is highly dependent on three sources: hydroelectric power, tourism and agriculture.Himachal Pradesh is spread across valleys and 90% of the population lives in villages and towns. However the state has achieved 100% hygiene and practically no single house without a toilet. The villages are well connected to roads, Public Health Center and now with Lokmitra kendra using High speed broadband. Shimla district has maximum urban population of 25%. According to a 2005 Transparency Internationalsurvey, Himachal Pradesh is ranked the second-least corrupt state in the country after Kerala. The hill stations of the state are among the most visited places in country. The government has successfully imposed environmental protection and tourism development meeting European standards and it is the only state which forbids the use of polythene and tobacco products.
Himachal is in the western Himalayas. Covering an area of 55,673 square kilometers (21,495 sq mi), it is a mountainous state. Most of the State lies on the foothills of The Dhauladhar Range.
The drainage system of Himachal is composed both of rivers and glaciers. Himalayan rivers criss-cross the entire mountain chain. Himachal Pradesh provides water to both the Indus and Ganges basins. The drainage systems of the region are the Chandra Bhaga or the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej and the Yamuna. These rivers are perennial and are fed by snow and rainfall. They are protected by an extensive cover of natural vegetation.
Due to extreme variation in elevation, there is great variation in the climatic conditions of Himachal . The climate varies from hot and sub-humid tropical in the southern tracts to, with more elevation, cold, alpine and glacial in the northern and eastern mountain ranges. The state has areas like Dharamsala that receive very heavy rainfall, as well as those like Lahaul and Spiti that are cold and almost rainless. Broadly, Himachal experiences three seasons: summer, winter and rainy season. Summer lasts from mid April till the end of June and most parts become very hot (except in the alpine zone which experiences a mild summer) with the average temperature ranging from 28 to 32 °C (82 to 90 °F). Winter lasts from late November till mid March. Snowfall is common in alpine tracts (generally above 2,200 metres (7,218 ft) i.e. in the higher and trans-Himalayan region).
Tourism in Himachal Pradesh is a major contributor to the state's economy and growth. The state is endowed with variety of landscape and vivid topographic features which attract tourists. The state is also known for its adventure activities which include paragliding in Bir-billing and Solang valley, rafting in Kullu, ice skating in Shimla, boating in Bilaspur and trekking, horse riding, skiing and fishing. Spiti Valley in Lahaul & Spiti District provide breathtaking landscapes for adventure seekers. The region also has some of the oldest Buddhist Monasteries in Asia. The state is also a famous destination for film shooting for movies.
Himachal Pradesh is well connected with roads. Nearest Railway Stations are Kalka, Shimla, Pathankot, Palampur, Una. Airports at Bhuntar, Kullu and Kangra - Dharamshala.

Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand formerly Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Devbhumi (literally "Land of the Gods") due to the many Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres found throughout the state. Uttarakhand is known for its natural beauty of the Himalayas, the Bhabhar and the Terai. On 9 November 2000, this 27th state of the Republic of India was created from the Himalayan and adjoining northwestern districts of Uttar Pradesh. It borders Tibet on the north; the Mahakali Zone of the Far-Western Region, Nepal on the east; and the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the south and Himachal Pradesh to the northwest.

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The state is divided into two divisions, Garhwal and Kumaon, with a total of 13 districts. The interim capital of Uttarakhand is Dehradun, the largest city in the region, which is a railhead. The High Court of the state is in Nainital.
Uttarakhand has a total area of 53,483 Sq. kms,of which 86% is mountainous and 65% is covered by forest. Most of the northern part of the state is covered by high Himalayan peaks and glaciers. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the expanding development of Indian roads, railways and other physical infrastructure was giving rise to concerns over indiscriminate logging, particularly in the Himalaya. Two of the most important rivers in Hinduism originate in the region, the Ganges at Gangotri and the Yamuna at Yamunotri. These two along withBadrinath and Kedarnath form the Chota Char Dham, a holy pilgrimage for the Hindus. The state hosts the Bengal tiger in Jim Corbett National Park, the oldest national park of the Indian subcontinent. The Valley of Flowers, a Unesco World Heritage Site located in the upper expanses of Bhyundar Ganga near Joshimath in Gharwal region, is known for the variety and rarity of its flowers and plants.One who raised this was Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, who visited the region. As a consequence, Lord Dalhousie issued the Indian Forest Charter in 1855, reversing the previous laissez-faire policy. The following Indian Forest Act of 1878 put Indian forestry on a solid scientific basis. A direct consequence was the founding of the Imperial Forest School at Dehradun by Dietrich Brandis in 1878. Renamed the 'Imperial Forest Research Institute' in 1906, it is now known as the Forest Research Institute (India). The model “Forest Circles” around Dehradun, used for training, demonstration and scientific measurements, had a lasting positive influence on the forests and ecology of the region. The Himalayan ecosystem provides habitat for many animals (including bharal, snow leopards,leopards and tigers), plants, and rare herbs. Two of India's largest rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna, originate in the glaciers of Uttarakhand, where they are fed by myriad lakes, glacial melts and streams.
Uttarakhand lies on the southern slope of the Himalaya range, and the climate and vegetation vary greatly with elevation, from glaciers at the highest elevations to subtropical forests at the lower elevations. The highest elevations are covered by ice and bare rock. Below them, between 3,000 and 5,000 metres (9,800 and 16,400 ft) are the western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows. The temperate western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests grow just below the tree line. At 3,000 to 2,600 metres (9,800 to 8,500 ft) elevation they transition to the temperate western Himalayan broadleaf forests, which lie in a belt from 2,600 to 1,500 metres (8,500 to 4,900 ft) elevation. Below 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) elevation lie the Himalayan subtropical pine forests. The Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests and the drier Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands cover the lowlands along the Uttar Pradesh border in a belt locally known as Bhabhar. These lowland forests have mostly been cleared for agriculture, but a few pockets remain.
In June 2013 several days of extremely heavy rain caused devastating floods in the region, resulting in more than 5000 people missing and presumed dead. The flooding was referred to in the Indian media as a "Himalayan Tsunami". Uttarakhand has many tourist spots due to its location in the Himalayas. There are many ancient temples, forest reserves, national parks, hill stations, and mountain peaks that draw large number of tourists. There are 44 nationally protected monuments in the state. Oak Grove School in the state is on the tentative list for World Heritage Sites. Two of the most holy rivers in Hinduism the Ganges and Yamuna, originate in Uttarakhand.
Uttarakhand has long been called "Land of the Gods" as the state has some of the holiest Hindu shrines, and for more than a thousand years, pilgrims have been visiting the region in the hopes of salvation and purification from sin. Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of the Ganges and Yamuna, dedicated to Ganga and Yamuna respectively, fall in the upper reaches of the state and together with Badrinath (dedicated to Vishnu) andKedarnath (dedicated to Shiva) form the Chota Char Dham, one of Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious pilgrimage circuits. Haridwar, meaning "Gateway to the God", is a prime Hindu destination. Haridwar hosts the Kumbha Mela every twelve years, in which millions of pilgrims take part from all parts of India and the world. Rishikesh near Haridwar is known as the preeminent yoga centre of India. The state has an abundance of temples and shrines, many dedicated to local deities or manifestations of Shiva and Durga, references to many of which can be found in Hindu scriptures and legends. Uttarakhand is, however, a place of pilgrimage not only for the Hindus. Piran Kaliyar Sharif near Roorkee is a pilgrimage site toMuslims, Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib, nested in the Himalayas, is a prime pilgrimage center for the Sikhs. Tibetan Buddhism has also made itself felt with the reconstruction of Mindrolling Monastery and its Buddha Stupa, described as the world's highest at Clement Town, Dehradun.
Some of the most famous hill stations in India are in Uttarakhand. Mussoorie, Nainital, Dhanaulti, Lansdowne, Pauri, Sattal, Almora, Kausani,Bhimtal, and Ranikhet are some popular hill stations in India. The state has 12 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries which cover 13.8 percent of the total area of the state. They are located at different altitudes varying from 800 to 5400 meters. The oldest national park on the Indian sub-continent, Jim Corbett National Park, is a major tourist attraction. The park is famous for its varied wildlife and Project Tiger run by the Government of India. Rajaji National Park is famous for its elephants. In addition, the state boasts Valley of Flowers National Park and Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli District, which together are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vasudhara Falls, near Badrinath is a waterfall with a height of 122 metres (400 ft) set in a backdrop of snow-clad mountains. The state has always been a destination for mountaineering, hiking, and rock climbing in India. A recent development in adventure tourism in the region has been whitewater rafting in Rishikesh. Due to its proximity to the Himalaya ranges, the place is full of hills and mountains and is suitable for trekking, climbing, skiing, camping, rock climbing, and paragliding. Roopkund is a popular trekking site, famous for the mysterious skeletons found in a lake, which was featured by National Geographic Channel in a documentary.The trek to Roopkund passes through the beautiful meadows of Bugyal.
Uttarakhand is well connected by roads with all North Indian states. Nearest Rail heads are Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Kathgodam.
Two major Airports are Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun and Pant Nagar Airport.

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Sikkim

Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state located in the Himalayan mountains. The state is bordered by Nepal to the west, China's Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and east, and Bhutan to the east. The Indian state of West Bengal lies to the south.

With 610,577 inhabitants as of the 2011 census, Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa in total area, covering approximately 7,096 Sq. km (2,740 sq mi). Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas; the climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine, and Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim's border with Nepal.Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity.It also has the only open land border between India and China. Sikkim's capital and largest city is Gangtok.

According to legend, the Buddhist guru Padmasambhava visited Sikkim in the 8th century CE, introduced Buddhism and foretold the era of the Sikkimese monarchy. Sikkim's Namgyal dynasty was established in 1642. Over the next 150 years, the kingdom witnessed frequent raids and territorial losses to Nepalese invaders. In the 19th century, it allied itself with British India, eventually becoming a British protectorate.


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In 1975, a referendum abolished the Sikkimese monarchy, and the territory was merged with India. Sikkim has 11 official languages: Nepali (which is its lingua franca), Sikkimese, Lepcha, Tamang, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Magar, Sunwarand English. English is taught in schools and used in government documents. The predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Sikkim's economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, and as of 2014 the state had the third-smallest GDP among Indian states, although it is also among the fastest-growing.
Nestling in the Himalayan mountains, the state of Sikkim is characterised by mountainous terrain. Almost the entire state is hilly, with an elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to 8,586 metres (28,169 ft). The summit of Kanchenjunga—the world's third-highest peak—is the state's highest point, situated on the border between Sikkim and Nepal. For the most part, the land is unfit for agriculture because of the rocky, precipitous slopes. However, some hill slopes have been converted into terrace farms. Numerous snow-fed streams have carved out river valleys in the west and south of the state. These streams combine into the major Teesta River and its tributary, the Rangeet, which flow through the state from north to south. About a third of the state is heavily forested.
The Himalayan mountains surround the northern, eastern and western borders of Sikkim. The Lower Himalayas, lying in the southern reaches of the state, are the most densely populated. The state has 28 mountain peaks, more than 80 glaciers, 227 high-altitude lakes (including the Tsongmo, Gurudongmar and Khecheopalri Lakes, five major hot springs, and more than 100 rivers and streams. Eight mountain passes connect the state to Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.
Sikkim's hot springs are renowned for their medicinal and therapeutic values. Among the state's most notable hot springs are those at Phurchachu,Yumthang, Borang, Ralang, Taram-chu and Yumey Samdong. The springs, which have a high sulphur content, are located near river banks; some are known to emit hydrogen. The average temperature of the water in these hot springs is 50 °C (122 °F).
Sikkim is well connected with Siliguri and Kolkata.
Nearest Airport is Bagdogra

West Bengal (Darjeeling Himalaya Region)

Darjeeling Himalayan hill region is situated on the North-Western side of the state. This region belongs to the Eastern Himalaya range. The whole of the Darjeeling district except the Siliguri division and a narrow part in the northern part of Jalpaiguri district constitutes the region. It starts abruptly up from the Terai region. The deep gorge of Teesta River has divided this mountainous region into two parts: the Singalila and Darjeeling ranges run from north to south in the western part. The Singalila range is located along the border of Darjeeling and Nepal; it has four important peaks –Sandakfu, Falut, Sabargam and Tonglu.

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Among the Himalayan ranges of this region, Singalila range hosts Sandakfu which at 3,636 metres (11,929 ft) is the highest point of West Bengal.Also to mention Sandakphu & Phalut are the only place in West Bengal from where Mt. Everest is visible. Two high peaks, Tiger Hill and Ghoom are seen near the town of Darjeeling. Many ranges branch off in different directions from Tiger Hill. Durpindara is an important mountain in the eastern part of the mountainous region. A few hills also occur in the Terai or Dooars region at the foot of the Himalayas. Some remnants of the Siwaliks can be seen in the Jalpaiguri district, where they are known as the Buxa-Jayanti Hills.The region slopes from a south to north direction. The river Teesta divides the region in two parts — the region to the east of Teesta and the region to the west of Teesta. Hills to west of Teesta is the highest region of the Darjeeling Himalaya. Two distinct ranges are visible here — the Singalila range and the Darjeeling-Karsiang range.
The Singalila range is on the western limit of the region and separates Nepal from West Bengal. Singalila National Park is situated here. The four highest peaks of this range are:
Falut (3,595 m)
Sandakfu (3,630 m) — the highest point of West Bengal
Tonglu (3,036 m)
Sabargram (3,543 m)
Two notable peaks of this range are Tiger Hill and Senchal. The Chola range is situated on the Sikkim and Bhutan border. The highest peak is Rishila. The town of Kalimpong is situated in this region. Neora Valley National Park is located here. The relatively low-height Buxa-Jayanti range, a part of the Sivalik, is also located here. Some notable rivers of this region are Mechi, Balason, Rammam, Rangeet, Teesta, and Jaldhaka.
Darjeeling Himalayas of West Bengal is well connected with roads with Nepal, Sikkim, Assam, Bhutan and all other cities and towns of West Bengal.
Nearest rail station is New Jalpaiguri (Broad gauge) and Alipur Duar and Darjeeling, Ghum and Kurseon (Narrow Gauge)
Nearest Airport is Bagdogra.

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Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh is one of the 29 states of India. Located in northeast India, it holds the most north-eastern position among the other states in the north-east region of India. Arunachal Pradesh borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south, and shares international borders with Bhutan in the west, Burma in the east and China in the north. Itanagar is the capital of the state. China claims the northern part of the state as a part of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Arunachal Pradesh, which translates to "land of the dawn-lit mountains", is also known as the Orchid State of India or the Paradise of the Botanists.


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Geographically, it is the largest among the North-east Indian states commonly known as the Seven Sister States. As in other parts of Northeast India, the people native to the state trace their origins from the Tibeto-Burman people. In recent times, large number of migrants from various parts of India and foreign lands have been affecting the state's population.No reliable population count of the migrant population exists, and the percentage estimating the total actual population accordingly vary. Arunachal Pradesh has the highest number of regional languages in South Asia enriched with diverse culture and traditions. The NEFA (North-East Frontier Agency) was created in 1955. The issue was quiet for nearly a decade, a period of cordial Sino-Indian relations, but the re-emergence of the issue was a major cause of the Sino-Indian War of 1962. The cause of the escalation into war is still disputed by both Chinese and Indian sources. During the war in 1962, the PRC captured most area of Arunachal Pradesh. However, China soon declared victory, voluntarily withdrew back to the McMahon Line and returned Indian prisoners of war in 1963. The war resulted in the termination of barter trade with Tibet, although in 2007 the state government has shown signs to resume barter trade with Tibet. In recent years, PR China has occasionally made statements in conjunction with its 'claims' on Tawang. India has rebutted these claims by the Chinese government and the Indian Prime Minister has informed the Chinese government that Tawang is an integral part of India. India reiterated this to the Chinese prime minister when the two prime ministers met in Thailand in October 2009. China objected to the visit of the Dalai Lama to Tawang in November 2009 though the Dalai Lama had previously visited Tawang several times since he left Tibet in 1959. India rejected the Chinese objection and said that the Dalai Lama is an honoured guest in India and could visit any place in India. The Dalai Lama visited Tawang on 8 November 2009. About 30,000 people including those from neighbouring countries, Nepal and Bhutan, attended his religious discourse. He was received and welcomed by the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh and the people of Arunachal Pradesh. The residents of Tawang painted their houses and decorated the town. Arunachal Pradesh is located between 26.28° N and 29.30° N latitude and 91.20° E and 97.30° E longitude and has 83,743 square kilometre area. Most of Arunachal Pradesh is covered by the Himalayas. However, parts of Lohit, Changlang and Tirap are covered by the Patkai hills. Kangto, Nyegi Kangsang, the main Gorichen peak and the Eastern Gorichen peak are some of the highest peaks in this region of the Himalayas. The land is mostly mountainous with the Himalayan 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 are fed by snow from the Himalayas and countless rivers and rivulets. The mightiest of these rivers is Siang, called the Tsangpo in Tibet, which becomes the Brahmaputra after it is joined by the Dibang and the Lohit in the plains of Assam. At the lowest elevations, essentially at Arunachal Pradesh's border with Assam, are Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests. Much of the state, including the Himalayan foothills and the Patkai hills, are home to Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests. Toward the northern border with Tibet, with increasing elevation, come a mixture of Eastern and Northeastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests followed by Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows and ultimately rock and ice on the highest peaks. The Himalayan ranges that extend up to the eastern Arunachal separate it from Tibet. The ranges extend toward Nagaland, and form a boundary between India and Burma in Changlang and Tirap district, acting as a natural barrier called Patkai Bum Hills. They are low mountains compared to the Greater Himalayas. The climate of Arunachal Pradesh varies with elevation. Areas that are at a very high elevation in the Upper Himalaya close to the Tibetan border have an alpine or tundra climate. Below the Upper Himalayas are the Middle Himalayas, where people experience a temperate climate. Areas at the sub-Himalayan and sea-level elevation generally experience humid, sub-tropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. Arunachal Pradesh receives heavy rainfall of 2,000 to 4,100 millimeters (79 to 161 in) annually, most of it between May and September. The mountain slopes and hills are covered with alpine, temperate, and subtropical forests of dwarf rhododendron, oak, pine, maple, fir, and juniper; sal (Shorea robusta) and teak are the main economically valuable species. The state, on account of its unrivalled aesthetics and diverse cultural heritage possesses a great tourism potential. Popular tourist attractions include Tawang (a town with a Buddhist monastery) at 3000 m elevation, Ziro (which holds cultural festivals),Basar, the Namdapha tiger project in Changlang district and Sela lake near Bomdila with its bamboo bridges overhanging the river. Religious places of interest include Malinithan in Lekhabali, Rukhmininagar near Roing (the place as per the popular Hindu mythology, Rukmini, Lord Krishna's wife, said to have lived), and Parshuram Kund in Lohit district as Puranas is the lake where sage Parshuram washed away his sins, The Ganga lake(Gyaker sinyi or Gekar Sinyi)and various other tourist hot spots.
The state provides abundant scope for angling, boating, rafting, trekking and hiking. Rafting and trekking are common activities. Some suggested routes for travel or trekking are
Tezpur–Tipi–Bomdila-Tawang-Sela pass
Tinsukia–Tezu-Parasuramkund
Margherita–Miao-Namdapha
Itanagar–Ziro-Daporijo–Along (or Aalo)–Pasighat.
Over the years, the Jawaharlal Nehru Museum, Itanagar has become an important tourist destination in the state capital. The state is rich in wildlife and has a number of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks with rare animals, birds and plants. Perhaps the highest diversity of mammals in India is in Arunachal Pradesh (200+ species). The diversity of birds is also very high, 700+ and is second only to Assam.
Arunachal Pradesh is well connected with roads with Assam and other North Eastern States. An inner line permit is required to enter Arunachal Pradesh.
Arunachal Pradesh got its first railway line in late 2013 with the opening of the new link line from Harmuti on the main Rangpara North-Murkongselak railway line to Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh. The construction of the 33 kilometre 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge railway line was completed in 2012, and the link became operational after the gauge conversion of the main line under Project Unigauge. The state capital Itanagar was added to the Indian railway map on 12 April 2014 via the newly-built 20 kilometre Harmuti-Naharlagun railway line, when a train from Dekargaon in Assam reached Naharlagun railway station, 10 kilometres from the centre of Itanagar, a total distance of 181 kilometres.
On 20 February 2015 the first through train was run from New Delhi to Naharlagun, flagged off from the capital by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi. India plans to eventually extend the railway to Tawang, near the border with China.
Itanagar Airport, a Greenfield project serving Itanagar is being planned at Holongi at a cost of Rs. 6.50 billion.The existing state owned Daporijo Airport, Ziro Airport, Along Airport, Tezu Airport and Pasighat Airport are small and are not in operation. The government has proposed to operationalise these airports.Before the state was connected by roads, these airstrips were originally used for the transportation of food.