Arunachal Pradesh is a constituent unit of the Republic of India. Arunachal Pradesh is situated in the farthermost north-eastern border of India. It borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south. It shares international borders with Bhutan in the west, Myanmar in the east, and a disputed border with China in the north at the McMohan Line. Itanagar is the state capital of Arunachal Pradesh, which is the largest of the Seven Sister States of Northeast India. As of the 2011 Census of India, Arunachal Pradesh has a population of 1,382,611 and an area of 83,743 square kilometres . Arunachal Pradesh’s terrain consists of deep valleys flanked by highland plateaus and ridges that rise to the peaks of the Great Himalayas .
Arunachal Pradesh is well known for its ancient culture. Known as the ‘The Land of Dawnlit Mountains’, Arunachal Pradesh finds its mention in prominent scriptures of India, such as the Kalika Purana and Mahabharata. Sage Parashurama washed away his sins in Arunachal, which was then known as Prabhu Mountains. Sage Vyasa meditated in the forests of this region and Lord Krishna married Rukmini at this legendary site of India .
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It is an ethnically diverse state, with predominantly Monpa people in the west, Tani people in the centre, Tai people in the east, and Naga people in the south of the state. The state has 26 major tribes including sub-tribes. Every tribe has its own unique set of traditions and customs. The major tribes of Arunachal are Adi, Galo, Aka, Apatani, Nyishi, Tagins, Bori, and Bokar, etc. .
According to the 2011 Indian Census, the religions of Arunachal Pradesh include Christian: 418,732 (30.26%), Hindu: 401,876 (29.04%), Others (mostly Donyi-Polo): 362,553 (26.2%), Buddhist: 162,815 (11.76%), Muslim: 27,045 (1.9%), Sikh: 1,865 (0.1%) and Jain: 216 (<0.1%) .
Art and Craft
Local men are skilled in weaving, carpet making, wood carving, painting, pottery, ornament making, cane and bamboo work, smithy work, basketry and many others. The women are expert in making handicrafts and handlooms .
Rice and meat are the staple food of Arunachal. Lettuce is quite popular among locals and it is cooked using green chillies, coriander and ginger. Boiled rice cakes, Thukpa and momos are the traditional dishes devoured by people. Various forms of rice beers are prepared by local communities, one of them being Apang which is prepared by fermenting rice and millet. .
The prominent festivals celebrated in Arunachal Pradesh are Losar, Solung, Boori-Boot, Mopin, Dree, Nyokum, Reh, Si-Donyi, etc. .
Some popular folk dances in Arunachal Pradesh are Aji Lamu, Chalo, Hiirii Khaniing, Popir, Ponung, Pasi Kongki, Rekham Pada, Roppi, Lion and Peacock dance. Most of the dance forms are accompanied by chorus songs .
The speakers of major languages of the state according to the 2011 census are Nyishi (28.60%, includes Nyishi, Tagin, and Apatani ), Adi (17.35%, includes Adi, Galo), Bengali (7.27%, includes Bengali, Chakma, and Hajong), Hindi (7.09%), Nepali (6.89%), Bhotia (4.51%), Assamese (3.9%), Mishmi (3.04%), Nocte (2.9%), Tangsa (2.64%), Wancho (2.19%) and Others (13.62%) .
40% of the population in Arunachal Pradesh follow Donyi Polo and Rangfrah religions, while the remainder is a majority of Buddhists .
Agriculture is the main occupation of people. Jhum cultivation is practiced by the farmers. Industries in the state are based on natural products from forests like timber and plywood. Other industries also include tea, petrochemical, cement fruit cultivation .
The state of Arunachal Pradesh is truly varied for its religious and cultural diversity.
The author thankfully acknowledges various sources as cited, for creating this eclectic article. Also, views of author have been inserted as and where needed.
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