Itanagar is the capital of one of the seven sisters of India, Arunachal Pradesh. Located in the luscious mountains of the Himalayas is a scenic and cultural beauty that is Itanagar. When one thinks of the North-East, the first things that come to mind are the mountain ranges and the beautiful and warm people. But equally significant are the cultural aspects of the place. Itanagar has found mention since ancient and mythic times. It has been associated with epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Though a major reference comes in the late medieval period when the ethnic groups like Ahoms, Chutiyas, etc began ruling the region. Through this article, we will come across the top 10 places to visit in Itanagar. So, let’s get started.
The name precisely refers to a fort of bricks. Hence the name, Itanagar. It has the distinction of being built by the Chutiya king Ratnadhwajpal. Located at the centre of the city, it showcases the historical attachment of the place.
Also known as Gyakar Sinyi meaning confined water. Positioned 6 km from the state capital, it is a beautiful attraction for tourists. It has a natural origin. Due to no interaction with flowing water, it appears green. With primaeval vegetation, it has a beauty of its own. Visitors can enjoy boat rides 6 days a week. It is preserved by the state tourism department. All the measures have been taken to ensure a safe and enthralling experience for the people.
It is a small hill station in Itanagar. The best part about this place is not only its serenity and calmness but also the fact that it has been untouched by human interference. Early morning walks and car rides in Rupa is refreshing and rejuvenating. Its the best place for a weekend getaway from the hustle-bustle of daily life. Places to visit while in Rupa are Rupa monastery, Guru Rinpoche cave. Nearby the hill station is Shertukpen village. To have the best experience of tribal culture of Itanagar, do visit and stay at this village. It will be an enriching experience and worth your time.
Known as the Centre of Buddhist Studies is located on a hilltop. Standing at the temple, one can have a panoramic view of the entire city. With its pristine architecture and aesthetically pleasing colours, it truly is a spectacle for the eyes. A stupa sits just outside the main temple. Picturesque carvings adorn this temple. It has been a must-visit spot for the tourists for its serene and calm ambience.
Theravada Buddhist Temple
Theravada is a school of Buddhist philosophy. It is very well practiced in many countries including India. North-east is one such destination for understanding this religion. The temple is located in amidst the beautiful landscape of Itanagar. It has a soothing vibe and is popular not only amongst spiritually oriented people but also among culture enthusiasts. Also the temple is known to celebrate Sitang Pot-wa festival. It is a three month long festival that ends i October and is enjoyed by the Theravada Buddhists from Changlang, Namsai and Lohit district. This is the best time to visit this temple and get to know about the culture of the city.
Jawahar Lal Nehru Museum
Located below the Gompa temple, is a state museum. It houses the artefacts and remains of past cultures and societies of Arunachal Pradesh. It was established in the honour of Pandit J L Nehru. To know and a have a better understanding of the history of the city and the state, one can for sure visit the Museum. It also showcases the handicrafts, textiles, and material crafts of the past. It also runs a handicraft workshop for visitors.
Craft Centre and Emporium
The centre highlights the rich cultural heritage of Arunachal Pradesh. It is an engrossing and enriching experience. The city being the capital portrays the culture of Arunachal Pradesh in more than one way. For tourists(from India and abroad) this is a popular attraction. Even for History and Culture enthusiast this is the place to be. The centre houses local artifacts, wall paintings, traditional costumes, etc. Being in itanagar you would want to buy souvenires for your friends and families then it is the perfect shopping destination for you.
Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary
Itanagar, is naturally rich with flora and fauna. This biodiversity is conserved through the wildlife sanctuary. The reserve is famous for sightseeing. Surrounded by streams and rivers on all sides adds to the scenery. Visiting the sanctuary will definitely bring you closer to Mother Nature. The best time to visit is winters because it becomes more adventurous due to the weather.
Indira Gandhi Park
Looking for a place to relax while in Itanagar, then this park is for you. The park is perfect for beginning your day with fresh air and outdoor activities. One can go for running, lazy walking in the park as there is path made for it. Since the park is near Ita Fort, one can also opt for running upto the fort. The place also becomes venue for some fairs and festivals in the city.
Namdapha National Park
While in Arunachal Pradesh, do give a ride to this national park, located in Changlang District. Apart from the cultural and spiritual attributes, Itanagar is also known for its natural endowments. The national park is the perfect example for that. It is a biodiversity hotspot in the Eastern Himalayas. Surrounded by the Hill ranges gives this place a more picturesque view. In the winters, the park is all the more beautiful. There are a lot of activities that can be taken up while visiting the park like Camping, safari visits, etc. The luscious greenery adds to the experience of North East India.
The city is rich in its ethnicity and diversity. Tribes like NYISHIS, ADI, APATANI, TAGIN, GALO, etc. are the inhabitants of the city. The NYISHI tribe is an aboriginal tribe and one of the largest ethnic communities of Arunachal Pradesh. Nyishi is also the name of their traditional language. It has a Tibeto-Burman touch to its existence. They are essentially followers of Christianity and Hinduism but the current demographics indicate the existence of Donyi Poloism as well. Donyi Poloism is an indigenous religion of this place.
The Nyishis celebrate the festival of Nyokum. It is an agro harvest festival. The idea is to invoke the principal deity Nyokum, a goddess, so she blesses the people with abundant gain production the next season. Instead of worshipping an idol or statue, they prefer worshipping a bamboo-made structure called yagung. RIKHAMPADA is the traditional Dance of the festival. The dance portrays the emotions and desires of people through songs and gestures. The festival usually takes place during the month of February. It’s a great opportunity to visit the city during this time and get to know about their culture and traditions.
Itanagar is a complete package for a holiday destination. It has natural scenery as well as a cultural aspect. If planning on a road trip to the hills then this is the place you would not want to miss.