Sites imbued with historical significance hold tremendous value as they provide profound perspectives into the customs and mores of bygone civilizations. These enduring edifices and landmarks have withstood the ravages of time and now serve as invaluable reservoirs of knowledge for historical scholarship. Arunachal Pradesh boasts a plethora of such storied locations, which not only unveil priceless narratives of antiquity to spectators but also bolster the state's tourism industry. Here's a list of 13 historical Sites of Arunachal Pradesh to check out in 2023:
The Malinithan Temple, built by Chutia rulers in the 13th-14th century, is a remarkable archaeological site in Arunachal Pradesh's Likabali town. The temple is made of granite stones and is adorned with sculptures of deities, animals, and floral motifs. Notable sculptures include Indra on his elephant, Kartikeya on his peacock, and Surya on his chariot. Legend has it that Krishna and Rukmini visited the temple and were entertained by Shiva, Durga, and Parvati.
Bhismaknagar, an ancient archaeological site in Arunachal Pradesh's Lower Dibang Valley district, was built by the Chutia rulers in the 11th-16th century CE. The fort served as the capital of King Lakshminarayana and was associated with Sadhayapuri, a politically powerful city during the Chutia dynasty's reign. The city is surrounded by high walls and contains numerous artifacts such as potteries, figurines, and decorative tiles.
The Jairampur War Cemetery is an important historical site located in Arunachal Pradesh's Changlang district. Discovered in 1997, it contains about 1,000 graves of soldiers, including Chinese, Kachins, Indians, British, and American soldiers who died during World War II. The soldiers died from various causes such as medical ailments, landslides, and enemy fire. The cemetery serves as a tribute to the unknown soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the war and is a popular tourist destination.
The Tawang Buddhist Monastery is the largest monastery in India and the second largest in Asia, located in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. It is also known as Galden Namgyal Lhatse and is the hub of the Mahayana school of Buddhism. The three-story building, situated at 10,000 ft above sea level, offers panoramic views of the Tawang-Chu valley and comprises 17 gompas, including an assembly hall, residential quarters, and research centers for Buddhist studies. About 300 monks reside in the monastery.
The Golden Pagoda is another of the notable historical places of Arunachal Pradesh, located on a plateau near the foothills of the Patkai Ranges. Built in Burmese architectural style, the complex spans 20 hectares and features 12 sub-domes, with the main shrine positioned on a platform covering 4272.58 sq. ft. The Golden Pagoda complex consists of a large shrine hall, a serene meditation hall, a library, a guest house, and a monastery. The compound also has an elderly home and dispensary that provides free medical services to local residents. It is a remarkable spiritual site that lures both locals and tourists alike to experience tranquility and spirituality.
The Jaswant Garh War Memorial stands as a commemoration to Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat, a valiant soldier who was posthumously bestowed with the Maha Vir Chakra of the 4 Garhwal Rifles for his heroism during the 1962 War against the Chinese Army.
The memorial is adorned with a statue of Jaswant Singh, along with a display of his personal belongings such as his attire, gun, bunkers from the time of the battle, the historical account of the conflict, a Chinese tomb site, and a temple. Additionally, the memorial houses an observation center that offers visitors an insight into the critical aspects of the warfare. This monument is among the most remarkable historical landmarks in Arunachal Pradesh, not only for its impressive collection but also for its awe-inspiring natural backdrop of hills and mountain
Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa is built on a tiny hill in Itanagar and is one of the most serene and popular Buddhist religious places in Arunachal Pradesh. It emanates a strong spiritual vibe and is awe-inspiring in its architecture and lush green environs.
The temple was constructed in 1960 by Tibetan refugees to adhere to their prayer regimen. It houses a colossal statue of Lord Buddha as well as numerous stunning murals that amaze visitors and devotees alike. The yellow-colored pagoda-style roof contrasts beautifully with the regal façade, enhancing the structure's beauty.
The Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum, established during the 1980s, is an enlightening repository of tribal culture in Arunachal Pradesh. Alongside its celebration of the state's natural heritage, it represents one of the most captivating historical sites in the region.
Within its walls, the museum proudly displays an extensive ethnographic compilation, featuring an array of religious artifacts, customary art, handiworks, musical instruments, cane goods, and more. These diverse exhibits, recovered from dig sites at Noksparbat, Ita Fort, and Malinithan, offer an immersive glimpse into the cultural tapestry of the region. Moreover, the Handicrafts Centre arranges workshops to foster the knowledge of crafting traditional cane items, and a museum shop is available to procure tribal handicrafts as mementos.
If one's interest lies in the culture and customs of Arunachal Pradesh, then the Khonsa Museum situated in the town of Khonsa, Tirap District, is an ideal destination. Established in 1956, it houses an exceptional collection of relics of the region's rich cultural heritage. An impressive array of swords and other armaments, handicrafts, and antiquities from all around India, and numerous cane and bamboo artifacts are prominently showcased here.
Ita Fort, the "Fort of Bricks," is an imposing historical attraction in Arunachal Pradesh, standing tall with a commanding presence. The town of Itanagar owes its name to this fort, which boasts an asymmetrical structure. The fort has survived for centuries, reflecting its grandeur and nobility. The fort's construction primarily relies on bricks of diverse sizes, composing an irregularly shaped edifice. The brickwork totals 16200 cubic meters, with three entry gates situated in the Eastern, Western, and Southern directions. It serves as an impressive testament to the region's magnificent architectural history, with some of its archaeological remains displayed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Museum in Itanagar.
The World War II Cemetery, also known as Jairampur Cemetery, lies concealed amidst the dense jungle of Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh, housing nearly a thousand graves of valiant soldiers. The remains of this historical site were uncovered by the archaeological agency, about 25 km from the Pangsau Pass, situated at the Indo-Myanmar border. As part of the Arunachal Pradesh government's initiative, the site is undergoing a facelift. The cemetery primarily comprises the resting place of Chinese, Indians, British, Kachins, and Americans who laid down their lives in the line of duty during the Second World War. A visit to this cemetery should be on the itinerary of any tourist who wants to delve into the profound impact of the war.
The Pangsau Pass, situated in the Patkai Hills along the India-Myanmar border, stands tall at an altitude of 3,727 feet. The pass offers an accessible route to Burma from the lowlands of Assam, and it gained popularity during World War II when it was notoriously christened "Hell Pass,” owing to its rugged terrain and challenging terrain. Arunachal Pradesh's craggy mountains, marshlands, and dense forests epitomize the state's natural allure and rugged beauty. Visiting this park provides an opportunity to explore the wild side of the state. Every year, the Pangsau Pass Winter Festival, a global community festival, is held in Nampong, fanning the flames of festive cheer in the vicinity. A trip to Arunachal Pradesh is incomplete without adding the Pangsau Pass to the travel plan.
The Bomdila Gompa, a significant landmark in Arunachal Pradesh, is a revered center of Lamaistic beliefs in Mahayana Buddhism. It stands as a replica of the Tsona Gontse Monastery in southern Tibet, established by the twelfth reincarnation of Tsona Gontse Rinpoche. The Gompa boasts a prayer hall where Lamas and monks offer peace prayers, a shrine for Buddha, and lodgings for the monks. The senior Lamas and monks impart the teachings of monastic life and tradition to the new recruits, in addition to conducting prayers and tantra yana activities.