Virginal Arunachal Pradesh appears as a giant patch of green on the country’s map. India’s wildest and least explored state, Arunachal (literally the ‘land of dawn-lit mountains’) rises abruptly from the Assam plains as a mass of densely forested and impossibly steep hills, culminating in snowcapped peaks along the Tibetan border. Home to 26 indigenous tribes, Arunachal is perhaps the last sanctuary for India’s natural and anthropological heritage. Much of the state remains beyond tourism’s reach, but new areas are slowly being opened to visitors.
Worth a Trip: Namdapha National Park
The staggering Namdapha National Park, spread over 1985 sq km of dense forest in far-eastern Arunachal Pradesh, is an ecological hot spot with a mind-boggling array of animal and plant species, and habitats ranging from warm tropical plains to icy Himalayan highlands. Namdapha is famous for being the only park in India to have four big-cat species (leopard, tiger, clouded leopard and snow leopard). It’s also a birdwatcher’s delight, with around 500 recorded species.
The park is a long haul from anywhere, and visiting can be a pain unless you’re travelling with a tour operator.