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Itanagar City Guide

Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, is a beautiful historic city, also known as 'the Land of the Dawn lit Mountains'. It is located to the east of Tawang and has been identified with Mayapur, a city of the 14th or 15th century A.D. The new township has modern buildings, bazaars and traditional homesteads. Important attractions include old brick fort (Itafort), Buddhist Monastery, Jawaharlal Nehru Museum, Ganga Lake (Geykar Sinyi) and Zoo. Elevation of 190 mtrs is Tipi, an orchidarium with over 7500 orchids. On display are some of the finest species with names like the dainty lady's slipper or the more formal sounding Denfrobium, Arunachal has the largest range of orchids in India and at Tipi, scientist are creating new, hybrid species using the latest techniques of biotechnology another 40 km is the orchid park at Sessa.

The journey onwards is the most adventurous and perhaps the most difficult as Bomdila, the headquarters of the west kameng District is at a height of 2,530 mtrs, offering wonderful panoramic views of Himalayan landscape and snow clad ranges. The scenery is spectacular but there is a tingling sense of fear too-it is a long way down.

There are apple orchards and buddhist monasteries for travelers are now entering an area that has had strong Tibetan and Buddhist influence over the centuries. The area has many Buddhist monasteries called gompas and there is also a crafts center producing very carpets of colourful designs. Around the area are good trails for trekking enthusiasts.

A 10 km drive from Bomdils takes you to Tawang a Buddhist pilgrimage site where the Dalai Lama the spiritual leader of the tibetans goes to preach and pray. The most striking building in this buddhist village is the tall central monastery the Tawang Gompa.

The 400- year- old monastery dominates the valley with a grand view of the Himalayas. The Tibetan influence here is unmistakable, with the elaborately painted wooden windows and other motifs prayer flags flutter in the breeze and inside the monks there are some 500 light lamps, rush about their chores and drone in point prayer. An 8- mtr high gilded statue of the Buddha is here as are Nemours ancient thanks or traditional paintings and manuscripts.

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