Itanagar - Arunachal Pradesh’s land of serenity and beauty

Itanagar Airport Directory (HGI)
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Serving as the capital of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar is a beautiful city nestled in the foothills of the majestic Himalayas. Home to fertile Brahmaputra river plains, it is an excellent destination for enjoying a relaxing holiday surrounded by the beauty of nature. With a serene atmosphere and vibrant culture, this idyllic city attracts thousands of visitors all round the year. Flaunting rolling valleys, rugged hills, and sparkling lakes, it is chock-full of jaw-dropping landscapes wherever you look. Moreover, it home to a number of historical, cultural, and natural wonders that can hold the interest of travellers from all walks of life.

Best time to visit: Although the weather in Itanagar is pleasant throughout the year, the best time to visit is considered to be during winters, which fall from October to April. During these months, not only are the weather conditions ideal for sightseeing but the city also witnesses the celebration of some of the area’s major festivals.

How to reach Itanagar?

By air: Situated only a short distance away from Arunachal's capital, Donyi Polo Airport (IATA: HGI) conveniently connects Itanagar to several cities across India. This domestic airport operates a number of IndiGo flights all week long. You can easily reach Itanagar by booking one of the many available IndiGo flights to Itanagar.

By train: Naharlagun Railway Station in Arunachal Pradesh is the closest railway station to Itanagar, situated at a distance of around 15 km. It links the city to several Indian cities through regular trains.

By road: Itanagar is connected to many nearby cities through a network of well-maintained highways. You can catch one of the many regular buses from Banderdewa, Tezpur, North Lakhimpur, and Guwahati to reach the city.

Getting around in Itanagar

Local buses, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws and taxis are the most common means of transportation for getting around in Itanagar.

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Places to visit in Itanagar

  • Jawaharlal Nehru State Museum: Established sometime in the 1980s, this fascinating museum in Itanagar is one of the best places to visit for history buffs. Reflecting the culture and history of Arunachal Pradesh, it displays an extensive collection of handicrafts in addition to several archaeological findings. It also hosts a handicraft workshop and features an art gallery and a library.
  • Ita Fort: Listed amongst the most prominent historical sites in Itanagar, Ita Fort was constructed sometime in the 14th or 15th century. Featuring an irregular shape and unique architectural style, it is primarily built from bricks. It has three different entrances, one each on the eastern, western, and southern sides.
  • Ganga Lake: Also called Gyakar Sinyi, this gorgeous lake is one of the most prominent natural attractions in Itanagar. Surrounded by lush greenery, diverse vegetation, and towering peaks, it is an excellent place to unwind and marvel at the beauty of Mother Nature. Moreover, at this sparkling lake, you can enjoy picnics and boating.
  • Gompa Buddhist Temple: Known as the area's major centre for Buddhist culture, this ancient temple is perched on the top of a rocky hill. It features a small, colourful gate, yellow-roofed shrine, and white stupa with intricate golden carvings. With a backdrop of lush green hills, it offers incredible views of the entire town laid out below.
  • Polo Park: It is a remarkable botanical park situated on the top of a ridge. Counted amongst the top must-visit spots for tourists, it overlooks the city of Itanagar and offers magnificent views of the surroundings. It is home to a large variety of plants and vibrant flowers.

Places to eat/what to eat in Itanagar

  • Mughal Garden: An amazing eatery for those who love Mughlai cuisine, Mughal Garden stays open all day long every day of the week. It offers a wide selection of seafood including squids, tiger prawns, and lobsters. It also serves a range of beverages like virgin mojito and berry blast.
  • The Marquee Restobar: Staying open from morning to night daily, The Marquee Restobar serves a wide range of delicious delicacies, of which the most popular is its delectable chicken.
  • Orange Tree Diner and Restaurant: It is an all-day diner that serves mouth-watering fresh food made from high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients. It is widely known for its range of homemade bread and flavourful chutneys and sauces.
  • Asian Flavours Restaurant: With spacious interiors and a cosy atmosphere, Asian Flavours Restaurant is an incredible restaurant that serves lip-smacking Asian cuisine. It is quite famous for its salt and pepper winglets and honey prawns.

Shopping places in Itanagar

Itanagar has many bustling markets, which sell a large variety of items and add to the vibrance of the city. Some of its most popular places to shop in Itanagar include Ganga Market, Akashdeep Market, Legi Shopping Complex, and B B Plaza. Following are a few of the best things you can buy here.

  • Thangkas: They are Tibetan Buddhist paintings sold in several roadside stalls and street markets in Itanagar. Available at affordable prices and in diverse designs, they can be found in many handicraft centres and emporiums around the city. These remarkable paintings are made on cloth with gold or vegetable dyes.
  • Bamboo and cane items: All the souvenir shops in the city are chock-full of various bamboo and cane items like flower vases, chairs, lamps, crafted bamboo mats, lamps, and wall hangings. The delicately woven bamboo items serve as a clear reflection of the local artisans’ skills.
  • Woodcarvings: Another one of the most popular souvenirs amongst travellers visiting Itanagar is its intricate wood carvings. These exotic wood sculptures and figurines are available in all shapes and sizes and have flooded the city’s markets.
  • Woollen products: Bomdila, a small town near the city of Itanagar, is famous for its high-quality woollen products like shawls, caps, sweaters, and carpets. Additionally, it is known for selling colourful traditional masks in different designs.
  • Fruit bowls: Another major souvenir available in Itanagar is its attractive fruit bowls crafted with high-quality Monpa wood. In addition to fruit bowls, you can also choose to buy wooden cups and dishes, which make for amazing gifts for your loved ones.

Where to stay in Itanagar?

  • Cygnett Inn Trendz: This incredible budget-friendly hotel features modern, well-appointed rooms equipped with a number of amenities to make your stay as comfortable as possible. It is also home to an all-day-diner called Cygnett Pavilion and a pub named Metro Lounge.
  • Waii International: This hotel is renowned for its incredible hospitality and top-notch amenities. Featuring spacious and cosy rooms and suites, it has a huge dining area, where you can enjoy delicious meals any time of the day. Moreover, it houses a swimming pool, multicuisine restaurant and bar, bakery, and salon and spa.
  • Hotel Obsidian Blue: Surrounded by lush green mountains, this contemporary hotel features spacious and beautifully furnished rooms that offer breathtaking views of the charming city. Offering a range of amenities, it flaunts a large banquet hall, rustic rooftop bar, free parking, and in-house dining.
  • SC Continental: This hotel is also one of the top choices when it comes to staying in Itanagar. It offers a wide range of facilities such as on-site restaurants, a bar, meeting rooms, and a business centre, as well as room and laundry services. Moreover, it is situated in close proximity to several of the city’s major attractions.

Places to visit near Itanagar

  • Ziro: Known for being Arunachal Pradesh’s oldest towns, Ziro is a stunning hill station surrounded by expansive rice fields and towering pines. Located around 109 km away from Itanagar, it is situated at an elevation of 1500 m above sea level. It is dotted with dense forests that house various tribal communities and flaunt rich flora and fauna. This gorgeous destination is home to several incredible attractions such as Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Ziro Putu, Meghna Cave Temple, Shiva Lingam, and Tarin Fish farm.
  • Tawang: It is an enchanting hill station in Arunachal Pradesh, situated at a distance of around 447 km from Itanagar. Renowned for being the birthplace of the 6thDalai Lama, it holds special religious and cultural significance. Sharing borders with both Bhutan and Tibet, this idyllic hamlet oozes tranquillity and charm. It houses several amazing tourist places such as Tawang Monastery, Taktsang Gompa, Sela Pass, Shonga-Tser Lake, Nuranang Waterfall, and Bumla Pass. It is also an excellent place for engaging in exciting activities like trekking, hiking, and mountain biking.
  • Aalo: Situated amidst the mountains of Arunachal’s West Siang district, Aalo is a breathtaking town at a distance of around 365 km from Itanagar. Nestled along the banks of two gushing rivers - Sipu and Yomgo, it is surrounded by rolling valleys that radiate peace and serenity. Home to lovely orange orchards and buckwheat and millet plantations, it features several must-visit places like Patum Bridge, Kazu Village, Donyi Polo Temple, Cable Bridge, Hanging Bridge, and Kamaki Hydropower Dam.
  • Bomdila: Located at a distance of around 270 km from Itanagar, Bomdila is a picturesque town nestled in the foothills of Himalayas. Flaunting dense forests, snow-clad peaks, and gorgeous orchards, it serves as an excellent retreat from the hustle and bustle of city known for being an excellent destination for trekking, hiking, forest camping, and mountain biking, it is full of spectacular tourist attractions like Bomdila Monastery, Bomdila View Point, Upper Gompa, Lower Gompa, Eagle’s Nest Wildlife Sanctuary, and RR Hill.
  • Daporijo: Located along the banks of Subansiri River, Daporijo is a small hill village situated around 276 km away from Itanagar. Overflowing with scenic beauty, it is home to expansive bamboo rainforests, mesmerising waterfalls, ancient caves, and huge paddy fields. It is an excellent destination for adventure enthusiasts interested in participating in activities like river rafting, hiking, and trekking. When in Daporijo, you can explore its many incredible attractions such as Kamala Reserve Forest, Daporijo Good Shepherd Church, Sigem Daporijo reserve Forest, Daporijo Museum and Craft Centre.

Festivals in Itanagar

  • Nyokum: Observed by Arunachal’s Nyishi people, Nyokum festival is celebrated to invite all the universe’s gods and goddesses and invoke nature's spirit to foster harmony, well-being, and prosperity amongst those who observe it. The celebration involves the sacrifice of different kinds of animals, which are tethered to a special prayer structure made from bamboo called yugang.
  • Dreel: This important agricultural festival of the Apatani tribe is celebrated on the 5th of July every year. Marked by sacrificial prayers and offerings, it is celebrated to bring a fruitful and bountiful harvest season. Observed for three days, it is dedicated to four gods worshipped by the Aptani people - Tamu, Metii, Harniang, and Danyi. Moreover, the celebration features the performances of traditional songs and dances as well as a feast, which includes tangy rice and millet beer.
  • Losar: Marking the lunar calendar’s first day and the beginning of spring, Losar is a popular festival in Arunachal Pradesh celebrated by the Monpa tribe. This 3-day festival is celebrated to ward off evil spirits and welcome the new year filled with prosperity and happiness. Typically falling sometime between January and March, the festival is observed with full pomp and enthusiasm.
  • Solung: Observed by the Adi tribe, Solung is another one of the agricultural festivals in Arunachal Pradesh. Celebrated in September’s first week, this festival starts off with the sowing of seeds to seek a good harvest and prosperity. The celebration is split into three parts - Sopi-Yekpi (sacrificial prayers and offerings), Binnayat (ritual offerings to Kine Nane, the goddess of crops), and Ekop (ritual for warding off evil spirits).
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