Know Arunachal Pradesh: All about the districts
Arunachal Pradesh was known as the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) until it gained its Union Territory status on January 20, 1972, after which it got renamed as Arunachal Pradesh, and later became a full-fledged state on February 20, 1987. Today, Arunachal Pradesh is the largest state among the other northeastern states of India with an area of approximately 83,743 km², sharing an international border with Bhutan to the west (160 km), China to the north and north-east (1,080 km) and Myanmar to the east (440 km). The enormous area of the state encompasses 25 districts along with different tribes, dialects and languages, rich wildlife, customs and traditions. Let’s learn about the districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
DISTRICTS OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH
With an area of approximately 6190 sq Km, Anjaw is situated in the north-eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh, standing at an altitude of 1296m above sea level and sharing an international border with China. Anjaw District was bifurcated from Lohit District on 16th February 2004 under the Arunachal Pradesh Re-organization of Districts Amendment Act, with its headquarters being at Hawai. It is mainly inhabited by the Tawrah Mishmi, Kaman Mishmi, and Meyor tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.
With an area of 4,662 sq Km and a population of 1,48,226 (as per the 2011 Census), Changlang District falls in the south-eastern corner of Arunachal Pradesh, sharing an international boundary with Myanmar (Burma). It was a part of Tirap District until the Government of Arunachal Pradesh officially declared it as a new District on 14th November 1987. Changlang town is the administrative headquarters of Changlang District. Among the tribes inhabiting the district, a few prominent ones are the Tangsa, Singpho, Tutsa, Nocte, Lisu (Yobin), Deori and a few Adibasi tribes, in addition to many other tribes and sub-tribes of the region.
- Dibang Valley
The Dibang Valley District was carved out of Lohit District and came into existence on 1st June 1980 with its headquarters located at Anini. It shares its borders with Lower Dibang Valley district in the South, Upper Siang district in the West and shares an international border with Tibet and China in the North and North-East. It has an area of approx 9129 sq. km with a population of 8004 (as per the 2011 census). It is predominantly resided by the Mishmis, mainly the Idu Mishmi tribes. Due to this fact, the district is also dubbed ‘The Mishmi Hills’ of Arunachal Pradesh.
- East Kameng
East Kameng District was carved out of the Kameng District during its bifurcation under the re-organisation of the District Act, 1980. It comprises two subdivisions, namely, Seppa and Chayengtajo with Seppa being its headquarters. With an area of 4,134 km² and situated at an elevation of 1,259 m, it shares district borders with West Kameng district to the west, Pakke-Kessang district to the south, Kurung Kumey district to the east, Papum Pare district to the southeast and an international border with China to the north. Nyishi, Miji and Puroik tribes are the main inhabitants of the region among the various other communities who reside here.
- East Siang
Also dubbed as ‘the gateway to Arunachal Pradesh’, East Siang District has an area of 4,005 km square with its headquarters located in the Pasighat town, which is also the oldest town in Arunachal Pradesh. It shares its border with Lower Dibang Valley District to the East, Siang and Lower Siang Districts to the west, Upper Siang District to the north-west and Tinsukia District (Assam) to the South. Adi tribes are the main inhabitants of the district along with various other subgroups such as the Minyongs, Padams, Shimongs, Milangs, Pasis, Karkos, Ashings, Pangis, Tangmas and Boris etc.
Established on 15 December 2017, Kamle District was created by carving out administration circles from the Lower Subansiri district and Upper Subansiri district with an approx area of 200 km square. Raga is the administrative headquarters of the Kamle District, and the Nyishis are the major tribe occupying the region besides a few other tribes. It is surrounded by the districts of Papum Pare, Lower Subansiri, Kra Daadi, Upper Subansiri, and Lower Siang, and shares an interstate border with Assam.
- Kra Daadi
Kra Daadi is another district predominantly inhabited by one of the major and most populous tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, the Nyishis. It was approved by the Government of Arunachal Pradesh on 21 March 2013 and was officially inaugurated by the then Chief Minister Nabam Tuki as the 19th district of Arunachal Pradesh on 7 February 2015. The district was carved out of the Kurung Kumey district under the Arunachal Pradesh Re-Organization of Districts Amendment Act.
- Kurung Kumey
The Kurung Kumey district was bifurcated from the Lower Subansiri district on 16th April in the year 2001 with its district headquarters at Koloriang. It has a total area of approx 3,838 km square with Nyishi, Bangru, and Puroik tribes primarily inhabiting the region. The largest village in the Kurung Kumey district in terms of both population and area is the Hiya village, which is located within the Nyapin circle.
- Lepa Rada
With an area of 982.67 km square, Lepa Rada is one of the newer districts established in the year 2018 by bifurcating the southern parts of the West Siang district along the Assam border into a separate district. Basar is the administrative headquarters of Lepa Rada, this district is primarily inhabited by the Galo tribes. It shares its district borders with West Siang on the north and east, Upper Subansiri on the west and Lower Siang on the south and east.
Lohit District is situated in the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh and has an area of 5212 sq. Km. It shares its border with Anjaw district to the east, Lower Dibang Valley and Namsai districts to the west, Changlang District to the south, and Assam to the west.
Many tribes are known to inhabit the district but the predominant tribes who dwell here are the Mishmis, (mainly Miju Mishmi and Digaru Mishmi) of Arunachal Pradesh. Tezu town is the headquarters of the Lohit District.
Longding district was established after bifurcating from the south-western parts of the Tirap district on 19th March 2012. It has an area of 1192 sq Km and shares the district border with Tirap district in the northeast, inter-state borders with Nagaland and Assam to the west and the north respectively and an international border with Myanmar to the south and southeast. The district is mainly occupied by the Wancho community.
- Lower Dibang Valley
With an area of 3900 sq km, the Lower Dibang Valley district was carved out of the Dibang Valley district under the Amendment of Re-organization of the District Act of 1980 with effect from 16th December 2001. It shares borders with Dibang Valley District to the north, East Siang and Upper Siang Districts to the west, Lohit District to the east and share an interstate border with Assam to the south. Roing town is the headquarters of this district. The main tribes who reside here are that of the Idu Mishmis.
- Lower Siang
Lower Siang as a full-fledged district came into existence on 22 September 2017 after being bifurcated from West Siang & East Siang districts, thereby becoming the 22nd district of Arunachal Pradesh. Likhabali was the temporary headquarters of the district until it was moved to Siji. Siji, being located centrally, was passed as the district headquarters by a unanimous decision of the state assembly on the third day of its session in March 2022 under the Arunachal Pradesh (Re organisation of District) Amendment Bill. The district is inhabited by many tribes of which the major ones are the Adis and the Galos.
- Lower Subansiri
Lower Subansiri District was carved out of the then Subansiri District during its bifurcation into Lower and Upper Subansiri District on 13th May 1980. The district shares its boundaries with Kamle District to the east, Papum Pare District to the southwest, and Kra Daadi District to the north. Ziro Valley is the district headquarters of the Lower Subansiri district. The main tribes who reside here are the Apatanis and the Nyishis.
Namsai District was established in 2014 after the third bifurcation of the Lohit District, and went on to become the 18th district of Arunachal Pradesh, with its administrative headquarters situated at Namsai town. Namsai shares its borders with Lohit District to the northeast, Changlang District to the south and shares an interstate border with Assam to the west. This beautiful district is inhabited by many tribes, with the major ones being the Khampti and Singphos.
- Pakke Kessang
Established in the year 2018, Pakke Kessang District was created out of the southernmost portions of East Kameng District with its headquarters being located at Lemmi. Pakke Kessang shares district borders with Papum Pare on the east, West Kameng on the west, East Kameng on the north and an interstate border with Assam in the south. The central inhabitants of the district are the Nyishis, Galos and Puroiks.
- Papum Pare
On 22nd September 1992, Lower Subansiri District was bifurcated and Papumpare District was formed. Yupia is the district headquarters and the state’s capital Itanagar falls under Papum Pare. Being the capital district, it is one of the most populous districts among the others. Although the region is inhabited by many people, the Nyishis are the dominant tribe that occupies the land.
- Shi Yomi
Shi-Yomi district was carved out of the West Siang district and came into existence in the year 2018 with Tato as the district headquarters. The central inhabitants of the region are the Bokar, Libo, Ramo, Tagin and Memba tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. It shares its district borders with the Upper Subansiri on the west, Upper Siang on the east, Siang and West Siang on the south and an international border with China on the north.
Siang District was created by bifurcating the West Siang and East Siang districts, making it the 21st district of Arunachal Pradesh, which was inaugurated on 27 November 2015 by the then Chief Minister Shri Nabam Tuki. It is mainly occupied by the Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh and shares borders with the Shi Yomi and West Siang on the west, Upper Siang on the east, East Siang on the south-east and Lower Siang on the south-west.
Tawang is situated in the westernmost part of Arunachal Pradesh with the Tawang town being its district headquarters. Earlier it was a sub-division of West Kameng District until 5th October 1984. The district is surrounded internationally by Tibet (China) to the north, Bhutan to the south-west and shares inter-district borders with West Kameng and East Kameng districts in the east, which are divided by the Sela ranges. It is inhabited by many tribes such as the Monpas, Akas and Serdukpens etc, with Monpas being the predominant tribe of the region.
With an area of 1,170 km square, Tirap District is home to various tribes such as the Nocte, Konyak, Wancho, Tutsa, Tangsa, Singhpo etc. It shares inter-state borders with Nagaland and Assam, an international border with Myanmar and inter-district borders with Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh. Khonsa is the district headquarters of Tirap.
- Upper Siang
Upper Siang was created out of the East Siang district in the year 1994, and its headquarter is located at Yingkiong. It is inhabited by the Adi, Memba, Khamba and Idu Mishmi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. It is bounded by inter-districts such as the Siang, East Siang, Shi Yomi, Dibang Valley, and Lower Dibang Valley and shares an international border with China.
- Upper Subansiri
Upper Subansiri district was established when the-then Subansiri district was bifurcated into Upper and Lower Subansiri districts in the year 1987. Daporijo town, a beautiful hamlet is the headquarters of the district. The region is inhabited by the Tagins, Nyishis, and the Galos, with Tagin being the predominant community in the area. It shares inter-district borders with Kurung Kumey, Kamle, Kra Daadi, Shi Yomi, Lepa Rada, West Siang, and Lower Siang, and international borders with China.
- West Kameng
West Kameng district came into existence after the then Kameng District was bifurcated into East Kameng and West Kameng on 1 June 1980. This region is mostly occupied by the tribes of Monpa (including Dirang, Bhut, Lish, and Kalaktang Monpa), Miji (Sajolang), Sherdukpen, Aka (Hrusso), and Bugun (Khowa) and minority tribes such as Takpa, Lishipa, Chugpa, and Butpa amongst the many other tribes.
- West Siang
West Siang District was carved out of the Siang District under the provision of the Arunachal Pradesh (Reorganisation of the district) Act No. 3 of 1980, with effect from June 1, 1980. The region is harmoniously occupied by the Galo, Minyong, Bori, Bokar, Pailibo, Ramos, and Memba tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. It is bounded on the north by Shi Yomi district, on the east by Siang district, on the south by Leparada and parts of Lower Siang district, and on the west by Upper Subansiri district.