Virginal Arunachal Pradesh appears as a giant patch of green on India’s map. The country's wildest and least explored state, Arunachal (literally, ‘land of dawn-lit mountains’) rises abruptly from the Assam plains as a mass of improbably steep and densely forested hills, culminating in snowcapped peaks along the Tibetan border. Arunachal lures travellers with the promise of adventurous journeys to remote mountain valleys and encounters with some of its 26 indigenous tribal peoples. Tourism infrastructure – such as hotels or even homestays – has yet to reach many areas; this is travel far beyond standard tourist trails.
China has never formally recognised Indian sovereignty here, and even invaded Arunachal briefly in 1962. Border passes are heavily guarded by the Indian military, but the atmosphere is generally calm. Arunachal has been relatively untouched by political violence, though Naga rebels are active in the state's far southeastern corner.