The Arunachal Himalayas form the eastern frontier of the Eastern Himalayan range of India. Located on the extreme east of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh the Namcha Barwa massif is accepted as the easternmost point of the Himalayas . Previously the region was known as Assam Himalayas, but after the creation of the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and Arunachal Pradesh, this region was rendered with the term of Arunachal Himalayas.
For the major part of its length, this range is a low range by Himalayan standards, rising to heights of 5,000 m and 6,000 m. There are two significant exceptions to this and these are as are of considerable mountaineering interest. The visitors have a wide variety of options to pick from.
The Himalayan range enters Arunachal Pradesh from Bhutan at the West Kameng district. The region is a series of high ridges and low valleys and the altitude in the region varies from 800 m to 7, 000 m above sea level. It then runs northwards over then Kangto Masif before extending to the easternmost frontiers of the Arunachal Himalayas - the Namcha Barwa Massif.
The Himalayan Backdrop
Arunachal Pradesh, is surrounded on three sides by Bhutan, China and Myanmar. It stretches from snow-capped mountains in the north to the plains of the Brahmaputra valley in the south. Arunachal is the largest state area-wise in the northeast region, even larger than Assam , which is the most populous.
It is a land of lush green forests, deep river valleys and beautiful plateaus. The land is mostly mountainous with the Himalayan ranges running north south. These divide the state into five river valleys: the Kameng, the Subansiri, the Siang, the Lohit and the Tirap. All these are fed by snow from the Himalayas and countless rivers and rivulets. The mightiest of these rivers is Siang, called the Tsangpa in Tibet, which becomes the Brahmaputra after the Dibang and the Lohit in the plains of Assam join it.
Kanto Massif is one zone of mountaineering interest that is the least known of all Himalayan areas. It is the first great mountain range in the Arunachal Himalayas that will come into view as one moves from east to west. Visible from the distant plains of Assam and the Meghalaya state hills, the high range of the Kangto Massif lies in a gigantic S-curve running roughly west-southwest and east- northeast between the passes of Tulung La and Keshong La in the region.
The MacMohan line -- the border between India and China -- runs more or less along the top. To the south lies a high rain-sodden, thickly forested ridge of the lesser Himalayas, which makes a difficult and dangerous access from Assam. The access from Tibet is considerably easy.
Peaks Of Kanto Region
Major peaks in the Kangto Section are Gori Chen (6,538 m), Kangto (7,090 m), Nyegyi Kangsang (7,047 m) and Takpa Shiri (6,655 m). Takpa Siri is a holy mountain just north of the Indian border, near the Tibetan village of Migyitun. Walking around to this mountain is said to have religious merit, much like that of the famous Kailash Parbat. However, its height is not higher than 6,655 m.
The Rain Bearer
It is because of the existence the Kangto Massif in this region that the rain bearing monsoon clouds are trapped and the resulting water, forms Kameng -- a major river and one of the main tributaries of the Dihang, which is the name by which the Brahmaputra River is known in the region.
The riverside areas from where these mighty rivers flow through have extremely dense vegetation. They receive heavy rains and are rainforests. A large part of these unexplored forests harbor a tremendous variety of flora and fauna, making the state of Arunachal Pradesh having the most incredible biodiversity in India.
Namcha Barwa Massif
Situated on the easternmost frontiers of the Himalayas is another mountaineering paradise - the Namcha Barwa Massif. The mountain ranges that lie beyond the Tsangpo-Dihang are not considered a part of the Himalayas. Standing at an elevation of 7,756 m above sea level Namcha Barwa is the highest point of this range. Known as the 'Mysterious Giant' the actual exploration expedition of this range was done in 1912, although the Pandit explorers had reported its existence first.
It's from these mountain masses of Namcha Barwa that the mighty Brahmaputra River enters India. Flowing through the Trans Himalayas, where it is known as the "Yarlung Tsangpo", river Brahmaputra enters India forming a gorge around the Namcha Barwa. The gorge of the Yarlung Tsangpo in known to be one of the wildest and least explored areas on the world. The gorge is three times as deep as the Grand Canyon of Colorado.
The Remote Himalayan Mountains
Roads have been built in the region and detailed mapping has been done. But because the entire state of Arunachal is bound under restrictions, an Inner-line area and special permits are required to enter it. As a result, these mountains and its regions remain one of the most pristine and remote areas of Indian and the great Himalayan Range.