Photo Story from Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh

The villagers of Majuli were brilliant with the suggestion of the shortcut of reaching North Lakhimpur in Assam. It was essential for me to get to North Lakhimpur to procure a permit for travel in Arunachal Pradesh and somehow find a shared taxi (sumo) for making my way to Ziro Valley.

I was lucky to be assisted by an unknown guy on a motorbike who drove me to the permit office near Lilabari airport that enabled me to make a dash to the shared taxi place in time. After a terribly tiring and bumpy ride of more around six hours, I was finally in Hapoli village (New Ziro).

It was local help from many Facebook friends that was instrumental in my explorations of the the many villages of Ziro Valley. I was very surprised to know that the Apatani locals practise sun-moon worship called as Donyi-Polo and there was also a small temple near the entrance of Hong village.

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First sight of the fields of Ziro Valley when I was on a bike ride.
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Strange customs : This is the egg garden just after the end of Hong village (Hong is the biggest village in Ziro Valley)
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This was the first Apatani lady I spotted with the nose plugs. I gave her an alpenliebe candy and she smiled!

When I asked the informative locals regarding the legend of ‘Why the Apatani ladies were tattooed?’. Were they really so beautiful and the neighbouring Nyishi tribe used to take them away? It was quickly dismissed as a marketing gimmick that was initiated by Lonely Planet, one of the most respected locals there told me.

Read : Doors of Varanasi : A Photo Story

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A typical modern home in Ziro Valley, the bamboo stilts have been replaced by concrete pillars.
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Local kids in this entire region are very fashionable and quite friendly too, the Apatani tribe is well to do and most villages in Ziro Valley are self sufficient.
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Come July-August and these fields will be lush green, the Ziro Valley Music Festival in September makes for a great spectacle.
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Typical entrance of an Apatani village in Ziro Valley. The locals told me the reason behind this but it was lost in translation.

Some kind people in Guwahati had presented me with a glass of delicious plum wine brought from Ziro Valley. It had made me aware that I must ask the locals regarding the various kinds of local liquor available here. Kiwi fruit was being sold for 10 Rupees per piece and I promptly bought 10 kiwis to enjoy! A board ‘Kiwi wine available here’ started a fantastic experience, it was really tasty and had the right amount of alcohol content!

Check : Redefining Remoteness : Secret Places… Continued

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Inside a traditional Apatani Home, made of bamboo, firewood is always hung like this over the fireplace. Hollow bamboo is used for cooking, and the collection of ‘Dao’ (sling sword) is displayed on the walls.
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Overlooking the Ziro Valley from one of the highest points in the region, from close to the official Government offices.
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A jolly old Apatani woman with face tattoo and nose plugs happily poses for me.

I was especially pleased when the homestay owners invited me for tasting some ‘Apong’ which is rice beer. The lady had warmed it a little bit and I asked for a second helping!

Read : McLeodganj – Best Cafés and Restaurants in the Himalayas?

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Christianity was spread in the Ziro Valley by missionaries, a Church is visible in the village across the picturesque rice fields.
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Time seems to stand still in Ziro Valley : An Apatani woman walks through the bare fields and the pretty houses are visible in the distance flanked by the valley.

Check : This Guest Post on Bhutan – the first Guest post on Travelshoebum

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Dreamy landscape at evening time. Biirii is a village popular with tourists, most accommodation options are located in this village.
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The scene is etched in my mind – The fields were inundated with water, and serene sunset colours reflected in them. Sigh, we were on a bike and it was becoming rapidly dark.
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Inside the kitchen of a traditional home in Ziro Valley, this was clicked inside the homestay where I stayed in – at Hong village.

Facts & Travel Guide : Ziro Valley is a scenic region in Arunachal Pradesh. It is located in the Lower Subansiri District but is a long drive away from the nearest airport and railway station. Reaching Ziro Valley from most parts of India will involve a flight to Guwahati and then a train. The roads in Arunachal Pradesh are in poor condition and hence take much time to traverse.

Also read : First impressions of Sikkim

Hong is the biggest Apatani village and has a few homestays to stay if you ask around. There are 6-7 villages in Ziro Valley and all of them are located very close to each other. I visited all of them and really liked Hija village for the location. Biirii village is home to the well known Ziro Valley Resort and Siri village also has some homestays – both these villages are on the other side of the valley. Hapoli village (New Ziro) has concrete hotels and is a rapidly growing town with ATM facilities and a market. The shared taxi stand is near the School gate in Hapoli. Talle Valley is an upcoming popular trekking destination in Ziro Valley.

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Amrita Das says:

    Love Arunachal and its people. Lovely photographs 🙂

    Like

    1. Yay, thank you! I had a very difficult time in the north east trying to travel in my carefree way. Hope to come back sooner and explore more 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Niranjan says:

    Nice captures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Niranjan bhai! I have no idea but this automatically went in the spam folder. Glad I saw this comment.

      Like

  3. Hi ! I your blog is great. I love hearing about unusual experiences. I really liked the one about the unexplored places in the Himalayas.

    I’ve created a new map based website for travellers.

    Every post is tagged to a location. So users can navigate the site via the map without having to use menus or search. I really think it’s a much better way to present travel writing by combining it with a view of the map.
    Right now I don’t have any users so I kind of borrowed some of your writing for demonstration purposes. I hope you check it out and add some more of your travel stories.

    Alternatively if you’re offended by my breech of copyright let me know and I’ll delete your posts.

    Like

    1. Thank you. Just delete my posts, to keep this simple and easy.

      Best of luck for your endeavour without breaching anyone’s copyright.

      Like

  4. Great photo story and lovely portraits. Brings back some fab memories of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh, which I visited 9 years ago. Planning to head there again this winter.

    Like

    1. Yay! Thanks Sankara. So glad you liked it. I hope to be exploring more of the north east in the coming season (s). Hope to bump into you soon 🙂

      Like

  5. anirban says:

    Hi nice piece here
    am planning a trip to the ziro valley, would be able to help me out with some homestay options in biiri or siro
    if you could give me some phone numbers i could call them and fix it up
    the options on the net – hotels/resorts, all seem booked 😦
    thanks in advance

    Like

    1. Hi Anirban. Thanks 🙂 Homestay options in Ziro Valley are few and far between. New Ziro (Hapoli) has a few hotels and could be useful for you. Happy journey.

      Like

  6. souvik chakraborty says:

    Hi Shubham,
    I regularly follow your blog and I am a great fan of yours.
    I have planned to travel Ziro solo next month.
    Need to know about the transportation from Naharlagun/Itanagar.If shared jeeps/sumos are available and what are their timings.
    Also where to stay in Ziro.
    Heard a lot about Talley valley.It it a motorable one,can I get a reserved car for Talley valley from Ziro.

    Like

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