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.
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.
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!
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!
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.