Ziro looks sublime. My first stop in Arunachal Pradesh! You can linger here for days with no thought of returning home. I’m happy that I got to explore it during the harvest time – it was great to see the rice fields in full flush and the cheery faces of the villagers as they reaped the produce.
Ziro is famed for its Apatani villages – I visited quite a few, such as Hong, Hija, and Dutta. Apatani villages are unique and interesting. Each village has an entry gate, which shows that they are built in an organised fashion (I just wish the state govt. constructed the roads as well).
Let me take you to ‘Hong’ through my pictures and tell you why it intrigued me –
The Bamboo, Timber and Pinewood houses
I was amazed to see the traditional houses that were built with Bamboo, Timber and Pinewood. The moment I stepped down from my cab to wander through the village, Hong seemed to me an abandoned world. The houses exuded an aura that said nobody lived there. But as I loitered a little bit, a few convivial faces began to appear slowly.
Their provision of central hearth
I got invited by a village lady in her home, which gave me a chance to know how they lived. Their homes are dimly lit with no noise except for the television. I liked the idea of a central hearth that kept the entire house warm.
The rice fields and the vineyards
As you drive along the villages, there are vivid rice fields all over and also, vineyards – I happened to see a Kiwi vineyard. My guide Tallo, who’s a local of Hong village, told me that they made Kiwi wines.
Farming is Apatani tribe’s primary occupation, so it’s quite obvious to see farmlands in the Ziro valley.
Small veggie gardens are a common sight
I spotted quite a few small veggie gardens at Hong. I particularly liked the bamboo walls festooned with pumpkins. That looked so pretty.
Their festivals and traditions
The Apatani folks practice certain customs to keep evil at bay, such as sacrificing animals. Their priests perform prayer ceremonies in the middle of the village – I saw small hut-like structures where the priests would sit and perform the pujas, while the villagers witnessed it.
The ‘Hong’ faces
I met a sweet Hong woman with her little one wrapped in a cloth around her body. She was all smiles and nice to me, and even her child seemed so keen to be photographed!
Have you visited a tribal village on your travels? Do you like rural travel?
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