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Apatani Tribal Village of Ziro in India 2024-2025

The fascinating tribe has preserved traditions and way of life

Best time: July–March

Apatani Tribal Village of Ziro

Apatani Tribe, also known by the name Tanw and Apa, live in the Ziro valley in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India. It's a quiet secluded area with beautiful pine hills, mountain rice paddies, and fascinating people. The village of Ziro is located 115 km from Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh. UNESCO considers the Apatani valley as a World Heritage Site for its unique way of preserving the environment. One of the most distinct agricultural methods is growing rice and fish in the paddy fields.

The best time to visit Ziro is during the dry season from July through March when the weather is more pleasant.

The main occupation of the Apatani is agriculture and fishing. They practice an animistic religion Donyi-Polo. Donyi means the Sun and Polo is the Moon like yin and yang. This is a typical religion of many Sino-Tibetan tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The older women of the tribe have distinct facial tattoos and nose rings. This tradition dates back to when representatives of other tribes kidnapped the Apatani women, this made the Apatani men tattoo their faces and make them wear massive nose plugs. This tradition has now diminished, when the government imposed a ban on the nose plugs incisions in the 1970s.

Practical info

What is the significance of the Apatani valley being a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

The sustainable preservation and unique practices of the environment in the Apatani valley designated it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO recognized their practices in water management, simultaneous cultivation of food and fish, preservation of culture, beliefs, language, and art amidst India's rapid modernization. The honor draws attention to their ideas and culture and helps in conservation efforts. The valley is an excellent example of traditional ecological knowledge that can inspire sustainable living today. Show more

When is the best time to visit the Apatani Tribal Village of Ziro in India?

An ideal time to visit the scenic Apatani Tribal Village of Ziro is between July and March. The climate during this period is pleasant, with clear skies and suitable temperature. This period is perfect for witnessing the picturesque view of the valley with pine hills and mountain rice paddies. Tourists can also witness the region's unique and spectacular Myoko festival between August and October. It is celebrated to welcome the spring season, and locals pray for a good harvest from the fertility god. Show more

What is the main occupation of the Apatani Tribe?

The Apatani Tribe primarily practices agriculture and fishing. They cultivate crops like rice, maize, millet, and mustard. Their sustainable upland rice cultivation method of integrating crops and fish in the same field through pond digging is unique to their community. Handicrafts, weaving, and pottery are other famous Apatani occupations. The tribe's expertise in cultivating crops while maintaining traditional practices can inspire sustainable living models for the modern world. Show more

What is the traditional animistic religion of the Apatani tribe?

The Apatani tribe follows the Donyi-Polo animistic religion, which originated 500 years ago. Donyi denotes the Sun and Polo the Moon, following the principle of duality similar to that of Yin and Yang. The religion believes in the co-existence of all living beings and a deity that describes both goodness and evil in everything. Apart from Donyi-Polo, other religions like Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam also exist in the tribe. Donyi-Polo, adept at conservation values, can inspire the world to lead a sustainable life. Show more

Why did Apatani men tattoo their faces and make women wear massive nose plugs?

Kidnapping of Apatani women by representatives of other tribes for marriage was a cause of concern for Apatani men, who then tattooed their faces and made women wear massive noserings to make them less attractive. The practice declined with time and is now banned by the government since the 1970s. Nowadays, only a few elderly women flaunt the remarkable looks, and it serves as a reminder of their rich history. This fascinating aspect of Apatani culture can encourage studying unique practices that we can replicate sustainably in modern times. Show more

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