Ziro – The Land of the Apatani Tribe

Amazing scenes at Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

A beloved town for World Heritage Site for many years and somewhat off the traditional tourist path of Tawang, Ziro valley is a quaint eastern Himalayan town located in the remote state of Arunachal Pradesh in India. The stunning landscape of Ziro valley Arunachal Pradesh encompasses lush rice paddy farms, burbling rivulets and dense settlements of bamboo houses. The charm of the land is further accentuated by the non-nomadic Apatani tribe. They are modest, friendly and hospitable people and have an interesting culture and legacy.

No wonder the enriching scenario captured by your camera on the trip will flop to create enough fairness to the hues of Ziro.

landscape at Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Amazing landscapes at Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

How to reach Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

The cheapest and best way to reach Ziro is to take a train from Guwahati to Naharlagun railway station and then a shared taxi till Ziro. Alternately you can take a train from Guwahati to North Lakhimpur and then a shared taxi till Ziro which would cost around 300 INR. Visit IRCTC for train bookings.

The nearest Airport is the Tezpur Airport in Assam. However, flights till Tezpur are unreliable as they are often canceled. The best option is to fly to Guwahati.

How to reach Ziro valley

How to Reach Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Permits Required

Arunachal Pradesh falls under restricted area; official permission is required to enter the state. Therefore the visitors other than natives of Arunachal Pradesh have an obligation to obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP). The Permit is given as a routine for the tourists. So it should not deter any tourist from coming to Arunachal Pradesh.

You can obtain the permit online from Arunachal Pradesh  Inner Line Management System which is maintained by Government of Arunachal Pradesh. Permits can also be obtained at Naharlagun or North Lakhimpur station but I would advise to do it online to avoid the rush at stations. Fees to get the permit is around INR 100.

Best time to visit Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

The climate is pleasant all over the year. However, the post-monsoon month of September is the best time with lush green rice fields. Also, around the 3rd week of September an annual Ziro festival of music is organized, where top music artists from across the country come down to collectively entertain, camp and celebrate.

Places to stay at Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

There are little stay options in Ziro with most of being quite expensive. The cheapest and the best I would suggest is Hotel Valley view which is quite decent at price range around 400 INR.

Other stay options: – Abasa Home Stay, Hotel Blue Pine, Siiro Resort and Ziro Valley Resort.

Hapoli Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Hapoli Town

I first heard about Ziro Valley while digging into information for popular music festivals celebrated across the country and got to know about Ziro music festival.

It’s an overnight train journey from Guwahati to Naharlagun and on reaching Naharlagun I was lucky enough to get a taxi absolutely free until Ziro. All thanks to a playback singer from England who in favor of making a call from my phone told to drop me off.

Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Beautiful view of Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

There is a drastic change in landscape while traversing through the border of Assam into Arunachal Pradesh. The plains give way to hilly terrains with more fresh air and cooler temperature. The condition of the roads all the way to Ziro is horrible. Drivers need to have a continuous watch over the hilly terrains to avoid big rocks that can tumble any moment.

Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

With the stunning beauty of the Apatani Plateau, Ziro is positioned at an altitude of 1500 meters above the sea-level. The city of Ziro is alienated in two parts which are 5 km away from each other –The old Ziro and the new one. The town Hapoli is the center of economic activities with administrative offices. Cheap staying options are available here and Ziro is just a few kilometers away.

On approaching near to Ziro, you can notice wrinkled old women with facial tattoos and nose plugs either coming from or going to their fields. They belong to Apatani Tribe.

Apatani Women Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Apatani women Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Apatani women were considered to be most beauteous in all of Arunachal Pradesh and the man from other tribes breached into the Apatani territory to steal one. To avoid such circumstances, Apatani tribe started a custom of tattooing the women faces and bodies and made them wear large nasal plugs to look unattractive.

Apatani Women Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Apatani women Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

The Apatani tribe settled here several centuries ago and are one amongst very few tribes in the world who practice Danyi – Pilo, a primitive way of worship of the Sun and the Moon.

Apatani Women Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Apatani Women in Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

The Apatanis are primarily into farming. Rice cultivation is abundant here which is practiced without the use of farm animals or machines. Rather focusing on using nature-friendly ways to do so. Another fascinating culture popular amongst the Apatani tribe is the Paddy-cum-fish culture. Wherein fish is also reared on the fields while the rice is being cultivated. To know more about this tribe check out Apatani people Wikipedia.

Apatani Women Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Apatani Women working in fields

Houses have been built entirely of bamboo and are supported on bamboo stilts. Newer homes, if not entirely of concrete, usually have the bamboo houses sitting on concrete stilts.

Onacheaptrip at Ziro valley Arunachal pradesh

The magic of outdoor music festivals is unparalleled. Much to the delight of all of us, India has a few outdoor music festivals like Sunburn Festival in Goa. Another such is Ziro music festival. Initiated in 2012, this is a three-day festival that combines the transcendental qualities of music with the great outdoors for an unforgettable experience.

Ziro festival Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Ziro promises some great adventure activities like trekking, rafting, angling, cycling and so on. You can trek through its undulating trails which lead to other attractive spots like Talley Valley, Tarin Fish Farm, Ziro Puto, Dolo Mando, Meghna Cave Temple Midey and other pristine places.

Apatani Women Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

 Somewhere in Ziro valley Arunachal Pradesh

The staple food in a traditional Apatani home revolves around rice, fish, pork and boiled vegetables. There are hardly any spices used in traditional Apatani food. Hence the green chili accompanies every single meal. You certainly do not want to miss out on apong, local rice beer that is known to never disappoint.

river flowing in Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Water source for fields

Ziro helps us to remind that there are still some places which are insusceptible to the fast-growing democracy. There are still places where the customs and rituals are alive.

houses at Ziro Valley Arunachal Pradesh

Houses supported on bamboo stilts

I used the following backpack during this trip and will highly recommend it. (Quechua Forclaz 60 Backpack)

Quechua backpack

Do follow me on Instagram as I am regularly posting travel posts and stories over there. Also, you can message me on Instagram if you want to join me on my next trip.

Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my post on What’s in my Backpack.

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22 thoughts on “Ziro – The Land of the Apatani Tribe

    1. Thanks Kalyan. You can take a train from Guwahati to Naharlagun railway station and then a shared taxi till Ziro. Alternately you can take a train from Guwahati to North Lakhimpur and then a shared taxi till Ziro which would cost around 300 INR

  1. Hi Abhishek, great post and beautiful pictures. I am planning to travel solo during the Ziro festival. I wanted to find out the transport from Ziro to Lakimpur or Naharlagun? Do they have late night buses or early morning(5am) cabs.

    1. Thank you so much!! I doubt on the availability of late night transport but surely you will get early morning shared taxis which probably starts around 7 am. You can check on the same once you reach there!

  2. Hey, the blog is very informative.
    I am planning to visit here in oct with my wife, how can we visit nearby places (like Talley Valley, Tarin Fish Farm etc) ? Walking long distance or trekking would not be possible. Is there a way to get a bike on rent there ? Need your suggestions.

    1. Thank you so much. I had to walk a lot to cover these places. As far as I remember, I didn’t come across any bike rental over there. You would probably have to hire a taxi over there to cover such places. Hope that helps!! Happy Journey 🙂

  3. Hi,
    Well described.
    Could you please help me out to know is there any difficulty that i could face (in Arunachal Pradesh) as i am planning to travel alone (solo) in Oct month from Rajasthan.

    1. Thanks for appreciation 🙂 No difficulty at all. I traveled in the same month. May be the roads won’t be in that good condition. Otherwise everything is perfectly fine.

  4. Hey Abhishek! Do you know if there are fixed timings for shared taxis from N Lakhimpur to Ziro and back?

    1. There are no fixed timings but usually, taxis start from around 7 am and the last one might be at 12.

  5. Abhishek,
    In month of Sept, I will visit Ziro. So could you tell me the telephone no. of Hotel Valley view? Where this Hotel Valley view? At Hari village.

    1. Sorry asish , as of now I don’t have the contact no of Hotel valley view.It’s in Hapoli town which is in Ziro.And as September is off season you don’t need to pre book the Hotel.

  6. Another serene and untouched place explored! Great!
    Did you get a chance attend the Ziro festival?

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