‘Ziro’ boring days in this village of Northeast India.


By Anjali Dedha

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Ziro, a village nestled in Northeast India, where emerald hills cradle stories as ancient as time, and each whisper of the wind carries the essence of a bygone era.

As someone fortunate enough to tread upon the lush landscapes of Ziro, we find ourselves grappling for words to capture the magic that resides within its boundaries.

From the moment you set foot in Ziro, the world transforms. The air is different – cleaner, crisper, laden with the scent of pine that dances through the centuries-old groves. The hills, adorned with terraced fields that seem to climb to the heavens, echo with tales whispered by generations that have called this place home.

It’s nearly impossible to have a dull day in a place where tradition and contemporaneity beat in sync to make it come alive.

The ink that refuses to fade away: The truth behind Apatani Tribe’s facial tattoos

It has been proven time and time again that ink on parchment doesn’t stand the test of time. History can be erased when there’s nothing to preserve it. So, how does a culture ensure its heritage doesn’t fade away? It continues to wear its identity on its skin.

The Apatani Tribe of Ziro is a community that is known for the intricate face tattoos and nose plugs locally known as yaping hurlo.The most common belief is that the women of this tribe were extremely beautiful. Their beauty was deemed as an excuse by wretched men to abduct them. To protect them from the male gaze, the process of “uglification” of their faces began.

The tribe carved tattoos on their faces and wooden plugs were inserted into their noses to stretch them out.

Now even though years have passed and there’s no imminent threat from tribesmen, you still see the Apatani women wearing their identity with pride. It’s a tradition that has been gracefully carried through generations, offering visitors a chance to appreciate the depth and significance behind the outward expressions of identity.

Bridging generations through music: The Ziro Festival

Rooted in the traditional music of the region, the Ziro music festival seamlessly incorporates contemporary sounds, creating an inclusive space where the young and old can connect through shared rhythms.

Local artists, indie bands, and other performers share the stage creating an electric vibe that’s hard to put into words.

The beats make you tap your feet to soulful music and before you know it, you are whisked away into a whirlwind experience that stays with you for the rest of your days.

It started in 2012 as an initiative to bridge the gap between local tribal music and help it reach different nooks and corners of the world. To foster a certain sense of belonging and understanding among different communities. And what better way to do that, if not by music?

Over the years, the event has evolved into a cultural phenomenon and has contributed significantly to Ziro’s charm.

A different world altogether: Pine Groves, Caves, and other timeless landscapes

In a world marked by rapid transformations, Ziro stands as a sanctuary where time takes a gentler pace.

The Pine Groves feel like a secret hideaway, with tall trees creating this natural roof, dappling sunlight in the most enchanting way. One can’t help but feel like a character in a fairy tale when wandering through these magical woods.

The Meghna Cave, a mystical spot, echoes the myths and legends passed down through generations.

Every view is not just a picturesque sight but a glimpse into the enduring legacy of a region that has stood witness to centuries of change.

And so much of its beauty lies not just in what your eyes see but in what you live through. The most mundane moments spent in Ziro – sipping tea with locals, wandering through rice fields, and staring at a sky filled with stars that seem just within reach are what makes this valley truly timeless.

Ziro is a place that demands to be experienced, where every sunrise brings a new chapter, and every sunset paints the sky in hues that linger in your memory.

A place that has so much to offer can be many things and to experience all its shade is no less of a blessing.

Lucky for the ones who seek offbeat experiences – the Northeast India expedition by Adventures Overland consists of a visit to the enchanting Ziro. Along with other mesmerizing places like Kaziranga National Park, the largest river Island – Majuli, and more. You can check it out here.

Published On: 9th January 2024

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