Saturday, June 21, 2008

Abode of Buru

Inter-tribal conflict was commonplace those days. Once all the tribes surrounding the Ziro valley made a plan to exterminate the inhabitants of the valley. Accordingly on the appointed day, the warriors converged on the valley from all sides. When they reached the ridge, one of them looked down into the valley and found it already flooded.

“The flood has done our job,” he announced.

“Let us return to our villages and celebrate,” the other said.

So, the news went around the ridge and the warriors returned to their villages. The mists in the valley which till today makes the Ziro valley look like a lake had helped avoid a potentially bloody battle!

The place we know today as Ziro valley was the home of many animals including a prehistoric reptile locally called buru. When the Apatanis settled down in the Ziro valley, a conflict ensued. The last of the burus was killed by a talo, now known as myamya not very long ago. When the talo returned home after killing the buru, the owner of the talo was still busy pounding rice powder (yatang) to smear the talo. Enraged at not having been received properly after such heroic feat, the talo cut the child of the owner, who was sleeping in the house, into two. In revenge, the owner threw her pestle – hunyi, at the talo, breaking it. The talo with its wound, is preserved in Kalung village to this day.

Buru had captured the imagination of adventurers around the world. Just before India attained independence, Lord Mountbatten dispatched an expedition to locate the buru under the aegis of London Daily Mail, but the reptile remained hidden in the mists of legends. The expedition is recorded in Ralph Izzard’s “The Hunt for the Buru”. The book recalls in vivid detail the treks through hazardous swamplands filled with snakes and leeches, thumbnail-sized ticks and wild boar.

The video above is from Dusu Katu, 9.5 km from Hari village one of the ridges which gives an excellent view of Hapoli township, Siiro village and Maniipolyang on a clear day. It is, of course, a ‘lake’ in the morning.


  1. Heard about the powers of this TALO. Could it be real? Talo is a brass plate,sacred and worshipped by Apatanis and other Tani group. I dont find any scientific reasons to it. Is it the power of faith?

  2. This is something nobody seems to have a definite idea. Two things - science can make an attempt to explain almost every phenomena in the world, but there still are some aspects beyond scientific logic. It is said that science would be at its peak when it merges with religion (spirituality). I sometimes think this makes sense.

  3. Fascinating account. Is there any remains of Buru or any evidence?

  4. There is no crocodile or any of its related family in the Apatani valley today, but we do have the word "buru". I think this is the biggest evidence.