Thursday, September 24, 2009


If ever the devil is after you, no worry. Get into the nearest nago you find. You are safe.

Nagos are one of the most important structures in the Apatani villages. They are the places where the Siiki is tempted to the country of the man to participate in the Myoko festival. It is also the place where other serious rituals like the ropis are observed.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gold Everywhere

Entii Piilo is coming. The whole landscape of Ziro is turning into gold. Harvesting of paddy has started in places.

Countless shades of green, gold and yellow. It is a real feast to the eyes. Bountiful nature.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trekking though Western Ring Road

As we come out of the Hija village, the green of the Apatani rice paddy greet us as usual. This road used to be a narrow track just some years back.

We meet these young fishermen as we step on the beginning of the Western Ring Road from Neñchañlyañ. The newly carpeted road amidst paddy fields gives an unusually pleasant sight.

Keiñlya used to be an isolated village with hardly two or three houses. With excellent road connection now, it is developing into another beautiful village.

A pine plantation. A signboard warning the hunters. These are the traditional practices the Apatanis are known for.

The 'ring' road beyond Keiñlya village.

We walk on enjoying the nature we miss in our everyday life. Wui tanyi, siitii byako, tare, different varieties of ferns, a giant mushroom.

Even a man-made structure like a stack of firewood is enjoyable. Especially so, when it is followed by an impromptu jungle lunch.

Too soon, we come out to the other end of the ring road towards Supyu.

We pleasantly discover a giirii in one of the aji agers. As we look further, lots of giiriis. Good sign, I think. Some hope. I recall the those times when every boy in the village used to walk the aji lenda trapping pai piitas. I thought this is already a thing of the past. These giiriis indicate that there still are some pai piitas around.

Welcome to another great trekking route in the Ziro valley!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Amazing Bamboo Furniture

As I was looking over some old photo folders, the photos at Dan's house in Harrisonburg that I took last year caught my eyes. I had been to his house for lunch and the sight of some amazing bamboo furniture struck me and prompted me to take some photographs.

These furniture, Dan explained, was imported from Vietnam. Beautiful and innovative designs. Something else, which I may have ignored while clicking away struck me again while looking at the pictures. There is an Apatani glass - tanii turla near one of the bamboo sofas.

A tanii turla in United States of America sound something unusual, but not so when one thinks of its beauty and elegance. Apart from its utility value, it could easily be one of the most prized possessions in a sitting room.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Naughty Tree

Rantii Pagabo in Hari rantii is one of the better known trees in the Ziro valley.

Some would term this as a freak but the tree has been attracting curious visitors for decades now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Women Pioneers

Pumiñ, Pubyañ, Yalyo, Yabo, Soki and Soli stand tall and proud overseeing the welfare of the village.

They are are the sacred trees - rantii piisas - in Hari Rantii. Hari rantii is one of the best sacred groves in whole of Ziro. The trees, some of the tallest trees today are said to have been named after the women who planted them when they migrated to the present habitat.

It is significant that the trees are named after women. The magnificent trees are testimony to the roles women must have played in the society from the time immemorial. One feels humbled to walk amidst these magestic trees now. It is sheer pleasure, though.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dora Kulu

The Apatanis believe that human beings everywhere are considered to have originated from one place though they have settled down all over the world. While migrating from the place of origin, the Halyañs, the non-tribal people went ahead and the Taniis were following them closely behind. At one place, somebody saw a cut end of a banana tree. He noticed that a good one hand's length had grown up from the cut portion.

"They have gone too far ahead," he told his friends. "We won't be able to reach them."

"In that case," they discussed among themselves. "Let us settle down here itself."

And that was how, the tribal people, the Taniis, settled down in the hills while the Halyañs went ahead to the plains.

So, banana trees have played significant role in the lives of our people. It is interesting, especially because these trees do not grow at Ziro. For optimal growth, they need an average temperature of 27°C, and that at Ziro is much lower.

The exception is the famous Dora Kulu in Hija village. A grove of banana trees has been surviving amidst granaries and kitchen gardens, behind narrow lanes for centuries now. And the growth is robust by any standard.

The grove is said to have been planted by a person belonging to Dora clan of Hija village. As the banana groves started growing, the people of Dora clan started dying one by one. Few remaining migrated to other villages. Today, Dora clan is considered extinct, though few are still surviving in Hong village.

Whatever the truth behind such stories, the banana grove in Hija village is unique given the climatic conditions of the area.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Biirii Lemba

When the Apatanis migrated to Ziro Valley in an unknown time, they are said to have settled down at the present Biirii. And it was here that the common Myoko festival was celebrated before the present system in which each Takuñ Putu celebrate it in turn every year was started.

Till now, Biirii was a sleepy little place with few houses amidst sea of millet gardens -lyapyos. Not any longer. It is becoming the hub of the Ziro valley again with more houses being constructed and more people settling down here.

The increasing popularity of the village lodge here could show a way forward for developing rural tourism.

Some areas, however, retain the old world charm of lyapyos and yorlus. It is still a pleasure driving through the village slowly. Or still better strolling leisurely, absorbing the green all around and inhaling the sweet aroma of nature.

Welcome to an upcoming model village!