Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ziro Landing Ground

1957: Kimin-Ziro road opened.
1952: Divisional Headquarter of Subansiri shifted from Kimin to Ziro.
1951: First aeroplane landed at Ziro landing ground.

This chronology of events looks upside down. It is one of the many intriguing facts about Ziro. Before the Kimin-Ziro road was opened in 1957, one had to trek through pestilential jungles for as long as a week from Kimin. Ziro was, in those days, an administrative outpost.

View of Landing Ground in 2011:

Construction of the landing ground was a major event in the otherwise sleepy valley at 5000 ft above sea level. RG Menzes, then Political Officer, who also opened the Ziro township on March 24, 1952 supervised the works. It is noteworthy that only local people - both Apatanis and Nyishis - were engaged in the construction project.

Landing Ground under construction in 1951:

The first aeroplane to land was an Otter in 1951 and next year in 1952, a Dakota landed after lengthening the landing ground. Since then, supply of essential items to the whole Subansiri division has been much easier. Till this day, this is the base for air-dropping of such items to strategic places like Damin, Sarli, Chambang, Limeking and Taksing.

In the seventies, the first commercial operation - that of Vayudoot - was started with much fanfare. The services never took off as expected as the flights became too unreliable due to unpredictable weather.
A serious attempt was made in the late nineties to extend the length of the present ground so as to make it viable for landing of commercial airplanes. As vast areas of priceless wet-rice cultivation areas were at stake, the project got a major setback. The government still has said to have an ongoing project to ungrade it into an airport. Even at the present status, the landing ground remains the most prominent landmark of Ziro.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Talle Trek

A formal trek to Talle has, at last, been organized. Of the many exciting trekking routes in and around Ziro, the one to Talle forest is the most promising. A local organization named Ngunu Ziro organized a trekking to Talle Valley - Spring Trek "11, this week.

The trek started from Hong village and the team reached Pange via Moko, covering some 5 kilometers on the first day. The next day, they trekked all the way to Talle Valle, covering 15 km. The third day was for exploration of the enchanting valley. They visited the abandoned helipad and the rhododendron grove in the valley. They returned the fourth day, via Maniipolyang.

This time of the year is best if one is interested in talle, the onion-like vegetable after which the valley has been named. Scores of colorful wild flowers adorn the routes while butterflies with intricate designs flit around. The early blooming red Senji have started drooping and buds of differently colored rhododendrons have started blooming.

Sitting on the steps of the camp at Talle, nibbling at talle hamañ, one can feel the cool wind blowing by hiibiñ and watch the long-tailed Palyu piita flying from branch to branch in the tall niiri piisas.

A trend has been started and hopefully will continue in the days to come.