The Ziro Festival is a four-day annual music festival held in the spectacular Ziro Valley of Arunachal Pradesh. It is hosted by the indigenous Apatani tribe who are known for their closeness to nature. The festival is carefully curated to bring together over 40 of the best independent music acts from across the world.
With an infrastructure built almost entirely of locally-sourced bamboo and a strong emphasis on eco-friendly practices, Ziro Festival is a one-of its-kind festival in the world. There is a distinct focus on building a creative community and meaningfully engaging with locals, which is realised through engagement programmes like cultural exchange, learning and knowledge transfer workshops and residencies. As a family-friendly festival, we can also craft this as a kids-friendly itinerary.
Itanagar – Known for its scenic beauty, Buddhist culture and heritage, Itanagar is the capital of Arunachal Pradesh,
Ziro – Surrounded by blue rolling hills and topographically cut off from the rest of the populated areas of the region, Ziro Valley presents an example of how co-existence of man and nature has been perfected over the centuries by the Apatani civilization.
The Apatani Tribe – The Apatanis, one of the major ethnic groups of eastern Himalayas, have a distinct civilization with systematic land use practices and rich traditional ecological knowledge of natural resources management and conservation, acquired over the centuries through informal experimentation. The tribe is known for their colorful culture with various festivals, intricate handloom designs, skills in cane and bamboo crafts, and vibrant traditional village councils called bulyañ. This is why their villages are listed for a UNESCO recognition, where man and environment have harmoniously existed together.
Seppa – Seppa is the headquarters of the East Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh. Sabpa means ‘marshy’ land in the local dialect. The major tribes inhabiting this district are the Bangnis(Nyishi), Akas, Mijis and Puroiks (Sulung). Each tribe has their own dialects, customs and religion. Some these languages are listed by UNESCO as endangered languages.
The Nyishi Tribe – Nyishi people practice what can be called almost pagan or pre-Aryan beliefs, which is quite evident from their nature worship of trees, rocks, and plants amongst other things. Like other tribes, they too sacrifice animals to appease spirits and deities They are divided into three clans majorly – Dopum, Dodum and Dollu.
The Aka Tribe – The Aka, one of the smallest tribes in Arunachal, live in the East Kameng and West Kameng Districts of Arunachal Pradesh, Popularly known as the Koroof East Kameng and the Hrusso of West Kameng District, both the Koro and Hrusso Aka have different linguistic practices but are otherwise culturally identical and consider themselves to be part of the same tribe. Hrusso Aka is an endangered language spoken by about 4000 speakers. Koro-Aka is an endangered language spoken by roughly 800-1200.
Nameri – Nameri National Park located in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, is a destination for bird watching enthusiasts and home to more than 370 species of birds. It is one of the few national parks where it is permitted to explore on foot.
The average temperatures in Ziro range from 18C – 28C. September is the tail end of the monsoon in Arunachal so there is still a high chance of showers.
On arrival at Itanagar airport, you will be greeted by your driver and transfer to Itanagar town. Drive duration is about 45 mins. Check in to the property by lunch time.
Later visit the State Museum, Mahayana & Hinayana Buddhist monastery and a local market.
After breakfast check out of the hotel and drive to Ziro Valley. En route stop at the Niyshi Tribe village of Chullyu and have lunch here. Continue to Ziro and check into the hotel.
Head out to the festival grounds to attend the inaugural session of the festival followed by live music. There will be many stalls set up selling a variety of food, drinks and craft items, and you can sample food at the festival.
Early start this morning for a 3-4 hour nature walk to Hakhe-Tari. Hakhe-Tari village has about 10 homes and is a popular destination for hikers as the views are scenic and the hiking is only of moderate difficulty.
Drive back to the hotel and afternoon head back to the music festival to see acts on the Donyi Stage and the Polo Stage. These are the two stages set up where different performers come to play.
After breakfast go for a heritage walk with a local guide. Visit Hari, Bulla and Hong Villages, which are all Apatani tribe villages. Enjoy a traditional lunch at Hong Village.
Evening return to the festival grounds.
After breakfast visit the Technical Training Craft Centre, the district museum which has a wonderful collection of artefacts, the local market to see both the local produce and the array of beads that you can buy to make your own strings of beads.
This afternoon go to the festival ground to see performances on the Day Stage (Donyi Stage) on the last day of the festival. Grab bites from different food stalls at the ground.
After an early breakfast check out and travel by road to Seppa in the East Kameng district. On the way we will pass through three beautiful valleys: Pakke, Passa and Papu Valley.
Today explore the little known Valley of Seppa, situated on the bank of Kameng River.
Visit Nyubu Nyvgam Yerko School and interact with the kids. We will arrange an audience with the principal or a senior teacher to discuss their various languages and hopefully you can leave having learnt a few words.
Later visit the village of Lumdung, overlooking Papu Valley and the Papu River. Have lunch with a Nyishi family and take a walk around the village.
This evening enjoy the hospitality of an Aka tribe, sample with local brew and have dinner in a local home.
After breakfast check out and drive back down to the plains of Assam. On the way we will drive past Nichiphu and visit Tipi Orchidarium and Nature Interpretation Centre.
Early breakfast and depart for Itanagar airport to connect flight to onward destination.