Discover Arunachal Pradesh

Monthly Archives: July 2014

This majestic view, captured on the road to Tawang just after crossing Sela Pass, filled me with longing for mountains I had not yet seen. The same zephyr in the sky which played with the shape of the clouds had kindled my Sehnsucht irreversibly. And at that moment I knew that I would not get over the pull I felt to this place. I would be returning.

The time to take our leave from Ziro and the Apatani was drawing near, but we had one more stop to make. It was customary for travellers to seek the blessing of the village shaman before embarking on a journey, so we were on our way to do just that. Shortly after we got to his house, the shaman arrived in his formal garb which included a vest and a head adornment… Read More

Markets often hold little surprises in store, a trinket or titbit that captures the essence of the location and sticks in one’s memory long after leaving. What would that be in Ziro? I asked myself as we moved under the canopy out of the afternoon rain. There were fresh bamboo shoots, dried yak meat on a skewer and wild cardamom pods whose aroma we likened to that of vanilla. Coloured corn, chickpeas… Read More

After arriving in Ziro, we were joined by a local Tanii-speaking guide. There was nothing wrong with our curiosity, he explained, but not all villagers are accustomed to being the subject of prolonged gazes and camera lenses. In retrospect, we were quite glad to hear that. Soon enough, a man with a springy gait came walking toward us. A smile of recognition crossed his leathery face and he beckoned us to accompany… Read More

Surrounded by undulating hills and punctuated by streams, the Ziro valley is a highly fertile landscape which is home to the Apatani, an ethnically distinct tribe whose relationship with nature lies at the heart of its cultural identity. The livelihood of the Apatani people is based on agriculture, specifically paddy cultivation, where every centimetre is prudently utilized to maximize the yield of three crops: millet is planted on the inside walls of… Read More

Did you know? Arunachal Pradesh is one of only four states in India which has yaks. The roughly 7000 animals are reared and herded by semi-nomadic Brokpas at altitudes above 2000 meters. In high alpine communities, the yak is a multipurpose animal of high economic significance delivering hide, dung, meat and milk. Cheese made from the raw milk of yaks grazing on verdant pastures dotted with herbs, roots and wildflowers is simply… Read More

The Ani Gompas or nunneries of Tawang are steeped in the same time-honoured Tibetan Buddhist traditions as their larger all-male counterparts, the monasteries. Devoted to the study and practice of Lord Buddha’s teaching, the nuns known as ‘Anis’ commit their lives to helping others. Coming from a Western society which generally views random acts of kindness by strangers with suspicion rather than with faith, it was only after moving to India that… Read More

Founded in AD 1680, Tawang Monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in India. Situated in Tawang town at an elevation of 3300 meters, the mesmerizing Buddhist citadel comprises 65 residential buildings which are home to 450 lamas. A centre for Buddhist cultural studies and a library with an invaluable collection of 400-year-old manuscripts are also found inside the compound. While Tawang Monastery itself is sometimes shrouded in mysterious fingers of cloud,… Read More

Picture an azure sky, fields of green and a trio of pinnacles shimmering in the morning sun. This was our first glimpse of Khinmey Monastery. But no sooner had we shaded our eyes to see them better, the road wound away and the three golden spires slid out of sight again. We drove on in silence, transfixed by the panorama. The history of medieval Arunachal Pradesh is captured in monastic manuscripts and… Read More