Discover Arunachal Pradesh

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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

Morel mushrooms feature prominently in the local cuisine of Bomdila. Dried and smoked, they impart a note of finesse on various gravies, sauces and soups. At first glance, sweet peas and mint seem unlikely to ignite a fire of flavour. But topped with a swirl of rich morel cream, this soup suddenly tastes sophisticated and delicious. Planning a summer garden party or picnic? Hungry eyes are guaranteed when you pull this out… Read More

It was a cool afternoon and the sky above the valley was lined with lacy clouds. Through the open window I watched as we drove by green hillsides plump with orange and kiwi groves. Curiosity and anticipation were tangled inside me, like I already knew something big was coming. Our car turned up a rough road and stopped at the edge of a meadow. A flock of tawny sheep was being led… Read More

Walking down Main Street in Bomdila, I felt nostalgia well up in me like a spring. The timbered houses and pots beaming with flowers, the crisp breeze and cobalt sky were all reminiscent of distant places in the Alps. But instead there I was, in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, and the similitude was comfortable as a plush old recliner. About half way into the stroll, we turned into a covered… Read More

Tibetan Buddhism makes use of eight symbols of good fortune to embellish sacred art and architecture and also to decorate secular household objects. These auspicious motifs are said to represent offerings made by various deities to the Lord Buddha upon his enlightenment. Whether they appear on a temple wall hanging or on quotidian items, these signs are seen as part of the spread of Buddha Dharma across society as a whole. Photographed… Read More

Cooking in Arunachal Pradesh is decidedly different than on “mainland” India. Recipes here rarely call for flame-hued chillies, glowing yellow tumeric powder, brick-red mustard seeds or other dried spices. Rather, fresh organic herbs, leaves and tubers are used to add color and aroma to the cornucopia of curries, soups, dals, pickles and chutneys found across the state. Moreover, food is often steamed so nutrients are sealed in and flavors linger pleasantly on… Read More