Customs and lifestyle of Apatani tribe of Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India is one beautiful treasure house that is not only famous for its natural beauty but also for its rich culture and tribal heritage. This state has around 26 tribal groups and one of the interesting groups is the Apatani tribe.

Residing in the mesmerizing valleys of Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh, the Apatanis have distinct civilization. The population in Ziro is very less compared to other places in the state and the population is formed by the Apatani tribal group in Ziro. The culture and appearance of the tribe are quite interesting and they have rich traditional ecological knowledge of natural resources management and conservation acquired over the centuries. These people not only make the valleys of Ziro rich with rice cultivation but also celebrate many colorful festivals and are skilled in designing intricate handlooms and make handicrafts out of cane and bamboos. Unlike many other tribes, this tribe is non nomadic and are permanently settled in Ziro; they practice wetland cultivation in terrain by slicing hills whereas other tribes in this state practice cultivation in dry land by cutting down forests. The Apatanis of Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh do not use any farm animals or machines for cultivation. However they are popular for extremely high productivity and unique traditional ways of preserving ecology which led UNESCO to propose the Apatanis in Ziro valley for including as a World Heritage Site.

The Apatanis stand out from others also due to their appearance. The older women wear facial tattoos and large nose rings. However these traditions are non-existent now but you may still see some older women with such features. Ziro is also one of the oldest villages in Arunachal Pradesh and it is recommended to visit Ziro either in summer or the winter.  

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