The Apatani Tribal Village of Ziro – Old Ziro, India - Atlas Obscura

The Apatani Tribal Village of Ziro

Old Ziro, India

Hidden in the rain-forests of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India lies the village of Ziro, home to the Apatanis. 


An old village of the Apatani Tribe, Ziro is found in the mysterious state of Arunachal Pradesh in India. The area is famous for having pine hills, mountain rice cultivation and for its fascinating Apatani people.

The Apatanis are a very interesting tribe. Unlike the other tribes, they are non-nomadic in nature. They practice permanent wetland cultivation in hilly terrain by slicing the hills, whereas other tribes practice cultivation in dry land by cutting down forests.

Arguably, the most captivating members are the older women of the tribe, who wear facial tattoos and massive nose rings. The tradition, though non-existent now, dates back to pre-modern times, when the Apatani women were considered to be the most beautiful in all of Arunachal Pradesh. Men of other tribes would often steal the Apatani women, which led the Apatani men to tattoo the faces of their women and make them wear massive nose plugs, in order to make them less appealing.

The best time to visit Ziro is during the Murung Rituals in January or during the Dree Festival of July where the tribe practice animal sacrifices to honor the Gods.

During the farming season, tourists can take part and observe the rice cum fish cultivation, where fish is reared in the rice fields.

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