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Ziro
About Ziro

Ziro is a town that is situated in the Lower Subansiri district of the state of Arunachal Pradesh. It has been a preferred town for World Heritage Site for a number of years now. In a meeting of Archeological Survey of India (ASI) on December 12, 2012 it was shortlisted for inclusion in Tentative List for further nomination to UNESCO for inscription in the World Heritage Site. Located in the remote state of Arunachal Pradesh in India, Ziro is a picturesque eastern Himalayan town and home to the ever-fascinating Apatani Tribe. Situated in a valley, the town and its surroundings is a vast backdrop of greenery, filled with pine forests and rice-paddy farms. The Apatanis who are the major tribe of the valley, follow the religion of Donyi-Polo which is the worship of the Sun and Moon. They live animistic lives of farmers and have several distinctive and interesting customs, such as the older women of the tribe who have tattoos in their faces and bodies, and wear huge nose plugs. Sustainability plays a big role in the lifestyle of tribe, a example of which are the farms, where along with rice and paddy, the tribe even harvests fish.

The town is said to be one of the most attractive and pristine towns in the country. The place has a tribal heritage and many of the local population belong to the various tribes in the region. The Apani Tabu tribe is one of the main tribes in the region and the people of this tribe are very distinctive. The best time to visit Ziro would be from February to October.

A distinctive feature of the town is the Paddy cum Fish rearing system of the town. This cannot be seen anywhere else in the country. These farms are must to see while travelling to the town of Ziro. The Tarin Fish Farm is also worth to visit and this is situated around four km from the town of Hapoli. A hill called the Ziro Puto is situated nearby and one can witness an wonderful view of the valley from this vantage point.

There are a few trekking spots which are located near the place as well. The Talley Valley is the main trekking site and it is a hot spot of bio diversity. There is a Shiva Linga that is situated at Kardo and this is also a good place to see.

Ziro is occupied by more than 30,000 Apatani tribal people. One of the most advanced tribal groups in Arunchal Pradesh state, they well-known for the conservation and Paddy-cum-Fish culture which is distinctive amongst the Arunachal tribals. They also have a unique home bamboo plantations. A visit to an Apatani tribal home is a must. As per folklore, the women of the Apatani tribes were so beautiful that they wanted to look unattractive to males from neighboring tribes. So they were driven to protect themselves by tattooing and putting coin-sized nose plugs. Now these system is banned.

Eventhough Ziro is considered as a hill station, it does not offer too many tourist sights to offer. Five small rivulets namely Subansiri, Nishi, Apatani, Dafala and Miri flow nearby.Ziro is well-known for bamboo items, like bamboo baskets, Apatani handlooms and locally made handicraft items. Also worth buying in Ziro are colourful rugs, scarves and jackets. The District Industries Centre, which is situated in the town of Hapoli stocks cane items and other handloom and craft items.

Ziro boasts some peaks also; one is the Salin peak on the old Apatani trade route to North Lakhimpur. Kile Pakho, one of the high mountain ridge is just 7 km from Ziro where one can view the Eastern Himalayas. Ziro is rich in biological diversity with flora and fauna. There is a Government Handicraft Centre, from where one can collect hat made of cane or bamboo, colourful shawls and textiles woven by the tribals. An extraoridinary crafted metal replica of the mithun is available from here.

 
Geography

Ziro is the district headquarter of Lower Subansiri district and is one of the oldest towns in Arunachal Pradesh. It was the headquarters of the undivided Subansiri district which comprises the present districts of Upper Subsansiri, Kurung Kumey, Lower Subansiri and Papum Pare. It is situated at 27.63N 93.83E at an elevation of 1688 metres (5538 feet) to 2438 meters (8000 feet). Its cool weather in summer is its major attraction. It is well-known for its pine clad gentle hills around it and rice field all around. Ziro is home to the Apa-Tani tribe.

Apa-Tanis have few unique special characteristic features which differs from other tribes in Arunachal Pradesh and India. Some of these special characteristic features are:
1) Apa-Tanis are permanently settled in one place whereas other tribes are wandering in nature move from one place to another in search of fertile lands. They travel huge area of forests and settle temporarily for not more than four to five years in one place.
2) Apa-Tanis cultivate permanent wet land cultivations whereas other tribes practice dry land cultivations by clearing the forests by burning the jungles.
3) Apa-Tanis used to practice facial tattoos before; now they have dropped this custom few decades back.

 
Climate of Ziro

The climatic condition of the district varies from place to place as well as season to season. The climate is largely influenced by the nature of landscape depending upon altitude and location of place. It may broadly be divided into four seasons in a year :
1) Cold weather season is from December to February,
2) March to May is the pre-monsoon season of thunders storms follows by,
3) South-West monsoon from June to about the middle of October and
4) Second half of October to November constitutes the post monsoon or the retreating monsoon period and is a period of change.

In the foot hills or low high belt area of the district, the climatic condition is moderate in comparison to high belt areas, where winter is very cold and chill, and summer is pleasant. December and January are usually the coldest month, and July and August are warmest months.

Annual rainfall in the South is heavier than that in the Northern areas of the district. During the monsoon period more than 70 percent of the rain over the Southern half occurs while in the Northern portions it is about 60 percent. Variability of rain fall for the monsoon and the year ,as a whole, are relatively small. Average Annual Rainfall of the district Headquarter, Ziro recorded as 934.88 Cms during, 2000.

Relative humidity is always high throughout the year except in the winter months being slightly less humid. In the cold season, the sky is abscurred on many mornings due to lifted fog which clears with the advance of the day generally, fairly clouded in the period of March to May, heavily clouded to overcast in the monsoon season and clear or slightly clouded during the post monsoon season. Winds are usually light strong katabatic winds down the valleys are experienced as local effect produced by the nature of terrain.

Tourist Attractions in Ziro

Ziro is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Arunachal Pradesh, it is known for its beautiful mountains, hillocks and rivers. Places of tourist interest in Ziro are-

Apatani Villages
It is a unique experience to meet the friendly Apatani tribal folk, who have facial tattoos and wear nose plugs in their villages. The best villages to visit are, Hong, Hijo, Hari, Bamin and Dutta. All these villages are within a 10 km radius and it is advisable to take a local guide along with you, or you won't be able to see much and might be made to feel unwelcome by the tribals.

Shiva Lingam at Kardo Forest
Shiva lingam is a 25 ft tall and 22 ft wide in Kardo forest which is located 4 kms from Hapoli town. Large number of devotees visit the spot everyday which was accidently discovered in July 2004.

Tarin Fish farm
It is a high altitude fish farm which is situated amidst wonderful surroundings where high altitude fish breeding is done.

Tapyo Salt
The Apatani tribe prepares a special herbal salt that is distinctive in the sense that it makes their food habits different in comparison to that of the other tribes. Tapyo salt is also said to contain a kind of iodine that preserves the Apatani people from many ailments.

Paddy cum Fish Culture
It is a distinctive culture made possible due to Apatani form of agriculture. In this practice fish is reared in paddy fields in the channels meant for drainage. Harvesting of fish is done after 2-3 months.

District museum
It was founded in 1956, the museum exhibits a rich collection of ethnographic and cultural materials related to the people of Arunachal Pradesh. It has textiles in the form of artifacts, turquoise, costumes, bags, and coral jewellery, bone and ivory ornaments, bamboo and cane household products and a small collection of Dao machetes.

Ziro Putu
It is a small hill used by the army in the sixties to set up their cantonment. Also known as Army Putu, this hillock offers a fantastic view of the valley below. There is an airstrip amidst paddy fields.

Talley Valley
It is a wildlife sanctuary as well as a bio-diversity hotspot which is situated at a distance of 32 kms from Ziro towards the north east. Comprising sub-tropical and alpine forests it has a variety of flora and fauna. The place offers great trekking opportunities.

Dilopolyang Maniipolyang
It is picturesque grassland with a twin hillock which is located below natural forests. One has to cross the Siiro village on the way to Talley valley to get to this place.

Community Festivals
The Apatani tribe celebrates three major festivals namely Myoko, Murung and Dree. These three festivals are celebrated during different times of the year with traditional gaiety followed by animal sacrifices, community feasting and merry-making.

Bamboo Groove
A groove where one can witness a unique expertise of farm forestry. Here a one stem bamboo (monopodial) is grown with blue clad pine. Hikers and picnickers make it a point to visit this groove.

Pine Groove
It is situated at a distance of 3 kms from old Ziro, this groove is full of pine trees and its scenic grandeur attracts lots of visitors.

Orchids & Flowers
The climate of Ziro is very conductive for orchid and flower cultivation. As such one can see various rare varieties of orchids and flowers here.

Dolo Mando
It is situated about 2 kms away from Hapoli on the west of Ziro, this small hill stands as indication to the legendary love affair of Dolo and Mando. It is very popular amongst trekkers.

Kile Pakho
It is a ridge that is situated about 7 kms from old Ziro. It offers a birds eye view of the Ziro valley and the snow clad Himalayas.

Midey
It is a place which is well-known for enormous blue pine trees and is situated about 2 kms from old Ziro.

How to reach Ziro

By Rail
Ziro does not have its own railway station and the nearest railway station is at Tezpur, which is situated at a distance of 300 km. Tezpur is linked to various parts of the country and tourists can take a bus or hire a taxi to reach Ziro.

By Road
State Government run buses are available to Ziro from Itanagar, the state capital. These buses depart everyday and are reasonable.

By Air
The nearest airport to Ziro is at Tezpur, which is situated at a distance of 300 km. The airport at Tezpur is linked to Kolkata and Silchar by weekly flights. Taxis are available at the Tezpur airport to go onwards to Ziro.

 

 


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