Places Covered: Delhi or Kolkata – Dibrugarh-Roing-Pashighat-
This journey gives you a glimpse of the ethnic diversity expressed through the 3 traditional festivals we visit in a very special way. In a region sparsely populated even for India, tucked away in the remote north-east of Arunachal Pradesh, there are just 17 inhabitants per square kilometre over an area of 84,000 square kilometres. The 1.4 million inhabitants of Arunachal belong to about 100 different indigenous tribes who still maintain their traditional & customs. Framed by Bhutan in the west, Tibet (China) in the north, Myanmar in the east and Assam & Nagaland in the south, this is not only a diverse mixture of peoples, but also an enchanting and at the same time wild and vast landscape stretching from the high Himalayas in the north to the 7,090 m towering summit of the Kangto stretches down to the lowlands on the Brahmaputra. Here we find all vegetation zones – from tropical and subtropical rain and cloud forests in the south, rhododendron, oak and fir forests in the low mountain ranges to the alpine vegetation of the high mountains.
The ethnical approach of Arunachal Pradesh remains a rare experience that we offer you. A unique and fascinating universe where shamanism, animism, ancestral traditions, tribal cultures and traditional architectures reign … These worlds are those of a nature that is lavish in curious fauna and flora but also those of ethnic groups that unfold their lives in the world, maintaining ancient traditions: Apatanis, Nishis, Tagins … From the island of Majuli on the Brahmaputra, from the sumptuous landscapes of Arunachal Pradesh to the tea plantations of Assam, those who try to adventure of this original journey can not forget, in the memory of emotions, landscapes and faces…
After an early breakfast board flight to Dibrugarh. Upon arrival at Dibrugarh, will be transferred to hotel. The rest of the day we have free to arrive in peace. Hotel Natraj or SIMILAR.
After a few kilometres we reach today the first foothills of the Indian federal state Arunachal. A public ferry takes us first across the mighty Brahmaputra, one of the holiest rivers in India. On our way to Roing we visit a village of the Adi Padam tribe on the way. Roing is located on the extreme eastern foothills of the Himalayas and is surrounded by dense forests. Here live the tribe of Idu Mishmi, which are mainly to find the Lohit district and the Dibang Valley, but also beyond the nearby border in southwest China. As animists, they believe in the soulfulness of nature. The preparations for tomorrow’s Reh festival, the most important festival of this tribe, are probably already in full swing when we arrive and with a bit of luck we can already be quiet observers here. Overnight stay at Roing. Overnight Fix Tent or Local house.
The whole day is at our disposal to attend the varied events of the Reh festival. The Idus believe that they are sons and daughters of the holy mother “Nanyi Irryitaya”. But none of you can get their blessing and survive in the strong social fabric of the tribe without a special puja or attending the Reh festival. The party will be very well attended. According to ancient customs, some sacred buffaloes are sacrificed during the festival in honour of Nanyi Irryitaya.
Today we board another local ferry that will take us across the Dibang and Siang Rivers before we visit a village of the Adi Padam tribe on our way to Pasighat. There should be plenty of time to explore the small town of Pasighat, which is the center of the Adi and Mishmi tribes. There is a small handicraft market here, and on the vegetable market all sorts of well-known and (unknown) vegetables and fruits. We also find the local “Naga pepper”, one of the hottest pepper varieties in the world! we will have the opportunity to see the special Igu dance of an Adi priest (but not sure, depend on luck). Overnight Hotel Serene Abode or SIMILAR.
Finally, head towards the mountains! On a bumpy road, we first follow the Siang River, which is lined with steep slopes and a lush jungle landscape. The vegetation of the jungle seems impenetrable and is habitat for many species of beautiful butterflies. With a bit of luck, we might spot elephants, which are often used for forestry, but even wild elephants are not uncommon. In contrast, Mithuns, a half-wild buffalo species and a sacred animal for the inhabitants of Arunachal, are very rarely seen. Shortly before Along we cross one of the traditional suspension bridges over the Siang River. Overnight stay at P & P Resort.
The whole day is at our disposal to visit Along, which is embedded in an impressive landscape, as well as to visit the villages in the area. The inhabitants belong here exclusively to the Adi Gallong tribe. Only in the wider environment do we encounter various subgroups of this tribe. It is a colorful trunk. The women wear a lot of self-made jewelry made of colorful beads and other crafted jewelry.
Excursion: Adi tribe
The Adi tribe settled east in the area around Daporijo and Along. Here the women and men wear very colorful tunics. The tribal elder can be recognized by a ship-shaped, braided hat, which is called by the locals, bolup ‘. In their villages, granaries can be discovered on two levels. These bamboo constructions are characteristic of this strain and were designed to prevent rats from coming to the laboriously harvested crop.
Very early in the morning we leave, because there are about 180 km around 7 hours drive through charming countryside in front of us. Also in this region live many different subgroups of the Adi strain, e.g. Adi Minyong, Adi Padam and Galo Adi, all of whom have their own customs. So we find, for example in the Adi Galo beautiful, traditionally woven fabrics, which are processed into equally beautiful robes. On the way, we definitely visit one of the villages along the way, but at the same time try not to arrive too late in Daporijo, because here are already the preparations for the Boori Boot Festival in full swing, which we would like to observe. Singhik Hotel & Resort Dhaporijo.
The Bori Boat Festival is exclusively celebrated by the hill tribe of Miris. Young and old come together to greet the approaching spring together and to ask for a good harvest. In a prayer ceremony, the Nibu (priest) conjures up the spirit of the Bori Boat, blessing everyone with prosperity and keeping illness away.
On reasonably good road we drive through a green, almost tropical-looking landscape. On the way we visit some villages of the tribes of Tansa and Hill Miri. The latter often build their houses on bamboo stilts. On the way we meet the Nishi tribe, which is hardly distinguishable from the Hill Miri, but in the past was considered much more belligerent. In ancient times, it was customary for the men to wear a traditional headgear with a beak of the hornbill, the national bird of Arunachal. Today, the rare and very magnificent animals are protected and therefore may no longer be hunted. Maybe we are lucky and meet an elderly tribesman, who proudly shows us his traditional headdress.
After exhausting, but also very eventful 160 km we finally reach Ziro, the main town of the tribe of the Apatani. The village is located at 1500 m altitude with a view of the mountains towering up. Overnight at Passa Lath Resort or SIMILAR.
Excursion: Apatani tribe
The Apatani tribe settled in the Ziro valley and is the largest of the many tribes. Striking features of this strain are the facial tattoos and the thick nose studs of women made of bamboo wood. The locals call the nose plugs ‘yaping hurlo’, which were originally designed to disfigure the women to protect them from intruders. The tribe follows the belief ‘Danyi-Piilo’. This means that they worship the sun and the moon. In the case of calamities, they assume that it was caused by a devilish hand. To get the balance back, sacrifice chickens, cattle or other domestic animals.
Today we have the opportunity to delve deeper into the culture of the Apatani tribe, which is strikingly different from other tribes, and to experience them first-hand. The approximately 15,000 Apatani live in a strict social system that was originally purported to protect them from the hostile neighboring tribes. We will visit the surrounding villages of the Apatani tribe. Along the way we can see houses of the inhabitants, which are mainly built of bamboo poles and have a beautiful terrace and will certainly feel the hospitality of the local’s one or the other! On our travels to Arunachal, it is not uncommon for us to be invited to one of the houses as a welcome guest and thus come into direct contact with the culture and way of life of the people.
Today we leave the highlands of the Himalayas and the tribal areas of Arunachal Pradesh behind us. On our way south back to Assam. Once again we cross the Brahmaputra on a simple local ferry in 1-2 hours and reach the river island Majuli, one of the largest river islands in the world, where life is much more relaxed and quieter than in the otherwise lively and hectic India. The island exudes an almost serene tranquility – certainly because there is little traffic outside the main town Garamur. Overnight at La Maison de Ananda or Local House.
The island invites to a detailed exploration of its heritage sites. Due to the multitude of Satras, the traditional Assamese Vaishnavite monasteries, the island is considered the cultural center of Assam. In addition to visiting some of the most important monasteries, which are idyllically located between rice fields and fish ponds, we enjoy the quiet relaxed life. At the same time, the island is a small natural paradise, the numerous endangered bird species such. Pelican, Silver Crane and Marabus provides protection. But the island still has a special superlative to offer: Bhut Jolokia, which locals also call “Ghost Chilli” and is the absolute hottest chili pepper in the world.
We board the public ferry again and leave Majuli Island. We drive back to Dibrugarh, where we stay overnight. Hotel Natraj or SIMILAR.
In the early morning we leave Dibrugarh and drive to Miao in the deep east of India. On the way we visit a Tibetan refugee camp. In addition to agriculture, Tibetans have specialized in the production of carpets, which are in high demand among the locals of the region. Miao is picturesquely situated on the banks of the Nao Dihing River. Here and in the area live the tribes of Tangsa and Singpho. The Singpho are followers of Theravada Buddhism, while the Tangsa of the religious community “Sun and Moon”, the traditional religion Arunachals. Overnight at Namdapha Jungle Camp.
We explore Miao and surrounding areas and visit some of the most interesting tribal villages of Tangsa and Singpho.
On our way to Tezu we visit the tribal villages of Lisu, Chakma and Khamptis. The latter are followers of Hinayana Buddhism. These tribes also have their own special costumes and dances. Since Tezu is already preparing for the Tam Ladu Festival, we do not want to arrive there too late to get a glimpse of the busy life. Overnight at Oshin Hotel or Local House.
All day we have time to visit the festival and explore the area.
Our journey is coming to an end and we are driving back to Dibrugarh, where the rest of the day is at our free disposal. Overnight Hotel Natraj or SIMILAR.
And then our eventful tribes tour of North-East India is already over! With a heavy heart we drive to the airport and start the return flight to home.
Minimum 2 paying pax, price per person on twin/ Double Sharing Basis