In Arunachal Pradesh lies a dreamy valley – Ziro, which is easily the most beautiful valley in the country, with undulating rice fields and impossibly blue skies. You can sense the forest hugging the valley as the gigantic eastern Himalayan range watches the beauty. There is no doubt it is a perfect place for one of the best music festivals in India, the Ziro Festival Of Music. (ZFM)
The festival was founded in 2012 by Bobby Hano and Menwhopause guitarist Anup Kutty. Over a very short period, this festival has become world famous and attracts some of the top musicians from India and abroad. The festival has two stages with over 40 bands and musical acts performing. The music is a mix of hip-hop, alternative, grunge and post-rock, pop funk and fusion, jazz with the occasional electronic and heavy acts thrown in for good measure. There is something for everyone.
The music starts in the afternoon so you have plenty of time to discover the Ziro Valley in the morning. There are walking and biking trails and you can check out the Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary to see the incredible biodiversity of the Ziro Valley. You can also trek to the Kile Pakho Ridge and be stunned by the contrast of snow-capped mountains on one side and the majestic Ziro Plateau on the other. Dilopolyang Maniipolyang and Dolo Mando/ Midey are also among the must-visit places here.
Once you are done soaking in all the music you can go around and see how warm and welcoming are the tribe that stays there. Ziro is the place of Apatani tribe, here the tribals have tattooed faces and a unique sense of calmness. You can ask them to show how to make rice beer called Apang in the local language. Try their rice and fish its mindblowing and chill with them.
In a nutshell, the journey to the Ziro Festival Of Music will not only be awesome but also a cultural experience like never before.
27th September, 2018 – 30th September, 2018
” Ziro festival is growing bigger and is now part of brand North East, a hip and edgy destination” – Tehelka
” Ziro encapsulated a more than perfect festival experience putting an essential tick mark on the bucket list” – Vogue (India)
Other doubts that you might have
Is it safe to travel to Ziro?
Travelling to Ziro is probably safer than travelling in Delhi! The people you’ll meet are warm, hospitable and ready to help. However, do make it a point to respect local culture and sensibilities. Most of the people you meet have ancient histories and heritage. Be inquisitive but don’t be intrusive.
Is it cold in Ziro? Does it rain?
The weather is the best part. It’s a bit nippy at night and if the sun comes out during the day, you’d probably want to strip down to a t-shirt (or less!). We’d highly recommend packing a sweatshirt and an umbrella or rain jacket because traditionally it has always rained during the festival even if in short spurts.
Is Ziro Festival kid-friendly?
Yes, a lot of families visits the festival, especially during the day. There are areas in the venue designed to entertain kids. However, it would be advisable to keep the kids close to because of the overwhelming crowds in certain places.
How does one get there?
Excellent! Getting to Ziro is an adventure and part of the overall journey. One option is to fly to Guwahati, which has flights from most major Indian cities. From Guwahati, take the overnight Intercity Express, which arrives at 5 am, to Naharlagun station. From there, take a bus or taxi to Ziro. This is a 4–5hr journey. It sounds long and arduous but is completely worth the effort.
Alternatively, a simpler option could be to take a flight to the Jorhat or Lilabari airport, which are significantly closer to Ziro and then take a shared cab to the venue. You could also take a night bus from Guwahati to Ziro. The bus, operated by the Arunachal Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation runs four days a week. One could also travel to North Lakhimpur or Itanagar and take a taxi to Ziro from there.
To get back home, you do the same in reverse!
What is the Inner Line Permit?
Arunachal Pradesh is a protected state, and everyone—including Indians—need a permit to enter the state. This is not a complicated process, so don’t sweat it. You simply need to fill out the required form (available at the Arunachal State Permit Management Portal: here) and get it verified at a Processing Office close to you. The document then needs to be presented to authorities when you enter the state (in Naharlagun). Keep it with you at all times till you leave.
Since you are going all the way to Arunachal, what else can you do?
There is plenty to do in the state as well as other parts of the region, depending on the amount of time you have. Assuming you have 4–5 extra days after the concert, you could visit the western region of Arunachal and go up to Tawang, which has the second largest Buddhist monastery in the world, and Bum La, which share the border with China. Alternately, you could go down to Shillong, which is an hour’s drive from Guwahati, for more great music or visit Cherrapunji’s incredible living root bridges. My personal recommendation check out the Double Decker Root Bridge