The famous Ziro valley, named a World Heritage Site, is famous for its pristine environs, stunning natural beauty, picturesque locales and of course the Apatani tribe. That has not pushed the Ziro valley to the tipping point of fame, but it is now on the world map due to the Ziro Festival of Music that happens every year in September, attracting artists and audience from all over the world! This fest, hosted by the Apatani Tribe, is one of the biggest outdoor music events that happen in the country and showcases a lot of independent musicians from India. Conceived in 2012 by Bobby Hano and Anup Kutty, this event celebrates astonishing talent, creative artists and the hospitality of the Apatani tribe over 4 days.
Ziro is located in Arunachal Pradesh and is one of the destinations made famous by Gaurav Jani, in his documentary ‘One Crazy Ride.’ This year the Ziro Festival is happening from the 27-30 Sept and here is all the information you need to reach in time for the Ziro fest!
How To Reach Ziro
By Air – The best airport to get to in the region is Guwahati due to frequent, reliable flight schedule. You can also fly to Tezpur as well.
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By Rail – The closest station to Ziro is Naharlagun which is about 3 hours away. There are many trains from Guwahati to Naharlagun and it’s just an overnight journey away. There are three trains from Guwahati to Naharlagun; Guwahati-Naharlagun Shatabdi Express, Kamakhaya-Murkongselek Lachit Express, and Guwahati-Naharlagun Donyi Polo Express. Do book your tickets in advance.
By Road – From Guwahati, you can take a cab directly to Ziro but it’s going to be very expensive so try and travel in a group. From Naharlagun, you can get a cab and they charge you about INR 4000, so again, try to travel with a group. Itanagar has a bus service to Ziro and they charge around INR 200 per person for the trip.
Permits for Ziro Festival
Yes, you read that right. Everybody needs to have an Inner Line Permit (for Indians) or a Protected Area Permit (for foreigners) to get access to Ziro. Here’s the process to get your permit.
- ILP – Indian Nationals apart from natives of Arunachal Pradesh, will need an ILP to enter the state. The ILP can be acquired online or one can be issued by the Government Authorities of Arunachal Pradesh that has its offices in Delhi, Kolkata, Tezpur, Guwahati, Shillong, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, and Jorhat. Indians can apply for permits online here
- PAP – All foreign nationals are required to obtain a Protection Area Permit for entering into Arunachal Pradesh. They can obtain this from All Indian Missions abroad, All Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRRO) at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chief Immigration Officer, Chennai, Home Ministry, Govt. of India and Home Commissioner, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar
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Hotels in Ziro
Ziro is a rustic village located far off from modern civilization and there aren’t a lot of hotels/resorts in the area. However, there are quite a few options for you to stay at Ziro, listed below.
- Book a camping package through Kite Manja or ChaloHoppo, who are listed on the official Ziro Festival of Music website, and they provide various kinds of packages
- Bring your own tent. You can get your own tent, rent a space for about INR 3,000 and pitch it behind the festival grounds. The rent should cover your washroom access and a limited supply of electricity for you to charge your phone etc
- Over time a few homestays have come up in and around Ziro so you can explore that option as well. But most of them are off the grid and you need to book them through travel agents, locals or on the spot if you’re lucky
- In case you don’t stay at Ziro, you can also book accommodation at Hapoli, 5kms away. You will find a few hotels/resorts there which will provide clean rooms with basic amenities
- Carry waterproof clothing, gumboots, mosquito repellants, umbrellas etc as it might rain at the time of the fest
- Book your tickets and hotels online to avoid the last minute rush and rising prices
- Permits are a must for ALL, irrespective of where you are from or what age group you fall under
- Break bread and drink with the locals. They are very nice people and have plenty of stories to share
- If you are a nonvegetarian, do try the pork and fish preparations; they are to die for
Buying Tickets For Ziro Music Fest
Some FAQ’s for 1st time visitors
Q. What happens in the festival?
A. Over the course of 4 days, various artists from around the world showcase their artistic talent. The fest is full of exciting performances by local bands from all over the country and a great amalgamation of world music.
Q. Is it safe, especially for girls?
A. Ziro is a very safe place to visit, irrespective of your gender, nationality, age group etc. The locals are extremely friendly, accommodating and helpful and you can walk/cycle all around the place at any time of the day!
Q. What’s the weather in Ziro in September?
A. The weather is usually around the mid 20’s with chances of rain. Nights can get a little chilly so pack accordingly.
Q. What should I pack for the trip?
A. Don’t forget to get raincoats, gumboots, mosquito repellant, toilet paper, your own bottle, torches, power banks, your medications, warm clothing, tent and sleeping bags
Q. I don’t like camping. Can I stay in a hotel?
A. Yes, of course. As mentioned above, you can get hotels and homestays in Hapoli located 20 km from the Ziro festival ground. Accommodation will be neat and clean with basic amenities
Q. What will I eat there? Do people eat weird stuff in Arunachal Pradesh?
A. There is plenty of yummy food to go around for everybody, as there should be food stalls from across India at the event. If you want to try local delicacies you can do that as well. The rice beer prepared locally is a specialty and we highly recommend that!
We hope this helps plan your travel to the Ziro festival! Let us know if you’d like to know anything else. We also have something that might help you with your future journeys and you can read it here!