Go Now: The Ziro Music Festival in Arunachal Pradesh

Live music and mountain views in the Ziro Valley.  
Ziro Festival of Music
Set in the lush valley of Arunachal Pradesh, the Ziro Festival of Music offers a heady combination of indie music, local food, and breathtaking views. Photos: Shiv Ahuja

There are a number of reasons to visit Arunachal Pradesh: gorgeous landscapes, incredible wildlife, delicious local fare, and mugs of marua (millet beer). This month, there’s also the Ziro Festival of Music, between September 22 and 25, 2016.

It’s the break you’ve been hankering for: An outdoor festival set in the lush Ziro Valley with indie music, Himalayan views, and grass to lie back on. The line-up includes a mix of bands from the Northeast as well as electronic, rock, and folk-jazz acts, including Mumbai-based Madboy, Skrat from Chennai, and Soulmate, the famous blues rock band from Shillong. International acts such as Italian alt-rock band GramLines and Pakistani folk-jazz artist Natasha Humera Ejaz will also be performing.

The festival is also a chance to meet the Apatani tribe, the indigenous community from the region, known for their animist culture, sustainable lifestyle, and traditional tattooing traditions. The Apatani villages, where the community lives and farms, are a short walk from the venue and locals are happy to talk to respectful visitors.

Festival-goers can stay in fuss-free hotels in the town of Ziro, at homestays like the Chada Home where owners grow everything from beans to the infamous bhut jholokia chilli, or at the festival campsite. There are tents that accommodate two and six.

Here’s a glimpse of last year’s festival:

The Guide

Where Ziro is a town in Arunachal Pradesh, 167km/4hr north of the state capital Itanagar, and about 460km/10hr from Guwahati in Assam. The Ziro Festival of Music takes place on the outskirts of town; 4km from Hapoli, the main part of town. Rickshaws ply between the venue and town.

When Sept 22-25, 2016

Fee ₹4,000 for a four-day pass. Book them here.

Getting There The closest airport is in Tezpur, Assam, but the one in Guwahati is better connected to major Indian cities. The closest railway station is Naharlagun (100km/4hr).

Inner Line Permit Visitors to Arunachal Pradesh require Inner Line Permits, which are available from the state’s Resident and Deputy Resident Commissioner’s office and Liaison Offices in Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Shillong, Dibrugarh, North Lakhimpur, Tezpur, and Jorhat. Alternatively, you can apply for the permit online here.


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    Fabiola Monteiro was formerly a member of National Geographic Traveller India's web team. She loves beaches, blue skies, and baking, and is most centred while trying a new cake recipe. She tweets as @thefabmonteiro.

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