For a few seconds, I could not believe what I was experiencing. The music was balm on my soul. I lay down on the grass and gazed at the clear blue skies while the music played. After a point, it did not matter what they were playing. I was hypnotised. I was transported. I was Ziroed!
Arunachal Pradesh hosts one of India’s most underrated and lesser known music festivals every year! In the month of September, the Ziro music festival comes to life in this North Eastern state. Bands from across the world take the stage in this 3 to 5 day festival and it’s literally a musical feast. I had the privilege to visit the festival in 2017 when artists from Israel, Japan, UK among others had come to perform. To me some of the best performances were from the Indian musicians.
My friends and I stayed in tents which were organized by a travel company. It was a first for me and the experience of staying in a tent was both exciting and painful. To start with, there were makeshift toilets which obviously did not have jet spray or basins. Even for brushing one’s teeth all you needed to do was take your toothbrush and water bottle and find your spot. To make matters worse, it rained all three days and the whole ground became like a swamp. It was wet and muddy and you had to wear special boots that were being sold by the organizers at the spot. If you were lucky, you got a pair. Otherwise, God help your feet! To be fair to them, it was difficult to arrange anything and I think the organisers did a pretty good job.
Between all the music I took time to travel in and around Ziro. Having gone so far, it would have been a sin to not discover the area and its surrounding villages and the people. We visited the home of a local farmer. An hour with his wife and children and him gave us a glimpse of life there. It was so different from anything I had seen before. The hut was tiny, but beautifully neat and tidy.
The highlight of the trip of course was the festival itself. Numerous stages were set up and each stage had a different band/music genre playing, sometimes simultaneously.
Imagine sitting in front of an open stage where a musician is performing an Indian raag or a hip hop song and behind him are mountains and the clear blue sky.
The setting of the festival was straight out of a dream. Set on the lush and beautiful meadows of Ziro, against the backdrop of mountain ranges, it was something magical. Imagine sitting in front of an open stage where a musician is performing an Indian raag or a hip hop song and behind him are mountains and the clear blue sky. It almost felt like we were sending musical notes directly to the gods above.
At that moment I felt one with nature. For a few seconds, I could not believe what I was experiencing. The music was balm on my soul. I lay down on the grass and gazed at the clear blue skies while the music played. After a point, it did not matter what they were playing. I was hypnotised. I was transported. I was Ziroed!
- Ziro is in Arunachal Pradesh
- Altitude: 5538 feet to 8000 feet
How to reach Ziro :
Ziro is quite well connected. However, the most convenient way to reach here would be to take a train to either North Lakhimpur or Naharalagun and from there hire a taxi to Ziro.
Jorhat, Assam is the nearest airport and is 98 kms away. There is another airport is at Lilabari, which is123 kms away. The nearest international airport is at Guwahati at a distance of 449 kms.
The nearest railway stations are Naharalagun 100 kms away and North Lakhimpur 117 kms away.
Arunachal Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation runs a night bus service, four times a week from Guwahati to Ziro. There is also the option of shared taxis from North Lakhimpur or Itanagar.