Goa is my second home and Northeast is my Love – so here I am sharing my experience about one of the most amazing things to do in India.
Ziro Music Festival is one of the most amazing music festivals that happens in India every year around September end at Ziro a remote village of Arunachal Pradesh.
Arunachal Pradesh is one of my most favourite places to travel within India located in the not so explored parts of northeast and is incredibly beautiful with its natural beauty, hills, valleys, lakes waterfalls and more. This was my second visit here, last time I visited Tawang, Dirang and Bomdila.
While discussing with a fellow traveler few years back I found out about this Ziro Music Festival and since then I’ve been doing my research and finally was lucky enough to visit Ziro last year after a lot of planning. I totally fell in love with the Music Festival, the food, the culture, the camps, the quality of travelers that visit and everything else. The quality of the musicians they feature are some of the best whether they are from India or from some other countries. The band Mono from Japan was best. The festival happens for 4 days from afternoon till late night in the open fields with all required facilities, some amazing food stalls from various parts of northeast. One can enjoy some great bands playing throughout the day at 2 stages as per the schedule, eat some great local delicacies and have some locally produced Rice Beer and Fruit Wine.
Let’s discuss the logistics now:
1. How to reach:
Your city –> Guwahati –> Itanagar / Naharlagun –> Ziro
Ziro is well connected by roads with Itanagar, the capital city of Arunachal and Naharlagun, the nearest railway station and is about 120km / 4-5 hours by shared Sumo which are easily available and takes about Rs.300-500 per person.
Itanagar and Naharlagun can be easily reached from Guwahati by trains, buses or shared taxis and is about 350km/ 8-9 hours away. I took the overnight train from Guwahati to Naharlagun and was the most comfortable way to reach.
I call Guwahati as the gateway to the Northeast so it’s best to reach Guwahati by trains or flights to enter any of the 7 States of Northeast and flights are usually not too expensive. Alternatively, one can also fly to Jorhat, which is the nearest airport and continue road journey to Ziro via Itanagar by shared taxis or buses.
2. Permits: All tourists, whether Indian or Foreigners, would need an Inner line permit for Indians and Protected area permit for foreigners, that can be issued online, or from the Arunachal State House in your cities or from Guwahati airport or Naharlagun railways station by providing some government identity cards for Indians / passports for foreigners and some nominal fee. Arunachal ILP Online
3. Where to stay: Many camps with tented accommodations set up during those 4-5 days which can be booked online in advance. All these camps are about 2km walking distance away from the Ziro festival venue. All of them have shared bathrooms, tents with sleeping bags etc, provide food and drinks at extra costs too. Since many travelers visit during the festival and stay at those camps, the after party scene and get together that happen are really amazing for interaction and socializing. There are some homestays and guesthouses also but they might be little too far from the festival venue.
Some of the campsites are KITE MANJA, CAMP ZINGAROS, CHALO HOPPO, URBAN JUNGLE and BRING YOUR OWN TENT. It’s better to book them in advance. I stayed at Kite Manja, it was one of the better places to stay, well organised, clean with all facilities. Also, it’s better to book your camps including breakfast and dinner.
4. What to eat: If you are an omnivorous like I am, then you have reached the heaven for eating. The festival venue would have variety of food stalls selling majorly Pork items, some Chicken items and if you are lucky enough some do sell Rice, Dal and Veggies too. Sorry, but no Butter Chicken and Rajma Chawal yet. Alcohol is also available inside the venue. Food would cost like Rs.300 per meal per person.