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“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal”
 ~ Paul Coelho.

A secluded valley nestles between the towering peaks of Tibet and the serene landscapes of Bhutan in the far reaches of north-eastern India. Here, in the province of Arunachal Pradesh, where the first rays of dawn kiss the mountain crests, is the home of the remarkable Apatani people.

Although you can get here by helicopter, the most rewarding way to reach it is by joining the locals and wedging yourself into a sumo. Or, like me, my friends Manish, a master photographer, and Mizra, a walking library as I like to refer to him, pick me up from the Dibrugarh Airport.  Mizra, excels in his knowledge of northeast India. So, we embark on an exhausting journey. Along this winding route, gravely hilarious road signs that read 'Be gentle on my curves' and 'Overtaker, meet undertaker' caution drivers to be careful as they snake through primordial woods, orchid groves, glacial streams, and ice-blue lakes. The journey was arduous, but the rewards were beyond measure.

My journey was not only physical but also historical and political. Various military bases punctuated the road, serving as stark reminders of the ongoing territorial dispute between India and China. China still claims the area it seized during the 1962 Chinese-Indian conflict. This is my journey, a photographic exploration of Ziro, the enchanting valley, and its resilient people. The feeling of stumbling upon my own Shangri-La is a sensation that lingers long after I've left.


In 2012, a fellow travel photographer and my friend John told me about Ziro Valley. He painted a picture of an endless valley filled with verdant fields, misty mornings, many scattered villages, and people who belong to a different world. I had to see it, experience it, and meet these people.

"Life is a journey filled with unexpected turns, much like the wrinkles on my face. These wrinkles symbolise the challenges, setbacks, and surprises that I encounter along the way."

Takhe Yapi (91)
Hong Village

The Apatani people, originally from Tibet, made Ziro their home many centuries ago. What sets them apart are their unique physical features: a flatter nose, narrower eyes, and a broader face, distinguishing them from other northeastern tribes. Inherently, they have a fair complexion, adding to their distinctiveness.