Arunachal Pradesh is one of India’s most stunning states, the biggest in the region’s northeast. The state is home to several breathtaking tourist destinations and attractions. Arunachal Pradesh offers a wide range of activities, from viewing animals to participating in prayers at religious locations. The state is renowned for its rich tribal culture and tradition in addition to this.
In terms of altitude meadows, and subtropical woodlands, add to its beauty. Arunachal Pradesh’s festivals are a must-see for any traveler or lover of nature. The northeastern state is adorned with unspoiled terrain. Arunachal Pradesh is a must-see location because it is a treasure mine of culture, natural beauty, ancient history, and kind people.
Arunachal Pradesh Culture
Given that Arunachal Pradesh is home to 26 significant tribes and sub-tribes, the state is incredibly diversified. Every tribe has its traditions and customs. The Adi, Galo, Aka, Apatani, Nyishi, Tagins, Bori, and Bokar are some of the most important tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.
The best method to learn more about each tribe, though, is to go on a tour, during which your guide will tell you about the history and customs of each tribe. Why are these indigenous people so distinctive? These people not only excel in their culture but also a variety of crafts like weaving, woodcarving, pottery, manufacturing baskets, smithing, and painting.
The cultural lifestyle of Arunachal is dominated by festivals. Since agriculture is the main industry in this region, people frequently participate in festivals to express gratitude to God for a plentiful harvest. These ceremonies also showcase the several tribes’ artistic talents. Make your way to the Ziro neighborhood, which is renowned for celebrations, to take in the state’s cultural activities.
The state is exceptional in Asia in terms of its linguistic diversity. There are more than 50 dialects spoken here, with the majority belonging to the Tibeto-Burman language family.
History of the Arunachal Pradesh tribes
The tribes that are currently found in Arunachal Pradesh have no recognized origins. What little is known has been handed down orally from one generation to the next. The tribes currently live in this region are thought to have descended from those that once lived in Tibet and Burma (modern-day Myanmar), where Mongoloid tribal groups still practice similar traditions.
Several inter-tribal conflicts occurred during these migrations, which caused the clans to disperse over the region. The tribes were also forced to adapt to the characteristics of their geophysical environment due to the area’s frequent catastrophic calamities.
Major Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
While in Arunachal Pradesh, you must arrange a tribal trip to see the unique talents, significance, and customs of these tribes. Even though it would be impossible to cover every tribe, we have provided a list of some of the most significant tribes in Arunachal Pradesh.
The “Bugun” tribe is a kind and generous group of people. People from the “Hrusso” tribe specialize in trading garments and a wide range of other goods. The “Singpho” tribe comprises skilled blacksmiths and weaver artisans.
If you want to communicate with the Monpas, the only nomadic tribe in the northeastern region of India, go to the westernmost region of Arunachal Pradesh. According to reports, these tribes acquired the Mahayana branch of Buddhism from Merak Lama. Therefore, Tawang Monastery is the most significant location for them and is essential to their way of existence. They produce shawls, carpets, paintings, masks, bags, and a variety of other items as a profession. A blend of Dakpa and East Bodhish Tshangla, the “Monpa language” is something you should also be prepared to learn from them.
The Monpa are well-known for their carpet weaving, thangka painting, and wood carving. They use the pulp from the nearby sukso tree to make paper. They are also well renowned for weaving bamboo and producing wooden bowls.
The majority of the Monpa are followers of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, which they embraced in the 17th century under the influence of the Merag Lama, a Bhutanese-educated monk. The Tawang Monastery’s central place in the Monpa people’s daily lives was evidence of this influence.
The Choskar Harvest Festival, Losar, and Torgya are the three main Monpa festivals. Typically, during Losar, people worship at the Tawang Monastery for the arrival of the Tibetan New Year. The main attraction at the Ajilamu festival is pantomime dancing.
The most forward-thinking tribe in Arunachal Pradesh is the Sherdukpens. The top class and the lower class are separated into two sections. The lower class is thought to consist of their servants and porters, while the top class is thought to consist of thongs. These individuals appear to be farming, fishing, and animal care experts. The Sherdukpen language, which is closely related to the Monpa language, is spoken by the members of this tribe.
The Thong and Chao, the former of which is the upper caste, are divided into eight clans, are the two classes that make up Sherdukpen society. Within tribal community, intercaste marriage is frowned upon and fiercely discouraged. According to a local tradition, the higher caste is descended from a Tibetan king and an Ahom princess, who had two sons. The king’s porters and other servants are the Chao’s ancestors.
In order to preserve the memories of their Assamese origin, the Sherdukpens migrate to Doimara every year during the winter and dwell there between December and March. The Sherdukpens interacted with the local Assamese residents at Doimara and exchanged goods for rice.
The Sherdukpen typically engage in monogamy and can prove their patrilineal ancestry. Their homes are made of thick timber planks for the walls and floors and are supported by sturdy stone foundations.
Although they also engage in traditional fishing and hunting, the Sherdukpen are farmers. Ponies, cows, goats, sheep, birds, and bullocks are managed as livestock using simple tools in both permanent and shifting farming practises.
The term “Nyishi” means “civilised human being.” The Nyishis make up the majority of the population in Arunachal Pradesh and live there. They are experts at growing foods including rice, millet, and cucumbers. Their specialties are their production of wristbands made of cane and bands used to tie long hair on males in a knot.
Their native tongue, Nyishi, has two words: Nyi, which means “a person,” and shi, which means “a being.” Together, these two words signify a human being. They are dispersed among Arunachal Pradesh’s eight districts. The origin of the Nyishi language, which is a member of the Sino-Tibetan family, is debatable.
The Nyishi are prone to polygyny. It serves as a symbol of one’s economic security and social standing and is useful in difficult situations like clan warfare, social hunting, and other common social activities. However, this practise is dwindling, particularly as modernisation and the expansion of Christianity continue. They are separated into various clans and can trace their ancestry patrilineally.
The happy Wanchos populate the Tirap area, which borders Nagaland, in great numbers. They always wear jewelry with elaborate designs to demonstrate their social rank, and you will never see them without it. They are recognized for their distinctive line of figures made of carved wood and bamboo. They are skilled weavers and tattoo artists as well.
Native Nagas known as the Wancho live in the Patkai highlands of the Longding district of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. They are ethnically linked to the Konyak of Nagaland and the Nocte of Arunachal Pradesh. The Northern Naga language family, which includes the Tibeto-Burman family, includes the Wancho language.
The Wancho, along with the Nocte and a small portion of the Konyak, continue to practise animism. These Animist Wancho hold the great gods Rang and Baurang to be real. Among the Wancho, Christianity has gained some adherents, the majority of whom are Baptist or Catholic believers.
In the Wancho tribe, tattooing is very important. A guy is traditionally tattooed on all four limbs and the majority of his face, with the exception of some areas around the eyes and lips. The women decorate themselves with bracelets, necklaces, and perhaps mild tattoos. The main Wancho celebration is called Oriah, and it takes place between March and April for six to twelve days, with prayer, music, and dances interwoven.
The Nocte tribe, which is located in the same territory as Wanchos, is devoted to Vaishnavism. The tribe wears similar traditional garb to the Wancho tribe, who is also present in Arunachal Pradesh. They are highly renowned for their farming and a few goods that they sell commercially on a considerable basis.
Their ancestors came from the Hukong Valley in Myanmar between 1670 and 1700, where they are ethnically related to the Konyak Naga. Tey, which means people, and the words Nok, which means village. Because of their close ethnic ties to the Naga tribes of Nagaland, the Nocte tribe was known as Noga or Naga during the mediaeval and colonial periods. The Ahoms referred to the Noctes as Namsangya or Namsangia, Borduaria or Bor Duris, and Paniduaria depending on where the village was.
Of all the tribes, the “Adi” tribe is one of the most well-known and well-organized. Speaking of their skill, Adi women are renowned for their amazing weaving abilities. As Buddhism spread throughout Tibet in the seventeenth century, the Adis fled to Arunachal Pradesh. Famous wetland farmers and hunters are the Adis.
The Adi are a people who inhabit hill villages that traditionally keep to themselves. Each village has a chosen chief known as a Gam or Gao Burra who oversees the village council, which also serves as the traditional court known as a Kebang. At the past, all of the village elders served on councils, and decisions were made in the Musup/Dere (village communal house), where the majority of the residents dwell in stilted homes.
The Adi people place a lot of importance on dormitories and adhere to particular regulations. For instance, a male may visit a female’s dormitory, but he is not permitted to spend the night there. Guardians will occasionally need to be there to guide the children. Men and women wear different garments that are made by the tribeswomen. Depending on the locale, the men may occasionally don helmets made of cane, bear, or deerskin. Unmarried girls wear a beyop, an adornment made of five to six metal plates fastened under their petticoats, while older ladies wear yellow necklaces and spiral earrings. Among the elder women, tattooing was very common.
The Aran, Donggin, Solung, podi barbii, and Etor are among the most important festivals observed by the Adi.
The Apatani tribe mostly engages in agriculture. They appear to be proficient farmers in terrace and wet surface farming. Even UNESCO has acknowledged the Apatani valley’s “very high productivity” and “uniqueness” as reasons why it should be listed as a World Heritage Site. The Apatanis are renowned for their ecological expertise and innovative land-use practises. Additionally, they take part in some of the most incredible festivals, including Drii and Myoko. In addition to this, Apatanis are renowned for producing shawls, clothing, jewellery, items made of bamboo and cane, and other items.
Even without the use of any farm animals or machinery, their agriculture system and wet rice growing method are huge. Their sustainable social forestry programme is also. Dree and Myoko are the two main celebrations there. The agricultural festival of Dree is observed in July with prayers for a bountiful harvest and the well-being of all humanity. The inter-village friendship that has been carried down through the years and up to the present is honoured on Myoko.
The tribe is renowned for its vivid culture, which includes a variety of festivals, intricate handloom patterns, cane and bamboo craft expertise, and lively traditional village councils known as bulyan.
The Khamti people are primarily concentrated in the Namsai and Changlang districts of the state of Arunachal Pradesh, where they moved from Assam. Theravada Buddhism is practised by the inhabitants of Khamti. This group of people is renowned for its expressive art, which reflects the distinctive culture of Khamti Buddhists.
The Tai-Khamti hold a fervent devotion to Theravada Buddhism. People pray in their homes’ prayer rooms every morning and evening while presenting food and flowers as offerings. They typically maintain peace. The Tai-Khampti people live in raised-floor homes with thatched roofs. The Khamti are farmers who have settled down.