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Dr. Jayshree Pathak recounts the adventurous yet mesmerizing journey to the Ziro Festival of Music which left an indelible mark on her memory lane…..

After being fully engaged in the professional carrier and spending much of the time with patients in the clinic, rejuvenation was much needed to reorient and energise my daily activities. Rescuing me from the daily humdrum of my professional life, my younger brother who is a roadie and lover of nature introduced me to the magnificent Ziro Festival of Music which propelled my zeal lost somewhere in the cacophony of my busy schedule.

The enchanting Dree Festival three months back where I was also a part was not enough to satiate my longing to be at the nature’s lap. Thus, with much excitement I happily accompanied my brother again to revisit Ziro to experience the aroma and freshness of the proposed world heritage site again.

Though I was well aware of the condition of the road to ziro, but it had an extra roller-coaster effect this time due to the heavy down pour. My 15 hours’ journey was meant to be covered by public transport for the ultimate feel. Journey upto North Lakhimpur was well within my comfort zone as it was an overnight journey in an AC bus of ASTC. But now the real challenge started as we boarded a Tata Sumo which was jam-packed with passengers .

Being seated in the middle row with the push and pull of the fellow passengers for the comfort of travelling, the first few minutes were utterly disturbing but as soon as I was in realm of nature with tea garden spread on either side of the road, workers in queue with their basket heading out for the day’s work made me forget all the turmoil around. We stopped at Kimin, a village at the foot of ZIRO for our inner line permit to be checked as a customary and to give the forest officials deputed there to collect some extra dough for their daily brew and cigar.

Where the time for the final leap of the journey arose, the engine of the vehicle broke down making us wait for 3 hours in Kimin as it took the rescue team to show up after an hour’s time and another two hours in fixing the engine giving us more than enough time to have our breakfast in a local roadside stall. We got freshen up by stream flowing from the mountain nearby relaxing us with every splash of the water that no word can ever explain.

The engine was live again and we were on the road with silent prayer within for safe landing in Ziro without any more spice. The sun shining was bright but was playing hide and seek with the clouds and the cold breeze touching every ounch of the body. The splendid stretch of the pine trees on either side of the road made the journey more delightful. We were finally at Hapoli , ZIRO after three more hours at around two in the afternoon giving us a sigh of relief and thanks to the almighty for the adventurous journey.

AAH!!!Ziro, how do I explain this pine tree fringed plateau of the Apatani tribe of the state, where rice and fish are cultivated together in its own unique way, withstanding its tradition of bamboo collection and cutting for various day to day activities from the wild to the jhum cultivation. There is the open clear sky roofing the vast greenery that eyes can’t meet, housing the best of the mentality of self-indulgent with a flavour of modernization. As we opted for homestay near the festival ground, we unpacked our belongings, got dressed and with our gumboots and camera on, marched towards the festival ground to witness the stalls selling local food, brew, craft, rice beer-apong, BBQ-pork, bamboo steamed fish, millet wine and such on.

Ziro Festival of music is arguably one of the most sought after music festivals in India. Held at Ziro a town in Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh of North East India, the festival witnesses acts by National and International bands and musicians. There were around 32 bands and artists which showcased their high voltage performance in ZFM 2014.

It was undoubtedly worth travelling to witness the magnificent four days extravaganza in the valleys of Apatani’s. The Ziro Festival of Music, India’s greatest outdoor music festival is a young fest loaded for the third time, but the energy and zeal it reprised has just blasted the mind and heart of around 3000 people gathered here and the spectators following it up from far.

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