Landscape Photography, Astro Photography, Travel Photography and People / Culture Photography Tour in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, India

Arunachal Pradesh Photography Tour - Ziro Daporijo Aalo Pasighat Circuit


This is one of the most memorable tours I have ever done. This tour made me realize how less I know about my country. I am so blessed to be born here where every state is like a country, with a different language, culture, landscape, festivals, and food.

We did not have much expectation except that we will be able to see some countryside views and meet some people of interesting tribes.

The tour definitely exceeded my expectations and I want to share it with you all. Hence I'm writing this blog to share my experience and pictures.

Itinerary for Arunachal Pradesh Photography Tour - Ziro Daporijo Aalo Pasighat Circuit

Day 1 Land in Jorhat, Travel to Majuli 2hrs 36 kms

Day 2 Majuli to Ziro 7 hrs 232 kms

Day 3 Ziro 

Day 4 Ziro to Daporijo 7 hrs 170kms 

Day 5 Daporijo

Day 6 Daporijo to Aalo 7.5 hrs 160kms

Day 7 Aalo 

Day 8 Aalo to Pasighat 3 hrs 101 kms

Day 9 Pasighat to Dibrugarh. Fly out 3hrs 149kms

There are very less places left in India which is not flocked by tourists. At one time, Ladakh was like that, but now there is nothing called hidden Ladakh or unseen Ladakh as people say.

On this tour, we really saw, that we were the only tourists. We met one foreign lady on the way one day. Except for that, we were the only ones, all the way.

We had basic accommodation in most of the places, no fancy places. But an unforgettable experience. These places are not yet geared for tourism and have only some basic stay options. In fact, in some places, we were staying in the only hotel in the whole area.

The roads were bad in most of the places, but it was worth it.

We had no idea about the places, what to expect, no landmarks, no beautiful points.

So what was great about this Arunachal Tour?

The drives. The experiences. The tribes. 

We took innumerable stops on the way and captured India not visited by many.

The people were very friendly, warm, and welcoming and we did not face any difficulties photographing them. 

I had a tough time shortlisting the pictures. If I remove anyone, I'm unable to show one aspect of someplace. 

Day 2 Drive to Ziro

The drive to Ziro was absolutely beautiful. 

We crossed through some beautiful paddy fields. On the way, we stopped at some huts called long-houses. Basically, these are houses which are longer and larger than other houses.


These houses are made with traditional materials and can accommodate several families. It has a common area and private rooms as well. It looked very fascinating to me. 

In the olden days, these people used to stay together because of security issues. 

Ziro is famous for its rice field and its very interesting paddy-cum-fish cultivation done by the Apatani tribes. 



The horns of Mithun or Gayal. Mithun is a part of life for the people of Arunachal Pradesh. It's a  very valued animal and hence its national animal. 

When the animal dies, even the horns are put into use as small containers. 


We saw this lady in the beautiful evening light while on the way to Ziro. She saw us and found it strange. We waved to her and saw her smiling and then we took some shots.

The light was magical and we couldn't help spending more time taking pictures.

Day 3 Apatani Tribal villages around Ziro

We woke up early in the morning and went for a morning walk. The views were amazing. 


The traditional breakfast we had in our Ziro homestay.

After breakfast we went to several villages where we find the Apatani tribal people. The people were friendly and we could take pictures. 

The ladies in the village have a very strange nose-plug. There are several stories related to this. One folklore goes that the girls in the village were very beautiful and the other village people would kidnap them. Hence they used these nose plugs.


You will find only the very elderly people having them. This tradition will die with those people. The younger generation does not practise this tradition.


We later went to the Craft emporium to see the weavers making the traditionally woven fabrics.

Then we went to Gandhi Market in Hapoli, Ziro. There are many things which shocked me. I photographed them but didnt dare to post here as they were very graphic. A head of a Mithun was being sold in the market was one of them.


Can you imagine these silkworms as delicacies? They were alive and crawling.  I am a vegetarian and hence did not get a chance to try them.

Day 4 Ziro to Daporijo 7 hrs 170kms

We started our long journey to Daporijo or Dapo as it is locally called. It's a long journey and the roads are bad. But, there wasn't any part of the journey we didn't enjoy.

On the way, we stopped for lunch and met these interesting people. The local Shaman and his wife.


Next to our small hotel, we found this small shop. Everything around was so eco-friendly.


We could hear some periodic shouts like what we hear in games. We followed the sounds and found these youngsters playing carrom. We spent some time watching them and then continued our journey.


Our guide took to one traditional house. I had never seen something like this before. It was a spacious room with dark walls from the soot deposits from the food being cooked.

All around there were skeleton heads of monkeys, deers, and several other animals. There were hundreds of them.

Later we came to know that this is a common practice in most homes. They display the heads to show how many animals they killed and that shows their bravery and hence determines their social status.
Though the killing of animals has stopped, the old ones still remain.


On the way, we met this person who was returning home after hunting. A lot of people still practice hunting birds and animals.

We offered a lift and he came with us to his village.


Mithun, the state animal of Arunachal Pradesh

It was dark and the destination was far. We were in the middle of a forest and it was very dark all around. I asked our driver Baro to stop the car and switched off the lights.

When we looked up, we saw the Milky Way is right above us. We quickly set up our tripods and shot this.


We reached Dapo later and then went to sleep after a long day.

Day 5 Daporijo - Exploring the villages around.

After breakfast, we first went to Dulom village. It was located on top of a hill.

It was a great experience meeting the villagers. Only old people and children were there in the homes as all the young ones were working constructing the road.


We were amazed to see how the whole village people had taken a day off that day and built a concrete road themselves. We spent some time talking to them and then continued our way up the village. While returning back, one of us went down and got a bottle of cold drink for them and they were very happy.

This small village had a vacancy for an English teacher and I was seriously considering staying back. They had a small room for the teacher and there was television as well.


We later went to Sikarijo Village nearby Daporijo and then to Sippi Village, inhabited by the Tagin Tribe.

Day 6 Daporijo to Aalo (Along) 7.5 hrs 160 kms

You must be wondering why 160 kms should take 7.5 hours. The reason is the roads are bad and the vehicles have to be slow. Many times they have to stop for the roads to get cleared.

However, we didn't have a single minute of boring time as we used these breaks for taking pictures.

Soon after we started, we had an experience that we will remember for a lifetime. We found these people working in the fields. We stopped our vehicle and ran to them to photograph. They were very friendly. We thought of working with them to help them.

I know, we were not skilled enough to work at their pace, but I thought it would be a nice gesture. We all laughed at each other as we were really struggling to do the work.

Daporijo to Aalo Bararrupak Village


Day 7 Aalo and Around

Our morning started with a visit to Paya village in Aalo. It was a lovely walk meeting the villagers and interacting with the kids.


Then came another interesting moment. Attending the prayer session of the locals.


Donyi-Polo was the original region of most of Arunachal before the Christian missionaries came. It basically means Sun-Moon and its revival and organization started with the realization that it might become extinct soon. You can read more about religion here on Wikipedia.

Our next stop was the Jamlo Mongku Adi village which was inhabited by the Minyong Tribe.


There are so many different tribes here and my co-travelers were taking note of the names meticulously.

The interesting thing about the different tribes is that every tribe has its own language and they cannot understand each other. The only common language between them is Hindi.
Everyone knew Hindi and hence it was very easy for us to communicate with them.


We spent the evening on the banks of Siyom river. It was nice watching the boats come and go.

Our last visit for that day was to Kabu village Aalo. There are so many more pictures I have but restricting them due to the size of the page.


Day 8 Aalo to Pasighat 3 hrs 101 kms


We spent the morning going to the local market in Aalo and then continued our journey to Pasighat.

On the way, we saw some beautiful landscapes in the fields.


We also passed the suspension bridge at Pangin on the way from Aalo to Pasighat. This bridge is one of the longest in Arunachal Pradesh. Walking on it was an experience. It had holes in between and we had to be really careful.


This is the biggest city in this whole area and is quite developed.

We were back to the wide concrete roads and modern buildings. It was not a very pleasant moment coming back to modern civilization.

In Pasighat, we went to a nearby village called Balek inhabited by the Adipasi Tribe.


Many of the tribes have their origin in Myanmar.

This was one of the most interesting tours of my life and I would like to go back to the places again.

Day 9 Pasighat to Dibrugarh. Fly out 3hrs 149kms

Today we just went to the airport with a heavy heart, leaving the virgin lands and going back to the city life.

I also organize Photography tours to these places, so if you want to join sometime, you can check out this link.


Thanks to my co-travelers Smita, Shailaja, Preksha and Gaurav who joined me for this tour.

This post is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a travel photographer and a photography trainer.He strives to make every camera-owner a great photographer through his Photography workshops and Photo Tours and Photowalks.
All rights reserved. No copying without permission of the author Saurabh Chatterjee

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