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Old 18th March 2022, 09:19   #61
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Default Re: 2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report

Day 9: Spending time with the Apatanis

The tribe we were staying with were the dominant tribe of the Ziro Valley (I assume). The Apatanis.

Quote:
The Apatanis, one of the major ethnic groups of eastern Himalayas, have a distinct civilization with systematic land-use practices and rich traditional ecological knowledge of natural resources management and conservation, acquired over the centuries through informal experimentation. The tribe is known for their colorful culture with various festivals, intricate handloom designs, skills in cane and bamboo crafts, and vibrant traditional village councils called bulyañ. This has made the Ziro Valley a good example of a living cultural landscape where humans and the environment have harmoniously existed together in a state of interdependence even through changing times, such co-existence being nurtured by the traditional customs and spiritual belief systems.
She was by far the most excitable little woman I had ever met in my life. Full of energy and love!

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_021958504.portrait.jpg

I needed someone to complete me. I think I found her.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_024203407.portrait.jpg

If you notice, my hand was hovering over her shoulder. That's because her husband was standing with a machete behind the camera.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_051127370.portrait.jpg

This dude was so cool man. He swaggered in like Mick Jagger. He reminded me of Fonzie from Happy Days. He had such an Al Pacino X Robert De Niro vibe going on about him. I could devote an entire eulogy to this brother's style and suave.

I was wandering around the village and I happened to come by this sweet lady stitching a little something, probably for her grand daughter.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_051744434.portrait.jpg

We noticed a bit of commotion around the village now. Guess what? We were bang on time for the annual Myoko Festival! Wow! We didn't even plan this!

Quote:
The Myoko Festival is an annual celebration in Ziro Valley, especially by three indigenous tribes namely Diibo-Hija, Hari-Bulla and the Apatani. It’s a 10-day celebration; it goes on from March 20 – 30 every year. Myoko festival is celebrated to extend and strengthen the bond of the family, and bless the members with fertility and fortune. The most revered member of the community – the Shaman decks up in ancient Apatani garments and accessories and leads the proceedings. They slaughter pigs and chickens as a custom of this festival. This commences early morning; the Shaman recites long prayers and the women, mainly married ones, sprinkle flour and rice beer on the pigs which are tied to the bamboo poles.
2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_055917047.jpg

All the men had gathered to erect this gigantic pole. Every year, this festival moves from village to village, and this time - and our luck - it was right in our backyard!

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_070653816.portrait.jpg

Putting the pole up and tying everything up was a HERCULEAN effort! We helped too. Once this pole is up, there's a little competition about who can climb up in one go and get to the top. A cash prize awaits!

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_073442050.jpg


In this video, I explain a bit more in detail.


This awesome dude was doing it for the first time. Skills I tell you. No fear!

It's Friday, and I figured I'll end this little post with a picture of me on the little katoom on this trip. Goals I tell ya.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-img_20210313_175010_040.jpg
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Old 19th March 2022, 09:14   #62
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Default Re: 2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report

Day 9

Now that the "totem" pole was up, we were invited to lunch. As we were walking towards our host for the day, we came across this bizarre (for us) sight.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_071119329.portrait.jpg

This was a shaman's monkey skull. Used for their divinations.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_071137409.portrait.jpg

We would have our tryst with a full blown Shamanic ritual very soon!

Meanwhile, food prep was begun in earnest. Our very own Fonzie was at it with his machete.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_073727628.portrait.jpg

We finally made our way to the hosts. The food was SPECTACULAR!

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_075521908.jpg

It was joyous to be sitting around with the people of the land, being a part of their conversations, sharing a hot plate of food, Apong (rice beer), and much laughter.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_075536327.jpg

This was my plate, because I was off red meat. Rice, locally grown fresh greens, eggs, and fish. Wow! After all those days of not eating on the roads to get here, we were finally getting our due and how!

Post this definitive lunch, I walked around the back of our host's house to explore, and I fell in love with this beautiful outhouse. Could I picture myself living here?

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_080629103.jpg

I went back to the main house, and here I present to you, the team that made lunch possible for probably the entire village. What a gorgeous bunch.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_081225103.night.jpg
Fonzie's always around with the ladies​

This is how the red meat is seasoned and dried. This is either Mithun, a wild bison/bull from these regions, or Pork? I have forgotten now.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_081352141.night.jpg

This is a handmade "dao" or knife. The handle is made of a "protected/endangered" carved animal bone. Illegal, so I can't shoot the owner with the Dao.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_082203014.portrait.jpg

Here's my mate holding it up.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_082134537.portrait.jpg
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Old 20th March 2022, 10:10   #63
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Default Re: 2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report

Day 10

If you remember, I was talking about "Mithun" in the previous post.

Quote:
"The gayal (Bos frontalis), also known as Drung ox or mithun, is a large domestic cattle distributed in Northeast India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and in Yunnan, China. Essentially inhabitants of hill-forests. In India, semi-domesticated gayals are kept by several ethnic groups living in the hills of Tripura, Mizoram, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland. They also occur in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. In northern Burma, they occur in the Kachin State, and in adjacent Yunnan are found only in the Trung (Chinese: 独龙河) and Salween River basins. In Nagaland, the animals are kept semi-wild, and live in herds, being watched over by special caretakers assigned by the villages or the owner of the herd. They respond to a horn kept specially for the individual caretaker or actual owner to call them. From birth until the time of butchering or market, the Mithun remain in the herd, and roam mostly freely throughout the forests."
Well Hello.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_090057642.portrait.jpg

This would be one of the smaller specimens we would come across on this trip.

Our next visit was to an archeological and religious/spiritual site in the Ziro Valley. The ancient Siddeshwaranath Shiv Ling. This site was apparently discovered by a wood cutter centuries back.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_090322424.portrait.jpg

Standing over 25 foot high and 22 feet in width, this naturally occurring rock formation - viewed by Hindus and Buddhists alike as Lord Shiva - was the tallest such structure in the world.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_090358722.portrait.jpg

We spent some quiet time in the environs around the temple, soaking in all the cultural heritage from eons ago. The kind priest was happy to see us, and invited us to his little cottage for a cup of chai and biscuits.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_095125093.jpg

A huge and probably ugly super structure was being built around this natural formation of rocks. Why? Why do humans need to try and "beautify" or improve everything? What is this inherent need to stamp our own glory and will over nature? This wasn't going to be an improvement. It was going to probably be ugly AF.

On our way back to the village, I came up to this super old and rustic post office. I almost fancied sending home a post card from here, but didn't get to doing it. The Post office was shut!

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_105713201.portrait.jpg

We stopped over at a new friend's home for a bit and got to meet their school going kids. Gotta love how bright and cute these kids are. Pure love.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_115405232.portrait.jpg

Talking about love, we had a new mother in the house too.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210315_130757165.portrait.jpg

Our bikes weren't washed since we arrived at Ziro, and they were atrociously full of muck.


I enjoy washing my own motorcycle or car. There's something physical going on, and your mind is centered on what you're trying to accomplish. A union of body, mind, and machine. And at the end of it all, you have a result you could probably be proud of.

The kids at the wash would have none of it though, and wanted to make sure the bikes were absolutely spic and span. We spent some time chatting with the kids, who were back from the big cities because of the the covid lockdown, and were making do with little jobs around home. I think they were happy that we actually made the effort to talk to them and hear about their lives.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_050413736.mp.jpg

Effort? Really? Effort from what? From constantly staring at our mobile phones? Seeing how many likes our latest picture got or who viewed our sordid story? When the real stories are going on every instant around us, we miss them for stuff dead and gone on 6 inch screens.

The day was cloudy, cool, and meditative. Just how I like my days. That's how the backyard to the wash looked like. It felt soooooo good not seeing dull and sulking concrete.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_044408612.jpg
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Old 21st March 2022, 09:26   #64
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This next log is going to be dedicated to one very special man, living in an obscure but beautiful corner of this world.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_061707917.mp.jpg

A phenomenal magician with his hands, and expert wood carver par excellence.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_062150835.portrait.jpg

He heads to the woods every other day and collects wood for his art.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_064209994.jpg

And he returns to create works of art like these.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_062617206.portrait.jpg

A hornbill.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_062759683.mp.jpg

I think these are the horns of a Mithun, or a wild bison, used to create this.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_063003671.portrait.jpg

He takes a few weeks for each such project of his.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_063148241.portrait.jpg

This is his rendition of an Owl. Just stunning, the details. From a single piece of wood.

He built his little workshop and home by himself, obviously.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_062321338.jpg

He also farms when not working on wood.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_061751846.jpg

His private altar. I couldn't help but stop and take a picture of this very personal space of his (with his permission).

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_071208479.night.jpg

As I walked through his home, and as I kept speaking to him, I was able to conjure a mental image of his personality. A simple man, living by himself on what the earth provides. Means no harm to anyone or anything. Humble and hard working. No luxuries apart from the fresh air, bountiful nutritious food he grows himself, clear spring water, a walk into the woods, and most importantly doing what he loves every single day. Does one need god? What is god? Here's a man living in every present priceless moment of his. He doesn't need god. God needs him.

Yes, such people do exist. Travel lets you meet such people. Travel makes you meet such people. Travel forces you to meet such people. Rips your mental constructs apart, about what is important, what's necessary, what's inconsequential, and, and...

And nothing.
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Old 22nd March 2022, 10:26   #65
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Default Re: 2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report

We said our goodbye's to the good man.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_065235700.portrait.jpg

We needed lunch and stopped at a "resort" closeby for an unnecessarily expensive meal.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_073820044.jpg

The scenery around made up for the price we paid however. Anyone fancy living here?

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_074001775.portrait.jpg

Just as we were wrapping up lunch, we got a call from Michi Bhai. Michi was the dude we met on our first day in Ziro as we were waiting to get picked up by our new friends. He offered to show us around the deeper confines of the Ziro valley - stuff that others could only dream of visiting. That was enough for us to wrap lunch as quickly as possible and rendezvous with him right away.

Our first stop was this.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_091936129.portrait.jpg

Here's Michi holding up the revered spade.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_091844115.portrait.jpg

This spade was kept in a small altar like space. No show case, no fencing, no lock and key. Total trust with the people who visit that it will not be desecrated and will be left as found. I truly hope the least number of "tourists" and instagrammers visit.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_091906249.portrait.jpg

Our next hop was the Ziro Airport. And a birds eye view of the valley from up there.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_095409288.pano.jpg

We spend about half hour rolling around on the grass there like a couple of overfed mithuns. No time to waste however, Michi had a schedule we had to follow. We were off to the Siikhe lake, Sii lake for short. This is a man made lake, created to encourage migratory birds who fly in from Tibet and Russia.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_103541773.jpg

I was hoping we were done with the regular tourist haunts. I wanted to see the real, hidden underbelly of Apatani culture. I made this known to Michi, and he understood my interest in anthropology very quickly.

We were off to the ancient burial grounds of the tribe.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_112941853.jpg

That is an altar erected over the burial spot. The skull you see, is that of a Mithun. Now the Mithuns, or the local bisons, are loved and venerated by the tribes of the North East of the country. Much like the Indian's of North America. In this case, when a member of the community dies, a Mithun is selected and "sacrificed" for 2 reasons. One, the Mithun's soul is said to help lead the soul of the dead to heaven. The path is said to be truly treacherous with many distractions, and thus a guide is absolutely necessary.

This reminds me of something I was taught by Michi when we were with him.

If at any point you are lost in the forests here, or anywhere else for that matter, do not panic. Find a Mithun, or the local livestock, which typically graze in the jungles. Follow them, and eat what they eat. There are a lot of wild berries, and mushrooms that grow in such deep forests, and you have no clue what is poisonous and what is not. If it doesn't kill them, it won't kill you.

Secondly, they know all the watering holes that abound. They will lead you to the closest source of water very soon.

Thirdly, at some point, these animals will venture back to civilisation or the nearest road head. With a cool and calm head, you should be back where you belong pretty soon.

This analogy does intertwine with the belief system that the Mithun will lead a dead person's soul to heaven. A very believable belief system.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_113009277.portrait.jpg

The other reason why a poor old Mithun is sacrificed for no fault of his is because everyone gets to feast and have a grand old party together, celebrating the dead's journey to heaven.
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Old 23rd March 2022, 09:14   #66
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A video shot and put together by my mate. Discover a typical Apatani Household in Ziro.

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Old 23rd March 2022, 11:21   #67
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Right next to the bigger Altar over the burial spot, we noticed this little shrine.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_113233328.jpg

The Shamans are a critical part of the social fabric of Apatani tribal society. What follows is a typical recital by the Shaman for Mithun's that are about to sacrificed during the "Murung" Festival.

Quote:
One of the most endearing aspects of an otherwise bloody sacrifice during the Murung festival is the point in a day-long recitation when the shaman tells each of several mithuns (a sort of bison) that it will soon be killed. The shaman raises his hand, holding a hollow gourd and a few bamboo sticks with pieces of ginger stuck on the ends, and tries to calm the animal. He first calls the animal by name and then intones these lines:

Listen, mithuns and cows!
We alone did not decide
that you would go down to the underworld;
That was decided by divinations
seen by a group of men;
Do not be afraid;
do not be anxious; The axe will fall swiftly,
like the rays of the sun;
The chicken liver divinations took you down to the underworld,
Where your sacrifice will bring us prosperity.
Source: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/...apatanis-56032

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_113219160.portrait.jpg

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_113417857.jpg

The ancient burial ground viewed from afar.

This here is a spot where a lot of the sacrifices for certain types of wish fulfilling magic is performed. I do not want to taint these rituals by calling them Black Magic.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_113652221.jpg

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_113713921.portrait.jpg

The vibes were certainly a bit eerie however.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_114453134.portrait.jpg

A lone mushroom in the forest. Not sure if it was "magic" or edible.

I felt the day drawing to a close. These experiences will certainly need some thought and pondering over. But we had one more person we had to meet.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_133838632.portrait.jpg

This man is a Shaman. But no ordinary Shaman. He was the Chief Shaman of the entire area and a very respected man. The Shaman tradition typically passes from generation to generation, father to son. But in some rare instances, when a man or a woman, in their childhood begin to display symptoms of otherworldly contact - they are automatically accepted into the mysterious world of Shamanism. We were deeply privileged and honoured to meet this wise man. And we had a surprise awaiting us in the form of a very personal shamanic ritual the next day.

Enough burials and voodoo. It was time to meet pretty girls!

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_132945503.jpg

Who made everything happen for us in Ziro? Such pretty darlings I tell you.​

They made sure we got coffee, biscuits, and even a spot of Ramen before we left. Brilliant.

We had an even bigger surprise for the night when we finally made it back home.

The local women had decided to deck themselves up in the finest, and gather together to put up a marvellous traditional ritualistic dance!

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_152825176.jpg

We ended the night with a sumptuous and well earned dinner with the family.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210316_162043575.night.jpg
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Old 23rd March 2022, 17:23   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
An introduction video to our trip curated and produced by my mate on this ride.
The amount of "mate"s you use, i know you refer to the noun but my brain processes it as a verb refuses to process British/Aussie lingo.

Enjoying every bit of your blog, re-living your experience from my armchair.

Last edited by pandabear : 23rd March 2022 at 17:25.
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Old 23rd March 2022, 17:35   #69
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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post

This would be one of the smaller specimens we would come across on this trip.

Our next visit was to an archeological and religious/spiritual site in the Ziro Valley. The ancient Siddeshwaranath Shiv Ling. This site was apparently discovered by a wood cutter centuries back.
Excellent thread and wish we can have the same kind of patience, time and will to spend such a long time away from home. Heck, I get homesick within 20 days.

We visited the same place 7 years back. A picture of the same temple which was under construction.


Our thread : Link (XUV500: Drive to the abode of 3 of the 7 Sisters (North-East))
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Old 23rd March 2022, 21:57   #70
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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post

Yes, such people do exist. Travel lets you meet such people. Travel makes you meet such people. Travel forces you to meet such people. Rips your mental constructs apart, about what is important, what's necessary, what's inconsequential, and, and...

And nothing.
Yours is the best travelogue I have ever read and I am loving every bit of it. Eagerly awaiting the next bits.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, I am a huge fan of your writing.

More power to you sir!
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Old 24th March 2022, 11:34   #71
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The next morning we were up early. Coz' Michi was going to show us around the jungles bordering Ziro Valley. We were going to be out exploring both flora and fauna.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_051516081.portrait.jpg

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_052730734.portrait.jpg

I was pretty happy with the little KTM. In the backroads and non existent trails of deep Arunachal, this bike almost seemed perfect. She had just enough go to keep you entertained on the highway, and weighed just enough to keep you out of silly situations on the trail. A smaller bike would have meant that the 3,500 kms droneway to reach this part of the country would have turned us into Zombies. Any bigger would have been a ridiculous "All show - No Go" situation on the trail.

Pretty perfect bike except for 2 things I would want to switch out.

1. A 21 inch tubeless rim (i don't care for spokes etc) so that I can roll over obstacles easier.

2. Better low end grunt

Outside of these two things, the bike does whatever I expected it to do and far more.

As soon as I told myself "better low end grunt", my prayers were instantaneously answered...

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_055542770.portrait.jpg

Though not quite what I had in mind.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_055615355.portrait.jpg

This is a real Male Mithun. The real bloody deal. One false move and you are absolutely done for. He looked like a freight train ready to go at 200 mph. We were rooted to our spot and so was he. It was a stalemate of epic proportions.

A few minutes later, we saw what he was waiting for. His family. They quickly scampered across the road and made their way up into the jungle.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_055924403.jpg

We heaved a collective silent sigh of relief and watched the big guy disappear behind his little fam.

Meanwhile, the flora exploration gathered steam, and here's Michi modeling how the native maidens use flowers during their ceremonies.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_060930934.portrait.jpg

We were well and truly into the deep wooded enchanting forests of Ziro Valley.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_063341451.jpg

Now, we were off for something more interesting. The rare and evasive Mandarin Ducks migrate from China, across the Himalayas and make an appearance in the wetlands of the North East of India. And yes, we managed to spot them in the wild. Though my rubbish phone camera...was rubbish. I probably have to do something about getting myself a real camera sometime.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_072059889.jpg

I resigned to shooting the bike.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_075407176.portrait.jpg

As we made our way out of the jungles, we came across acres of farms. These farms belong to the villages of Ziro. The people till and work the land collectively. We heard joyous songs sung in rhythm, gyrating with every hand, carried to our ears by the winds blowing from the east. I stood enveloped by serenity, gazing over the present moment, an everlasting scene of life.

I waved, and they waved back.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_080027872.portrait.jpg
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Old 25th March 2022, 11:03   #72
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Default Re: 2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report

What I am about to describe to you, is probably the most insane experience we had in Ziro.

A personal Shamanic experience.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_095859087.portrait.jpg

My buddy decided he would make a go at it. He wanted some questions answered through a divination and figured this is his chance to figure things out. The kind Shaman bade him sit down across him in the open, and began his chanting.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_100835475.jpg

You see 2 eggs in his hand. These two eggs held the "answers", which was a simple Yes or No. So he held on to them and continued to chant.

Things started getting a little weird with the chanting. I tried to tell myself that maybe I was just imagining it, but there was something in the air around us. The forests that surrounded us felt more mysterious. Cries from birds above were more raucous. The air felt heavy in anticipation of what was to come. I half expected the Shaman to stand up and break into some dervish dance and freak the hell out of my buddy. I was standing back, ready to jump away in case that happened lol!

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_100920595.portrait.jpg

He took the eggs one by one, and breathed into them, chanting all along.

After about an hour, the chanting stopped. The chanting was to call upon the forest spirits to give their answer to the questions put forward by my mate, into the egg.

So how the heck does the egg give us the answer?

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_102623058.mp.jpg

We went back into his home, and the Shaman raised a fire. He proceeded to boil the eggs. After a while, he took them out and started peeling them. I was half expecting him to feed us the eggs.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_105345433.portrait.jpg

But no, that wasn't the case. My mind always keeps projecting the absolute most excitable scenario. So here's the deal. If the eggs came out soft boiled and mushy, the answer was negative. If the eggs came out fully boiled and firm, then the answer was positive (to whatever the question was). I think he had two questions, and therefore 2 eggs. My friend got his answers, and I got to experience a mind-blowing personal shamanic ceremony up close. Wow!

Ceremonies done, we relaxed a bit and had something to drink - Apong or Rice beer if I remember right. And said goodbye to this wise old man. How long will these traditions last is anyones guess. At some point, we will lose all these cultural differences, and probably just become one race of grey humourless and sterile humans.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_110928967.mp.jpg
I don't think he liked getting too cozy.​

Wow. That experience was wild and very personal. The chanting still gives me goosebumps. We were very very lucky!

I had read up about a unique winery in Ziro Valley, and we decided to make a visit.

This was the Naara Aaba Winery, run by a woman entrepreneur Tage Rita. She was traveling and it was a pity I couldn't meet the very beautiful and enterprising woman. Well, a winery tour will have to do.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_114542512.jpg

The wines are all produced from locally grown fruit - Pears, Plums, and Kiwis. The organic Kiwi wine was the first such wine ever produced in the country. I think the pears and plums are certified organic too.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_114611136.jpg

This was the testing room.

And what I was waiting for all along. The tasting room lol!

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_115017260.jpg

Ah, I sampled a good number of wines, and we picked up a few bottles for our onward journey. Though we were traveling light and tight, some wine is always right!

We wrapped up our final evening in Ziro valley with a visit to the grounds where the Ziro music festival is usually held. But only one thing grabbed my attention.

2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report-pxl_20210317_112435925.portrait.jpg
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Old 25th March 2022, 12:00   #73
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Default Re: 2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report

And you haven’t left Ziro yet !! Phew, you have just described my childhood in Naharlagun in the last few posts my friend. The Apong, the Mithun, the dried meat, the culture, the apatani people.. everything came back alive. Ziro is a wonderful place, the hotel where you ate your expensive meal is an upcoming one and is owned jointly by one of my classmates from school.

Glad that you could take a walk through the Naara Aaba, the story of Tage Rita is an inspiring tale and is such a heartwarming success story. I pick up the Kiwi variety every now and then while I am there.

You are yet to leave Arunachal Pradesh, I am waiting for your Rishyop adventure

Last edited by ABHI_1512 : 25th March 2022 at 12:08.
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Old 26th March 2022, 10:04   #74
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Default Re: 2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report

We were finally leaving Ziro. This is what greeted us.

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Old 27th March 2022, 15:21   #75
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Default Re: 2 months across the Eastern Indo-Tibet Himalayas | A KTM 390 "Adventure" | 2021 Report

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
We were finally leaving Ziro. This is what greeted us.

https://Youtu.be/zC-aGX1B3PY
Crazy roads, man!

And to think the locals are going to cross that slush minefield on Activas, Avengers, and pure fwd cars like Alto and Venue. Unbelievable.
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