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Tanw/Tanii, Apatani, Apa Tani
Apatani women during a wedding
Total population
43,777[1] (2011 census)
Regions with significant populations
 India (Arunachal Pradesh)
Apatani • English • Hindi
Donyi-Polo • Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Tani peoples

The Apatani people are an ethnic group who live in the Ziro valley of Arunachal Pradesh's Lower Subansiri region.[2][3][4][5]

Customs and lifestyle

Their wet rice cultivation system and their agriculture system are extensive even without the use of any farm animals or machines. So is their sustainable social forestry system. UNESCO has proposed the Apatani valley for inclusion as a World Heritage Site for its "extremely high productivity" and "unique" way of preserving the ecology.[6]

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.[7]


They have two major festivals – Dree and Myoko. In July, the agricultural festival of Dree is celebrated with prayers for a bumper harvest and prosperity of all humankind. Paku-Itu, Daminda, Piree dance, etc., are the main cultural programmes performed in the festival.[8] Myoko is celebrated to commemorate the intervillage friendship that has been passed down by the forefathers for generations until present. This special bond is carried forward in the succeeding generation by the current members. The main celebration occurs in the mid of March but the rituals associated with the festival starts much earlier in the preceding month and ends in next month of April. During this period a huge amount of food and drinks are being served and distributed by the host village.


  1. ^ "A-11 Individual Scheduled Tribe Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  2. ^ "Arunachal Pradesh - People". Retrieved 30 December 2023."The Apatani community is a major ethnic group of the eastern Himalayan region who possess a rich knowledge of ecology, natural resource management and conservation. The Apatanis are fun loving, warm and hospitable people who are known for their traditional songs, dances and other festivities."
  3. ^ "Customs And Lifestyle Of Apatani Tribe Of Ziro In Arunachal Pradesh". Retrieved 30 December 2023."The Apatanis are one of the interesting ethnic groups of Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas."
  4. ^ "Unique Apatani impresses The Telegraph, 17 June 2005. URL last accessed 21 October 2006.
  5. ^ Blackburn, Stuart H. (1 January 2016). Into the Hidden Valley: A Novel. ISBN 9789385288906.
  6. ^ "Unique Apatani impresses The Telegraph, 17 June 2005. URL last accessed 21 October 2006.
  7. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Apatani Cultural Landscape - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  8. ^ NEZCC – North East Zone Cultural Centre Archived 12 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading