Culture of Arunachal Pradesh

People of Arunachal Pradesh


The Wanchos inhabit the south-western part of the Tirap district bordering Nagaland. Their traditional attire consists of decorated headgears and heavy strings of beads on the neck, arms, legs and ears.  


The Noctes inhabit the central part of the Tirap district, to the north of the Wanchos. These people have a long and traditional contact with the people of the neighbouring plains.  


     Tangasas is a common name of a group of people consisting of the Lungchang, Moklong, Yugli, Lungri, Have, Moshong, Rundra, Takhak, Ponthi and Longphi. Each group is subdivided into a number of exogamous clans. These tribes occupy the Changlang district along the Indo-Myanmar front. 


The Singphos live on the banks of Teang and Noa Diking rivers and extend towards the southeast into the land of the Khamptis. They are also expert blacksmiths and weavers. 


The Khamptis live to the south of the Lohit district along the Kamlang, Dehing and Tengapani rivers with the Parasuramkund to the northeast and Tirap district of the south. They are good craftsmen, enterprising traders and skilful agriculturists.  


      There are three main groups of the Mishmis, viz. Idu, Miju or Kaman and Taraon. The Idus, also called Chulikata. With roughly 25,000 members, the Idu tribe is divided into sections, each named after the river by the side of which they live. The Mijis (Kamans) live in the Lohit district, east of the Taraons. Their number is approximately 18,000. Their dress is colourful and durable. The Kaman, specially the women, have an admirable sense of colour and pattern.  


      The tribes of the East, West and Upper Siang districts are mainly those classified under the general title of "adis". They may be divided into three main groups: Galos, Padams, and Miwongs, each of which are again subdivided into a number of sub-groups. Ponung is their traditional dance, which is also religious in character. The Galos weave clothes of highly artistic designs and the finest profit is a beautiful skirt with a central pattern of black yarn netted in regular designs of black and white. The most striking features of the Padam and Miwong society are their highly organized political institution represented by the Kebang or village council and the dormitory. They are expert weavers. 


      Along the international frontier in the Tuting area live the Khambas. They are lovers of dance. 


      The Membas are found along the northern border of Upper Siang district.  


     To the north along the banks of the Sipi River extends the society of the Tagins. Agriculture is their main occupation.

          Hill Miris

The Hill Miris inhabiting the lower Kamla valley look attractive in their costume. Their women wear attractive "crinoline of cane rings". 


The Apatamis are settled in a valley in the Centre of the lower Subansiri district around the district headquarters. They live in crowded villages. They are experts in wet cultivation and grow paddy and millet in abundance. They have a stable agricultural economy. 


      The Nyishi men keep their hair long and tie it in a knot just above the forehead and they wear cane bands around the waist traditional dress.


      The Hrussos have a custom of painting their faces with black marks. They have been documented well in old historical records. They are good traders. 


      The Khowas (Bugun) occupy 7 villages in Teilga and Bichum valley in the neighbourhood of the Sherdukpens.  


The Puroiks (Sulungs) live mainly in the high altitudes of Kameng districts. 


The Sherdukpens live mainly in the two villages of Rupa and Shergaon in West Kameng district. They are divided into two classes, the Thongs and the Gheos. The Sherdukpens are good agriculturalists and traders. Their religion is an interesting blend of Buddhism and other religious beliefs.


Crafts of Arunachal Pradesh


        Bamboo and Cane Craft - Bamboo and cane are used to make colourful basket mats, cane belts, attractive smoking pipes, jewellery etc. It is also used traditionally by the tribal population for constructing their dwellings, common household utensils, furniture, and even weapons such as bows and arrows, spears, armor, and implements like dibbles, hunting and fishing traps.

        Weaving - Weaving is another important household industry in Arunachal Pradesh. Apatanis are advanced weavers. They use bark fibres extracted from trees, goat's hair, human hair besides cotton and wool for weaving. They make ceremonial coats and shawls, and embroidered cotton cloth, handbags, skirts and lungis, shawls, sashes, carpets.

        Wood Carving - The main centre for woodcarving in the state is the Wancho area of Tirap district. They make figure heads, warriors, miniature morung, and figurines depicting different vocations common to rural life, animal figures, colorful masks and images of Lord Buddha.

        Carpet Making - Carpet making is the specialty of the Monpas. They weave lovely colourful carpets with dragon, geometric and floral designs. The choice of the colour combination is unique. Though originally they weave carpet for domestic use, it has now become an item of trade and a major occupation.

        OrnamentsOrnament making is another craft widely practiced in Arunachal Pradesh. Besides beads of various colours and sizes blue feathered wings of birds and green wings of beetles are also used in decoration. The Akas make bamboo bangles and ear ornament which are sometimes decorated with pocker work designs. Most of the ornaments are made of beads as the tribes are very fond of it. While some people just hang strings of beads round their neck, others such as the Noctes and Wanchos weave them into very attractive patterns. The designs and colour combination are superb. Besides beads work, the Wanchos make ear ornaments from glass beads, wild seeds, cane, bamboo and reed. Various ornaments of coloured glass beads hold a special fascination for the people of Arunachal Pradesh. 



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