My father was posted in Siliguri, West bengal when I was a kid. We spent almost three years in that place. That gave us an opportunity to make multiple trips to famous tourist spots like Kalimpong, Gangtok, Mirik, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Bhutan etc. We even went to visit my Mausi whose husband was posted in Tura, a small hill town in Meghalaya. So while most people were busy holidaying in Mussorie and Simla, we were visiting the hills of North East.
Before we went to Siliguri, we were posted in Jammu, so I doubt there is any famous hill station in north and north-east India that we didn’t visit. I guess that is why I am more attracted to beaches now than the hills, despite being a Pahadi.
My last holiday with my family was also spent in the northeastern states…….plains of Assam and hills of Arunachal Pradesh. One thing that surprised me is the state of roads even today in Arunachal Pradesh. The roads are so bad that travelling in the state is very difficult. Distance that would be covered in 2 hours in other hills, takes almost 4 hours in Arunachal. That is why it took us 7 hours to travel to Ziro valley.
Ziro valley has been gaining popularity amongst music lovers as it is home to a music festival where bands from all over India and some from other countries come and perform. While I can understand that it must be a huge challenge organising such an event in a state with bad roads and insufficient infrastructure, what disappointed me was the mountain of beer cans I saw at the music festival venue. It has been almost a year since the last festival and still the beer cans are piled up at the venue at one corner. the organisers didn’t send then for recycling. Disposing their waste responsibly should be one of the top most priorities for the organisers especially since it is being organised in a valley which is isolated.
While a music festival can be a great way to bring focus to a neglected tourist destination, the environmental impact of such a big event on the local ecology of the area needs to be studied.
I hope things are going to be better this year for Ziro festival. Here are some pics from my visit.