Women dressed in their traditional attire started circling around and singing a traditional Adi song. The Ponung dance was performed in front of the stilt house. The sound of the song and the synchronized moves were overwhelming. It was the warmest welcome by the Adi tribe in Ledum village.
Upon my arrival, the traditional skirt, Gale was gifted to me by the Adi family. This warm gesture won my heart, instantly. The unpretentious and humble nature of the Adi Tribe in Ledum village made me feel at home.
Whenever you traverse across the offbeat and remote places in Northeast India, the open doors of their houses and smiles on their faces are evident everywhere. That’s why the uncharted paradise is so inviting and unique at the same time for the outside world.
WHERE IS LEDUM VILLAGE
Nestled 30 km from the main town of Pasighat, the visit to the picturesque Ledum village is a must. Furthermore, if you are in love with slow travel and an admirer of the rustic lifestyle, then the Ledum village should be on your bucket list.
The densely forested areas, the scenic golden paddy fields, encircled by the mountains, and the scattered stilt huts in the middle. Altogether, it was a refreshing change. Unlike other offbeat destinations like Mechuka and Anini, the Ledum village is easily accessible from Pasighat.
The Ledum village came into the spotlight due to its famous annual Butterfly & Biodiversity Meet. Therefore, the village is a haven for naturalists, and cultural enthusiasts.
Ledum village is more than 300 years old and mainly inhabited by the Adi Tribe. The village has around 113 houses in total. Encircled by the Himalayan ranges, and paddy fields spread across miles certainly make the Ledum village a picture-perfect destination.
HOW TO REACH
You can reach Ledum village by hiring a private cab. However, I am not sure if there are public buses on that route. It is hardly 30 KM from the main Pasighat town.
LEDUM VILLAGE NEAR PASIGHAT
This was not the first time when I had traveled to remote places and spent a considerable amount of time with the tribal community. My earlier journey across Northeast India with the Holiday Scout had made me travel miles to unscattered territories.
Needless to say, how I find everything about the tribal communities in India so fascinating.
The more I travel and meet tribal communities in Northeast India, the more I am able to distinguish the lifestyle traits of each tribe. Though there are numerous similarities among tribal communities in the Northeast, we can’t miss the distinctive differences that make them stand out.
Marrying quite peacefully with the environment and creating an ecosystem to live in harmony with nature, the tribal communities know exactly how to blend seamlessly with nature’s wonder. Their lifestyle talks highly about the eco-friendly approach towards life and also sustainability with nature.
You realize the basics of their life when you visit and share space with them. This way, you get to see the lifestyle up close. Moreover, tasting their food can take you one inch closer to understand the fabric of their happy life.
MEETING WITH ADI TRIBE IN LEDUM VILLAGE
The illusive Adi Tribe, living happily in the foothill of Himalaya, mostly in the Wast Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh is no different. The Adi tribe is one of the major tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The name “Adi” means “Hill or mountain top.”
True to their name, the Adi Tribe live peacefully in the densely forested areas located on the hilltop in a tightly clustered area. The thatched-roofed stilted houses with a central fireplace are their basic arrangement. Unlike the Galo tribe, the Adi Tribe house has only one common entrance.
Similarly, the Adi tribe follows animalism like other tribal communities. Most of them follow the ancient religion called Donyi-Polo, though Christianity is catching up slowly.
What I found unmissable was the central fireplace in the tribal houses, food habits, traditional attire, and their rice cultivation. However, you can’t take away the simplicity from these tribal communities in Northeast India.
My tryst with the Adi Tribe happened recently when I visited Ledum village in Pasighat. Sitting around the central fireplace, having conversations regarding their food habits and other cultural practices gave me a fair idea about their sustainable lifestyle.
RELISHING AUTHENTIC ADI FOOD
The best part of my visit to the Adi household was the food. We were invited to share the authentic Adi food prepared in their kitchen. In addition, what made the difference was that I had the opportunity to be part of the cooking process.
I always emphasize knowing the food culture of tribal communities, irrespective of the places they belong. It mirrors their lifestyle. It says highly about the kind of environment they live in and their survival instinct as well.
In fact, the minimalistic and eco-friendly choices they make in their daily lifestyle contribute immensely to enhance their rustic life in the lap of nature.
While enjoying my fresh glass of Poka (Rice Beer) inside the stilted house, I noticed how the man of the house was happily indulging in cooking.
So, it made me wonder about the role reversal. Later, I was informed that non-vegetarian food is always prepared by the head of the family in Adi culture. It was an inestimable piece of information for me at that moment.
However, the females of the house were helping him in cooking by providing the ingredients. The best part of the cooking was that he didn’t use any spices, except raw ginger, garlic, and green chilies.
I was surprised to see him using a small tree branch to grate the ginger. It’s amazing how truly they adopt sustainable life and celebrate it with pride.
I was overwhelmed watching the head of the family joyfully enjoying the cooking in the central fireplace, with his wife standing beside him. At the same time, it compelled me to delve into the thought of the present sexist role reserved system in our society. Even in metropolitan cities, so-called cosmopolitan males still refuse to enter the kitchen.
The family also demonstrated how their local drink named Poka is made and explained the process of making the rice beer.
After the cooking session, I was accompanied by a few locals from the Ledum village to just stroll around the captivating village. The quaint, laid-back, and slower pace lifestyle in Ledum village was inviting.
The thatched roof, bamboo stilt houses, golden paddy fields in the background with towering hills presented a serene picture.
The women busy with their daily chores and men gathered around the fireplace were common sights there. The wondering eyes were on us as we strolled around the village.
It was time for the feast. The Ekkom leaf was laid out. The fire-cooked chicken along with rice, dried fish, green chilies, and chutney was served. It was piping hot. The joy of having food in the most authentic way with the Adi family in Ledum village was priceless.
WHAT TO DO IN LEDUM VILLAGE?
There is nothing much to do in Ledum village. It is an ideal village to slow down. Immerge in the slow life, interact with the locals, live with them in their rustic setup and enjoy those aimless walks along with the paddy fields.
After a hectic road trip in Northeast India, if you wish to take a break in the East Siang District, away from maddening crowded areas in Pasighat, the Ledum village is one of the best remote places.
To my surprise, there is also a tea estate towards the end of the village. One can also visit the tea garden and experience the tea environment and life of tea workers there.
For the Solo Travelers, the Ledum Village can be the perfect destination to celebrate stillness. The best way to indulge in the luxury of the Ledum village is to surrender yourself and relish the true meaning of village life.
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