by Sep 27, 2021Demographics, Tribes0 comments

The Adi, or Bangni-Bokar Lhoba people is a major collective tribe living in the Himalayan hills of Arunachal Pradesh, and they are found in the temperate and sub-tropical regions within the districts of East Siang, Siang, Upper Siang, West Siang, and Dibang Valley. The older term Abor is a deprecated exonym from Assamese meaning ‘uncontrol’. Some of them are found in Southern Tibet (a little more north than South Tibet), around areas near the Indian border. The literal meaning of Adi is “hill” or “mountain top”.

The term ‘Adi’ is of recent origin which does not have any references in folk songs, legends, or myths. Present Adi people were known by the names of the sub-groups like Boki (Pasi), Bomi (Paadam and Millang), Bonyong Nyobo (Minyong and Panggi), Botung (Karko), Boir (Komkar), Bogen (Shimong), Boh (Pailibo), Bori, Bokar, etc. But constitutionally, all those sub-tribes having linguistic similarities were called as ‘Abor’ which might be of an Assamese origin. Earlier, the Adi were known as Abor, probably an Assamese origin, which is considered as a derogatory term referring to barbarians, rude, unruly or savage, etc. Thus, these people have discarded the term Abor and today they are popularly known as Adi.

Based on dialectal and vocal tune differences, the Adi tribe are divided into 14 sub-groups, such as Paadam, Minyong, Pasi, Panggi, Shimong,
Millang, Komkar, Karko, Ashing, Pailibo, Bori, Ramo, Bokar, and Tangam.


The Adi have a keen sense of history and many of them are able to recite interminable genealogies tracing their race back to the beginning of the world. Their oral literature is both, religious and secular. Aabang, the religious literature, which literally coded by rhapsodies is the main source of literature elucidating the myths of origin and migration of the tribe. Abe, the secular literature, recounts the migration of the tribe.

The oral tradition and early history are mostly ritual texts and barely tells of historical migration. Hitherto, the memories of migration are strong and have cognizance of being non-native to the region and having migrated from ‘somewhere else’ (Blackburn, 2004:15).

One of the Adi migratory legends of the Northern Adis construes their origin from Doying-Lídüng (Story of Stone) or Jasüng-Koräh (called by neighbouring Buddhist Memba tribe) located at Jido (an Adi village) contiguous to Tuting town in Upper Siang district. As per the legend, a
‘mystical stone’ embodying the physicality of a bird with a figurative head and wings is believed to have hovered down from Tibet to the present site. The Adis interprets that the aerial figure promptly landed on the spot and broke the right wing (as the strange figure appears to be with
a broken wing). It transformed into a mysterious stone called Karí-Léläm (human footprint) engraved with several marks of birds and animals footprints. It is thus fathomed that after the emergence of the universe and living beings; as the earthly entities (soil and stone) were fragile, the creatures of the animal kingdom moved out to the world by leaving behind footprints upon the stone. Among the human race, Karí (brother of Toro), a mythical figure made the first step on the stone and so the stone is revered as Karí-Lélam. The sacred site is often mentioned in oral readings of the Adi Miris, chanting, “Mibo ké léji pérying…Uyu ké lo:päng nőné”. Similarly, the Ayit-Miris (priest expert in summoning lost human soul) probes the stone for whereabouts of the wandering soul and seeks approval to return to the world (after finding the soul). Today, the Adis and Memba group regard the site as sacred and faithfully walk around for 3-5 times before prayers. However, the Membas today claims the location as their native source of origin, though situated within an Adi village.

In case of the Western Adis, the legends explain Ramos and Bokars as brothers (Joshi,2005:87-89). The Ramos originally settled in Tatadege area and later moved down to Rapum (present settlement area). The Bokars, who dwelled in Pui, adjacent to Tatadege were pushed across the border by Tibetans, until they drifted down and settled in the vicinity of Tungu La Pass and, Yumi and Nayü valleys. The Pailibos residing in Dosing village moved southwards and drifted along the right bank of Siyom River due to natural calamities and settled in Yipík. In migratory course, the Boris settled in the east and Ashings towards the northernmost place (ibid, 2005); while the Tangams deviated to Kugíng.

According to the Padam legend, they entered the present area via Kepäng La pass and settled in Méye Tamté (nearby Gelling in Upper Siang). After few years of staying, the horde further moved southwards to Korbé, Mayüng, Sitüm, and Bukrüng and settled down in Salíng Éying (border demarcating Memba, Khamba, and Adi areas). Later, they flocked towards Ngurüng Kyodí, Tílne Po:bé and eventually to Bo:né. From Bo:né, the Bomi (Padam) and Bonyõng (Minyong) took different routes of migrations. The Bomi moved to Misum Bopok, Sile Lésing and Kílíng Länggé. After settling in Kílíng Länggé, they relocated to Gürgür Pegü. In that site, they tussled with Botüng (sub-group of Karko) for possession over Gu:né (wild Mango) and Tayüng Ta:ye to ensnare frogs from Pegü Siéng (Pegu lake). As a consequence of dispute, they moved eastwards by crossing the Siang river and camped at Dakkőng Pígo and Kukpír Pígo. Thereupon, the Megu clan occupied Sikőr Korak site and rested at Dengíng Aying (in present Geku Circle). The other clans moved to Baba Sigő and Ané Atkőng successively. Towards the east, they further crossed Diräng Adi (a mountain) and settled at Kesing Kümtíng adjacent to Yamne River. Meanwhile, the Yiräng clan took settlement at Jokäng. During their itinerary at Kesíng Kümtíng and Jokäng, the Damro village was occupied by different clans like Leyíng Pa:rak, Nalém Najőng, Nalüng Pogäk, and Dängga Norő. At that point, the Léying Pa:rak group killed and devoured the Mithun of Yayi Képäng (ancestor of Pertín, Pérme, Boräng and Ratan clans). Consequently, the other clans of Kesíng Kumtíng captured and declared them as thieves. However, the Leyíng Pa:rak people fled from the village out of fear. As they vacated the site, then Kesíng Kumtíng and Jokäng residents established their permanent settlement in Damro village. Thenceforth, Damro is regarded as the first Padam village.


The language spoken by the people of the Adi and its sub-tribes are classified as North Assam group of Tibeto-Burman family by Linguistic Survey of India. Adi do not have their own script or written language as like other Tani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. But the Adi dialect, especially of Padam group is very rich, soft spoken and explicit. Unlike English and Hindi, there are different terms for addressing various family members and their relatives. For example, the paternal uncles are addressed from the eldest to the youngest one as Pate, Payong, Patum, and Payi. The Maternal uncles are addressed as Tete, Yoyong, Tutung, and Yiyii. Likewise, every relative of the family is addressed differently and distinctly.


The family, termed Ékum-Érang (Borang, 2013:46) or Rutüm (Nyori, 1993:2015) by the Adis, forms the smallest unit of social structure, involving a man (husband), woman (wife or wives), and children. In the past, they practised joint family involving of father, mother, sons and daughters and grandchildren and in single house (Nyori, 1993:205) with shared hearth, granary, and fields. At present, the family divides into nuclear family leading a neo-local residence with their share of land properties and livestock (Borang, 2013:46). As per customary norms, a new family usually begins with settling down of a married couple with separate hearth and paddy field before leaving their parental home. In general, a Mäkbo (son-in-law) stays at his in-law’s house as Kumräng Mäkbo and undertakes son-in-lawship (Nath, 1994:46) for an extended period of time by visiting the wife’s house at night hours until the birth of second or third child. Thereafter, he constructs a new house and starts a family with his wife and children by hosting Durän (house warming party).

In the Adi marriage system, a girl is normally marriageable with the attainment of puberty and boy at adulthood. It is considered befitting age of marriage, as the couple attains the capability to work and independently reside. The marriage comprises of varied types viz., Abír Angőng (marriage after romantic affairs), Nyaméng Tatnäm (arranged marriage), Duknyők Bosunäm (elopement), Birmé-Bíro Apé (exchange marriage), Méyeng Kanäm (levirate marriage) and Tümbo Kanäm (sororate marriage).

Makbő-Gínäm serves as a noble marital institution for the husbands for preparing for new marital life. It suggests an outlook to understand his liabilities towards the family and society. The bridal visiting is ratified by elderly clan members with concern for the girl’s emotion and affection towards family. It eases the girl from melancholic isolations after leaving her parental home. In view of that, she is allowed to stay back for a certain time period to familiarize herself with her affinal family and until her emotional and economic stability is met. The Makbő Gínäm is deemed as an ideal approach to minimise the occurrence of domestic violence and divorce. It serves as a probationary period for husband and wife to acquaint each other’s family. Further, it offers the couple an opportunity to gain trust from their in-laws. The bride visiting practice has no specific time limit. If the husband’s family urgently seeks working hands, the girl is expected to move in soon after the marriage. The stay of the wife in her natal house may vary from few months to years based on the situation of the family. If the bride’s parents are old and sick, the son-in-law is anticipated to stay and take care of them. The period of visiting normally continues until the birth of a third child. The wife generally does not move to the husband’s house unless eruption of any urgent matters. A single daughter often declines to leave her parental house and maintains dual residence for years.

Among the Padam and Minyong group, the Musup (boy’s dormitory) and Rasheng (girl’s dormitory) constitutes the fundamental youth institutions (Nyori, 1993:231).


The Adis sustains patrilineal and patriarchal society (Borang, 2013 and Nyori, 1993). Therefore, the children inherit their paternal clan. But, in case of Dőm-Kő (illegitimate child) through extra-marital affairs (Nath, 1990:44), the male child is acquired by the father and the female child by the mother respectively. If the woman remarries, only the female child is allowed to be taken in the second husband’s house. Hitherto, if the husband dies and the divorced wife marries her brother-in-law, both male and female child remains at the dead husband’s house. As the society is patriarchal oriented, the seniormost male member of the family assumes as the head of the family (Nyori, 1994:207).

Among the Adis, customary laws are regulated by the highest tribal council known as Kébäng (Kebang). It is a self-governing society that includes the male members as incumbent representatives regardless of age. Although the women are free to attend the council, but seldom participates in arbitration. Their social exclusion is due to the prevalence of the patriarchal system with greater role of man in the political sphere; social restriction for women (for menstruation and child-birth) to enter Musup, and shift of residence to in-laws place after marriage. Apropos, Ering (1978) positing ‘shaming’ as another basis for gender gap writes –

“Traditionally all the members of village are counted as members of village Kebang. Membership to village Kebang almost begins with his birth in the village. With the coming of age, he automatically finds himself involved in the affairs of the Kebang as member. A man who does not participate and ventilate his thoughts in the Kebang is ridiculed by his friends as Mumbal or eunuch”.

Kébäng (Kebang)

The central objective of Kébäng is to sustain judicial and developmental affairs. From the judicial perspective, the Kébäng promulgates customary laws, investigates crimes, and adjudicates varied grievances. The rules are predetermined to advocate peace, law, and order, minimise crime, cultural salvation, and adherence to beliefs and practices. It oversees disputes among individuals, families, and clans over land, property, privileges, and liberty. In the matter of civil and criminal cases, they adjudicate’s Doppyonäm (theft), Dímín-Momín-Sunäm (assault), Ami-Pétnäm (murder), Abír-Ajőn (adultery or incest), Yopőt (rape), Mimí-Milő Mémín (divorce and inheritance), Lusi-Lüo (defamation), Asi-Amőng Ébín (claim for land plot and stream), etc. and impose to pay Ajeng (fine) or Adüm (compensation).

The Kébäng formulates edicts, ordinances and administers everyday affairs of the village in a centralised form of government. As a policy-making body, it promulgates and propagates new bylaws on any experienced or impending matters. In the incidence of skirmishes, the Kébäng intervenes and counsels the villagers to sustain peace and solidarity. It also acts as the custodian of customary norms and practices by prescribing guidelines for the better interest of society. The traditional governing body sternly rebukes divisions based on sub-tribes and village. It administers all the social activities based on customary laws and chastises the one who violates them. Most importantly, the Kébäng directs the fixation of festival dates; construction of Musup, and observance of funerals and related taboos and imposes a penalty upon defaulters in terms of compensation. In case of defiance to pay, the Musup-Kos are entrusted to confiscate pig or fowl from house or grains from granaries.

The Kébäng embodies three-tier administrative structure with specific autonomy

  1. Dolüng Kébäng (village council)
  2. Bánggő Kébäng (block council)
  3. Adi Baané Kébäng or former Bogüm-Bokäng Kébäng (supreme council).

Besides, the three authoritative council bodies, an informal meeting as Dusüm or Éräng Kébäng comprised of solely clan members to resolve inter-clan feuds. Generally, the meeting and derived decisions are held in private from other clans. If a dispute turns complex to resolve, the matter is forwarded to the higher village council.

    Kebang Flowchart
    • Dollung Kebang —
      At the grassroots level, the Dolüng Kébäng functions as the agency to adjudicate disputes within the jurisdiction of a village. It is the base of the administrative institution in Adi judiciary. Yet, it is the most active operative unit of the entire Kébäng system. The council meeting is usually held in Musup of the village. In general, the village council initiates with the introduction of matter from both counterparts to the KébängAbu or Gam and they guide the proceedings of the session. After a detailed assessment of the case, the Kébäng pass judgment with reference to customary laws and gravity of relevant past events. If the accused is proven convicted, then a resultant penalty is imposed upon. Hitherto, in case of charges being negated or cannot be proved, supernatural intervention is sought through oath and ordeals. Then again, when the disputes are convoluted to resolve or arbitrators are corrupt and judgements are biased; the disputants may discard the decision and approach the block council for justice.
    • Banggo Kebang —
      The Bänggő Kébäng is an intermediary administrative body administering six or more villages. It resolves inter-village disputes and in tandem examines the unsettled matters of the village level. The Bänggő Kébäng comprises of a secretary administering the Bänggő office; Gams of the jurisdiction and few selected from other villages. The capital acquired as a share of fine from the inter-village disputes is used for Bänggő welfare.
    • Adi Baane Kebang —
      At a wider spectrum, the Adi Baane Kebang (ABK) functions as the supreme council body covering entire Adi areas or districts. The ABK embodies prominent members of Bänggő Kébäng and few selected elites. A President and General Secretary with other Executive Members oversee the proceedings of the Kébäng. It shoulders the major problems faced by the whole community, inter-tribe, and sub-tribes unrests, and Bänggő Kébäng issues. In general purview, ABK deals with exigent issues of murders, serious injuries, land disputes, village boundary rows, etc. It also intervenes as the authority of subordinate councils in case of extremely acute issues and defiance or variations in executing customary laws.


    Agriculture is the main occupation of the Adi. The Adi practiced a variety of agriculture systems ranging from traditional shifting cultivation to permanent sedentary cultivation. In Siang Basin, about 82% of the total geographical area is hilly and mountainous. The tribal people are bound to practise jhum on hilly slopes and river valleys. One of the greatest impacts of the southward migration of Adi, especially in the plain of river Siang is the adaptation of terrace cultivation and the sedentary form of agriculture. Initially, the forefathers of these people were shifting cultivators in the hill slopes prior to the migration to present places of settlement. They have introduced new crops like High Yielding Varieties of rice, maize, mustard, pulse, ginger, etc, and cash crops like tea plantation, horticulture fruit plantation, and rubber cultivation, etc. have been adopted and sell their products in the market.


    Like the other Tani tribes of Arunachal, the Adis also believed in the indigenous Donyi-Polo religion. Worship of gods and goddesses like Kine Nane, Doying Bote, Gumin Soyin, and Pedong Nane, etc., and religious observances are led by a shaman, called Miri (can be a female). Each deity is associated with certain tasks and acts as a protector and guardian of various topics related to nature which revolves around their daily life. This includes the food crops, home, rain, etc. 


    Solung — 1st September

    Solung is a major festival celebrated collectively in the Adi inhabited areas. Etymologically, the Solung constitutes as a compound term with the merger of ‘’ (suffix of Éső or Mithun) and ‘Alüng’ meaning group. The festivity is agriculture-based concerning fertility-cult before the preparatory phase of wet field, sowing and transplantation of crops (in May), and after finishing agricultural labours (in September). The vital purpose of Solüng is to propitiate Kiné-Nané for bestowing a prosperous harvest. It involves sacrosanct events like rituals, chants, and sacrifices. Interestingly, this festival holds a unique trait of gender equality within Adi patriarchal society. It entails a nous of upholding status and dignity of women by earmarking festivity for both genders separately — Lütőr (15th May) explicitly for men and Lüné (1st September) for women.

    Unying Aran — 7th March

    Űnying-A:ran is regarded as a New-Year festival for Pasi, Padam, Panggi, Minyong, Karko, Simong, and Millang sub-tribes, with the arrival of spring during Gitmür-Gallíng (March-April). It is observed in appreciation of nature and its influence over human life. In the festivity, the events are divided into Dongín-Yumé, Dorép-Ro, and Pétpüm-Yumé.

    On the initial day, the menfolk venture for hunting, fishing, and trapping, while women prepare Apőng and Éttíng and wait for male members to return. After arriving from the hunt, the menfolk offer games to their children as recreation. In the evening or Dongín-Yumé, villagers engross in preparation of Apőng and other culinary for the festival.

    On the subsequent day or Dorép-Ro, the children play with their gifts (birds and squirrels) around the village. In gravity of the event, villagers sacrifice fowls and animals for feast and drinks.

    On the evening of the sixth day, the elderly men and youths perform Yakjőng (singing and dancing) around the village. Each house offers gifts of meat, fish, squirrel, etc. as a mark of cordiality. In reciprocity, the Yakjőng group dedicates prayers for peace, health, and prosperity of the family.

    In the evening of the ninth day (final day) or Pétpum-Yumé, the Yakjőng group visits (by holding each other’s in the waist) the Batüm (place for feeding pigs and fowls) of every house and entreats blessings of Gumín-Soyin for the family. On the following day, they organise a feast with the meat collected during the Yakjőng dance and bid farewell to the festivity.

    Pime — Nov-Dec

    The Píme-Adéng-Apé is observed to signify the prosperity of harvest by November or December. Similar to A:ran festival, Saklíknäm (decision fixed by village council) fixes the date of festival six days in advance. In the meantime, before the onset of celebratory day, the village men moves out for Ampi-Kirük engaging in hunting, fishing, and trapping activities for two or three days. On the fixed day, they return home and offer their catches to the family and relatives. The head of the games is offered to Patőr-Míjíng as a gesture of admiration and respect. On the evening of the third day or Ampi-Yumé, the Kirük goers congregate in Musup and perform Nogyin-Délőng (dance dedicated to rice beer) by reciting folk songs and community feast. Lastly, on Monnőng-Yumé (sixth day), the menfolk again meet in Patőr-Míjíng’s home and consume Míjíng-Apőng-Tőnnäm and feast with a gist of merriment.

    Donggin — 2nd February

    This festival is celebrated by Bori sub-tribe of Adi (The Boris inhabits in Payum circle of West-Siang district) with appeasement of benevolent spirits (and warding-off malevolent spirits) for bestowal of good health and prosperity in life. The Donggín, literally meaning ‘spring’ is revelled on 2nd February every year, specifying onset of spring season. Among benign deities, Podí-Meté (deity of livestock), Togüng-Yogäm (spirit of fortune), Miti-Mitäk (spirit of grains), Miríng-Mising (spirit of wealth), and Píme-Toné (spirit of harvest) are conciliated for human well-being. In the festivity, Sobő-Panäm (Mithun sacrifice) is deemed vital socio-religious act. It involves rituals and propitiations of spirits to attain blessings and emancipate from wraths.

    In retrospect, the celebration lasted for six days, instigating with Bintér (first day). On that day, the womenfolk initiate preparing culinary. They fetch grains from granary for drying, husking, and pounding.

    The Ésing-Ekő (second day) is meant for gathering required materials from the forest. So, the youths collect wood and Ékkäm leaves (for padding food items), bamboo, etc. The next day or Silíng-Tanőn and A:mit-Ésing tree are slashed, split, and dried in sunlight. Silíng-Tanőn is used for decoration and firewood.

    On day four day or Sokäng-Ranőn, the village folks jointly erects Sokäng (alter for Mithun sacrifice) in Lotté (corridor) or Batüng (staircases) of the granary.

    The fifth day or Sobő-Panäm is observed with the sacrifice of fowls and animals to pacify spirits. A Miri chant spells and enacts all the divine sacraments.

    The final day of the festival or Gümbő is observed after three days of Sobő-Panäm (after observing taboo). The day is marked with raising Gümbő (altar) with the support of bamboo decorated at four corners. Afterwards, the altar is sprinkled with rice beer and Éttíng (rice cake) and sanctified with farewell chants.

    Podi-Barbi — 5th December
    The Podí-Barbi is the harvest festival celebrated by Bokar, Pailibo, and Ramo* sub-tribes on 5th December every year. As per their legends, Podí-Barbi refers to ‘Cicada’, a migratory insect, which looms over fields during harvest season. Since they were unaware of a fixed celebratory day, the arrival of insects was assumed as harvesting time. Thus, the festival was celebrated with the appearance of insects. It is observed as a gesture of thanksgiving to nature for a bountiful harvest, hunting, and entreaty for recurrence of prosperity in the ensuing year. In the event, Nyübu (priest) executes rituals with the sacrifice of animals and fowls. After the ritual, people devour feasts with Opőng (rice beer) and delicacies served by womenfolk. In vivacity, the men and womenfolk cladded in traditional attire relish with merrymaking. Elderly people sing folk songs such as Jayíng and Bari and youths perform the dance with great animation.

    * The Boh-Ramo-Bokar (comprising of Bokar, Pailibo and Ramo sub-group) inhabits Mechukha, Monigong, Pidi, and Tato circle under Mechukha Sub-Division of West-Siang district.


    The Adi dress is determined by climatic and topographical settings. The high altitude dwellers or Western Adis (along the northern borders with the Membas and Khambas) dress in thick and warm clothes while the lower region puts on lighter wear.

    In the western belt, the Bori, Bokar, Ramo, Pailibo, and Ashing drabs Yake with Télü (a cane or leather belt) affixed with white bones or stones. In winter, Nanu, a black coarse woolen cloth with an aperture for putting neck is specially worn. A close-fitted brimless cane hat and strips of clothes in puttee fashion are geared to protect the head and legs. The Ashing woman wears a maroon skirt (either plain or in horizontal bars in light brown) extending down the ankles. A fur-lobed short blouse and cane ferret cap around the head is put on as upper garments.

    Relatively in warmer regions, the Padam, Minyong, Pasi, Panggi, Milang, Karko, Shimong, Bori, and Tangam men wear Galük (coat) as an upper costume. The colours and Pore (patterns) differ from the sub-groups. The clothes are normally yellow and black, and white and red fabricated from cotton; embroidered with bands of artistic needlework in various shades mostly of red and blue along edges. In the pre-colonial period, the male coats were sleeveless and multi-coloured, namely Pyaklíng or Lükjok Galük, Badu Galük, and Lükdí Galük. The officially worn coat Lükjők is a black Mishmi type short-sleeved with bands of triangular motifs at back and across the lower ends.

    As lower garments, Űgőn or Sa:bé (a loincloth) secured with a string or cane belt in between the legs; pulled up around the waist and tucked under the folds of the back. The frontal end of the Űgőn is suspended to swathe over private parts. These days, varieties of multi-coloured coats
    with Dakdüng Pore (designs) are in vogue among the Adis of foothill regions such as Kőlíng Galük (black coloured with reddish hand-braided Pore), Pőpír Galük (red and bluish coloured with six straight patterned lines), Repé Galük (blue coloured with handmade designs), Lükdí or Badü Galük (white coloured with least designs), Lükre Galük (vertically white and bluish streaks with thin reddish strips horizontally running), Pékí Galük (white coloured with broad red and yellowish designs in the back) and Emey Galük (green coloured and full-sleeved with zigzag back designs). The war coats are made of black coarse woolen cloth and decorated on the back and front. It is open-breasted with raised collar fabricated to protect the neck portion. The Adi men wear a hat as Dümlüp crafted from strong canes and caps as Lüppér with normal wear. The war helmet or Lüprő is round in shape without any projection made of coiled cane; decorated with two boar tusk or hornbill beak in front. The crown is at times embellished with bearskin or yak tail dyed in scarlet.

    The Adi woman wears Mimé-Galük, generally half-sleeved or full-sleeved black coats with yellow bands of borderlines as upper garments. While merriment, Piripit, a cloth folded as a cone is worn on the head. The lower garments include Galé (for Padam) or Gaséng (for Minyong), a long wrap-around garment with Pore (yellow vertical line with black horizontal lines in the middle) in backside fabricated of cotton yarn. The variety includes Gapé Galé of two styles – one of red and black mixed and other with red and bluish colour (worn by Ponüng Miri); Gamük Galé, interwoven with black and white or and blue and white threads (worn by elderly woman); Pőnníng or Galé/Égé Yalíng of reddish colour; Noge Galé with yellowish Pore; Noyíng Galé with greenish Pore; Geyíng Galé in dark green and Geka: Galé in pure black colour. The Padam-Pore is interweaved with white, orange, pink and greenish fibres; while the Minyong-Pore comprises of Sőtél (single pattern), Sőnyi (double pattern), Ríjel, Mikbüm (eye-shaped or triangle), etc. A thick blanket known as Badü is woven from cotton fibre. Heretofore, the locally farmed cotton was used for weaving dresses; but, nowadays multi-coloured yarns are bought from the market.


    The most preferred ornament among men is Tadők Lünggu or Línggőng; comprising of four or five strings of Abi (blue beads). The strings of Küli and Külő:Abi are arranged with black and white beads in two ends. Tagüm, a string solely of blue beads laced with white beads on each end and two Taték (white bone discs) is adorned by spiraling over twice around the neck. A Sikü-Siar (musk deer tooth) dangles as a pendant in the first strings. Besides, Düdap, a one-stringed necklace with blue beads and red wool pendant is worn during festivals.

    The womenfolk adorn Dőkpün Lünggu, a necklace secured with four or five strings of yellow beads. Additionally, Golpota: or Líték, is a two-string necklace set in rows of two Anna silver coins. Other ornaments comprise of Tampiläng, a longer necklace of two Rupees coin; Nők, a flat square shape silver pendant and Sőndorőng, a long silver chain with a pendant of musk deer canine. Madoli is a short necklet of beads with a drum-shaped pendant. The young girls wear Beyőp in their waist – a girdle made of brass or iron discs. It is worn mostly by the damsels until the birth of their first child. Both men and women wear earrings and bracelets. The elderly folks adorn Rapém, a twirled earring made of lead and bracelets with a variety of spikes. The younger ones put Tőn (white beads), Kíríng (bell) and Tékbäng (earring).


    Adi House Terms

    Adi House Terms

    The traditional house of the Adis is constructed with bamboos, woods, canes, leaves, etc. which are found abundant in their surroundings. Till today, the construction is always made on a community or collective basis to which all the abled body villagers contribute their labour spontaneously as part of the century-old tradition. Community work is still alive among the Adis. The size of an Adi house determines the size of the family. The days are fixed in accordance with the decision of Kebang, the rural self-government institution, so that community members make them available keeping aside other domestic works. It is not a compulsion, rather a joyful and spontaneous activity for the villagers. Though architecture is almost identical, the style of the house differs from area to area. All these are designed and modulated to cope with the ecological environment controlled by the conditions of their habitat based on past empirical knowledge. That is why Adi houses always face the hillside with the back away from it. Even, every Adi village depicts a definite pattern in housing. Prospect of water, sunlight and drainage facility of domestic waste towards lower slope at a village site is always wisely taken into consideration with utmost importance. In a village, houses are camouflaged with profuse plantations surrounding the houses to hide them from direct view of the strangers. Adi’s house architecture may be compartmentalized into three (a) Dwelling house, (b) Grannery or Kumsung, (c) Dormitory or Moshup or Rasheng.

    The Adi dwelling house is constructed on a raised platform in a rectangular shape and varies in length with the different sub-groups of the Adis. Usually, there are no partitions and into rooms or cubicles within the house which is a simple one large hall. The important feature within this hall is the fireplace. The Adi house in villages has no windows. Therefore, it is pitch dark inside with no arrangements for letting in light. The Adi house has generally two doors – one in the front and another at the back. A raised platform is constructed on a solid framework using bamboos or wooden logs tied with cane strips where mats of thick bamboo splits to form the floor. Walls on all sides are made with uneven wooden planks or matting or split bamboos. A wooden or bamboo ladder leading from the ground is fitted in front of the front door. The fireplace is made of a square-shaped wooden tray coated with thick soil to prevent any fire accidents. Above the fireplace, a three-tiered and square-shaped shelf made of bamboo splits is fitted for drying meat, fish, and firewoods, or any other domestic items. The shelf is fitted at a safe height from the fire.


    Daminda is a dance of the Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, performed during the three- day long agricultural festival of the tribe, Dree. The dance marks the beginning of the rice sowing season and is accompanied by prayers for a good harvest and protection from natural calamities. The dance is an offering to the four gods of the tribe, namely- Tamu, Harniang, Meiti and Danyi.

    The Daminda repertoire glorifies the greatness of the Apatanis and their neighbouring tribes, and also include songs on love and romance, and are sung by women and children. Dressed in traditional attire, that Apatanis celebrate Dree as a festival of joy and hope. The dance is not only characterised by colour, prayers and rituals, but is also representative of the rich cultural heritage of the tribe. During the Dree festival, women folk visit their relatives and present then with home- made beer and wine as a gesture of love and affection.



    The Adi diet normally includes rice, vegetable, meat, and rice beer. In their culinary method, rice is cooked in a brass or steel pot placed upon Lísik (metallic tri-stand) in the centre of Mérőm (hearth). It is taken off half-boiled and the opening of the vessel is covered with Ékkäm (leaf) and the gruel is left to soak in rice. Later on, the food is dined among family members nearby the fireplace. The dietary regime further includes green leafy like Oläp, Onger, Ongín, Oyik, Péttü (mustard leaf), etc., and vegetables such as potato, tomato, pumpkin, brinjal, bitter gourd, white gourd, French bean, soya bean, ladies finger, scallions, bitter eggplants and so forth. Besides, chilli, ginger, garlic, coriander, and lemon basil leaves are used as spices. A variety of tubers like Éngé (arum), Éngín (yam), T:aräng-Éngín (tapioca), sweet potato, etc., are eaten during breakfast or leisure time. Iküng (bamboo shoot) adds up as a special ingredient for seasoning meats. It is consumed as Ib (dry bamboo shoot) or Itíng (long tender pulp).

    The Adis consume meat as a source of protein in everyday diets. They acquire animals and fowls from either domestication or hunting games. The hunting is organised in two forms as Ampi-Kirük (communal hunting) or Géta (individual hunting). Various techniques are employed for fishing such as Sibők-Rínäm (poisoning the watercourse), Síle-Monäm (blocking and drying the water stream and diverting the fish to a corner), and Sibők–Pétnäm (a stone mount piled in shallow water stream with an outlet fixed with traps). The meat and fish are smoked and stowed in Béyen (basket) for treating the guests or consuming during scarce periods. In the traditional method, the meat is roasted or simmered by mixing with Iküng, Ib, or Ammín (pounded rice) and added with salt and chilli for flavour. A tang of Yeklő-Take (pork stewed with shredded ginger) is offered to guests during Ngangä-Arän (birthday).

    Additionally, the nutritional regime includes Lüptír or Lüktír (concoction of dried bamboo shoot and spicy ingredients), Ngotír (dried fish powder), Ngotär (fermented fish), Ngosing (fish paste), Ngoki (chutney of fish faeces), Perőn-Nämsing (fermented beans), Patír (pounded corn), Amtír (rice powder), Nämdüng (perilla ocinoides), and Mirék (millet bread). 

    The traditional beverage – Apőng is commonly consumed at every house. The Apőng are of two varieties – Porő Apőng distilled from millet, rice and job’s tear; and Nogyin Apőng brewed from Amkel (red rice).

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