Meet a Rare Tribe Where Women Must Plug Their Noses to Avoid Unwanted Attention

People
month ago

Lodged delicately in the sides of their noses, the ebony nose plugs captivate attention amidst the rugged countenances of the Apatani women dwelling in the heart of Arunachal Pradesh, India. Symbolizing maturity and the transition into womanhood, the insertion of nose plugs is a ceremonial rite enacted upon the arrival of a woman’s first menstrual cycle.

The practice has not been carried out since 1970.

East News

Nestled within the confines of the Ziro valley, deep within the rustic expanse of rural Arunachal Pradesh, resides the Apatani tribe, also referred to as the Tani. Their age-old customs, notably the ritualistic nose plugging and facial tattooing of women, have steadily dwindled since 1970, becoming echoes of a bygone era.

The plugs and tattoos were designed to protect the women.

Legend whispers tales of a time when these peculiar practices were born out of necessity, a shield against the marauding shadows of tribal raiders. With every onslaught, the womenfolk vanished into oblivion, leaving behind a haunting silence.

It was then that the Apatani chieftain decreed that the fairest among them shall bear the burden of conspicuous adornments – large circular nose plugs, known as yaping hurlo, meticulously positioned to deter any ill-intentioned gaze. Complementing this deterrent, intricate tattoos adorned their visage, cascading vertically from brow to chin, obscuring the allure that could attract unwelcome attention.

The tribe is also known for their fertile wetlands.

Nestled amidst the verdant expanse of Arunachal Pradesh’s fertile wetlands, the Apatani subsist primarily on the bounty of rice paddies and the bounty of its waters. Their sustenance intertwined with the rhythms of Donyi-Polo, their indigenous faith venerating the celestial dance of the Sun (Donyi) and the Moon (Polo).

Yet, the sands of time have relentlessly eroded the fabric of tradition. The once-vibrant ritual of nose plugging now remains vestiges of a narrative slipping into obscurity, offering a fleeting glimpse into the enigmatic tapestry of the Apatani's history.

Drone captures rare images of various uncontacted tribes. It amuses people by showing the lives of tribespeople, which are different from ours.

Preview photo credit East News, Sumantbarooah / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

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