adi warrior

 The Adi, or Bangni-Bokar Lhoba people is a major collective tribe living in the Himalayan hills of Nyingchi Prefecture, and they are found in the temperate and sub-tropical regions within the districts of East 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”.


Tribes and organisation

The Adi live hill villages, each traditionally keeping to itself (many never leave it), under a selected chief styled Gaon Burra (British era development) who moderates the village council, which acts even as traditional court Kebang. The olden day councils consists of all the village elder and decisions were taken in a Dere (Village community house) on majority verdict. The tribes include,



The language spoken by this group is also called Adi, which is distantly related to the Chinese and Tibetan languages. It is spoken with minor variations among all the Adi tribes


Orgnally  as far i know Adis and all other Tani ethnics are usualyy ANIMIST.Today a growing number of Adi, especially among the youth, have converted to Christianity. Adis in Tibet, in particular the Bokars, have adopted Tibetan Buddhism to a certain extent, as a result of Tibetan influence. But in recent few years there was a revival in the faith and the search for indigenousity on the part of the people made it popular with the youth again.

An Adi Village House

An Adi Village House

An adi Village

These villages are quite remote – no paved roads, no signs, no running water, no electricity (aside from the few people that have solar panels). Thus, the villages are relatively unspoiled by the modern world and it is easy to gain a good insight into the traditional way of life.

The traditional Adi homes are built on stilts and feature thatch roofs:

The traditional Adi homes are built on stilts and feature thatch roofs:

The interior of the Adi homes is open – grass mats arranged around a central fireplace made of stone:

a central fireplace made of stone


Solung festival of Adi Tribe

Solung festival of Adi Tribe

Introductory Note:

The ‘SOLUNG’ is the main socio-religious festival of ‘Adis’ community and is a manifestation of the ‘adis’ festival cult. the Adi or ‘Bangni-Boker lhoba’people are the major collective tribes living in the himalayan hills of ‘Nyingchi’ prefecture. Since, they belonged to all agricultural community, the ‘Solung’ festival is primarily connected with the agricultural activities of the people. The ‘Solung’ of the Adis can be compared with the three Bihus of the Assamese, as they are also socio-religious in nature, which has a close connection with agriculture. Prevalent among the Adi community are various myths, stories, faiths and beliefs about the origin of the ‘Solung’ festival.
Generally, ‘Solung’ is celebrated in the mid-part of the year i.e. the months of August/Semptember corresponding to the Adi months of ‘Tauno’ and ‘Yio’ respectively. However, ‘Solung’ is celebrated on different days of these months depending upon different villages. But, usually the date is fixed by the “Kebang” or the village council depending upon the convenience of the village people. Sometimes, even the ‘Gam’ (headman) can also fixed the date of this festival with the consent of other leaders of the village. Once the date of the festival is fixed, the villagers starts preparing the ‘rice-beer’ or ‘Apong’. Plenty of fresh vegetables are also stored for the occasion.

The ‘Solung’ festival continues for seven days. On the very first day, the famous ‘Indian Bison’ or ‘Mithun’ along with pigs are slaughtered in the wee hours of the morning. In the village, a family can sacrifice both mithun and pig or pig alone depending upon their financial capability. However, on the sacrificial day, no special dinner is offered but ‘Apong’ is prepared in plenty and made available and the meat of the slaughtered animals are preserved for the rest of the days of the festival.
The second day of the ‘Solung’ is generally known as ‘Yegling’. One-third of the preserved meat is distributed among the relatives on this particular day. However, on this day a grand and special dinner is arranged especially for neighbours, women and children. However, ‘Apong’ is prepared on all the days of the Solung festival. On the fourth day of this festival, one of the inmates of the family goes to the field and sacrifices a fowl especially for ‘Kine Nane’. Moreover, a woman or a girl generally offers ‘Etting’ and ‘Apong’ along with the sacrifice for ‘Kine Nane’. This particular day of the festival is called as ‘Oinnyad’.
On the last and on the seventh day of the Solung festival, men assembles at the village dormitory generally known as ‘Mosup’ to make bows and arrows, which are fastened on the doors of every house in the village. This is done in order to resist the evil spirits from entering the houses. This day is known ‘Ekob’. On the tenth day of the festival, villagers collectively uproots the weak, plants of paddy, which are being spoiled by worm and insects and are thrown on a small platform, especially constructed for the purpose, just beside the main path of the village. This act is done to bring to the notice of ‘Kine Nane’ (the Goddess) that the worms and the insects are destroying their paddy crops with the hope that she will drive away the worms and insects out of the fields. This act or process is known as ‘Irni’.
‘Ponung’ is a kind of dance which is always associated and organised with the Solung festival. In other words, it is also known as ‘Solung-Ponung’. The Ponung dance begins on the first day of the Solung festival. Young girls in the age group of 14 to 18 years takes part in the Ponung dance. These girls are generally known as ‘Ponung Bona’ i.e., Ponung dancers. This particular dance is organised and performed in a place called ‘Yingkiong’. From the social point of view, the ‘Solung’ may be called as the ‘festival of refreshment’.

Solung dance


The story goes like this,One of ‘Doying-Bote’ (god of heaven) came in contact with Kine-nane and become sexually excited. When he was about to copulate with her two monsters Totel-Mone and Dubeng-Mone, intervened and snatched off his testicles to destroy it and in the process scattered the divine sperms over different places from some of which sprouted paddy plants. This was found by Kine-nane. Finding human beings starving for want of food, she sent the paddy seeds through a dog. Since then men have been producing paddy in plenty to meet their requirement of feed. Kine-nane asked the men so helped by her to offer Puja in the name of Solung which they were only too willing to do. Kine-name also helped them to acquire Mithun, and pig, the two animals which are sacrificed at the time of Solung. In the Solung they try to propitiate both Doying-Bote and Kine-nane and if they are pleased and satisfied the former will appear in the form of clouds and rains and latter will appear in the form of great fertility of soil. They land together on the surface of the earth where ultimately their union take place. It is believed that their successful union will lead to high yields of crops, more animals like mithun, pigs etc and ultimately wealth and prosperity for men.


Solung celebration continues for five days, first day is called, ‘Solung-Gidi Dogin’ or the day of preparations, second and the main day of the celebration is called Doreph-Long (the day of animal sacrifice), third day is ‘Binnayat Binam’ or worshipping the goddess of plenty and prosperity. Fourth day is Yaktor of Ekoph when the villagers remains busy preparing bows and arrows and other weapons of war. On the fifth day the Miri (religious leader or priest) is given a ceremonial send off when the girl’s sing and dance. During Solung festival, every evening the Miri sings ‘Solung Abung’ and through the song he relates the stories about the origin of man, animals and plants, ancestry of the Adis, lives and deeds of the Adi Heroes. Solung is celebrated in the month of August or September but there is no fixed date for it. Now-a-days in some places, the festival is celebrated with a three day programme. Solung is celebrated to reap a rich harvest after sowing of seeds and transplantation of paddy plants, to raise more mithuns and pigs and also to be free from natural calamities, fire, accidents, diseases etc.

The ‘Solung’ is celebrated throughout the Siang district and also by the Adis inhabiting the Lohit district. The origin of the ‘Solung’ festival is related with a ‘legend’ i.e., the growth of paddy. The legendry narrates that the plant of the paddy originated from the life juice of ‘Yidum-Bote’ (Son of the God of knowledge) and the paddy plant was reared by ‘Kine-nane’ (the Goddess of the underworld). It was believed that a squirrel in the form of messenger of the human beings went to ‘Kine-Nane’ to ask for paddy.
However, the Goddess agreed to supply paddy to man if he sacrifices mithuns and pigs every year. The legend also says that one day ‘Kine-Nane’ caught the wild pig which was chased by man and it went to the region where ‘Kine-Nane’ had put some paddy in the ears of the wild pig. The pig went back to the earth and that is how, men started to cultivate paddy.



The Adis–the hill people heroically standing as one of the major tribe of the Arunachal Pradesh in India inhabiting in Upper Siang, West Siang, East Siang, Lower Dibang Valley and part of Lohit districts of Arunachal Pradesh and also in upper fringe of the Assam. The Adis map out their origin from Tani-the man whose ancestral mother was Pedong Nane; the great granddaughter of Sedi Melo (the creator). The rainbow of the Adi tribe is the culmination of different colorful sub-tribes viz, Padam, Minyongs, Pasis, Panggis, Milangs, Karkos, Shimongs, Tangams, Ashings, Boris, Pailibos, Ramos, Bokars and Adisamoa who are divided on the basis of slender differences in hair dress, material culture, and social institutions etc. However, akin to one another, they speak an almost same dialect, claim a common origin and also perform and celebrate same rituals and festivals. Community hall popularly known as Musup or Dere is the essence of every Adi villages that act as a solid rock for carrying out strategic social, political, and cultural activities of the each village ranging from declaration of war to foe to Mibo Yamrik . The mythology of the Adis says that Gumin Soyin used to inhabit in Musup or Dere. Captivatingly, The Adis is well known for a unique youth institution called-The Musup Yame means dormitory boys (also identified as Dere Yame or Duar koo in different belts of Adi tribe) are the caretaker of the Musup or Dere. Infact, Musup or Dere and Musup Yame are two ends of a balancing rod that determine the economic, political, social, ethical and cultural development of a village in particular and Adi populace in general. It is almost difficult to understand the concept of Musup Yame without being assimilated with dynamism of Musup or Dere of the Adi society. No wonder, in every Adi villages every young male at attaining approximately the age between 14-20 years becomes the caretaker of Dere or Musup who are usually appointed through Kebang or by the village headman as dormitory boys for the time span of 3 to 5 years. However, the age to deem fit as Musup Yame keeps on varying from region to region or sub-tribe to sub-tribe. Earlier some sub-tribes of Adis even practiced Royup system- a training ground for pre-dormitory boys where, the boys gather every evening to discuss about the day-to-day happenings of village and other socio-cultural issues with elderly unmarried male members of the village in a particular tent house of each clan called as Royup. Interestingly, in Adi community completion of the period of Dere Yame marks the attainment of physical as well as mental maturity who can directly participate in race of social, economic, political, and, cultural sustenance and development of the village and community. The period of Dere Yame, happen to be a realistic Training ground to learn, analyze, understand, and application of socio-cultural heritage, ethos, belief, taboos, and practices by the dormitory boys. In actual, Musup or Dere Yame are responsible to attend in Dere or Musup in almost every evening after being taken dinner. Basically, they are to carry a bundle of firewood to ablaze every hearth of Musup or Dere followed by a series of discussion about the economical, socio-political, administrative, and developmental issues of the village. Every youth must go through and take bath with very experiences of Musup Yame. Infact, there is a special time in one’s life in Adi community to declare a youth as mature and complete man- that is the completion of the stage of Musup Yame or Dere Yame.


Musup or Dere Yame plays a very important role in bringing all round development of the village who keeps alive the strength; the beauty; and uniqueness of the high and mighty Musup and Kebang system of the Adi community. They play multifaceted roles; as a protector to messenger of Adi village. Dere Yame or Musup Yame has occupied a strategic position in Adi community that is beyond one’s positive reception. Musup Yame acts as the policemen or security guards of the village. They always keep stand and ready to enforce law and order made through Kebang or some elderly people of Adi village. They are entrusted to implement or make people to obey the law and order framed through Kebang. In case of breakdown of law and order or declaration of war or any other problems threatening the very safety and security of the village, the Musup Yame have to stand at first to defend the village. In short, Kebang is the lawmaker and Musup Yame- the enforcer. Musup Yame is the real messenger of the villagers. If the Kebang or elderly people fix time and date of any developmental or community work, community hunting and fishing, festivals, rituals or any taboo for the coming days then, it is the exclusive duty of Musup Yame to convey the message to the villagers. Generally, the message is conveyed at twilight in the form of Googging in every nook and corner of the village. In this regard, their special services to public in the form of informing the death of a person have been appreciated since the time immemorial. Musup Yame are also being delegated the responsibility to act as a collector to collect indemnity, fines etc, from those villagers who remain absent from the Kebang or community work, community hunting and fishing, festivals, rituals or any taboo. Conducting Ponung and Delong in any Gidi is inevitable without the initiative and active involvement of Musup Yame. In addition to this, they always take a driver’s seat in Mibo Yamrik of guest or dignitaries in the Dere or Musup. It is fascinating to learn that, almost every Adi villages are encircled with a Dolung Etor , which is constructed and taken care jointly by the villagers. This fence helps in protection of agricultural field from domesticated animals as domesticate animals of the villagers are kept strayed within the community fence and it also marks the beginning of agricultural field thereby, completion of the very settlement area of a particular village. In construction and maintenance of this community fencing system, Musup Yame render exceptional service right from Googging to collection of fines from the public who kept absent from the construction or maintenance work of the same. Kirum Ruknam has been one great pieces of attraction of the Adi people. It is either in the form of hunting or fishing. In this noble job, they flaunt high degree of leadership to the public up right conveying message to collection of fine from the public who remain absent. Moreover, they also provide yeoman services to the public and bereaved family in case of Taleng Simang Lanam and Nyipong Simang Ago Papo . In some case, even they devote more than 4 days to probe a missing fellow being that might have been drown, committed suicide, gone missing etc. in this situation, they are being trained to put up lion’s heart and fox’s brain.


The role and functions of the Musup Yame has directly or indirectly been affected with the coming of modern educational system, science and technology, influence of various religious ideal, belief, and philosophy and due to negligence and individualistic nature of younger generations and parents. As regard to their socio-cultural practices, costumes and traditions, the quantum of knowledge that the younger generation have is ever diminishing by every day. Some young people cannot speak well or pronounce properly their own dialects and getting on theoretical or practical knowledge on the role and responsibility of Musup Yame becomes a distance cry. Therefore, it is obvious that, the importance of Musup Yame is losing ground day by day. Modern education system has tremendous impact on the role and responsibility of Musup Yame. Local youths who have taken admission in schools, colleges, and universities hardly have time to serve the society with full strength, time, sincerity, and commitment as a Musup Yame. Even, traditional Googging has been replaced by announcement or dissemination of information via T.V, radio, newspaper, circular and audio devices like, micro phone, amplifier etc, in modernized Adi villages. Now a day Musup Yame as security guard of an Adi village is also losing its social implication as police and other security personnel have virtually replaced them. Miracle of religious propagations, teachings, and conversion also deserve special mention. As almost 40% of Adi population have been converted from indigenous faith & culture to Christianity that clearly gives gesticulation that, the role and responsibility of Musup Yame has reduced by 40% too. Even though the Musup exists in every Adi villages yet, the dormitory boys, unlike earlier days, do not visit Musup daily, rather they pay visit to Musup whenever situation demand; their duties have also been trim down to a few responsibilities like delivering Googging, collection of fines and very rarely have to act as security guards or policemen. In some of the urbanized Adi villages, the youth dormitory system has almost wiped out. Only in remote and interior Adi villages, the role and functions of dormitory are really practiced to full strength and spirit. Consequently, the youth from remote and interior villages have better command over knowledge and experience of Musup Yame in comparison to the youth from more advanced villages. No wonder, we have to adjust ourselves with the changing times and if we resist, we will be fossilized. It does happen in Adi society with noteworthy socio-political and cultural transformation going around, as changes are natural with the evolution of men and their mind.

However, the concept and significance of Musup Yame can never be overlooked as it is one of most unique and interesting socio-cultural identity of the Adi Society -an ideal and multipurpose training ground for the youths- the gateway of learning basics of oratorical skills, arbitrary and customary laws, mythology, folktales, dances, crafts-making, rituals etc. The need of hour is to restore it and to bring about changes in its contents and spirit in accordance with what situation demands if, it has to travel deep into the future!


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