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Donyi Polo flag. Seen over a house in Itanagar, indicates that its inhabitants follow the religion.

Donyi-Polo (or Donyi Polo, Donyi-Poloism) is an Animist religion. "Donyi-Polo" translates literally to "Sun-Moon", where Sun and Moon represent female and male energy forces respectively.

It is followed by many of the tribal groups of the state of Arunachal Pradesh, India, such as the Galos, Adis, Apatanis, Nishis, Hill Miris, and Mishings. According to a 2001 census, there were around 337,000 people practicing forms of Donyi-Polo in Arunachal Pradesh.[1]

Donyi-Polo rituals involve holy sacrifices to the spirits. Donyi-Poloism's interprets the deities of Sun and Moon as "watch deities of the supreme gods, Bo and Bomang". Animal sacrifice is integral part of the rituals carried out by the Shamans with slew of bamboo crafts dedicated to propitiate the spirits. The offerings include crates of eggs, heaps of chicken livers, cauldrons of rice, and a home-brewed local type of beer. Different tribes have their own way of following the Donyi-Polo, but the common basis is their worship of Sun and Moon.[contradiction] They invoke the spirit and nature. The religion has been passed on from the ancestors with beliefs, words, practices and rituals. Donyi-Polo animists believe all people of Arunachal Pradesh share a common ancestry from Abo-Tani. The religion has no written scripture, but has traditionally been passed orally from each generation to the next. Believers pray to a number of deities for blessing, but principally worship the Sun and the Moon. Donyi-Polo includes religious rituals which coincide with lunar phases and agricultural cycles. A follower of Donyi-Polo believes in the oneness of all living creatures, from the tiniest organisms to the mightiest animals, and that every living creature has a role to play in his or her life. They believe that spirit resides within man, and within his nearest neighbours, the trees, flowers, plants, the land that nourishes them, the birds, the mountain ranges... all of which have a connection with humans. The main deities in Donyi-Polo are Donyi-Polo, Kine Nane, Doying Bote, Pedong Nane and Gumin Soyin. Although generally losing popularity among younger generations, as growing numbers convert to Christianity, Donyi-Poloism has undergone something of a revival subsequent to the efforts of Talom Rukbo, the father of the modern Donyi Polo Movement in Arunachal Pradesh. Efforts are now underway to give an organized form to the traditional beliefs and values of the Arunachal Pradesh region, and to protect the locals against coerced conversion to foreign religions.

See also[edit]


  • Jogendar Nath, The Cultural Heritage of a Tribal Society, Volume 1 "The Adis", Omsons Publications, 2000.

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