10 Things to do in Nagaland

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

Welcome to the Land of the great Nagas – Nagaland, a place that figures very rarely on anyone’s bucket list or travel itinerary. The land of the sixteen esteemed and proud indigenous tribes in the far north-eastern edge of the Indian sub-continent, this hidden haven is surrounded by lush, rugged mountains stretching from the Brahmaputra valley in Assam till the Patkai Range that border Myanmar. The intense flora of the area allows beautiful species of birds to flock and flourish. But there is more to Nagaland than meets the eye. Here are some interesting suggestions of the things to do when you are travelling to Nagaland next:

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Reconnect with the Head-Hunting Tribes.

the Naga local tribes give you a lesson for the preservation of forests.

Nagaland is a land of 16 main tribes and painted with a rich history and generations of traditions. Tribe and Clan loyalty is an important virtue of the people. One of these tribes is the Konyak tribe. What sets them apart is the history of fierce headhunting. They would go to war with rival tribes and bring back severed heads of the enemies as trophies. There was a time when human skulls adorned the doorways of the huts of the headhunter tribe, and the number of skulls would prove the power of the warrior. The present-day Konyaks are very proud of their warrior traditions, which live on in the form of war dances and the skulls of the enemies that are unearthed to be displayed as testimonies to the recent past.

Fun Facts: The culture of headhunting was practised till the 1960s when the Indian Government banned this practice.
Location: Mon Village.

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Take a stroll to Traditional villages

Ungma village of Nagaland the traditional Naga Village

When it comes to rural tourism, the villages in Nagaland stand out from the rest. Villages such as Khonoma Green Village, Naga Heritage Village, Mt.Pauna Tourist Village, Keltomi Village, Naga Heritage Village, and Dieziphe Village are some attractions brimming with fresh and clean air, calm and peaceful atmosphere and showcases rituals and traditions passed from generation to generations. No matter where ever you are, travel to the local villages will rejuvenate you, and the place will hold a special spot in your heart.

Fun facts: Mithun is known as the state animal as it is ritually the crucial species among the villagers.
Location: Khonoma Green Village, Naga Heritage Village, Mt.Pauna Tourist Village, Keltomi Village, Naga Heritage Village, Dieziphe Village, and many more.

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Stay close to nature

Travelling to The Land of Nagas “Nagaland”

Everyone nowadays talks about how green and beautiful the Northeastern states are; well, it’s absolutely true. But Nagaland has a (green) league of its own. Filled with treacherous hills, home to several species of mammals and birds, deep valleys, and picturesque terrains are some of the attractions that will take you on a journey of a lifetime. The capital of Nagaland, Kohima, in all probability, is one the most charming nature spots to visit in this state. Even though this place is commercialized, Kohima has not lost its beauty and its connection with nature. Other than this, spots such as Wokha, Meluri, Kiphire, and Peren are some of the other locations with plenty of scenic views, which are perfect for anyone looking for the perfect getaway.

Fun Facts: Kohima is known as the “Stalingrad of the East” as it was the site that experienced one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.
Location: lies 30 miles southeast of the railroad at Dimapur. 

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Trek to Dzukou Valley

It’s not just about travelling unless it is full of adventure. So come along with me to the streams of Dzukou valley trek, the best trekking route in Nagaland

Known as the “valley of flowers,” Dzukou Valley is a famous trekking spot that highlights the ravished scenic bliss adorned by Northeast India. Nestled at the height of 2,452 meters, the Dzukou Valley trek boasts of the incredibly tall and slender rolling hills, the lush towers of tropical forests, and jewel-blue streams. An unexplored gem for quite a long time, Dzukou Valley is not known by many foreign travellers. Hence it is less crowded compared to any other Northeast state. This fun-filled trek can be experienced by any backpacker as it is one of the easiest trekking sites in India.

Fun Facts: Dzuko Lily, a rare flower species, can be found in these valleys during monsoon.
Location: Viswema.

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Be a part of the Colourful festivals

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

Nagaland is known as the “Land of festivals.” Rich in stories and folklore, Nagaland is home to numerous tribes which have their own set of cultures and heritage. No matter what time of the year it is, the locals love to get along and celebrate one or two festivals with great enthusiasm and joy.  Amongst the various festivals, the Hornbill festival stands out as the most important festival of Nagaland. Celebrated in the month of December, this festival is celebrated to revive, sustain and protect the richness of the Naga heritage and tradition.  Other than this, festivals such as Mimkut, Bushu, Yemshe, Miu, and many more festivals are celebrated with enthusiasm and fervour in this part of the country.

Fun facts: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the Hornbill festival in the year 2014.
Location: Hornbill festival- Kisma, near Kohima.

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Explore a variety of foods

Naga loves and relishes all kinds of meat in their everyday meal. A typical meal consists of rice and meat washed down with local rice beer known as Zu. Nagas have a number of local meat preparations which are unique and lip-smacking. Meat preparation such as Nashishi(beef with the bamboo shoot), Tabathyu(meat stew), and Chu Hu Tathu (dry meat chutney) are some of the famous delicacies every meat lover should try when in Nagaland.  Other than this, locals have a special love for fermented soya bean known as Akhuni, which is served with warm rice.

Fun Facts: The practice of dry-ageing meat is still practised in most houses to date.
Location: local eateries in Dimapur.

Shop souvenirs for your loved ones

Shop souvenirs from Nagaland for your loved ones

Many tribes of Nagaland are gifted with the skills of rich artistic and craftsmanship. The art of weaving unique pieces of clothes, embroidery of the famous Angami Naga shawls, wood carvings, tribal ornaments, and a lot more are some of the famous examples which showcase the craftsmanship that the locals pose. These beautiful souvenirs can be bought from local emporiums around Nagaland, where you can shop an endless number of souvenirs for your close ones. Other than this, people can shop the latest fashion trends as many shops offer a variety of merchandise that you can resist yourself from buying. 

Fun facts: Clothes made in Nagaland are mostly made of pure cotton as cotton is grown in plenty in this part of the country.
Location: Local markets in Mokokchung, Mon, Wokha, and Zunheboto.

Taste the hottest chilli of the World

Image Source: Wikipedia

Most of the delicacies made by the locals use a pepper named “Naga Jolokia” or Ghost pepper which is considered as one of the world’s hottest chilly.  Commonly known as BhootJolokia, Nagaland is one of the states in the Northeast that grow these rare spices of chilli. According to records, the Ghost pepper is about 400 times hotter than the famous Tabasco sauce. Other than fiery dishes, the Ghost pepper is a part of the biggest festival celebrated in Nagaland. During the Hornbill Festival, a unique competition named “Raw Naga king chilly eating competition” is conducted by the organizers, where competitors from around the world come and munch on these beasts to win the ultimate prize.

Fun facts: In the year 2007, BhootJolokia was termed as the hottest in the world by the Guianese book of world records.

Make New Friends

The people of Nagaland are simple, caring, and fun-loving in nature. Backpackers who have already travelled to the land of Naga’s have all agreed to the fact that the hospitality shown by the locals is unparalleled compared to other states of India. No matter what class they belong to, Naga’s love to welcome new guests to their homes and would never let anyone leave without a cup of tea. It is said that friendships and relations made in Nagaland last for a lifetime. That is the aura that the people of Nagaland hold.

Fun facts: People of Nagaland aren’t safe to interact with is a big myth. Travelling to Nagaland is safe as travelling in any other part of the country. They will welcome you with open arms.

Give your grievances to World War II Heroes

World War II cemetery is on the slopes of Garrison hill used to be the residence of District Commissioner which was then turned into a battlefield and later into a memorial.

 In the year 1944, to mark the deaths of the soldiers who had lost their lives in the Second World War, a war cemetery was built for the martyrs of the country in Kohima. This is a great spot for history buffs as this place speaks about the history of the great WW2. A visit to Kohima war cemetery is a must as it is a matter of pride as due to the heroics and bravery of these men, our present is peaceful.  

Fun facts: In the year 2005 marked the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. A memorial service was held at the cemetery, which was attended by 41 members of the Royal British Legion.
Location: Kohima.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and set out to explore Nagaland today.

For the latest Covid related travel protocols and complete assistance for your itinerary, get in touch with our travel experts today. 

Colourful Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

The reckless trek in the valleys of Dzukou will remain forever as the treasure in my memory. It was time to witness the grand ceremony of the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland. I changed my plan due to time constraint as I had only one day in hand to be the part of the “Festival of Festival”. The colourful festival, displayed by the inter-tribes of Nagas, fascinates the tourists from all around the world.

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

Legendary folk dance, songs, and other interesting performances are organised in the carnival that emphasizes the aesthetic legacy of Nagaland. Even the night street of Kohima is decorated by colourful stalls with the fragrance of varieties of food. The celebration and concerts of the carnival will surely tempt you to be in Nagaland with a sense of being closer to our Nation.

Night Carnival of Hornbill festival

The Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland Tourist Department and Nagaland State Government. It is held at Kisama Heritage Village for 10 days in the first week of December. The village situated below the range of Mount Japfu is designed to give an authentic feel of ancient Naga. The carnival is entitled in the name of a large and colourful Indian Hornbill bird. This forest bird is a part of the customs for the common theme of Naga tribes.

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

This celebration unites the people of Nagaland to promote their rich cultural diversity. The lively folk dance and traditional songs engross the whole arena. The occasion of this inter-tribal interaction provides us with the opportunity to understand the food and custom they exhibit during the festival. Such efforts result in a big achievement of dignifying North East states at the global outline.

How to Reach the Venue?

About 12 km from Kohima lies The Heritage Village ‘Kisama’. Shared and hired taxis are frequently available from Dimapur junction area that will take up to 3hours to reach Kohima town. Further, Kohima is a well accessible town with more reliable road connection which will make the journey easy for the travellers to reach Kisama village.
NOTE: The nearest airport and railhead is in Dimapur.

Understanding the Festival of Festivals

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

My trip to Nagaland came to an end with the grandeur ceremonial of Naga heritage. The colourful Hornbill Festival begins with a parade starting from the arena of Kohima town to Kisama Heritage Village. You can feel the vibrant spirit of the participants representing the grand event of North East. Unfortunately, I left my camera back at the dorm as we were unaware of the event happening in the town.

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

However, the day one of the events was an introductory part ensued by the gradual course of ten days. So, we decided to skip the first day of the festival and visited the main event on the second day. While we were wandering around, with the little break of twilight the Night Carnival pumped us with new zeal. During A night Hornbill Carnival the whole street is decorated with beautiful gimmick lights and local delicacies.

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

The street is filled with exotic food that includes dog meat, roasted silkworm/locust so before going any further deep into exotic items I decided to start with Jalebi and as the time passed I had tasted all. One who doesn’t want to be a part of the exotic evening can go for rice cakes, boiled eggs roasted millets or if you are a vegetarian, you can still relish regular food options available in the streets.

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

We left for Kisama Heritage Village next morning in a shared taxi. The Hornbill Festival is a glorious festive of India and is also called the Festival of Festivals. The crowd starts occupying the best seat at the Amphitheatre. It is convenient to reach beforehand to avoid a long queue for the entry ticket as the cultural show begins at 10:00 am.

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

One of the most authentic features of the Hornbill festival of Nagaland is the folk dance, followed with musical performance, sports, crafts and culture that are performed in the main arena of Heritage Village. It was time for lunch, we tried some of the lip-smacking local food of different tribes with luscious rice beer and explored heritage tribal huts which exhibit the primaeval lifestyle of Nagaland with traditional log drums, wooden carvings and costumes.

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

We returned to the Amphitheatre at 2:00 pm for more exciting performances that continued till 4:00 pm in the afternoon. The cultural programme came to an end with an artistic display of primitive life of Naga people in the village. We turned towards the main highlights of the festival for the traditional artwork, woodcrafts, sculptures, flower displays and the traditional Naga Morung Exhibition.

Hornbill festival is organized every year by Nagaland

After the mellifluous musical concert with a cup of tea and snacks, the programme of the day two came to an end. It was an inspiration for me to be a part of such an energetic culture. Travelling to Headhunter Basti, Through The Land’s of Ao, Exploring Beautiful Kohima and making new friends, it was something more than accomplishment.

Trekking in the Valleys of Dzukou

It’s not just about travelling unless it is full of adventure. So come along with me to the streams of Dzukou valley trek, the best trekking route in Nagaland

It’s not just about travelling unless it is full of adventure. So come along with me to the streams of Dzukou valley trek, the best trekking route in Nagaland throughout the calendar surrounded with endless bamboo thickets and beautiful seasonal flowers. You may also experience snow if you travel during the months of December-January.

dzukou valley trek first from rest point

The offbeat set of the track is Dzukou Valley trek, a treat for the trekkers and wanderers in the lap of nature. It is an isolated place at 2438m above sea level between the two North Eastern States of Nagaland and Manipur, with no network coverage. Dzukou valley the name was probably given after a river in the region meaning cold water.

dzukou valley trek

Unplanned trips are always full of excitement and here I am to share the experience of most desired trek-route in Nagaland. I was accompanied by one of my neighbour from Kolkata. The journey began from Kohima and the time I reached I was overwhelmed by the tradition and culture of the place and friendly people.

The real adventure of trekking starts

The experience of the heartland of Nagaland will leave you spellbound with some of the amazing sights. The trekking in Dzukou valley is categorized from easy to moderate. The total distance to cover in the trek from the Vishwema Village is 18km. Jhakama Village and Vishwema Village are two sources to start your trek from Nagaland to the pristine valleys. The valleys will surely leave you bewildered in this dreamland.

Beautiful sunset at Dzukou Valley

How to reach Dzukou Valley?

Railway station and airport is in Dimapur. You have to reach Kohima for trekking in the valleys of Dzukou. Kohima is well connected by local transport. The regional taxis for Jhakama and Vishwema Village are available from BOC stand. It costs Rs.50 per person. You may also hire a taxi from Vishwema Village to drop you at the starting point or hitchhiking can always stand a chance. I assure you will get this alternative option of hiring a taxi from Vishwema Village up to the starting point, which may cost you Rs.1,500.

Things to Carry for Dzukou Valley Trek:

  • A sleeping bag is a must.
  • Carry sufficient water. As purified bottles are not available at the Base Point.
  • Carry torch or spotlight.
  • Nice trekking shoes.
  • Power bank
  • Extra pair of socks

Unplanned Journey in the Valleys:

Trek with me to Dzukou Valley through narrow lanes

Our Unplanned Journey in the Valleys started from Vishwema as it is was the easiest route to start your trek. We left early in the morning from Kohima, unaware that the local city buses services start at 9 am. A splendid morning walk with sunrise on the horizon was the first inspiration of the day. We stopped at the butcher shop to get some meat for the night during the bonfire.

After 20-30 mins of walk, we reached BOC stand. It was too early as we had to wait for more than an hour to get our transport. Our excitement to start the trail held us to wait for those long 1 hour. Finally, we left from Kohima for Vishwema village with a little extra cost. The journey was smooth, it took around 30 mins to reach the village. The poster of the beautiful Dzukou valley with its seasonal flowers welcomed us at the entry point.

Viswema Village the entry point of Dzukou Valley

The trekking begins after completing the formalities to keep the environment plastic-free zone and signing up a form which costs Rs.100 per person for the Indian citizens. The distance from the entry point of Vishwema Village to the base point is 18km, and almost 8km were covered by local transport. After 40min of the bumpy journey, we made to the starting point.

The way to Dzukou Valley

We caught up a few breaths to restore our energy and prepared ourselves for the journey. The trekking began with steep walking for a few minutes in the jungle. Then the real challenge began where we climbed the hills, the path was full of mud and rocks, however, most of it was shaped like stairs that made easier for the climbers, but a few big boulders rocks made it more competitive.

The challenging route from Viswema Village for Dzukou Valley trek

The first 90 minutes of climbing is the difficult part of this trekking. Climbing further gave the most beautiful views of the valley that I had ever seen in my life. The first resting point is at the top of the hill that gives you the best panoramic view of the valley. The jungle trail is also visible once you reach the top of the point. After rehydrating ourselves we moved towards Base Point of Japfu Peak from the valley of burnt trees.

Beautiful scene with burnt trees at Dzukou Valley

The narrow trail between the valley is marked with signboards. At one point of time, we lost our track and wandered around however It took 4 hours to complete the trail, with few small breaks we made up to the base camp. It isn’t an ordinary camp, the entire location is surrounded by forest with a small wooden house as a Base Camp with most friendly people.

The Dormitory is available to take rest at Night in Dzukou Valley

It was almost sunset, I already made new friends. Together we put a bonfire and realized that there is some meat that can be grilled so we tried our hands on a primitive style of cooking, but we failed. As time passed the temperature was dropping constantly the cold breeze was blowing through my face, the burble of small streams.

dzukou valley trek the night astrophotography

The glittering stars that suddenly appeared in the sky and the lightning of firewoods in small pots made me a saint for a narrow period of time. Stargazing has always been one of my hobbies and this was the perfect time I implemented it. After spending a chilling night in the dormitory. With the break of dawn, we left to the near helipad for a better view of sunrise.

sunrise at dzukou valley trek

We explored with the break of sunlight and a thin layer of snow melting in the valley is a treat for the eye. Every good thing comes to end with beautiful memories and a good experience lasts long. We climbed down to the starting point along with a few new friends. We shared the last few moments in a van till Vishwema Village.

Snow at Dzukou Valley at first week of December

As our destinations were different, we separated at Vishwema Village and we hitchhike to Kohima. The Dzukou valley trek is a test of endurance for avid trekkers and adventure seekers. The expedition of the captivating view along the special trail will be carved in the memory forever.

Exploring Beautiful Kohima

Exploring Beautiful Kohima

I reached my next destination, Exploring Beautiful Kohima, after 6hour long journey from Mokokchung. Both of these districts compared to other towns have the highest inhabited of Nagaland. I couldn’t take my eyes off from the beautiful scenic beauty and floating clouds and playing one of my favourite Lil Dicky’s song, Earth, which made my journey more pleasant. The preservation of nature is a critical issue at the present time. The roads are being broadened up for more smooth traffic which is leading to deforestation and destruction of mountains. Being a nature lover, it worries me sometimes to see them getting destroyed.

Kohima capital city of Nagaland

Kohima is a mixed bag for tourists seeking to explore the diversity of landscapes and beautiful culture. It is endowed with hilltops, ridges, surrounded with rainforest, and villages of Angami tribe. The capital city is wrapped in the history of brutal World War II between the Axis Powers and Allied Forces. A lot of brave soldiers were martyred during the battle of Kohima in 1944.

Kohima city view from World War II cemetery

Today, the town has retrieved with positive vibes. Now it is a prosperous place with warm-hearted and helpful people. English as a language is understood by most of the local people which makes easy to communicate. Food is all we want so the local street food with delicious varieties will surely tempt you to come on the street during night hours. Comprehensive details of the places to venture Exploring Beautiful Kohima is mentioned in this post to help you.

How to Reach?

Kohima is well connected by local transports. Regional taxis and NST buses are available. The town even has the railway station as well as the airport. If you are planning to reach Kohima from Dimapur, the buses and regional taxis are available from the railway station.

Where to stay?

Kohima has plenty of options for hotels and lodge. Homestays and dormitories are also
available. You may enjoy the bunk-beds in Kohima, which are more common. Even hostels are available if you are looking in low budgets. It’s convenient to look for accommodation near TCP gate, war cemetery and NST bus stop.

World War II Cemetery:

World War II Cemetery in Kohima Nagaland

The peaceful tombstones of veteran war heroes of World War II rest at the centre of town. The cemetery is in the memory of the Britishers along with 917 Indians who were Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs waited earnestly for their return by their loved ones. Some are encrypted with the quotes, names and ages.

Exploring Beautiful Kohima World War II Cemetery

The cemetery is on the slopes of Garrison hill used to be the residence of District Commissioner which was then turned into a battlefield and later into a memorial. There is a big cross at the centre of the cemetery where you will still find the mark of a tennis court as a part of DC’s residence. A well-trimmed lawn with beautiful pavements around it is a perfect pictorial place. The serene of World War cemetery is well maintained with the calmness in the aura and a panoramic view of the town.

Cathedral Church:

Exploring Beautiful Kohima Cathedral Church

The beautiful structure of the Cathedral Church is visible from almost every part of the town. The Church is perched at the top of the hill with the sentiments of the lost soldiers of World War II. The architecture was funded by Japan in the memory of the Battle of Kohima. The traditional Morung style of the church blends with the intricacy of Naga tradition. The interior of the church is inspired by the local lifestyle, decorated by paintings and furniture.

Biggest Jesus Christ cross at Cathedral Church of Kohima

The transparent roof and stained glasses provide ample light throughout the daytime. The church is known for its 16 feet crucifix, biggest in Asia. The stairs to the church are illustrated with 21 important life events of Jesus Christ. The campus is filled with ornamental flowers and is headed through four gates in all the directions. To reach the place you have to come along BOC stand and then 20-30 minutes’ walk uphill.

Bizzare Kohima Market:

Exploring Beautiful Kohima Bizzare Market

Walking along the narrow lanes of the market with some of the bizarre shops around gives you the insight delicacy of Nagaland. The bazaar of Kohima is overwhelming for the tourist with a wide range of street food including veg and non-veg. Pork and beef are common. However, if you want to go deep into exotic food then dog meat, caterpillars, frog, bee larvae might change your perceptions towards food.

Sudden change in daylight with the onset of dusk brings the market more alive. The mouthwatering smell of flavoured barbeque grilled chicken and plenty of other dishes in the night market will surprise you. The small stalls settle around the main town of Kohima. Exploring Beautiful Kohima stand far from incomplete without Bazaars of Kohima, for which you need to experience on your own.

Through The Land of Ao’s – Mokokchung

The Land of Ao's "Mokokchung"

After a complete tour of Mon district, I left for The Land of Ao’s “Mokokchung “. Travelling in the time of dawn is always a pleasant idea. However, very few Regional Taxis are available for Mokokchung so pre-booking is a better idea. During the time of my journey, I met a police officer and as a stranger, he helped me to find accommodation in few places of Nagaland at a cheaper rate. The beautiful scenic valleys lead to small halts for marketing and refreshments where you may make new friends.

The Land of Ao's "Mokokchung"

The local companion will never let you feel the stress of the journey. It took around 6 hours to reach Mokochung town. The people greet tourists most warm-heartedly, which makes the place wonderful. People who wish to explore North-Easts should plan for Mokokchung, the cultural and intellectual district of Nagaland.

Mokokchung Town

Mokokchung, a small but beautiful town is out of chaos, which will leave you spellbound. It is surrounded by the lush green forest with serpentine roads and dangerous slopes with a few dotted houses in the landscape. It is stated that Mokokchung has some of the oldest villages in Nagaland. This district is known as the Land of Ao’s “Mokokchung” where you will find their descendants and culture.

Mokokchung Town Nagaland

The land has witnessed atrocities on Naga people by Assam rifles which later forced the whole community to revolt. The panoramic view of small villages from Town-Park makes a perfect picturesque that can be hung on the walls of your room as a canvas. You will feel as if you are travelling to the heavenly kingdom filled with fresh mountain air.

How to Reach?

Travelling to The Land of Ao’s “Mokokchung ” is well connected with other towns through National Highway. Most of the route goes via Assam. Nagaland State Transport buses run regularly from the main town. Regional Taxis are also available to reach other towns of Nagaland and Assam.

Where to stay?

There are many options for lodging in Mokochung town. You may contact them for booking or go for spot booking. Almost every lodge and hotel have dormitories. Circuit house may also be available for tourists only when it is not booked by government officials.

Longkhum Village:

The Land of Ao's "Mokokchung" Longkhum Village

You may hire a local cab from Mokokchung to reach Longkhum village. The village is surprisingly clean and dust-free, beautiful small houses decorated by flower pots and an altitude where you see yourself above the clouds. The mesmerizing 360-degree view from Jubliee Tower of the entire village with backdrops of the mountain range. This is an offbeat trip to the land of Nagas with vivid landscapes.

The Land of Ao's "Mokokchung" trekking route in Longkhum Village

You may trek through the natural rock-formations and search for the footprints of Jina and Etiben, the famous love birds of Ao tribe. The stone trail is surrounded by trees on both sides leading to a small jungle trek where you may also witness nest of eagles inside the caves. The trek is simple and easy with an idyllic view of surroundings far from the monotonous and boring urban life. The trails of the hidden village with blue hills were very fascinating.

Ungma Village:

The Land of Ao's "Mokokchung" Ungma Village

A 30 minutes’ walk from Mokochung will take you to the oldest and biggest Ao village of Nagaland, Called to be yet another historic basti “Ungma village”. Ungma is one of the most frequently visited popular places having tradition mixed with modernity. The village excites more about Ao tribe’s tradition, customs and their myths.

The Land of Ao's "Mokokchung" logdrum at Ungma Village

One of the main attractions of the village is a traditional drum which was used to inform and alert the villagers about meetings, deaths, warning of impending dangers. Enjoy the breathtaking and outstanding landscape from the top of the watchtower. You will also find a sacred pillar in the middle of the village where people used to worship. Communicate with extremely warm and kind-hearted local natives of the village, it will give you a clear perception of their tradition.

Mopungchuket Village:

The Land of Ao's "Mokokchung" Mopungchuket Village

After a satisfying meal at Mokokchung town, I hired a cab and left for Mopungchuket. It is one of the cleanest villages of Nagaland with beautifully decorated houses and well-maintained dustbins around the corner, which shows the way how to lead a clean environment. The clean landscape area with colourful seasonal flowers in almost every household, the sacred pillar, the cultural museum and the park are some of the main attractions.

The Land of Ao's "Mokokchung" Park at Mopungchuket Village

Enjoy boating at Sungkotenem park if you are lucky, you may get a glimpse of deer suddenly appearing from the jungle nearby. The park is decorated with giant artefacts created by the local artist. The cultural museum holds the historic importance of the village showing the barbaric sufferings of the locals by outsiders. While you are in the village, don’t forget to learn about the great love story of Jina and Etiben!

The Land of Ao's "Mokokchung" Jina and Etiben lovestory Nagaland

Travelling to Headhunter Basti – Mon

Travelling to Headhunter Basti Mon

It gives goosebump when we hear about travelling to Headhunter Basti “Mon” of Nagaland although we consider them as ‘uncivilised, extremely barbarous’. Tall distant mountainous range, narrow magnificent valley and primitive traditional villages were truly soul touching.

“Headhunting was not the senseless killing of the enemy but a traditional connection with tribal principles of heroism, justice, honour, pride & recognitions. ”

According to The Legendary Naga Village viz book
Welcome to Mon Town of Nagaland

Mon district was my first choice on this trip. The moment I stepped into the land of Mon it was a feeling of travelling back to the medieval period. The first glance of the place just kept me mesmerized. The town and villages are surprisingly clean & have beautiful landscapes. People in the town are polite and hospitable. The houses decorated by a variety of flora with an intense background of the mountain ranges. The town looks more beautiful at night when the blanket of stars covers the whole valley.

Most of the native peoples were Headhunters of Nagaland

Shortcut to reach Mon (Simaluguri to Mon):

I boarded a direct train to Simaluguri from Kolkata. Although my initial plan was to visit
Nagaland to Mon, however, time wasn’t permitted to the same. So, I spent a night at Simaluguri in a local lodge near the railway station. Lodging facility is availed at a very affordable rate. You may also look for accommodation in the city which is much safer.

Simaluguri is a well-known historical place in Sivasagar district of Assam, which I came to know from Biplob, the descendent of Ahom. He highlighted some of the historical importance of Simalugurui and Ahom tribe. It was an early morning where I started my journey towards Sonari district of Assam.

Simaluguri to Mon of Nagaland, regional taxi and buses are available

So, I boarded a local van (local buses are also available) which took about an hour to reach Sonari bus stop. With the help of locals, I hired a small e-rickshaw which dropped me further into outskirts of Sonari town from where regional taxis and buses for Mon departs. Around 3-hours of the bumpy journey, I happen to reach the main market of Mon Town.

Places to stay:

If you believe in spot booking, it’s not a bad option. There are few homestays and lodges available with dormitories.

Honghpoi Basti:

Travelling to Headhunter Basti Mon a child playing with rubber tube

My second-day journey began with a local tour of a city taxi. The road conditions are extremely bad although after reaching the destination, a warm welcome by villagers left behind all the stress I suffered on the way. The village houses have a great variety of flora with colourful backgrounds of the rich natural environment.

Travelling to Headhunter Basti Mon the ritual stone where heads of enemies are buried

The piles of stones in the village show the number of heads they have hunted. Very few Bastis with their old traditions is in existence now, as they have embraced Christianity. They have abandoned their traditional cultures. Few elders at the village dress up in their traditional costume for the tourists.

Travelling to Headhunter Basti Mon a few headhunters left in Nagaland

The chief of the village is more generous as he offered a cup of tea (klap) and a few bananas which show their hospitality towards their tourist. The last generation which experienced headhunting has tattoos on their face and skull head necklace that signifies the number of headhunted by him.

The Chi Village:

Chi Village near Mon town of Nagaland, the abandoned village of headhunters

This is a beautiful deserted village near Mon town taken care by few men of the local tribal village area, located at the top of the mountain in Mon Sadar Tehsil. The village preserves its ancestral heritage with a beautiful children’s park. The conference house in the village is said to be the discussion room of their people.

Travelling to Headhunter Basti Mon the conference room

The chief of the tribe used to sit on the throne surrounded by the tribes around the fire. The house is decorated with skulls of animals and birds they have hunted. The biggest skull I found was of an elephant. The famous Longkhai village is visible from the top of the hill which lies at the border of Myanmar.

Travelling to Headhunter Basti Mon, Baptist Church at Chi Village of Nagaland

The place is quiet and peaceful with very few tourists in and around the traditional village of Konyak tribes. The village is surrounded by a beautiful valley and will remain as a nostalgic snap in your diary. The caretakers of the village are very helpful and always ready to guide you around the village.

Important Tips before Travelling to Headhunter Basti “Mon”:

  • The most important thing to remember before you visit this place is that most of the shops in the town close by 1:30 pm.
  • On Sunday the whole town remains close. Local transportation facilities are unavailable.
  • Very few ATMs are available in town. Sometimes they may go out of service. I recommend carrying sufficient cash.

Travelling to The Land of Nagas – Nagaland

Nagaland "The Land of Nagas"

Travelling to The Land of Nagas “Nagaland” with a beautiful landscape of hills, valleys and traditional villages. Few negative statements regarding instability confused me whether I should take risk of visiting this place. To the contrary going solo allowed me to make new friends whom I met on the way. Some of them were very nice and ready to help, others inspired me to explore places, rarely visited but mystique.

Mokokchung town, Nagaland

People of Nagaland are very helpful even to strangers and can become friends in a moment. I will mention them in the blog as the story unfolds. My experience of a trip to Nagaland is amazing. Its dazzling mountains, clean towns and villages and amazing local dishes mesmerized me. The Naga food gives you a wide range of variety, both for vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

Nagaland food is delicious with wide variety of menu.

As I tried to be economical, I stayed mostly in dormitories and had local food. I travelled as cheap as possible so that it would encourage other small budgeteers to explore it. Regional taxis and buses (N.S.T) are available in Nagaland and a few cities have facilities of city buses. Travelling to the land of Nagas “Nagaland” is much cheaper in local transport. Alternatively, luxury taxies are also available with a premium.

Simaluguri, Assam to Mon town, Nagaland. The regional taxi and buses are available.

Expedition of Nagaland gives you the glimpse of dazzling mountains ranging from the borders of Arunachal Pradesh to Assam till Manipur and towards Myanmar border. The local tribes give you a lesson for the preservation of forests. Visit villages like Hongphoi Basti, Ungma Basti and interaction with local tribes gives clarity of their heritage.

Travelling to The Land of Nagas "Nagaland", Mon town

You may find some old people as a storyteller with the long-gone stories of their tradition. As most of them have been converted to Christianity, the people had abandoned their primitive lifestyle. For those, who have an adrenaline rush, can sneak into the Dzukou valley trek. Find the mystical, natural flora with the beautiful display of the sky exhibit from dusk till night.

Nagaland "The Land of Nagas", dzukou valley

You will meet new friends in these valleys and return with enduring and pleasant memories. It is one of the peaceful places on the Earth with its primaeval beauty. Most of Nagaland “The Land of Nagas” is more colourful in the winter season, mostly from 1st week of December. The Hornbill Festival season begins with the customary cultural rally from main town arena of Kohima. The festival gets more exciting as days passes.

Travelling to The Land of Nagas "Nagaland", hornbill festival

The presentation by Naga tribes with their traditional lifestyle brightens the whole arena of the heritage village. The streets brighten up at night with decorative lights. Night Carnival includes stalls of delicious foods with a variety of menu and stalls of artefacts. Nagaland will be an exciting destination for the adventure seekers as well for the family vacation.

Travelling to The Land of Nagas "Nagaland", hornbill festival 2019 with night carnival

Some basic tips and guidance will be helpful for you to make this trip unforgettable at Nagaland “The Land of Nagas”.

Important Tips Before Travelling to The Land of Nagas “Nagaland”:

  • You must carry ILP (Inner Line Permit). You may apply for ILP from nearby Nagaland House of your city. Else you may apply to DC (District Commissioners) Office and can apply for an instant ILP. It will take a few minutes for the process.
  • Nagaland is closed on Sunday. Regional taxies and long route buses are not available and shops remain closed. A few restaurants remain open in major towns that too in the festive seasons.