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:
Reconnect with the Head-Hunting Tribes.
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.
Take a stroll to Traditional villages
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.
Stay close to nature
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.
Trek to Dzukou Valley
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.
Be a part of the Colourful festivals
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.
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
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
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
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.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and set out to explore Nagaland today.
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