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A land with deep rooted folklore and warm inhabitants, Nagaland is a pristine and to a certain extent remote location of the Indian Union. Surrounded by Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur on the Indian borders and Burma on the international frontiers, Nagaland is a place that always stirs up a sense of surprise in the mind of most travelers. Kohima is the capital city of this unspoilt land. Dimapur is the largest city in this 16th state of India. Spread across 16,579 sq kms of land, Nagaland is a state with sixteen major tribes inhabiting in various corners of its territory.
With majority of Christian population, Nagas love to presserve their ancient heritage, traditions and culture. Nagas belong to mongoloid community and are extremely warm and generous as hosts. They try their best to take care of their guests and maintain their safety and honor entirely. Though majority of Nagas talk in Tibetan-Burman group of languages, English is the official language of this region. Song and dance is an integral part of Naga community making their festivals unique, vibrant and colorful! A charming hotspot for any backpacker, Nagaland is the home of picture-perfect landscapes, breathtaking sunrise and sunset, luxuriant valleys, exotic flora and fauna, and incredible natural splendor!
Salubrious weather all through the year, one can visit this amazing land any time of the year! For the adrenaline junkies, Nagaland can be an exquisite getaway to explore trekking, mountaineering, camping and similar adventurous activities!
Agriculture is the principal economic activity of this state, forestry, tourism, real estate and cottage industries come next. In the last fifteen years, Nagaland witnessed a considerable decline in violence and all kinds of insurgencies. With 15000 kms of surfaced roads, Nagaland has 5 National highways and 8 State Highways passing through it.
Meat, fish and boiled organic leaves play fundamental role in Naga cuisine. Generally smoked and fermented, a Naga table has an interesting combination of boiled vegetables, meat, rice followed by a condiment/chutney. They eat in banana leaves and prefer to have them by sitting on floor.
Some of the regular dishes of Nagaland include fermented bamboo shoot, axone, smoked meat and anish. Fermented bamboo shoot is cooked with pork and fish. Axone is made with boiled soybean. Later beef or pork is added to it. Fermented taro leaves are used in preparing Anish.
Nagas love hot food so they add lot of chillies in their delicacies. Aromatic ginger is a specialty of this region which makes the ginger stew even more flavorsome. Zutho is a local beer made of rice, mashed millets, red chilli and soybean.
Also popularly called land of festivals, Nagaland shelters 16 ethnic tribes each having distinct celebration and observances. There is a common saying about Nagaland – ‘’There is always something happening in Nagaland.” No wonder! Life is a long festival in Nagaland and some of the well known festivals of this charming destination are: Moatsu Festival, Sekrenyie, Tuluni, Hornbill and Ngada among many others.
Moatsu Festival is a prime festival of Nagaland, Moatsu is observed by Ao Nagas in the first week of May every year. This festival is celebrated after the sowing of crops. Followed by peppy songs and dances, this festival is kind of a relaxation and recreation after hectic days on fields and jungles sowing seeds and harvesting.
Sekrenyie festival occurs in the month of February. Angamis of Nagaland are strict in adhering to rituals and ceremonies. Drops of rice water are collected and put onto three main corners of the house and the ritual is performed by the main lady of the household; it is known to welcome good fortune.
Sema Nagas celebrate the Tuluni festival on the 8th of July every year. Followed by dancing, praying and feasts, Tuluni is a five day long festival of this state.
Hornbill festival is arranged by the state tourism board, and observed on the 1st and 7th of December every year. Participated by all the main tribes in Nagaland, Hornbill Festival showcases the rich traditions of this land and aims for its protection to the T!
Nagda takes place in Kohima district on November 27th every year. Rengma tribe observes this harvest festival as a form of thanksgiving and recreation!
Known for their ancient traditions and innate customs, war dances of the Nagas are simply a treat for the eyes of any outsider! Vibrant costumes, weapons, painted faces and striking head gears make these dances a not to miss opportunity! This state is a true fusion of color, energy and excitement!
Though modernization has also touched these sects, many dreadful practices like headhunting is no more a culture of the Nagas. In current scenario unmarried men stay with their parents unlike previous times. Folk dances, folk songs with melodious tunes and musical instruments native to this place are the key elements in identifying this vivacious community! Male members majorly participate in group dancing dressed in traditional attires. Fly dance, Cock dance, Bear dance and Zeliang dance are the chief dance forms of Naga communities.
One’s cultural quest for Nagaland is incomplete without exploring these top destinations like Kisama Heritage Village, Heritage Museum and Crafts Centre – Kohima State Museum, Kohima Zoo, Diezephe Craft Village, Intanki Wildlife Sanctuary, World War II Cemetery, Dzukou Valley, Chakesang Cultural Research Institute among others.
Pottery making is an important handicraft of the Naga people. Unlike revolving wheels, here women use their hands and designs are inspired from textiles than motifs. Wood carving among the Wanchos, Phom and Konyaks are quite popular. Besides, interesting Kharu-the wooden gate in Angami village and wooden log drums are some of the remarkable creations of Aos, Phoms, Changs and other tribes.
Musical instruments like drums and trumpets are the two leading instruments of the Naga community. Also blacksmith craft producing axe, knives, spear etc, carving ornaments, necklaces, cowerie shells and bracelets, bangles and beadworks are important traditional handicrafts of Nagaland. Traditional embroidery shawls of Nagaland are famed worldwide. Unique designs, colors and patterns make these Angami naga shawls a must buy for any traveler!
Central market is a hub for buying different handmade products, souvenirs and other exclusive art and crafts pieces.
In 1967 English was declared as the official language of Nagaland and the main medium of instruction in education. Besides, Hindi, tribal dialects like Angami, Sangtam, Chang, Phom, Nagamese and other languages are also spoken by the locals.
By Road: Dimapur is well connected to Peren. From Peren one can easily get taxi, bus and cabs to reach Benreu. Mount Pauna is walkable from Benreu.
By Train: Dimapur is the nearest rail head. It’s well connected to Dibrugarh, Bangalore, Kamakhya, Kanyakumari, Chandigarh and other places.
By Air: Dimapur is the nearest airport. It has flights to Dibrugarh, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore and other cities.GET DIRECTION
There are roadside eateries catering local food. Besides, cottages at Mount Pauna provide decent food as well.
From October till May are the perfect times to explore Nagaland!
Nothing much to see, this place is a small tourist village. Besides gorgeous natural beauty, Mount Pauna has 8 double bedded cottages, a morung and a three storied restaurant cum dormitory.
Meluri: Meluri is a park situated in the middle of lush green hills.