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The state of Nagaland in Northeast India is a living, thriving museam as it preserves man's early animist culture through its tribal heritage and ancient traditions. There are 16 main tribes in Nagaland and many other sub tribes mostly of Tibeto-Burman origin. Each tribe has got its own custom, beliefs, dialect, festivals, attire with distinct patterns, accessories, ornaments etc. which gives them a unique identity.
Naga life has a ritualistic aspect. The Gods/spirits that control the different aspects of life like disease, crop fertility, rain etc. needs to be constantly appeased. Most of the animistic beliefs and Shamanist practices of the Nagas are reflected in their unique artwork, jewellery, costume as well as in their architecture and craft. The most jaw dropping aspect of the Nagas was the practice of headhunting. The Nagas were fierce warriors and there were a lot of inter tribe and clan disputes. The victors in a fight would often severe the head of the slain opponent and show it to all. This gave prestige and moral support to the clan. Successful head hunters were tattooed and celebrated. The heads would be on display in the Chief's Morung which is a men’s exclusive dormitory that is the focal point of the village. Headhunting was discontinued in the mid 20th century after most of the Nagas converted to Christianity. The life style of the modern Naga is still influenced by ancient tenets and festivals and traditions are followed with evermore gusto to conserve the rich heritage. This makes Naga society a well knit and cohesive unit.
The Angami tribe is dominant in the hills of Kohima district. There is a methodical neatness about the tribe which is reflected in the layout of their villages and fields as well. The Angamis were fierce warriors and were at the forefront among the tribes that offered stiff resistance against British colonial intrusion into their territories.
Kohima city : Kohima, the capital of Nagaland is a beautiful hill station and also a city with great historic importance being an important base of the allied forces in the east. The battle of Kohima was a big turning point in World War II when the British forces fought the Japanese forces U Go offensive attempt from 4 April to 22 June 1944. In 2013, the British National Army Museum voted the Battle of Imphal and Kohima to be "Britain's Greatest Battle".
Touphema : Located 41 km from Kohima, the Tuophema Tourist Village is modeled around ethnic tourism and visitors are offered modern and hygienic accommodation in the traditional huts. People can experience the local tribal culture and try the rice beer and local food here.
Khonoma : Located 20 km west of Kohima, in west Angami country, Khonoma was a vanguard village of the Angami Nagas – a tribe known for its fierce resistance against British dominance during colonial period. Khonoma houses nature’s pristine beauty in the form of its alder trees, terraces carved out of its hilly slopes and the Khonoma Nature Conservation Tragopan Sanctuary (KNCTS). KNCTS conserves a large and rare variety of plants and animals within its 25 sq km area. Beautiful terraced rice fields in the valley below surrounded by hills is a sight to behold. Khonoma has adopted many green practices like banning cutting of trees for commercial purposes, reforestation, sustainable agricultural practices etc. to maintain the greenery and natural ecosystem of the surrounding areas.
The main festival of the Angami Nagas is Sekrenyi Festival celebrated in the last week of February. It is a purification festival where villagers perform rituals to purify the bodies and souls of the villagers and the entire community to safeguard from evil spirits. It also marks initiation of young people to adulthood and is considered an "identity marker of the Angami". The fourth day of the festival marks the new year of the Angamis.
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Tour cost : Starting from Rs 55, 950/- per person based on two people travelling together.
Cost includes : Standard accommodation with breakfast, transportation & sightseeing, ILP for Indian Nationals
A warrior tribe renowned and feared for its valour and head hunting practices, the Konyaks dominate the Mon district of Nagaland. One of the largest tribes, Konyaks are distinguished for their face tattoos. Villages are administered by the village chief who is known as Angh and his council of elders.
Guests will visit two villages in Mon - Longwa and Shangnyu.
Longwa village : Longwa is one of the biggest villages in Mon district. One of the most interesting aspect of this village is that it falls on the international boundary line between India and Myanmar. One half of the village chief or Angh's house falls within the Indian territory and the other half in Myanmar. Here, literally, the totem pillar that juts out above the roof divides the house into two countries and the Angh takes his meals in India and sleeps in Myanmar. The Angh's house is open for visitors and many old and interesting artefacts can be seen here.
Shangnyu village : Shangnyu is one of the most prominent Konyak village. A huge and unique piece of wood carving originally placed at the entrance of the village chief or Angh's house, it is believed to have been constructed by two brothers with the help of spirits during mettalic age. This huge carving is now preserved in a museam facing the Angh's house. Some ancient stone monoliths are also present.
The main festival of the Konyaks is Aoling or Aoleang which is celebrated during the first week of April after sowing of seeds in the new fields.
The Ao are one of the most outgoing of Naga tribes. They had good trade relations with the valley people in Assam since time immemorial. Their specialized products were always sought after and kings and chieftains of Assam were happy to have a barter system in place. The Ao were also the first to convert to Christianity as their traditional animist beliefs of immortality of the soul and one supreme entity were of similar pattern.
Longkhum : Longkhum is located at an altitude of 1480 meters, the highest altitude in Mokokchung district. This village used to be a vanguard village of the Ao tribe in the early days of head-hunting. Longkhum Village provides a good opportunity to see the daily lifestyle of the local Ao Nagas. The fertile rolling farms and terrace farms in the hills are a sight to behold. Longkhum is well known for its Rhododendrens that adorn the hillocks and the precipices surrounding it, providing an astounding sight during full bloom. Ethnic handlooms and handicrafts by the expert craftsmen are also found in plenty here. An animist religion called Limapur still exists in this village.
Ungma : Ungma is the second largest village in Nagaland and the oldest and largest Ao Naga village, located about 3 km from Mokokchung Town. This village occupies a special position in the history of the Ao Nagas as it was the first village founded by the Ao tribe when they entered the land from their ancestral home at Chungliyimti (now within the Sangtam Naga Territory). The rich Ao traditions are zealously guarded and practiced by the villagers here even today.
Chuchuyimlang : Chuchuyimlang is the village of festivals for the Ao Nagas. The Moatsu festival is seen in full glory here every year in the first week of May to honour Lijaba- the creator of Earth and to pray for a fruitful cultivation season. During this period, the villagers express their friendship towards other villagers by exchanging gifts and sharing a spirit of camaraderie. The tourist village established here is a showcase of this tradition in the most natural and uncontaminated manner.
Mopungchuket :Mopungchuket, is a major Ao Naga ancestral village in Mokokchung District. Pearched at an altitude of 1324 meters above sea level, Mopungchuket is blessed with many historical, mythological and cultural assets and is blessed with serene natural landscape and pleasant moderate climatic conditions. There are three log-drums in the village. There are six giant wooden sculptures and a totem in the village’s Süngkotenem Park that is a must-see for any visitor. Each sculpture has a story to tell. The village is associated with legends such as the love saga of Jina and Etiben, known as the Romeo and Juliet of the Ao Naga. A tower commemorating their tragic story is a prominent landmark in the village. Mopungchuket, one of the cleanest villages in Nagaland, is a popular rural tourism destination. Many travel writers and tourism publications have labeled Mopungchuket as perhaps the best kept village in Nagaland. Impur, the headquarters and the mission centre of Ao Baptist Arogo Mungdang (ABAM), established by American missionaries in 1894, is located adjacent to Mopungchuket village.
The main festival of the Ao Nagas is Moatsu Festival celebrated in the first week of May. It is time for the Ao tribe to take a backseat and celebrate the harvest. They do so by organising community dances, singing local songs, and dressing up, holding public feasts and so on. Tourists are welcome to join the celebration!
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