Sumi Dance Girls of Nagaland

Nagaland Tour Guide | #OutOnRoads4Hornbill

Nagaland, not a much touted tourist destination, but the name Naga does evoke a sense of mysticism, right? Yes, Nagaland is indeed a land where you will come across many unknowns – land, culture and traditions! Anyone who has once set foot on this incredible land will vouch for its unparalleled beauty. This Nagaland tour guide is an attempt to unravel some of the little known facts about the state.

Digging for history

Sumi Dance Girls of Nagaland
Sumi Dance Girls of Nagaland | Image Courtesy: Wikimedia

The first step to familiarizing with a state is to learn a bit about its history. Nagaland is traditionally a land of tribal people. It is home to sixteen different tribes, who have been living here peacefully, though possessing different culture and traditions. The origin of these tribes is not known. Nagaland was invaded by British and they established their supremacy over the land for a long time. The present state was formed in the year 1963.

Location and geography

Nagaland is located in the far eastern corner of India, away from all bustling activities.

  • The state is bordered by Assam in the west, Manipur in south and Arunachal Pradesh in the north. On the eastern side, Nagaland shares borders with Myanmar.
  • Though located in a remote corner, it is not a step behind others when it comes to abundance of beauty and resources. The state is largely characterized by mountainous landscape. Naga Hills arise from Assam and moves to south-eastern parts of Nagaland.
  • Nagaland is rich in terms of flora and fauna. Tropical and evergreen forests thrive here. Rhododendron, the state flower, is the ubiquitous presence in all valleys. Birds and animals also abound in this nature’s paradise. Hornbill is among the most famous birds in Nagaland. They even have a festival named after hornbill though it is not a state bird for them!

Climatic conditions

If you go by a Nagaland tour guide, you will find that most places in Nagaland have a pleasant climate throughout the year.

Ravishing Dzokou Valley in Nagaland | What you should know about Nagaland?
Dzokou Valley in Nagaland | Image Courtesy: Wikimedia
  • A monsoon abundant state, humidity levels are high in Nagaland. The months of June to September receive maximum rainfalls.
  • Summer is the shortest season and the temperatures do not go beyond tolerable levels. Winters can be cold and bitter. The climate of Nagaland varies to a large extent depending on terrain and geographical elevation. Mountainous areas experience more severe winters with mercury falling to zero.
  • If you are planning a visit to Nagaland in the winter months, do carry lots of warm clothing. Lots of thermal wear, jackets, woolens, everything needed to fight the biting cold. If the visit is in the rainy season, pack sufficient rain gear, windcheaters, gumboots and the rest.

Major tourist attractions of Nagaland

All tourist places in Nagaland speak of priceless charm. Being a state blessed with bounties of nature, it is just unblemished beauty waiting for tourists.

A Scene from Hornbill Festival - Nagaland Tour Guide
A Scene from Hornbill Festival | Image Courtesy: Maps of India
  • Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, has a mixture of urbanization and rural magic. The hills and valleys of Kohima are so overwhelming that tourists instantly fall in love with the place.
  • Mokokchung is famous for its rhododendron dotted hills. Valleys will be entirely covered with the beautiful flower during blooming seasons.
  • In Mon, you come face to face with tribal life. Naga tribal warriors are known for their tattooed faces and unique head gear.
  • In Kisama Heritage Village close to Kohima, tourists can learn everything about all 16 tribes of Nagaland. There are 16 huts built in the village, each depicting a different tribe. This is the place where Hornbill Festival is held every year.

Language and culture

A Nagaland tour guide has to touch upon the cultural and language barriers that tourists might face.

  • Though all tribes have their own language, English is the official language of Nagaland. Other than this, Nagamese, which has its roots in Assamese language, is also widely spoken. If you speak English, you can get around fairly well in Nagaland.
  • As most tribals got converted to Christianity, this is the major religion of the state. But the people still preserve their ancient tribal cultures.
  • Folklores and music are integral part of Naga culture. They attach high importance to songs immortalizing their warriors.
  • Weaving and crafts are part of their life. This knowledge has been passed on over generations.
  • Headhunting which was prevalent among tribals in the past, has been abandoned, for good!

Travelling to Nagaland

Due to the remote placing of Nagaland, transport facilities are not superb. Dimapur is the only place in Nagaland which has air connectivity. Railway network is minimal and Dimapur is the point for train travel also. Road travel is unavoidable in Nagaland. There is a decent network of roads. All the major tourist attractions are connected by roads, so if you love being on road, you are not likely to face much difficulties in travel.

Festivals of Nagaland – Nagaland Tour Guide

Before you start planning a Nagaland trip, you must consult a Nagaland tour guide to know when to visit, because Nagaland is a self-proclaimed land of festivals. And you might want to watch some of them in your visit.

Moatsu Festival
Moatsu Festival | Image Courtesy:
  • Hornbill Festival celebrated in the first week of December every year, is the biggest crowd puller. This is one festival where all tribes gather in one place and display their art forms.
  • Sekrenyi Festival is celebrated by Angami tribe, in the month of February. This is a festival of purification.
  • Amongmong Festival is of Sangam tribe, where they get together before harvest. It is held in September.
  • Moatsu Festival belongs to Ao tribe, who use this as a means of entertainment after hectic jungle life. It is held in May.

Foodie’s Paradise – Nagaland Tour Guide

Feasting is an essential part of Nagaland culture. Tourists exploring Nagaland are often found relishing the world of Naga delicacies. Nagaland has the hottest chilies in the world, so apparently Naga food is spicy and hot. Rice, meat and fermented products form a major portion of their meals. Every tribe has its own cuisine. Some of their food preferences like silk worm larvae and snails may not appeal to all, nevertheless authentic Naga cuisine is definitely to be tried when you are there.

Shop Till You Drop – Nagaland Tour Guide

When you come back from a unique destination, your bags should have some memoirs that will always remind you of your wonderful journey. This Nagaland tour guide will guide you on the items worth bagging up in your trip.

  • Nagaland is famous for its bamboo and cane products. Though baskets and furniture can be bulky, you can take away some curios.
  • Naga women have excellent weaving skills. Colorful shawls, bags and dresses woven intricately and decorated with beads are a must in your shopping kit.
  • Curios made of carved wood are also available in plenty. Buy some of them that depict their local customs.
  • Naga warriors used several metal tools which they themselves fashioned out. Today they display it for tourists to buy.

More travel tips

Knowing about the place where you go and its customs is the key to a happy journey. So there are a few more things that Nagaland tour guide should mention for travelers.

  • People of Nagaland are known for their warmth and hospitality. They like to play host to tourists every once in a while. Respect their customs, which might be different from yours.

  • The state is not a totally cut off place, where people roam around wearing tribal costumes. And not all Nagas eat dog meat. Try out new dishes, without fearing what might be on your platter. They know about the differences.

  • Though the state has seen enough advancements in the past decade in the matter of internet and mobile connectivity, they may not be exceptional. Try to get two different networks, so that at least one might work.

  • Foreign tourists should make a point to carry their passport on them at all times. You may be required to show it any time.

  • All tourists, whether domestic or foreign, need to take a permit for travelling to Nagaland.

  • Do not make comments about the appearance of Naga people. They look different but are proud of their heritage.

  • In Nagaland do not expect shops to stay open till late night. Nagas mostly settle early for their night, especially in rural areas.

That covers up almost everything that you need to know about this amazing land. As you set forth, you might stumble upon new information. That is what travel is about. Something new waiting at every corner.

Leave a Reply