Northeast, July 13: The quaint mountainous state of the northeast, Nagaland shares its boundaries with Arunachal Pradesh to the north, Assam to the west, Manipur to the south, and Myanmar to the east.
The northeast state of Nagaland has one major festival falling on every month of a year. Therefore it is also called the ‘Land of Festivals‘.
One of the smallest states of India, it is home to sixteen tribes. A large number of tribes makes the state culturally rich with diverse customs and rituals. English is the state’s official language, Nagamese is another popular language besides the 14 tribals dialects.
Agriculture is the prime economic activity of the state, other essential economic activities include tourism, forestry, and cottage industry. Nagaland is the synonym of beauty and nature’s bounty.
Bright costumes, flavourful cuisines, lovely weather all around the year, Pollution free environment, and traditional villages are what make Nagaland stand out from the rest of the states. Kohima is the capital of Nagaland.
HOW TO REACH?
By Air: Dimapur is the only airport in northeast state Nagaland. There is a direct flight connecting Kolkata to Dimapur. All the major cities and countries are connected to Kolkatta by flight.
By Rail: Dimapur is the nearest railway station, well connected to Kolkatta and Guwahati railway stations. Tourists can hire State-run buses or private taxis for the onward journey.
WHAT TO EAT?
Since Nagaland is the home to the most significant number of different tribals, it is natural to have varied cuisines and unique variety and tastes. The food served is primarily spicey and requires an acquired taste. Bamboo shoots with Pork may well be christened the food mascots of the Northeast state of Nagaland. A traditional Naga food is not complete without rice, spicey homemade sauce, and meat, either smoked, fermented, or dried. The following seven dishes are the must-try delicacies of the state.
- Smoked Pork cooked in Akhuni (soybean sauce).
- Hinkejvu- Made with Colocasia, shredded cabbage leaves, mustard leaves, is a non-spicey curry enjoyed with rice and spicey meat.
- Amrusu- The signature dish of the Ao tribe, it is made by flavouring the ground rice, chicken, and bamboo shoots with chillies, garlic, and ginger.
- Galho- The Naga version of khichdi. The one-pot meal is a semi-solid concoction of rice, vegetables, and meat.
- Akini Chokibo- It is a delicacy prepared using field snails and perilla seeds. Perilla is a type of herb that belongs to the mint family, and hence it is incredibly flavourful.
- Fish in Bamboo- Bamboo is an integral part of Naga cuisine. In this Naga delicacy, marinated fish are stuffed inside the bamboo tube and cooked slowly over the fire.
- Zutho- This fermented rice beer is a popular drink consumed by Naga tribes in the rural areas of Nagaland.
PLACES TO VISIT!
The homeland of the Lotha tribe – Wokha gives you insight into the rural life of Nagaland. It provides the tourists with an excellent opportunity to interact with the tribals.
Lush green, full of rivers with thick foliage and beautiful flowers all around, this place is nothing short of the painting. The land is abundant in pineapple, passion fruits, oranges, and plums grew organically without pesticide.
The places not to miss in Wokha are Mount Tiyi, Tehurang Valley, Baghty Valley, and Doyang River. An interesting supernatural myth is associated with mount Tiyi. The locals believe that it is an abode of the departed souls.
In Lotha folklore, there is a mention of an orchard somewhere in the hills only found by a few lucky ones. November is the best time to visit Wokha during the Tokhu Emong Festival, a pre-harvest festival celebrated for almost nine days.
Located about 41kms from Kohima, this beautiful quaint village is one of the ancient heritage villages of Nagaland. Tuophema is essentially a tourist village.
The cabins and cottages are built to resemble the traditional huts situated on a hill rock, with a panorama view. It is a great place to experience Naga culture, cuisine, and hospitality.
Tuophema is also a great place to pick up local jewellery, artefacts, and souvenirs.
The best time to travel to Tuophema is in February, during The Angami Sekrenyi Festival celebrated every year.
3. Khonoma Green Village:
It is Asia’s first green village. Khonoma Green Village is an excellent example of humans and nature working in tandem.
The region’s inhabitants are the Angami tribe– predominantly a warrior tribe that has given up hunting and shifted to agriculture to conserve the environment and protect forests. They practice jhum or shift farming instead of cutting forests for cultivation—their homes built using sustainable and natural materials. The locals are friendly and welcoming.
The best time to visit Khonoma is October to April, during the monsoon season.
It is known as the Land of Pioneers. It is the most important urban centre economically, politically, intellectually, and culturally. It is the homeland of the AO tribe.
Mokokchung is full of pristine mountains covered with lush green foliage and an innumerable number of plants and flowering trees. The water bodies carving their way from the mighty mountains is music that soothes the soul.
Moastu– the festivals of community bonding celebrated in May. The celebrations spanning over three days also mark the fornication of a young virgin and an adolescent boy who has attained puberty as a symbol of fertility.
Christmas is another time when the Mokokchung looks ethereal, with churches, homes, and streets beautifully decorated and lighted. The festive spirit is almost infectious.
The best time to visit is during May, June, and December.
‘Kewhira‘ a wildflower plant or Kohima, lies in the foothills of the Japtu range located in the south of the district. The capital city of the northeast state of Nagaland is the second largest in the state. Angami Nagas and Rengma Nagas are the original tribes of Kohima.
It is a peaceful and serene town. One can soak much sun and breathe in the freshness of nature that is missing in the cities. The warmth and the hospitality of the residents make it a memorable experience.
Places not to be missed are War Cemetry, Japfu Peaks, Dzukou Valley, Intanki Wildlife Sanctuary, Heritage DC Bungalow, Mary Help Of Christians Cathedral, Nagaland State Museum, Ruzaphema Market, Tibetan Market, and Pulie Badze Wildlife Sanctuary.
Hornbill Festival celebrated from 1st – 10th of December annually is the most significant festival. Tourists can visit Kohima at any time of the year.
However, November to March is the ideal month to plan an excursion.
It is the only city of Nagaland that has an airport; therefore, it is the gateway to Nagaland and a commercial centre. It is the most densely populated city in Nagaland. The town is preponderantly known for its 13th century Kachari ruins.
The other tourist attractions are Dimapur Jain Temple, Green Park, Aqua Mellow Park, Zoological Garden, Science Center, Stone Park, Hazi Park, Agri Expo site, None Resort, Rangapahar Forest, Triple Falls, None Resort, Shiv Mandir, Loinloom Festival, and Kali Temple.
October to March is the best time to visit this dreamy city with beautiful landscape.
The land of the Anghs tribe is full of beautiful spots for picnics, fishing, sightseeing, and picturesque trekking trails. This village is a dream town for anthropologists, providing insight into the traditional architecture and historical background of Konyaks.
The town has a solid tribal presence and a unique lifestyle. Burmese and Thai cooking practices have a strong influence on mon cuisine and tradition. Sangphan Wildlife Sanctuary, Veda Peak, Shangnyu Village, Chenloisho Village, and Longwa Village are some of the most prominent tourist spots.
The ideal time to visit is from November to April.
It is home to the highest peak in Nagaland- Saramati. Kiphire is multi-ethnic in population, though Sangtam, Yimchungrü, and Sümi are three officially recognized tribes. The climate of the region favours apple cultivation.
There are so many apple orchards in Kiphire that the ‘Apple Festival‘ is celebrated every year. Other fruits abundant in the area are Orange, Mango, Guava, and Banana. Stone cave, Mimi, and Salomi villages never cease to fancy the visitors. Due to a sizeable Christian population, the festivals celebrated here have a touch of Christian traditions.
The significant festivals celebrated in Kiphire are – Mongmong by the Sangtam in September; Metümnio in August by the Yimchungrü and Tuluni in July by the Sümi.
Nevertheless, these months are the best time to visit Kiphire.
Located in the heart of the northeast state of Nagaland, this district is the stronghold of Sumi Nagas believed to be the introducer of martial arts to the rest of the country. Zunheboto is the abode of the most prominent and most significant Baptist Church.
The small town nestled amidst the mountains covered with forests housing endangered birds and animals and serenity. Some notable places to visit are Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary, Satoi Range, and Ghost Bird Sanctuary.
The best time to plan a trip to this beautiful region is between October and March.