It is a wonderful experience to visit the land of tribes amidst a beautiful natural ambience with tranquil climate, high mountains, gushing rivers, hilly terrains, forests, flora, fauna and a rich cultural heritage. Nagaland is such a state states and lies in the farthest end of the north east border of India. It is one of the seven sisters of the north eastern and is surrounded by the borders of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Myanmar. The capital of this state is Kohima, with its largest city in Dimapur.
Currently, this state hosts eleven districts with sixteen distinctive tribes spreading around the region. The Naga Hills stand tall in this state from the Brahmaputra valley in Assam region, while merging itself with the Patkai ranges of mountain in Myanmar.
People and Culture
The population of Nagaland is not very high and you will find the most heart-warming and hospitable people here to welcome you. They take care and look after the safety and security of the guests. There are 16 major tribes of Nagaland like Dimasa Kachari, Angami, Ao, Chang, Phom, Konyak, Sumi, Lotha, Sumi to name a few. The people are called as Nagas and speak as many as 20 languages including different dialects. They are of Indo-Mongloid origin and speak the Sino-Tibetan languages. Nagamese is spoken as the local language, while English and Hindi are the official languages. Most of the Nagas have converted themselves to become Christians. However, the other religion minorities are Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and others.
Weaving is traditional form of art practiced by the Nagas. Beautifully designed and woven Naga shawls are extremely famous here. Basketry, wood carving and pottery are also some of the other popular art and crafts of the Nagas.
Music, folk songs and dances, handicraft and art of this state are its treasure. The tribal dances and songs vary according to each community. There are many festivals celebrated in each season, which hold a great significance for the people. The celebrations generally revolve around their main occupation of agricultural and are celebrated with fun and fervor. The major festivals celebrated by distinctive tribes are Chakhesands, Mimkut, Sekrenyi, Aoling, Moatsu, Bushu and so on. Hornbill Festival is one of the important cultural celebrations, initiated by the Government to promote smooth interaction and unity between the tribes of Nagaland.
Climate and Seasons
The climate of Nagaland is quite pleasant. However, the state receives a high amount of rainfall too. It has a monsoon climate with humidity during the months of May to September. Summer, winter and monsoon are the three principal seasons here. Summer is very short and not too hot. Winters are cold and some parts of the state gets frosts as well. The best time to travel to Nagaland would be between September to April, when the climate is moderate.
Nagaland is a place to take you in the wonderland by the virtue of its natural beauty. If you are travelling to this state, visit the following places:
- Kohima- This is the capital of the state with some of the major tribal people residing there. The monuments, museums, hills, villages, etc., are worth visiting around the city. Visiting the village of Bara Basti and Khonoma will be interesting, while understanding the traditional life of the villagers. On the other side, if you are a nature lover, then hit the Dzukou valley here. The valley is an eye catcher with hills, brooks, caves and flower blooms all over. Spring season is the best time to see the bed of flowers and herbs in vibrant colours and variety of species like orchids and rhododendrons. This valley is also a popular trekking spot in north-east.
Hornbill Festival celebrated in Kohima during the month of December is a must attend event to witness the cultural congregation of all the Naga tribes together on a common platform. The Naga culture is truly depicted here through cultural programs like folk songs, dances, music and other forms of art. The handicrafts of Nagaland are also showcased and sold here in different stalls. You will also be able to enjoy the local delicacies of food here in the festival.
Other places of visit in Kohima are the War cemetery, State Museum, Zoological Park, The Cathedral of Reconciliation, etc,.
- Dimapur- This is the largest city in the state and is known as the 'City of River People. This city is quite urbanized and you can witness the true city life here. Apart from that, other sight-seeing places are Chumukedima (the old headquarter of the Naga Hills district), Triple Water Falls, Itankagi Wildlife Sanctuary, Governor's Camp, etc.
- Kiphire- A lovely place with the highest peak of Mt. Saramati, Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary and caves in Mimi and Salomi.
- Peren- This is another village for the tourists to visit. If you like to find out the traditional and cultural lifestyle of the tribes, then visit this village for sure. You can also see the mountain named Pauna here.
- Mokokchung- You will find a number of interesting spots in this place like the Fusen Kei and Mongzu Ki caves, the tribal village of Ao called Ungma, etc.
Reaching the State
You need to follow certain rules and regulations to enter this state. Indian travellers must have the Inner Line Permit. The foreigners no longer require a Restricted Area Permit and only a registration at the local police station will serve their purpose of visit. Bus, taxi, flight and railway are the modes of transport to reach the state from other states of the country.
The beauty of Nagaland and its people always attract lakhs of tourists each year. The Government is improving and providing more facilities in the state to promote travel and tourism in the long run.
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