Nagaland - "The Most Baptist State in the World".
Nagaland, state of India, lying in the hills and mountains of the northeastern part of the country. It is one of the smaller states of India. Nagaland is bounded by the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh to the northeast, Manipur to the south, and Assam to the west and northwest and the country of Myanmar (Burma) to the east. The state capital is Kohima, located in the southern part of Nagaland. Area 6,401 square miles (16,579 square km). Pop (2008 est.) 2,187,000. Nagaland is mountainous. In the north the Naga Hills rise abruptly from the Brahmaputra valley to about 2,000 feet (610 metres) and then increase in elevation toward the southeast to more than 6,000 feet (1,830 metres). The mountains merge with the Patkai Range, part of the Arakan system, along the Myanmar border, reaching a maximum height of 12,552 feet (3,826 metres) at Mount Saramati.
Nagaland has a monsoonal (wet-dry) climate. Annual rainfall averages between 70 and 100 inches (1,800 and 2,500 mm) and is concentrated in the months of the southwest monsoon (May to September).
Nagaland Entry Formalities -
Domestic Tourists - Indian Tourist Visiting Nagaland obtain the Inner Line permit issued by given authorities :
Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, New Delhi
Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, Kolkata
Assistant Resident Commissioner In Guwahati and Shillong
Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung
International Tourists - Foreign tourist visiting Nagaland require a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) / Protected Area Permit (PAP) to enter Nagaland. They are allowed to visit all 11 district headquarters and specified places with this permit, which is valid for 10 days and extendable for upto a month. These permits are issued by the following authorities.
All Indian Missions Abroad.
Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, New Delhi.
FRRO, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
Commissioner, Home Affairs, Govt. of Nagaland, Kohima
The Commissioner & Secretary, Tourism, Govt. of Nagaland, Kohima.
The Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, New Delhi.
Civilization - The state is inhabited by 16 major tribes - Ao Naga, Angami Naga, Chang Naga, Konyak people, Lotha Naga, Sumi Naga, Chakhesang Naga, Khiamniungan people, Bodo-Kachari people, Phom Naga, Rengma Naga, Sangtam Naga, Yimchunger, Thadou people, Zeliang and Pochury as well as a number of sub-tribes. Each tribe is unique in character with its own distinct customs, language and dress.
Languages - Nagaland Assembly proclaimed English as the official language of Nagaland. Nagaland has more language diversity than any other state in India. Naga people speak over 36 different languages and dialects, mostly unintelligible with each other.
Naga languages can be grouped into Western, Central and Eastern Naga Groups. The Western Group includes among others Angami, Chokri and Kheza. The Central Naga group includes Ao, Lotha and Sangtam, whereas Eastern Group includes Konyak and Chang.
There are Naga-Bodo group illustrated by Mikir language, and Kuki group of languages illustrated by Sopvama (also called Mao Naga) and Luppa languages. These belong mostly to the Sino-Tibetan language family
Special Interest for Travelers focuses - The Nagaland flora and fauna vividly illustrates the diverse nature heritage that the northeastern state is blessed with. The state of Nagaland is covered by the vegetative growth of the evergreen tropical and the sub tropical forests which occupy 8, 62,930 hectares of land in the state. Rare species of trees and plants are found in the forests of Nagaland. The variety of endangered species of animals and birds also make the forest regions of Nagaland their home.
The flora of Nagaland is dominated by the growth of the thick wooded trees like the mahogany and timber. Palm, rattan and bamboo trees. The interiors of the forests are rich in the fauna of Nagaland. Ferocious animals like the leopards and the bears reside in these interiors. A variety of arboreal monkeys are found in the forests of Nagaland. Elephants, deer, wild oxen, sambar and buffaloes also reside in the wooded forests. The Indian Hornbill is one of the most popular birds of the state. Nagaland state is drained by four main rivers. One of the chief tributaries of the Brahmaputra River is Dhansiri which originates in the mountainous Laisang peak in Nagaland.Three other rivers of Nagaland are the Dikhu, Doyang and the Jhanji.
The people of Nagaland are very fond of traditional Naga cuisine. Naga cuisine is a simple thali comprising rice, fish, meat and pickle. The cuisine is basically boiled and meat is consumed widely here.
Nagaland is also known for the celebrations of different festivals round the year. Festivals of different sections of Nagas like Angami, Sema, Lotha and Rengma Nagas are more or less similar
Destinations - Focused approach helps in providing easy access to travelers of all categories-tourists, researchers, backpackers, ecologists etc. Since this little explored state is still developing and many more places remain 'un-marked'-making them even more exclusive and fascinating to explore.
Meluri - The headquarters of the Pochury tribe lies halfway on the important route to Mt. Saramati in Kiphire district. It is also on the Indo-Myanmar Trade Centre at Avankhung and one can see many Myanmarese Nagas coming to shop in this township for their basic necessities. The place is also famous for its locally manufactured brine salt and exquisite cane furniture, which come from Reguri village.
Dzudu Lake / Zanibu Peak - Shilloi Lake-Shaped like a footprint, Shilloi Lake is located about 300 km from Kohima. Nestled among beautiful low hills, this lake was previously the centre of superstition and taboos. Now, however, the people use the lake for its water and angling.This water body covers an area of 250-300 sq m. If Shilloi is no more considered an 'untouchable' by the locals, Dzudu Lake is still treated as a habitat for spirits and supernatural elements and avoided by humans. The level of avoidance is such that the locals would not even dare to throw away garbage here. The Zanibu Range and peak next to the lake houses around 10 Chakhesang villages around it. It offers views of Mt.Everest, besides the whole of Nagaland.
Zunheboto - Zunheboto is the land of the Sumi Nagas, who are known for their colourful war dance and folk songs.A very hardy and strong race, the Sumis can also be dubbed as the pioneers of the Naga martial arts.
Ghosu Bird Sanctuary - Located 8 km away from the Zunheboto district headquarters this bird sanctuary is maintained by the village community. Providing habitat to more than twenty species of endangered avifauna, migratory birds can also be sighted here between the months of June and September. In order to make up for the uncontrolled hunting by their people in earlier times, the surrounding village communities of this sanctuary have now strictly prohibited hunting and poaching in this area.
Satoi Range - A habitat of the Blyth's Tragopan, Satoi Range is a pristine natural heritage of the district. Rhododendrons embellish the place during April and may and trekking is very popular here.
Wokha - This district of the Lotha Nagas is a land of beautiful mountain ranges and rivers. Wokha town, the headquarters of the district is itself located at the Wokha Mountain, the highest peak in the range. Some noteworthy hills here are Mount Tiyi and Totsu Cliff. No matter which hill you are on or which valley you are trekking, you are sure to experience the vibrant landscapes carpeted with colourful flowers and orchids.
Doyang is the largest river in the district. Several hill streams fall into the river from the central and western parts and give it the most fascinating look. Doyang River. Two other significant rivers, Chubi and Nzhu are also tributaries of the Doyang. Terrace cultivation is carried out on the valleys.
Phek - Phek is the home district of the Chakhesang and the Pochuries. The Chakhesang consists of three sub-tribes, the Chakhru, the Kheza and the Sangtam. The people here are known for their wrestling prowess and robust health. They live off agriculture and are known for their adeptness in terrace cultivation. The carved fields for such cultivation provide a sight to behold and admire is this region.
Pfutsero Town and glory peak - This little township at an altitude of 2233.60 metres is like a gateway to Southeast Asia with reasonably good surface transport available from Kohima via a 70 km border road. The Place is known for its vegetable and fruit products.
Glory Peak, at 2600 metres is only 3 km away from Pfutsero. It offers majestic views of Mt. Everest in the West and Mt. Saramati in the East. Kapamadzu peak is the highest table top mountain in Nagaland. The more adventurous can take on the challenge of discovering these trekking routes themselves.
Peren - Peren is the traditional home of the Zeliangrong, and Kuki tribes. The Zeliangrong are formed of three tribes, namely, the Zemei, the LIANGmei and the RONGmei. The name Zeliangrong is derived from the first few syllables of these three individual tribes. The Kukis are one of the tribes who followed a southerly migration route and were known as Aishen when they migrated from Manipur. Later some of them also migrated to Meluri sub-division towards the Indo-Myanmar border.
Benreu - Situated in the district of Peren, this little village perched 1950 metres above sea level, houses a unique community where 20 per cent of an animist population dictates the customs and social rules of the majority Christians. A tourist village preserved around the ethnic-tourism concept, Benreu is a living showcase of the endangered culture of these highlanders. With the dense wildlife sanctuary around it, the visitor can literally embark upon his wild safari by staying comfortably in this real animist village. If you are in Benreu, then do not forget to have the Kennie Nku, the local bread made from sticky rice and prepared over a heated stone kiln.
Mt. Pauna Tourist village - This village resort is an extension of Benreu village (separated from it by about 300 metres) towards the south along the Pauna mountianrange. It has 8 double bedded cottages with attached bathrooms and fitted with running hot and cold water. These cottages are built under trees of different varieties, making the occupant feel close to nature. The village has one Morung for the visitors and a three storied restaurant-cum dormitory.
Mon - Mon is the land of the captivating Konyak Nagas, whose culture and traditions are an attraction by themselves for the visitors. The forefathers of the Konyak believed that they were direct descentdents of Noah, for they have biblical names like Mosa, Kaisa Aron and so on. It is also believed that they crossed the historic gate known as Alemkaphan which is interpreted in Konyak as the gate of the sun. The rulers of the villages still use the word Wang (Angh) for themselves, meaning 'the beginning of everything'. The Angh still enjoys considerable power over his people, acting as an autocrat and a democrat. His house is a demonstration of tribal power and glory, flashing both human and animal skulls on the porch. The Konyaks are known for their tattooed faces, blackened teeth and head hunting prowess.
Longwa - Longwa is one of the biggest villages in Mon district and an intersecting sight to behold, since it straddles the international boundary line between India and Myanmar; one half of the powerful Angh's house falls within the Indian territory, whereas the other half lies under Myanmarese control. Although the borders are shared and some youths of the village serve under the Myanmarese army, the village is governed by the Angh and the Village Council Chairman the Angh had 60 wives and his jurisdiction extends upto Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh (another Indian state). There are both Indian and Myanmarese schools in this village. The department of Tourism has constructed a three room tourist accommodation that is run by the church authorities.
Shangnyu - Ruled by the chief Angh, Shangnyu village is one of the prominent villages in Mon district. A huge and unique piece of wood carving originally placed at the entrance of the Angh's house, is believed to have been constructed by two brothers with the help of the spirit during the metallic Age. This mammoth carving is now preserved in a museum facing the Angh's house. Some stone monoliths are also seen infront of the Angh's palace.
Veda Peak - Veda, the highest peak in Mon, is approximately 70 km east of the district headquarters. From the top of this peak can be seen a clear view of both the Brahmatputre (India) and the Chindwin (Myanmar) rivers on a clear day. There is also a waterfall in the confines of this peak. Historicaly, Veda peak was the place where the British soldiers first set up their camp and also planted the first opium plant in the land of the Konyak Naga.
Longleng - The 34 km stretch that leads to Longleng from Changtongya is the perfect rural road for the adventurous motorist. Using an SUV or a two wheel cruiser, the driver can experience the true feel of a rural dirt track, while driving through the villages and interacting with the villagers. The open markets of the villagers are like images frozen in time when our forefathers used to sell or barter their 'naturally organic' agricultural produces. The Phom Nagas, who are the majority of this district, preserves their ancient culture through their festivals and artefacts like the log drums. The main festival of the Phom is Monyu, which marks the end of winter and the beginning of summer.
Mokokchung - Mokokchung is the land of the Ao Nagas. Although, almost all Aos have converted to Christianity, they still maintain their old customs and traditions, especially the tradition of hospitality that can be seen during Christmas. This is the time when everyone, irrespective of their financial or social status, welcomes each other warmly in their homes.
Longkhum - As an old Naga saying goes, 'a single visit to Longkhum is not enough , for your soul stays behind the first time and you have to return there once more to get it back'. This saying springs from the fact that Rhododendrons adorn the hillocks and the precipices surrounding it, providing an astounding sight during full bloom. Exquisite ethnic handlooms and handicrafts by the expert craftsmen are also found in plenty here. An animist religion called Limapur still exists in this village, where a few families worship a God called Longlanpa Tsungrem.
Ungma - This is the oldest and largest of all Ao Villages and the second largest village in Nagaland, next only to Bara Basti of Kohima. Ungma village is located about 3 km from Mokokchung Town. It occupies a unique position in the history of the Ao Nagas, for it is said that the whole Ao tribe founded this village when they first entered the land from their ancestral home at Chungliyimti (now within the Sangtam Naga Territory). The rich Ao culture and tradition is jealously guarded and practiced by the villagers even today and the place is considered to be a living museum of the traditions of the tribe.
Chuchuyimlang - Is the village of festivals for the Ao Nagas. The Moatsu festival, based on community bonding, takes place from the first of May till the third. During this period, the villagers express their friendship towards other villagers by exchanging gifts, making new friendships, renewing old ties and sharing a spirit of camaraderie. The tourist village established here is a showcase of this spirit of the villagers in the most natural and uncontaminated manner.
Tuensang - Tuensang shares a lot of common factors with Kiphire as far as the inhabiting tribes are concerned. Chang Nagas are the major residents of this place and they share an affinity with the Sema, Lotha, Ao, Yimchungrii, Phom, Sangtam and some Southern Naga tribes, as can be deduced from the ole legends.
Changsangmonko & Chilise - The importance of both these villages lies in the chronicles of legend and history. Whereas Changsangmonko is supposed to be the spot where all living organisms first appeared on the face of the earth, Chilise is loosely recorded as the place where the last headhunting took place in August 1978.
The Living Stones of Tuensang, Tsongliyangti, Chungliyangti or Chungliyimti
Replete with legends of the exploits and stories of the Nagas when they lived as one big family, Chungliyimti is scattered with vestiges of the past. Longthroh (Longtrok) or the legendary six stones, lie here in the midst of other ancient relics of the Tsongliyanti/ Chungliyanti civilisations. The Sangtams consider the stones personifications of their ancient holy Gods that gave birth to other stones and moved from one place to another.
Tsadang - Here on the west of the village are located two stones, known locally as Long Akang Threla; according to legend, these two living stones, who were friends, used to visit Longthroh or Longterok. They were worshipped by the villagers and even neighbouring enemies went weak when they came across them while headhunting. The village of Tsadang is located just 4 km away from Tsongliyangti/ Chungliyanti.
Kohima - Also contains a number of villages that tourists can visit. All these villages are 'communitised' and managed by the village communities under the state's Village Tourism Board. Although originally an Angami Naga homeland, Kohima is now home for all the Nagas because of its administrative status.
Kohima city has also gone through dark days during the Second World War when the allied forces fought a very bloody but victorious battle against the Japanese. A war cemetery has been built in the heart of the city where the battle took place, in order to honour the memories of the British and Indian soldiers.
Dzukou Valley - Dzukou Valley is the lesser known (but no less beautiful and bio-diverse) valley of flowers in India after Nandan Kanan in Uttarakhand. An altitude of 2438.4 m, rivulets shaped like the curves of Venus, flowers, herbs and shrubs are the elements that constitute the vibrant diversity of this valley. It offers some of the best trekking circuits in the country, while housing 'communitised' villages.
Khonoma Green Village - Located 20 km west of Kohima, in the Dzukou valley, Khonoma was a vanguard village of the Angami Naga tribe known for its fierce resistance against British dominance during colonial period. Khonoma village 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 variety of rare species of plants and animals within its 25 sq km area. This is almost a virgin territory for birdwatchers, animal watchers and botanists who have the entire area to explore and discover.
Tuophema Tourist Village - Located 41 km from Kohima, the tourist village developed here has been modeled around the ethnic tourism model and visitors are offered modern and hygienic accommodation in the traditional huts in an ethnic setting. Served everything from rice beer to local food, tourists can experience the local culture in these pretty settings.
Dzuleke - Mithun (Bos Frontalis) or Bison has been the witness of the Naga culture and civilization over the centuries. From embellishing headdresses to house walls, from being domesticated to being hunted, this magnificent animal have found their way to being dubbed as the animal of Nagaland. The hilly terrain of Dzuleke, located 40 km west of Kohima at a height of 2133.6 m, is dotted with the mithun peacefully grazing on the wayside and the fields. The stream that cuts through this terrain provides habitat to a rare species of Rainbow Trout.
Japfu Peak - The jewel of this 3048 m high peak is the tallest (over 109 ft) Rhododendron tree in the world (as recorded by the Guinness Book of Records), besides it being the second highest peak of Nagaland. Conveniently located at only 15 km south of Kohima, Japfu offers a tough yet scenic climb for the more adventurous.
Tseminyu - This town, which is the ancient migration route of many Naga tribes heading northwards looking for new settlements and cultivation grounds, is the home of the Rengmas. Old sites of abandoned villages with the remains of graveyards, gravestones, broken pottery etc still tell the ancient tales of the people that inhabited this town over the centuries. These offer perfect sites for archaeological tourism and preservation, but time is short for such activities because every cycle of Jhum cultivation exterminates a slice of this ancient heritage.
Dimapur - Dimapur enjoys a special status because of its unique location. It is the only town of the state, situated on the plain area having excellent road, rail and air links with various part of the country. Dimapur was upgraded as a district on January 24th 2004.
Diezephe Craft Village - Located 13 km from Dimapur, Diezephe Craft Village houses expert weavers and craftsmen, deft in the arts of woodcarving, bamboo and cane works. Under the guidance of the Nagaland handloom and handicrafts Development Corporation Limited, this village has taken significant strides in these crafts, in the recent times.
Rangapahar Reserve Forest / Zoological Park - The Rangapahar Reserve forest (20.20 hectares) in its vicinity. It is home to many animals and birds which make this reserve a nature lover's haven.
Saramati Peak - With a height of 3841 meters, Saramati Peak is the highest in Nagaland. It is snow clad throughout winter and located on the Nagaland - Myanmar border. Offering a beautiful climb with views of the Rhododendron in its path, Saramati can be reached by taking a three day trek from either Pungro or Salumi, both towns housing visual natural delights and hospitable village peoples.
Mimi and Salumi ( Hidden villages waiting for the explorer ) - Mimi and Salumi are two villages that have just the right potentials for any explorer seeking glory or aspiring to attach his name to a natural phenomenon. Housing caves, waterfalls and other daunting natural 'constructions', these villages offer bases for the David Livingstone of modern times.
Caves - Caves as one travels towards east from Pungro Town, a big cave can be seen nearby Salomi village. Besides the unexplored adventures that lie within, this cave has a multipoint entry and exit. A hole that measures approximately 4 ft in diameter can be seen inside the cave. It has been proved through garbage dumping habits of the villagers inside this hole, that there is a link between the cave and Likimro River.
About an hour from Mimi village, lie four discovered but not well explored caves where wild animals still take shelter. At this point of time, these caves simply offer thousands of bats for the locals of the region, who capture them by lighting fires inside them. A visual delight from outside, these caves contain a treasure trove for adventure seekers and cavers.
Sukhayap or Lover's Paradise ( the cliff of no return ) - North of Mimi is a cliff that can be climbed only with the help of ladders. This cliff is supposed to be so treacherous that even wild animals cannot take shelter there. It got its name from a local legend which states that two lovers, who were not allowed to be united by the society, gave their lives from here.
Wawade - Between the mimi and Khonga villages lies this breathtaking waterfall approximately 200 ft high. This can be viewed from the Laluri village in Phek district and it takes an hour and a half to reach the place form Mimi. Three other waterfalls, each about 100 ft high are also located here.
Mihki ( the river of salt ) - Mihki or River of Salt flows near Siphi. The water from this river was used to prepare salt cakes by the Sangphure villagers in the ancient times. These salts cakes were also used as a means of exchange or currency in those days. The Sangtams consider the water of Mihki River as possessing healing attributes.
Fakim Wildlife Santuary - This small sanctuary in the eastern hills close to the Myanmar border was established in 1983 covering an area of 642 hectares. The park rises to almost 300 meters and receives heavy rainfall in June- July every year. This sanctuary houses various flora- fauna, avifauna and plants, many of which have a medicinal value. The reserve is situated near the Fakim village of the district.
Horn Bill Festival - It was in the year 2000, that the State Government desirous of promoting tourism embarked upon an ambitious project to exploit the cultural assets of Nagaland, through a weeklong long festival to coincide with the celebration of Nagaland Statehood Day on 1st December. Thus, the inception of the Nagaland Hornbill Festival so named in collective reverence to the bird enshrined in the cultural ethos of the Nagas to espouse the spirit of unity in diversity.
Nagaland is a cultural mosaic of diverse multi-ethnicity sprung up by the several tribes that inhabit the State. Each community celebrates its myriad festivals revolving around the agrarian calender that makes Nagaland by default, a land of festivals. Twelve years on, this intangible heritage asset has been aptly tagged lined in the changed moniker - "NAGALAND HORNBILL FESTIVAL: FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS" to envcompass through collective celebration the colour and vibrant elements of all the tribal festivities and give a glimpse of Naga life to titillate cultural sensibilities. What has emerged from a local heritage event, metaphored to a national and international festival has now become a must visit and notable attraction in the travel itinerary of both domestic and international travelers
The annual Hornbill Festival will be held for ten days, 1st - 10th December. It draws all the tribes and sub-tribes of Nagaland to the foothills below the lofty spurs of towering Mount Japfu wherin lies Naga Heritage Village, Kisama - the venue of hte Festival. It plays host to a weeklong medly of cultural performances, indigenous games, craft bazaar, music events, fashion, cycling, motor sporting, events, a kids carnival, floral galleria, food courts, film festival and a series of competitions in various activities.
A prominent sight at Kisama are the imposing tribal Morungs (male dormitories) that are resplendent speciments of Vernacular architecture. Every Naga community is represented in their respective Morungs. Some even accomodate the majestic log drums where male members intermittently beat the gigantic hollowed log with wooden beaters in perfect synchronization. Long before the age of modern communications, the Nagas devised indigenous methodologies of relaying messages by beating different tempos and arrangements to send out messages decipherabe only to the village members. As you hear the sound reverberate throughout Kisama it hypnotically draws you in search of the source.
Traditional shopping - Shopping is a great attraction here in Nagaland. The tribes are excellent and skilled craftsmen. Naga tribes are known for being hard working and laborious. They are known for making exquisite bamboo and cane products, weaving and wood carving. The Nagas are expert in basketry, weaving, woodcarving, pottery and metal work.
By whatever name people have called this realm, hidden among the mountains of India's northeast is the Nagaland - "The Most Baptist State in the World".