Nagaland

Often referred to as the Switzerland of the East, Nagaland is a magical land of undulating mountains, majestic landscapes, salubrious climate, indigenous tribes and their glorious culture and also host to the ‘Festival of Festivals – the Hornbill Festival’. Located in the far north east of India, Nagaland borders the north eastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Nagaland also shares its borders with the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Nagaland was officially inaugurated as the 16th State of India on 1st December, 1963. The capital of Nagaland is the city of Kohima and the largest city of the State is Dimapur.

Nagaland is home to 16 indigenous Naga tribes of North East India. The primary tribes of Nagaland are Angami, Ao, Chang, Konyak, Sumi, Kachari, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Kuki, Zeliang and many sub-tribes. Each of these tribes of Nagaland have their own distinct traditions and cultures, language and attire. The Naga tribes were earlier considered to be the most fierce tribe across North East India mostly because of their practices of Head Hunting. Dominantly a male activity, in the practice of Head Hunting of Nagaland, the men would be separated from their women during and after coming back from expeditions of men with other tribes and clans of Nagaland. Recognized as a per-requisite for marriage, the women of Nagaland would encourage the men to take up Head Hunting. The men of Nagaland would go out at war against neighboring tribes and kill to score many number of heads. On completion they would ornate themselves with these skulls. The practice of head hunting was abolished in the 19th century and is no longer practiced in Nagaland. The tribes of Nagaland, each have a traditional ceremonial attire. The attire consists of multicolored spears decorated with dyed goat hair, a traditional tribal headgear made out of finely woven bamboo interlaced with orchid stems and adorned with bear’s teeth and feathers of the majestic Hornbill Bird of Nagaland and Elephant tusks. It is the grandeur of these costumes which has inspired the modern youth of Nagaland to take up fashion designing as their career and blend the fabrics of the ancestral motifs of Nagaland with a modern appeal.

The people of Nagaland, by nature, are lovers of fun and frolic and life here is a never ending festival. Each tribe of Nagaland have their own traditional festival and rituals with dances and songs being an integral part of all their festivals. The principal festivals are the Moatsu Mong Festival of the Ao Tribes of Nagaland, the Sekrengi Festival of the Angami Tribes of Nagaland, the Ahuna and Tuluni Festival of the Sumi Naga tribes of Nagaland and all festivities of each tribes of Nagaland confluences at the ‘Festival of Festivals’ – the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland celebrated every year in December.

History of Nagaland ~

Although not much is known about the history of Nagaland, it is believed that the Naga people of Nagaland arrived at different times from the eastern region much before the arrival of the Ahoms in 1228 AD. It is said that the word ‘Naga’ is derived from the term ‘Naka’ meaning people with earnings in Burmese. The British recorded the term ‘Naga’ and it has been used henceforth to describe the people of Nagaland. Nagaland gained prime importance during the World War II when the Imperial Japanese Army invaded India and aimed to cut off British supplies by capturing Kohima in Nagaland. Although the Japanese captured Kohima briefly, they were successfully repelled by the British and Indian troops in Nagaland at the Battle of Kohima. The defeat at Kohima changed the course of war of the Japanese combined with the Burma Campaign across the Stilwell Road. The memoirs of the Battle of Kohima are preserved at the Kohima War Cemetery and War Museum at Kohima in Nagaland.

Geography and Climate of Nagaland ~

The State of Nagaland is a mountainous State mostly with theprincipal mountain ranges being the Naga hills and the Patkai range. Mount Saramati is the highest mountain peak of Nagaland at an elevation of 12,601 feet. The Japfu Peak is the second highest where one can also experience snowfall. The Doyang and Diplu rivers criss cross the State of Nagaland. Tropical forests are found across Nagaland along with coniferous vegetation and temperate forests. The northern mountains of Nagaland are filled with dense evergreen rain-forests. Nagaland also has an abundant growth of bamboo forests.

The climate of Nagaland is salubrious comprising of summer, monsoon and winter. The average annual rainfall at Nagaland is around 2500 mm. Summers in Nagaland is the shortest season lasting for a few months with temperature ranging from 16 – 31 degrees Celsius. During winter, the temperature does not drop below 4 degrees Celsius with a maximum average temperatures recorded at 24 degrees Celsius.

Flora and Fauna of Nagaland ~

Nagaland has rich and diverse species of flora and fauna across the State. With around one sixth of Nagaland under forest cover, diverse flora and fauna species have made Nagaland its home. Trees found are palms, bamboo, rattan, mahogany, etc. Fauna species found across Nagaland are elephants, porcupines, leopards, bears, sambars and many primate species. The Great Indian Hornbill is the most famous bird of Nagaland.

People, Religion and Culture of Nagaland ~

The people of Nagaland mostly belong to the 16 tribes of Nagaland. The total population of Nagaland is around 2 million with Dimapur being the most populated city followed by Kohima. Apart from the tribes, the business class of Nagaland belong from other parts of the country. Around 88 % of the population of Nagaland practice Christianity as their faith.

The people of Nagaland are expert craftsmen and weave out some of the finest handicrafts in India. Renowned across the World, the handicrafts of Nagaland are mostly woven out of bamboo and cane. Handicraft items of Nagaland include bamboo baskets, cane baskets, bamboo lamps, cane seats, bamboo furniture, etc. Wood carving is also an important practice of handicrafts of Nagaland. Handlooms are also a major attraction of Nagaland with hand woven shawls being the most famous. The women folks of Nagaland also mak e beautiful ornaments out of little beads like necklaces, bangles and bracelets. Indigenous tribal ornaments of Nagaland are ivory bracelets and tiger claw pendants of the tribes which was prevalent during the olden days.

Festivals of Nagaland ~

Nagaland is known as the Land of Festivals in India. Similar to the other States of North East India, most of these festivals revolve around the agrarian practices of the States. Some of the major festivals of Nagaland are ~

  • Sekrenyi – Angami Tribe of Nagaland

  • Moatsu Mong – Ao Tribe of Nagaland

  • Bushu Jiba – Dimasa Kachari Tribe of Nagaland

  • Monyu – Phom Tribe of Nagaland

  • Ahuna, Tuluni – Sumi Naga Tribe of Nagaland

  • Gaan-ngai – Rongmei Tribe of Nagaland

  • Yemshe – Pochury Tribe of Nagaland

  • Mimkut – Kuki Tribe of Nagaland

  • Monyu – Phom Tribe of Nagaland

Tourism in Nagaland ~

Nagaland is blessed with pleasant climate and one can visit the State anytime around the year. The tribes, their culture, natural landscapes, festivsls, the rich flora and fauna is what makes Nagaland an attractive tourist destination. the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland draws visitors from around the globe. For the adventurous, Nagaland is an ideal destination for trekking, rock climbing, jungle camping, etc. The beauty of Nagaland can be seen across the mesmerizing Dzukou Valley, the Japfu peak and the tribal villages. The beautiful Dzukou lily is to be found only at Dzukou Valley. The World’s Tallest Rhododendron tree is found in the Japfu mountains of Nagaland. With three Wildlife Sanctuaries of Intangki, Rangapahar and Fakim one can spot the fauna of Nagaland here of the likes of leopards, giant squirrels, sambars, elephants, sloths, etc. The Blythe Tragopan pheasant species is found only in Nagaland. The Great Indian Hornbill is a revered bird of Nagaland and four of its species i.e. the great pied hornbill, rufous necked hornbill, white throated hornbill and wreathed hornbill is found in Nagaland.

Your visit to Nagaland wouldn’t be complete without savoring the sumptuous Naga cuisine. The cuisine of Nagaland is distinguished with the use of a lot of meat, fermented products and spice. Nagaland is home to the Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper which is one of the hottest chili in he World and is often used to flavor curries or eaten raw. The Naga people use a lot of locally grown herbs, ginger, garlic and ghost pepper in their cuisine. The signature dish is snails cooked with pork and silkworm larvae. Local drinks of Nagaland include Zutho and Thutse which are beers made with sticky rice.

The Primary districts of the State of Nagaland are ~

1| Dimapur District Nagaland ~

Dimapur is the largest city of the State of Nagaland. Dimapur was upgraded to a district on January 2004. Dimapur is the commercial capital of Nagaland having many shopping centers and market. Dimapur’s Hong Kong market is well known for imported goods from Thailand, China and Burma. Dimapur is the gateway to Nagaland and Manipur.

Places of Interest at Dimapur are ~

  • Kacharai Ruins Dimapur, Nagaland

  • Diezephe Craft Village Dimapur, Nagaland

  • Rangaphar Reserve Forest and Zoological Park Dimapur, Nagaland

  • Serenyeki Festival of the Angami Tribes Dimapur, Nagaland

  • Honk Kong Market Dimapur, Nagaland

  • Jain Temple Dimapur, Nagaland​

2| Kohima District Nagaland ~

Kohima is the Capital of the State of Nagaland and also the second largest city of the State. Kohima is the land of the Angami Naga tribes of Nagaland and is located on the foothills of the Japfu mountain range. Kohima contains many number of heritage villages to showcase the rich culture and heritage of the Naga tribes with the primary being the Kisama Heritage Village. Kohima was a prime location in India during the World War Ii where the Allied Forces battled against the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese army at the fierce Battle of Kohima. The Kohima War Cemetery and War Memorial stand as a testament to this war.

Places of Interest at Kohima are ~

  • Dzukou Valley Trek Kohima, Nagaland

  • Kisama Heritage Village Kohima, Nagaland

  • Hornbill Festival at Kisama Heritage Village Kohima, Nagaland

  • Khonoma Green Village Kohima, Nagaland

  • Touphema Heritage Village Kohima, Nagaland

  • Serenyeki Festival of the Angami Tribes Kohima, Nagaland

  • Dzuleke Village Kohima, Nagaland

  • Japfu Peak Trek Kohima, Nagaland

  • Tseminyu Kohima, Nagaland

  • World War II Cemetery Kohima, Nagaland

  • Kohima Cathedral Kohima, Nagaland

  • World War II Memorial Kohima, Nagaland

  • Kohima Evening Market Kohima, Nagaland

3| Mokokchung District Nagaland ~

Mokokchung is the district headquarters of the Mokokchung district of Nagaland and is home to the legendary Ao tribe of Nagaland. Mokokchung is the intellectual and cultural capital of Nagaland. Located at an altitude of 1325 m from mean sea level, Mokokchung has a mild and pleasant climate around the year. A land of rich culture and heritage, the Ao tribes of Mokokchung celebrate the festival of Moatsu Mong every year in the month of May and one can get to experience the life and traditions of the Ao Nagas of Mokokchung at the Moatsu Mong festival. Although, almost all Ao Nagas of Mokokchung have converted to Christianity, they still maintain their old customs and traditions. The Ao Naga tradition of hospitality can be seen best during Christmas celebrations at Mokokchung when everyone irrespective of their financial and social status welcome each other warmly into their homes.

Places of Interest at Mokokchung are ~

  • Longkhum and Limapur Village Mokokchung, Nagaland

  • Ungma Village Mokokchung, Nagaland

  • Chuchuyimlang Festival Mokochung, Nagaland

  • Moatsu Mong Festival Mokokchung, Nagaland

  • The Peren, Fusen Kei and Mongzu Ki caves Mokokchung, Nagaland

  • District Museum Mokokchung, Nagaland

  • Main Town Park Mokokchung, Nagaland

  • Longkhum, Langpangkong, Mopunchukit and Chuchuyimlang areas in Mokokchung District, Nagaland

4| Mon District Nagaland ~

Mon is the northern most district of Nagaland and is bounded by the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Mon town is the district headquarters of the Mon district. Mon is the home of the Legendary Konyak tribes of Nagaland. The Konyaks were the most feared Head Hunting tribes of Nagaland and are easily identifiable with their tattooed faces, blackened teeth and head hunting prowess. The Konyaks are the largest tribe among all Nagas and are adept artisans and craftsmen. At Mon, one can find various wood carvings, machetes, guns, traditional head gears, traditional necklaces, etc. The Konyaks being earlier head hunters still decorate their houses with skulls, hornbill beaks, elephant tusks, horns, etc. The ruler of the villages used the word Angh for themselves meaning the ‘beginning of everything’. The Angh’s house is the largest in the village with the Angh acting as an autocrat and democrat. The Angh house is a demonstration of power and glory adorned with both human and animal skulls.

The most interesting village of Mon is the Longwa village. The Longwa village is located between the International boundary line between India and Myanmar and the jurisdiction of the Angh of the Longwa village extends upto Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar. Traders trade freely across the borders here at Longwa. Students of Longwa study at schools in Myanmar too. The Angh of the Longwa village has 60 wives.

Places of Interest at Mon are ~

  • Longwa Village at Mon, Nagaland

  • Shangnyu Village at Mon, Nagaland

  • Chui Village at Mon, Nagaland

  • Veda Peak at Mon, Nagaland

  • Naginimora at Mon, Nagaland​

5| Zunheboto District Nagaland ~

Zunheboto is another major district of the state of Nagaland. Zunheboto is bordered by the Mokokchung, Kohima, Wokha and Phek districts of Nagaland. Zunheboto town is the district headquarters of the Zunheboto district. Zunheboto is the land of the legendary Sumi Naga tribes of Nagaland. Considered among the fiercest head hunting tribes of Nagaland, the Sumi Nagas of today are however peaceful and hardworking people who practice agriculture as their main occupation. The main festivals of the Sumi Naga tribes i.e. Tuluni nad Ahuna are based upon agriculture. 

Zunheboto district has a popluation of around 300,000 and is also home to the largest Baptist church in Asia, the Sumi Baptist Church at Zunheboto. The Sumi Nagas of Zunheboto are known for their colorful war dance and folk songs and are the pioneers of Naga martial arts. Zunheboto is a hilly area and a paradie for bird watchers and ornithologists. Zunheboto falls under an Important Bird Area and over 20 endangered species of birds are found at Zunheboto. Endangered species like Blythi Tragopan, Khalij Pheasant and Peacock Pheasant are found in the forests at Zunheboto.

Places of Interest at Zunheboto are ~

  • Ghosu Bird Sanctuary Zunheboto, Nagaland

  • Satoi Range Zunheboto, Nagaland

  • Sumi Baptist Chuch Zunheboto, Nagaland

  • Culture and Heritage of hte Sumi Naga Tribes of Zunheboto, Nagaland

  • Nagaland University Zunheboto, Nagaland​

6| Tuensang District Nagaland ~

Tuensang is the largest district of Nagaland bordering the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Tuensang is also the easternmost district of Nagaland. Tuensang is located at an elevation of 1371 m above the sea level and hence enjoys a favorable climate around the year. Tuensang is also one of the largest urban centers of Nagaland after Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung. Tuensang is inhabited by the Chang, Sangtam, Yimchunger and Khiamniungan tribes of Nagaland.

Places of Interest at Tuensang are ~

  • Changsangmonko and Chilise Tuensang, Nagaland

  • The Living Stones of Tuensang, Nagaland

  • Tsadang Tuensang, Nagaland

  • The Culture and Traditions of the Chang, Sangtam, Yimchunger and Khiamnungam tribes of Nagaland at Tuensang, Nagaland​

7| Wokha District Nagaland ~

Wokha district is home of the Lotha tribe of Nagaland and is located amidst beautiful mountain ranges and rivers. Wokha district is blessed with natural resources like minerals and fertile land. The Wokha district is bordered by the State of Assam and the districts of Kohima, Zunheboto and Mokokchung. Wokha town is the district administrative headquarters of the Wokha district. Wokha town is the third largest town of Nagaland after Dimapur an Kohima. The total population of Wokha district is around 80,000.

Places of Interest at Tuensang are ~

  • Trekking at Mount Tiyi and Totsu Cliff Wokha, Nagaland

  • Terrace cultivation along Doyung River

  • Traditional fishing by the banks of river Chubi and Nzhu Wokha, Nagaland

  • Culture and traditions of the Lotha tribes of Nagaland Wokha, Nagaland

  • The annual Amur Falcon migration at Wokha, Nagaland

8| Phek District Nagaland ~

Phek district is the home of the Chakesang and the Pochury tribes of Nagaland. Phek was established as a district in 1973 and Phek town is its district headquarters. Phek district of Nagaland has a population of around 163,000 with a literacy rate of around 80%. The tribes of Phek district are known for their unique practices of wrestling and robust health. Agriculture is the primary occupation of the people of Phek district and they are very adept in terrace cultivation. The fields used for such agricultural practices are a unique sight to behold and admire at Phek district in Nagaland.

Places of Interest at Phek are ~

  • Pfutsero town at Phek, Nagaland

  • Glory peak at Phek, Nagaland

  • Terrace cultivation practices of the tribes of Phek district

  • Culture and traditions of the Chakesang and Pochury tribes of Nagaland at Phek, Nagaland

  • Traditional wresting practices of people of Phek, Nagaland

9| Kiphire District Nagaland ~

Kiphire district is the home of the Yimchunger, Sangtam and Sumi Naga tribes of Nagaland. Kiphire district is bounded by the Tuensang and Phek districts of Nagaland and also the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The major towns of Kiphire district of Nagaland are Seyochung, Sitimi, Pungro and Kiphire. The highest mountain peak of Nagaland viz. the Saramati Peak is located in the Phek district. The Saramati peak remains snow covered throughout winters and offers a majestic three day trekking route to its summit.

Places of Interest at Kiphire are ~

  • Saramati Peak Kiphire, Nagaland

  • Unexplored Caves of Kiphire, Nagaland

  • Sukhayap or Lover’s Paradise – the Cliff of no Return Kiphire, Nagaland

  • Wawade Waterfalls at Kiphire, Nagaland

  • Mihki – the river of salt at Kiphire Nagaland

  • Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary Kiphire, Nagaland

  • Culture and traditions of the Yimchunger, Sangtam and Sumi Naga Tribes of Nagaland at Kiphire, Nagaland​

10| Meluri District Nagaland ~

Meluri district is the headquarters of the Pochury tribe of Nagaland. Meluri also serves as an ideal stop over on the way to Mount Saramati in Kiphire district. Meluri is also on the Indo-Myanmar trade center at Avankhung. At Avankhung one can see many Myanmarese Nagas coming to buy daily necessities at local shops. This place is famous for the locally made brine salt and the cane furnitures that comes from Reguri village in Nagaland. The Pochury people were adept hunters. One can also find many interesting rock formations in this area.

Places of Interest at Meluri are ~

  • Dzudu Lake at Meluri, Nagaland

  • Zanibu Peak at Meluri, Nagaland

  • Shilloi Lake at Meluri, Nagaland

  • Culture and traditions of the Pochury Tribes of Nagaland at Meluri, Nagaland

11| Peren District Nagaland ~

Peren district in Nagaland is home to the Zeliangrong and the Kuki tribes of Nagaland. Peren district was formed as a result of bifurcation of the Kohima district. Peren district is bounded by the Dimapur and Kohima districts of Nagaland and the States of Assam and Manipur. Peren town is the district headquarters of Peren district and the important towns here are Peren, Talukie and Tening. Peren is also home to the Ntangki National Park of Nagaland which has a varied flora and fauna of the likes of Hoolock gibbon, Golden langur, Hornbill, Python, Sloth bear, etc. Mt Paona is the highest mountain peak of Peren district ad the third highest in Nagaland after the Saramati and Japfu Mountain Peaks.

Places of Interest at Peren are ~

  • Benreu tourist village at Peren, Nagaland

  • Mt. Pauna tourist Village at Peren, Nagaland

  • Ntangki National Park at Peren, Nagaland

  • Culture and traditions of the Zeliangrong and Kuki tribes of Nagaland at Peren, Nagaland​

Nagaland was formally declared as a State of the Indian Union on 1st December, 1963. Nagaland is a hilly State covered with dense forests that is home to varied species of flora and fauna. Meandering rivers flow across the State of Nagaland that provide a water resource to the varied animals and plants in the State of Nagaland. These hills of Nagaland act as natural boundaries of the State and extend to the adjoining States of India and the neighboring countries too. As a natural divide, Nagaland is bounded by the State of Assam in its west, the State of Arunachal Pradesh to its west, Manipur joins Nagaland at its south while the Republic of the Union Myanmar joins Nagaland in the east. Nagaland has divided itself into 11 administrative districts that look after the welfare, social life and economic development of the people in these districts. These districts of Nagaland are – Dimapur, Kohima, Mon, Mokochung, Wokha, Peren, Zunheboto, Kiphire, Longleng, Phek and Tuensang. The State of Nagaland is mostly inhabited by the people of 16 dominant tribes of Nagaland viz. Angami, Chang, Ao, Chakesang, Dimasa Kachari, Konyak, Kuki, Pochury, Phom, Rongmei, Sumi, Zelieng, Yimchungru, Khiamniungan, Sangtam and Rengma. The 16 major tribes are further classified into sub-tribes that bring hue and color to state of Nagaland. While these tribes of Nagaland may be inhabiting the same state but they are very different and distinct from each other in their attire, customs, food habits, culture, language and practices.

The people of Nagaland are extremely talented and have a fine taste of music. This can be closely seen in their traditional festivals which are celebrated by the 16 tribes of Nagaland across the year. Music is the heart and soul of the youth of Nagaland and the music of Nagaland today is a fusion of the days gone by along with modern rock that is very pleasing to the ears of every listener. Numerous cafes across the State capital of Kohima and Dimapur are perfect joints in Nagaland where visitors can sit, grab a bite to east and appreciate these well trained and talented artists of Nagaland. It can be described that Nagaland is a mystical land of folklore and music that has been passed down across the generations by a way of word of mouth.

We welcome you to the Switzerland of the East, the Land of Festivals, the Land of the Legendary Warrior and Head Hunting Tribes at the districts of Mon, Mokochung, Dzuleke, Benreu, Touphema, Kohima, Khonoma and Dimapur, the State of Nagaland, Incredible India!

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