Tribes of Nagaland

The State of Nagaland in addition to being blessed with abundant resources of Mother Nature is also a State with a rich heritage and diverse culture. The indigenous people or the legendary Tribes of Nagaland have practiced and preserved their rituals and practices from times immemorial and once you travel across the local villages of Nagaland the culture and heritage of these Naga Tribes will leave any visitor enthralled! From their traditional festivals, unique attire, food habits, customary head gears, practices of livelihood, etc. the indigenous tribes of Nagaland have certain distinct features which separates them from the other tribes of North East India characterized by their strong warrior traditions. These tribes of Nagaland give the State its true identity which still remains an undiscovered part of India. A State with people belonging to warrior clans yet friendly and soulful that they greet each visitor with a warm smile and surely offer a mug of Rice Beer!

The Nagas were true warriors who fought and defended their land against all invasions proving that loyalty was in the blood of the people of Nagaland. Belonging to several clans, the Nagas defended their own clan with heir own blood. The practice of Head Hunting was prevalent among the Nagas wherein during battles with other clans, the warrior used to chop off the heads of the opposing warrior and bring it back to the local village to be kept at the village Morung. Later they would adorn these skulls as a mark of their bravery and the warrior with the largest collection of skull was generally considered the most powerful warrior of the village. Among the Konyak tribes of Nagaland, they would be awarded with customary tattoos on their faces marking their bravery and hard earned feats.

Each of these tribes of Nagaland can be distinguished with their attire. These tribes have their own distinct attire with a signature Head Gear and custom Jewelries. The Konyaks of Nagaland can be most easily identified with their facial tattoos. Each tribe of Nagaland have their own traditional harvest festival that is celebrated with great pomp and vigor. In order to witness the rich culture and heritage of all the 16 tribes of Nagaland under one common roof one can visit the ‘Festival of Festivals’ – the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland held every year in December whre the tribes of Nagaland conglomerate to exhibit their culture and traditional practices at the Naga Heritage Village of Kisama, Kohima, Nagaland, India!

The Major Tribes of Nagaland are ~

1| The Angami Naga Tribe of Nagaland

The Angamis are a major Naga ethnic group of Nagaland and inhabit the Dimpaur and Kohima town of Nagaland. The Angamis form one of the largest tribal populations of the State of Nagaland. The Angami Nagaas are traditionally warriors and belonged to the Head Hunting community of earlier Nagaland. The Angamis  of Nagaland practice Christianity as their faith. The Angamis of Dimapur and Kohima have adopted a modern way of living and occupy offices across the Government of Nagaland.

The primary festival celebrated by the Angami tribe of Nagaland is the Sekrenyi. A 10 day long festival of feasting and merriment, the Sekrenyi festival takes place after harvest and falls on the 25th day of the month of January/February. Festivities include singing, dancing and hunting. Rice Beer and meat form a part oft the cuisine during the festivities.

2| The Ao Naga Tribe of Nagaland

​The Aos are another major Naga tribe of Nagaland. The Ao Nagas inhabit the Mokokchung district of Nagaland and are believed to be the first tribes of Naglaand to embrace Christianity as their religion. The Ao Nagas are primarily dependent on agriculture as their primary occupation. Similar to the Angamis, the Aos also occupy major offices in the Government of Nagaland. The Aos celebrate many festivals across the year most revolving around the harvest season.

Moatsu Mong is the major festival celebrated by the Ao tribes of Nagaland, celebrated in the month of May every year, Moatsu Mong is a festival full of merry making and fun marked by peppy song and dance numbers.

3| The Konyak Naga Tribe of Nagaland

​​The Konyaks have the largest population among the Naga tribes of Nagaland. The Konyaks of Nagaland inhabit the Mon district of Nagaland and were known to be the fiercest head hunting tribes among the Nagas at par with the Sumi Nagas. In the practice os head hunting, the Konyaks often attacked nearby villages of the other tribes and took the heads of he oposing warriors as trophies to hang in a communal house. The more number of heads indicated better the power. The Konyaks is one of the richest culture among all the North East Indian Tribes. The Konyak Nagas are characterized by their tattoos which they have over their faces and hands. These tattoos were carved as a symbol of taking an enemy’s head.

The principal festival of the Konyak tribe of Nagaland is known as Aoleang and is celebrated every year in the month of April. Aoleang marks the end of the Konyak calendar year and beginning of a new year. Spread across six days of festivity, the Konyaks celebrate Aoleang with great pomp and visor. Aoleang showcases the rich culture and heritage of the Konyaks of Nagaland and aims to promote peace, culture and progress.

4| The Sumi Naga Tribe of Nagaland

With a population of over 300,000 the Sumi Nagas are another major Naga tribe of Nagaland. The Sumi Nagas mostly inhabit the Zunheboto district of Nagaland along with Dimapur, Kohima, Wokha and Mokokchung districts. Sumi Nagas also inhabit a major part in the district of Tinsukia in Assam. The Lalpahar Sumi Naga village at Tipong is one of the primary settlements of the Sumi Nagas in Assam and outside of Nagaland. The Sumi Nagas like other Naga tribes practiced head hunting and were considered the most feared head hunting tribe of Nagaland. The Sumi Nagas practice Christianity as their faith.

Two popular festivals of the Sumi Nagas are (i) Tuluni and (ii) Ahuna. Both these are based on the harvest seasons. Tuluni is celebrated in the month of July to mark a bountiful harvest while Ahuna is celebrated in the month of November marking the post harvest season and marks a time when all food items, grain and vegetables from a year long farming are collected and stored in the granary.

​5| The Pochury Naga Tribe of Nagaland

Pochury is a Naga tribe of Nagaland inhabiting the Phek district of Nagaland. The Pochury Nagas are a composite tribe formed by three Naga communities viz. Kopu, Kunchu and Khuri. The Pochury Nagas are basically an agrarian community and are dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry. The Pochury Nagas also practice hunting and fishing as their major occupations.

The major festival celebrated by the Pochury Nagas is the Yemshni which is their annual traditional festival. Other traditional festival of the Pochury Nagas is the Nazu. Being Christians the Pochury Nagas celebrate Christmas every year.

6| The Phom Naga Tribe of Nagaland

The Phom Nagas inhabit the State of Nagaland and their territory lies between the Konyaks, Aos and the Changs. The Phom Nagas have a major population in the village of Yongnyeh in Nagaland.

The Phom Nagas are engaged in agriculture as their primary occupation and they practice jhum cultivation. The Phom Nagas are also good at pottery, spinning and bamboo handicrafts.

The major festival celebrated by the Phom tibe of Nagaland is the Mohu. Other important Phom Naga tribe festivals are Moha, Bongrum and Paangmo.

7| The Chang Naga Tribe of Nagaland

The Changs are a tribe of Nagaland inhabiting the Tuensang district of Nagaland. Their primary settlement is to be found at Mozungjami village of Tuensang.

The Chang Nagas are mostly Christians. THe Chang nagascelebrae six major festivals namely Naknyu lem, Po-anglum, Jeinyu lem, Muong lem, Monyu lem and Kundang lem.

8| The Rengma Naga Tribe of Nagaland

The Rengma tribe of Nagaland inhabit the region of Tseminyu in Nagaland. The Rengmas have a total population of around 56,000 and are spread across the State of Nagaland and Assam. The Rengma Nagas are believed to have immigrated from the Yunan province of China. The Rengmas of Nagaland are expert in terrace cultivation.

The most important festival of the Rengma Nagas is the Ngada. The Ngada is a harvest festival celebrated in the month of November. The festivities include singing and dancing and consuming rice beer.

9| The Zeliangrong Naga Tribe of Nagaland

The Zeliangrong tribe of Nagaland is a combined group of the Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei tribes of Nagaland. The Zeliangrong tribes inhabit the Peren district of Nagaland and also the cities of Dimapur and Kohima. The population of the Zeliangrong also extend to the North Cachar Hills of Assam and in parts of Manipur. The Zeliangrongs have a population of around 450,000 making them one of the large group of ethnic Naga tribes.

The most important festivals of the Zeliangrong tribes of Nagaland are the Chagaa and the Hega N’gi.

10| The Mao Naga Tribe of Nagaland

The Mao Nagas are spread across the States of Nagaland, Manipur extending upto the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The Mao Nagas often refer themselves as the Meimei tribe.

The most important festival celebrated by the Mao Naga tribe of Nagaland is the festival of Chiithuni.

11| The Maram Naga Tribe of Nagaland

Known for their rich cultural heritage the Maram Naga tribe of Nagaland inhabit the villages around the Maram area in Nagaland. The Maram Nagas have a total population of around 37,000 making them one of the minority Naga tribes. The Marams of Nagaland speak the Maram language. The Maram Naga tribes of Nagaland are known for their practice of wet rice cultivation on the terraces of the hill slopes.

The most important festival of the Maram Naga tribes of Nagaland based on harvest seasons are the Ponghi, Mangkang and the Kanghi festivals.

12| The Yimchunger Naga Tribe of Nagaland

The Yimchunger tribe of Nagaland inhabit the Tuensang district of Nagaland. Having a rich cultural heritage the traditions and customs of the Yimchunger tribe of Nagaland have been able to grab a lot of tourist attraction and their rituals are a prime attraction at the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland.

The most important harvest festival of the Yimchunger tribe of Nagaland is the Metemneo festival celebrated in the month of November every year.

13| The Khiamniungan Naga Tribe of Nagaland

The Khiamniungan Nagas are a minority tribal group of Nagaland inhabiting the Tuensang district of Nagaland.

The important festivals of the Khiamniungan tribe of Nagaland are the Miu festival and the Tsokum festival.

14| The Sangtam Naga Tribe of Nagaland

The Sangtam Nagas are another major tribe of Nagaland inhabiting the Tuensang and Kiphire districts of Nagaland. There are a total of around 62 Sangtam Naga villages in Nagaland. The Sangtam Nagas are expert in the Jhum or shifting cultivation.

The Sangtam Nagas celebrate around twelve festivals in a year with the most important being the Amongmong festival.

15| The Lotha Naga Tribe of Nagaland

The Lotha Nagas are an important Naga tribe inhabiting the Wokha district of Nagaland. Believed to have immigrated from Eastern China and settled near the Wotha area of Nagaland. The total population of the Lotha tribe is around 548,000 making it one among the dominant Naga tribes of Nagaland.

The Lothas like the other Naga tribes also practiced Head Hunting. The Lothas today are renowned for their colorful dances and folk songs. The primary festival celebrated by the Lotha tribes of Nagaland is the Toko Emong celebrated for nine days in the month of November.

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