Nagaland at a glance
Nagaland, with its rich cultural heritage and scintillating landscapes, is any traveler’s delight. Old Naga traditional homes have this legacy of storytelling where many of our folktales, folksongs, and stories of our rich culture and tradition have been passed on, from generation to generation.
Our forefathers tilled the land in picturesque terrace fields, overlooking pristine mountains and faraway blue skies. They “hi-hoyed” while working in the fields, in groups or alone; when they sowed paddy on terrace fields; when they harvested them or carried them home in beautifully woven baskets; when they celebrated their numerous festivals or even mourned the death of a loved one.
There still lives a piece of culture in every Naga traditional home and with rich stories etched in every historical place, Nagaland is a paradise unexplored in every sense of the word. It is also popularly known as the ‘land of festivals and every tribal festival is celebrated with pomp and gaiety, adorned with rich and colorful traditional attires.
The most vibrant being the ‘Hornbill Festival’ where the songs of the ancient Nagas echo and its music reverberates in the true spirit of the tribal men. Hornbill Festival, which is annually held from December 1-10 and aptly dubbed as the Festival of Festivals has proved to be one of the rarest kinds in the world.
Every tribe, village, and home in Nagaland will also take you through a fascinating food tour, many of which are exclusive to the land. Rice is the staple food with accompaniments of local flavours cooked with the right blend of local ingredients and spices, ranging from fresh green leaves to edible wild leaves and herbs.
For the young at heart and the adventure lover, there is no dearth of place to go to, in Nagaland. With its inherent beauty of natural resources, Nagaland offers some incredible places to trek for those who are thrilled to scale mountains and view the world from the top, or simply with a desire to explore the woods, the flowers and the wild vegetation.
They say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Maybe, beauty for you is standing by the side of a waterfall and listening to its harmonious sound or walking in the woods and being comforted by the songs that birds sing. Maybe it is making it to a mountaintop or experiencing a traditional rural life in the village, far away from the city. Whatever it is that you look for in a travel, Nagaland offers a fascinating number of places, the memory of which you can take back home.
It is noteworthy that Bamboo has been an indispensable part of the Naga tradition as much as it has been an art for them. Naga people, it is said, have literally done everything with bamboo. Right from meeting their most basic need of shelter, they have used bamboo for several other purposes to meet their everyday needs. A look at the bamboo outlets in the state would bring you in contact with a huge array of items ranging from plates, mugs, spoons, trays, key chains, pens, bags, stands, baskets, flowers, you name it!
The rich textile heritage of Nagaland continues to fascinate people with its colours and meaningful designs. Today, there are both individuals and organisations keeping alive the weaving tradition by passing on the knowledge and helping rural women earn a livelihood out of it.
With music so deeply enrooted in the Naga culture, musicians today have also redefined the traditional folk music of Nagaland. Over the years, many musicians have carved a niche for themselves in this field, creating a vibrant music scene all across the state. On the other hand, the Hornbill Music Festival, which is a special highlight of the famed Hornbill Festival has drawn the interest of close to a million people in the last two decades.
The mushrooming of cafes is towns across Nagaland is a vital sign of the café culture that is growing. Places like Kohima and Dimapur have evolved into a little foodie paradise with the emergence of more and more cafes that are both uplifting and creatively done. It is not just the assortment of niceties that sets these eateries apart but the beverage and the delicious food that go into making them some if the favourite hangout places especially for young people. It is in these cafes that many good things happen as well, apart from sumptuous food, of course. Sometimes, you also spot a new talent be it in the field of music or any other form of art and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now, emerges a whole new generation that has found news ways to harness the Naga culture and tradition. From musicians, who have redefined the folk music of Nagaland to writers transforming the culture of oral literature to written literature; from dancers who are blending their moves with ethnic touch to artists who are capturing the essence of the Naga life through their artworks; from a growing number of young artistes to new-age beatboxers…a blend of young people contributing to a beautiful Nagaland.