Tucked away in the extreme north-east of India lies the small state of Nagaland. On the border with Myanmar, and not a million miles away from China, Nagaland has a unique culture, unusual traditions, different cuisine and language and extraordinarily beautiful people. This truly is India's final frontier. This fascinating itinerary combines a visit to Nagaland with the neighbouring state of Assam.
- Spend time discovering the historic district of Mokokchung – the land of the Ao Nagas Tribe
- Walk the streets of Mon and discover market stalls selling the fiery Naga King chilli, fire-blackened rats, grubs, and frogs!
- Kohima, the state capital, is home to one of the most important battles of World War II
When staying in Jorhat visit Majuli Island, situated on the mighty Brahmaputra river and reached only by public ferry boats. The island is home to the Mishing Villages which are built high on stilts, the residents here are often potters or mask makers and both practices can be seen during your visit. The monasteries on the island are home to practising monks. Take a bike ride to the Auniati satra, established in 1653 AD, which accommodates more than 400 bachelor monks.
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga in North East India is a stunning park with a great conservation success story for the Indian one-horned rhinoceros. The park also provides shelter to a variety of other wildlife including tiger, wild elephant, leopard, jungle cat and otter. Three safaris have been arranged in the park during your stay. You will also visit a traditional Assamese silk weaving cooperative where it is also possible to have a delicious home-cooked lunch.
Mon and the Konyak Tribes
The Assamese ‘carpet road’, so called as it is smooth and pothole free, stops at the Nagaland border post and so too does the tarmac. From here, the road journey to Mon will be on dusty pot-holed roads where 100km can take eight hours. Roads that are ravaged every monsoon and destroyed by landslides. The vast tea estates of Assam thin as the road climbs. The plains give way to the densely forested Naga Hills where hornbills flit between the trees and sixteen different feared and misunderstood tribes live in wood and thatch huts. This is where the headhunting tattooed tribes of the Konyak Nagas call home.
In the remote district of Mon there is the opportunity to meet the village elders who wear tattoos on their faces and torso, boar’s tooth necklaces, and elaborate headdress. You will also get to meet the Angh (chief) and listen to the stories of the headhunting days. The Konyaks believe, as do other tribes in Nagaland, that the soul of a person is contained in the head. The only way to exact revenge on an enemy is to take their head as a trophy.
What type of accommodation can I expect?
In a nutshell, simple.
Vinngoi Inn, used as a base whilst in Mon, is straightforward but charming. Five little cottages, a small garden, and a dining room.
Mokokchung provides a good base to explore the Ao villages where you can still see the traditional Naga Morung. We use the best hotel available, which is clean with bright and spacious rooms. Set on a hillside, Whispering Winds offers a peaceful location and amazing views back over town.
Returning to Assam, stay in the delightful Haroocharai Tea Estate run by a tea planter and his family. Expect home-made food, laughter, and a memorable stay.
When visiting Kaziranga stay in the best lodge available which overlooks the national park. Diphlu River Lodge is an intimate lodge and has an incredible team of naturalists, hosts and chefs.
Most tourists who visit Nagaland do so to attend the Hornbill Festival in early December. A few others will trickle through the region at other times of the year. The lesser know Aoling Festival is celebrated annually in the first week in April. Aoling is a celebration of Spring after a tough and rigorous time of seed sowing in the fields. It is a time of hunting, drinking, dance and merrymaking. On display are the fascinating colourful tribal dress, headgear and traditional ornaments. The days are spent singing, dancing, feasting and practising ancient rituals. Also, witness the re-enactment of the Konyak headhunting practice.
Our travel experts at Steppes can arrange a trip to Nagaland to coincide with the festival celebrations or at other times of the year.
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.