Tailor-Made Holiday

India - The Headhunters of Nagaland

Travel through Assam and Nagaland - The Land of Tea and Tribes

12 days

from £2,995pp (excluding flights)

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

Assam

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.  

Tribal Festivals

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.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 2995 £ 650
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout
  • Internal flights
  • The services of a private guide for sightseeing
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Compulsory Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities
  • International flights
  • Visa

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly Kolkata to Dimapur

Drive from Dimapur to Kohima (Road Journey)


The private transfer to Kohima will take around 3 hours.


Kohima is the capital of Nagaland. Kohima played a key role in World War II where the Naga tribes fought alongside Allied forces against Japan on the tennis court of the British Deputy Commissioner's house.


Visit the Kohima Museum
The State Museum, located at Bayavu Hill, houses a rare collection of artefacts of each Naga tribe. There are authentic Naga precious stones on display including the most valued and expensive necklaces used by the Nagas.


You will be staying at De Oriental Grand Kohima, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Tribal Villages of Kohima
Visit the local villages of the Nagas with your guide. Kigwema is a quaint old village of the Angami Tribe. In 1944, the Japanese forces came to Kigwema on their way to attack Kohima and were provided shelter by the villagers. Walk through the lanes of the village seeing the traditional houses with their impressive wooden pillars, arriving at a local house to experience the Angami way of life over a cup of traditional tea.


Excursion to Kohima and village Khonoma
Kohima played a key role in World War II, where the Naga tribes fought alongside the Allied forces against Japan on the tennis court of the British Deputy Commissioner's house. Visit the beautiful war cemetery built on a terraced hillside for the brave men that died in the war.


You will be staying at De Oriental Grand Kohima, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Drive from Kohima to Mokukchang


Drive to Mokukchang stopping on the journey for refreshments at Wokha. The journey takes approximately six hours.


Take a stroll around the town this evening


You will be staying at Whispering Winds, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Visit the Tribal villages of Ao Naga and Mopung Chuket
This morning visit Ao Naga Village to see one of the largest log war drums. Continue to Ungma village, the largest of the Ao villages and, according to legend, where the early Ao's first settled. The village is many centuries old and has much folklore, ancient customs and unique traditions. After lunch, travel to the beautiful village of Mopung. It is one of the few villages where you can see traditional Naga Morung - the meeting hall where the males of the village decide on community issues.


You will be staying at Whispering Winds, bed and breakfast

Day 5

A full day drive between Mokukchang to Mon


You will be staying at Vinngoi Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Visit Konyak Tribal Villages
In the morning you will go to the village of Lungwa, situated on the Myanmar border. Here you will visit the Chief's house. The chief has dozens of wives and his house is decorated with trophies of various animal skulls. Experience the traditions and hospitality of the Naga Konyak tribe. After lunch you can explore the surrounding villages.


You will be staying at Vinngoi Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 7

Continue your exploration of the Konyak Villages today. This evening take a walk around Mon Town


You will be staying at Vinngoi Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 8

Drive from Mon to Jorhat


A full day driving today to reach Jorhat. The road journey is approximately eight hours.


You will be staying at Puroni Bheti Lodge, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Majuli Boat Cruise
Drive to Neemati ghat for a one-hour downstream boat cruise to Majuli - the largest inhabited river island in the world and famous for the Vaishnavite Satras, or monasteries. Visit Mishing Village known for the distinct houses raised on platforms. Walk around the village to see all the local life. Visit the house of a mask maker and witness the different processes of this art. Visit the monasteries on the island before having lunch in a local monks house. Return to the mainland by boat.


You will be staying at Puroni Bheti Lodge, bed and breakfast

Day 10

Jorhat to Kaziranga


Transfer to Kaziranga, approximately two hours away.


Kaziranga in North East India is a stunning park with a great conservation success story for the one-horned Indian rhinoceros. Not only the homeland of the Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, the park provides shelter to a variety of wildlife from wild elephant to leopard and otter. A less visited park due to its location, Kaziranga offers those who make the journey a very rewarding experience.


A visit to the Assam Silk Weaving Worshop
Whilst staying in Kaziranga, visit the workshop of the village weavers, an initiative set up by the local village women to create an income for themselves. Here you will see the traditional process of Assam silk weaving. Eat a simple vegetarian meal with the villagers.


You will be staying at Diphlu River Lodge, full board

Day 11

Morning and Afternoon Jeep Safaris
Over the next two days you will have morning and afternoon jeep safaris inside Kaziranga National Park. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, most notably Indian rhinoceros and tigers.


You will be staying at Diphlu River Lodge, full board

Day 12

Morning Elephant Ride
Early this morning travel by elephant into the central range of the Park, which is an ideal way to get really close to rhino and other wildlife. The elephants are only available for limited hours in the early mornings to avoid the heat of the day. The elephants are well rested first thing in the morning. An elephant ride allows you to view rhino, buffalo, hog deer and wild pig from a close range. Elephants are perfect in this environment as they can easily cross tall grass patches and wet muddy ground.

Please note that the Kaziranga elephants are owned and cared for by the Forestry Department to very high standards of animal welfare and are essential in helping conservation efforts in the Park (for more information please speak to your Steppes' Travel Consultant). If you prefer to explore by jeep or on foot, this can be arranged. The elephant safari is an optional experience.

Drive from Kaziranga National Park to Jorhat (Road Journey)


The journey to Jorhat will take approximately three hours.

Fly Jorhat to Delhi


Continue with any onward travel or return flight home today from Delhi airport


Breakfast

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Diphlu River Lodge

Diphlu River Lodge

Nestled on the banks of the Diphlu River, environmentally friendly Diphlu River Lodge is our first-choice when visiting Kaziranga National Park....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

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"It was extremely helpful to work in conjunction with Joe and his much more up to date knowledge of India and arrive at an itinerary which we were happy with. We enjoyed the whole trip and probably what made it special for us was the fact that all the arrangements worked so well and we really didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Even when we decided to make a small change it was dealt with efficiently and promptly. We can't think of anything that would have made our trip more enjoyable."

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"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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