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location_onSTATES AND CITIES

nagaland

Introduction

Nagaland is a north-east Indian state. It is one of India’s smallest states by area.

It is bordered by the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh to its north, Assam to its west, Manipur to its south and the Sagaing Region of the neighbouring country Myanmar to its east.

Nagaland’s state flower is Rhododendron – a flower that blooms in this region between late winters to early spring. The state also has a “state animal” – the Mithun Bison (a gigantic bovine that weighs up to 1000kg!) and its own state emblem with a picture of this official animal, with its motto “Unity”. The people of Nagaland are called as “Nagas”.

Nagaland has many peaceful as well as peppy attractions – most of which are close to nature of part of the state’s heritage, history and culture. Some places to see in Nagaland are:

  • Naga Heritage village (a well-maintained little village that offers a peek into the heritage, traditions and culture of Nagas).
  • Dimapur – Nagaland’s largest and most populous town.
  • Mokokchung – A vibrant town in Nagaland filled with heritage sites, and a prominent urban centre in the state (Home to the Ao Naga – a cultural group of people who live here).
  • Kohima War Cemetery – A burial ground having the graves of soldiers who died fighting for the country and the state against the invasion of the Japanese.
  • Dzukou Valley – A beautiful picturesque valley, full of greenery and blooms of exotic lilies.

Nagaland also has many flea markets, traditional bazaars (street shops) and little malls and shopping complexes (like - Hongkong Market, Naga Bazaar, CBZZ complex, Tibetan flea market) for people to indulge in souvenir shopping.

For adventure enthusiasts, Nagaland offers incredible experiences such as trekking, mountain biking, camping. It also has many places where people can do fishing (especially for Trouts and Salmons).

History

During World war 2, in 1944 (when India was being ruled by the British), Japanese attacked Kohima and some neighbouring regions and attempted to capture Naga Hills, but were defeated by the Indian and British troops.

From 1929 to 1935, Nagas were under a 'self-rule' based on the traditional territorial definition. From 1935 to 1945, the Nagas were requesting for autonomy within Assam, and eventually made a part of Assam Province in British India.

Post-independence from the British July 1960, a discussion happened between the then Prime Minister of India Nehru and the leaders of the Naga People Convention (NPC) since 1957, an agreement was signed under which area of the Nagas was carved out from Assam Province, and the newly formed region called Nagaland was declared a a full-fledged state of India.

Cities

Nagaland's capital city is Kohima and its largest city is Dimapur. The state has a total of 90 towns and cities, divided into 12 districts.

Other cities and towns in Nagaland include: Mokokchung, Wokha, Tuensang, Phek, Khonoma, Zunheboto, Peren, Zakhama.

People

Nagaland has around 2.2 million (22 Lakhs) local residents. A large percentage of them follow Christianity (above 88%) – it is known to be the only predominantly Baptist state in the world.

Nagaland’s people are also known as the Nagas. They are divided into various tribal groups…and have a cultural diversity, but live peacefully together. They have a friendly nature that makes visitors feel instantly welcome.

Culture

Nagaland, though a small state, has a rich heritage and diverse culture.

The state is home to almost 16 chief tribal groups speaking multiple dialects, and is vibrant and colourful especially during the times when the festivals of these tribes are celebrated here. Some prominent tribal festivals of Nagaland include:

  • Hornbill festival – Between December 1 to December 10, in Kohima (This is the most popular festival of Nagaland)
  • Sekrenyi – Between February 25 to March 5, in Kohima
  • Tsukheneye– Second week of January every year, in Phek
  • Aoleang – Between April 1 to April 6, in Mon district
  • Mimkut – January 17, in Peren District
  • Tuluni – First week of July, in Zunheboto

All tribal festivals are celebrated enthusiastically in Nagaland, and the state is a feast to the eyes if visited during any of these times.

Language

Indian English is the official language of Nagaland and is the medium for education here. Apart from this, a local language Nagamese and Assamese are also spoken in different dialects across the state.

Food

Nagaland’s cuisine, also known as “Naga cuisine” mainly uses meat, fish, and fermented products, and a special hot red chilli (pepper) known as “Bhut Jolokia” (translates to “ghost pepper”) which is one of the hottest peppers in the world!

Some dishes from Naga cuisine that are worth trying are:

  • Akhuni or Axone (Powdered fermented Soyabeans that are generally used in making curries with pork or beef)
  • Amrusu (a dish made with ground rice, chicken, and bamboo shoots)
  • A boiled mixed vegetables salad (comprising of cabbage, beans, bitter melons, and so on)
  • Bamboo steamed fish
  • Akini Chokibo – A dish of paddy field snails cooked with grounded Perilla seeds or Akini (black sesame-like seeds found in North-east India)

Travel/Transportation

The major modes of inter-city transportation within Nagaland are Trains and Buses and for inter-state and for abroad travel, the state has domestic as well as international airports connecting to cities in other states and countries. For travel within cities, there are many other modes such as rickshaws, buses, and private vehicles like 2-wheelers and cars, or even walking.

Airports – Nagaland has just one airport – a domestic airport, connecting to cities in other states in the country.

  • Dimapur Airport, Dimapur

Nagaland has 4 train terminals or stations from where trains to various cities, towns and villages within the state or surrounding states can be boarded -

  • Dimapur Railway station, Dimapur
  • Dhansiri Railway station, Dhansiri
  • Rangapahar Railway station, Rangapahar crossing

Attractions

Nagaland has many peaceful as well as peppy attractions – most of which are close to nature of part of the state’s heritage, history and culture. Some places to see in Nagaland are:

  • Naga Heritage village (a well-maintained little village that offers a peek into the heritage, traditions and culture of Nagas).
  • Dimapur – Nagaland’s largest and most populous town.
  • Mokokchung – A vibrant town in Nagaland filled with heritage sites, and a prominent urban centre in the state (Home to the Ao Naga – a cultural group of people who live here).
  • Kohima War Cemetery – A burial ground having the graves of soldiers who died fighting for the country and the state against the invasion of the Japanese.
  • Dzukou Valley – A beautiful picturesque valley, full of greenery and blooms of exotic lilies.

WEEKEND GETAWAYS

These are some places in Nagaland which are great for a short getaway during weekends or small holidays, to spend some peaceful time and do fun and interesting things –

  • Mokokchung (things to see – Longkhum, Ungma Village, Langpangkong Caves)
  • Tuensang (things to see – Noklak, Longtrok, Changsangmongko)
  • Mon (things to see – Veda Peak, Chenloisho village)

ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES

Nagaland offers some exciting adventure experiences for the adrenaline junkies. Some incredible and adventurous things to do in Nagaland include –

  • Trekking (Dzukou Valley, Mount Saramati)
  • Wildlife safari (in Ntangki National Park)
  • Camping under stars (at Kohima Mountains)
  • Mountain Biking (through Rain Forest Trail)

HISTORICAL PLACES

Nagaland also has some incredible places of historical significance and architectural beauty, such as -

  • Kisama Heritage Village
  • Nagaland state museum
  • Touphema Village 
  • Kachari Ruins (Archaeological ruins)
  • Mon (Tribal heritage spots)