The sixteen (16) tribes of Nagaland (which include the Angami Rengma, Ao, Konyak, Wanchu, Sema and Lotha) were once headhunters. Naga warriors collected heads during raids. The custom was linked to the beliefs that the soul can only be released when the head is severed and in the ability to get good harvest if the heads collected are plentiful.
After encountering the Nagas in 1832, the British managed to crush them with difficulty only in 1879.
The Nagas campaigned for independence thus the British left them behind . They were, however, subsequently absorbed by India.
Various rebel groups including the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) has been waging a war against the state and Indian governments. There are clashes also between Indian and Burmese forces in the border.
As an offshoot of these unstable situations, travel permit is confined to Kohima, Dimapur, Wokha and Mokokehung. Registration must be done upon arrival.
Kohima is where the Japanese advance into India was halted in April 1944. To commemorate, the Kohima War Cemetery was established.
The gateway by air is Dimapur. We thereafter proceeded to Kohima which was eighty four (84) kilometers towards southwest of Nagaland.
We visited many villages including the Kohima, Angami Village, Khonoma, Tuophema – Moponchukit.
Khonoma appears the most impressive with miles and miles of rice terraces with cluster of houses with green roofs.
We saw many prehistoric megaliths including the devils megalith. In other places where megaliths exist, they would already be considered as World Heritage Site.
I learned that “mitsu “ (combination of goat and cow) was their national animal and jhun their national plant.
On our way back, we insisted to see Dimapur which has for its highlight big decorated phallic and female reproductive symbols. Historically, the people that dominates the area was the Katchari Tribe.
I am interested to go back during the first week of December where the different tribes would meet at Kohima for tribal festivals. They would presumptively bring along their respective artifacts and handicrafts where my interest lies.