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Nagaland – Adventures in the Land of Nagas (Part 1)

SubscribeFiled Under: India,by Bhakti

Exploring Nagaland was like unfolding secret pages of India’s treasure book. It felt like going back ages & watching a live museum in the era of hunting and farming. It was a real discovery of breathtaking and untouched natural beauty, a preview of hidden and unknown Indian traditions, supreme quality of people and their hospitality.

Click for: Part One | Part Two | Part Three

And the adventure begins now...

And the adventure begins now…

It’s a story of travel… a story of memories… a story of adventure and a story of great people. Fifteen unforgettable days of experiences, shocks, surprises and thrills. They are not soldiers, they are not sports champions, they are not social workers, they are not big, fat, wealthy or rich. They are just common people with uncommon qualities. They are “Nagas”, people with great hearts. The hospitality which we experienced was out of this world. I have never seen so kind and generous people in my life till the time we visited one of the most beautiful states in India, Nagaland – the Land of Nagas.

"Yemshe", traditional harvest festival of Pochury tribe in Meluri

“Yemshe”, traditional harvest festival of Pochury tribe in Meluri

I never thought in my life that I would ever visit Northeastern part of India; rather I was not aware of it. Being born and brought up in a suburb of Mumbai (in Maharashtra State), usually we think of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu as South Indian; Kullu Manali, Nainital, Rajasthan and Kashmir as North Indian; and Kolkata as our eastern-most tourist destinations. Of course, now a days there are some additions to these places like Ladakh, Chhattisgarh and trips abroad to Bangkok, Malaysia etc. And these are the most common travelling attractions. But thanks to the Internet, social networks and the media that now we are able to know our world more and better.

I don't know where to start and where does it end...

I don’t know where to start and where does it end…

Northeastern states are proudly known as “The Seven Sister States of India”, which comprises of Aasam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and of course Nagaland. Its the left hand of India which is extremely rich in culture and tradition. People in Nagaland proudly say that “We are Nagas”. There are more than 16 languages people speak in Nagaland and “Nagamese” is the main language, but many speak English too, especially in the Capital city of Kohima as 90% of them were converted to Christianity.

Returning to the roots!

Returning to the roots!

Weather forecast, just by experience!

Weather forecast, just by experience!

Visiting Nagaland was like a “dream come true” for us especially for Neeraj. It was totally unknown place for us. We had many questions in mind as to how do we reach there, what would we get to eat, would they understand our language. We had a lot of research to do before stepping in. As we were reaching Nagaland after our 2 months long journey through other states of east India like Orissa, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, we already had a pocket full of experiences with us.

The first and most important step to enter Nagaland was to obtain an “Inner Line Permit” (ILP) i.e. Entry Permit. Many of the Northeastern states have mandated Inner Line Permits for people coming from other states of India and “Restricted Area Permit” for foreigners, without which you are not suppose to stay in those states. In a way its an odd thing for an Indian citizen to get permission to travel in his own country but if you look from state’s point of view, its good to know who is entering their state and how long they are going to stay. I think this is one of the major reasons why these states could preserve their culture and authenticity.

Authentic and Antique

Authentic and Antique

Actually speaking, our Nagaland travel plan had to undergo quite a last minute change. Originally, when we were travelling trough Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, we had planned 5 days of trekking starting in “Tuting”, one of the most remote villages in north Arunachal Pradesh. But due to heavy rains and landslides in that area, the road to Tuting was closed off indefinitely and we had to cut short our Arunachal trip and that was the time when we decided to trek in Nagaland to see “Mount Saramati”, the highest peak of Nagaland. And then we started calculating days and places we need to stay in Nagaland to cover Kohima (Capital) and approximate days for round trip to Mt. Saramati in Kiphre district so that we can write “Days of Stay and Places to see” in our Inner Line Permit application.

One of Neeraj’s friends Harsha and his wife, Shubha also joined us in Guwahati for our Nagaland expedition. I was very happy that after so many days our “two wheeler” wandering finally shifted to “four wheels” and the four of us started an adventurous ride to explore the holy land of Nagas.

Dimapur is one of the cities in Nagaland bordering Assam from where ILP permits can be obtained. We took a train from Guwahati to Dimapur; it was around 7-8 hours journey. By the time we reached Dimapur, it was already dark.

60 years back, it used to be a real human head!

60 years back, it used to be a real human head!

To be continued…  Click here for Part Two.


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