Hatu peak in Himachal Pradesh, one of the places connected with also epic literature Ramayana and Mahabharata. Hatu Peak is perhaps one of India’s most scenic destinations. With dense forests dotting the slopes for miles. And tall conifers and oaks standing proud, it presents a breath-taking view to visitant. Situated at an altitude of 12,000 feet above sea level. As the highest point in the entire district of Shimla. You can catch the sights of the thick green cedar and fir shield. For nature lovers, this place will be a fascinating experience. Among trekkers, Hatu Peak is also popular as the lush green alpines sweep across the trail, the views are truly bewitching.
Hatu Peak is located in Narkanda in Shimla district. Another famous religious spot to visit in Hatu Peak at a height of 3400 metres is an ancient Hatu Mata Temple. The distinctive wooden architecture and Chinese-style carvings make it one of its kind. As per popular belief, Hatu Mata is Mandodari, Ravana’s wife herself. Ravan was the great villain of the epic Ramayana.
Also, Its believed to be a place where Mahabharata great heroes, Pandavas cooked their food while they spent their days in exile. Bhim Chullah is believed to be two hearthstones near the temple made by Bhim. You will come across curious mythical stories based on Ramayana and Mahabharata. The location is common among bikers seeking short but exciting hideaways.
If you plan one day for the trek in Hatu peak, then you will get everything in this Himalayan trek. Dark pine forests, mountain range views, enchanting meadows and silence. There are some places where you don’t want to do anything, you just want to sit down and see the views. Such a place where one can get close to nature. About 8 km from Narkanda, and 63 km from Shimla a beautiful road surrounded by pine forest. It is Completely off-road is a pleaser for people, who drive in the mountain. On the Way to the peak from Narkanda, Place has a tea shop where minimal items are available.
The Peak View
When you go towards the view-point you will be amazed by the fascinating view of almost 360-degree snow-clad mountain of Pir Panjal, Dhaula Dhar & Trans Himalayan ranges. This peak is more beautiful during spring and winters. A spiritual place with mesmerizing views all around you, make you feel like staying here for a day spending a night under the stars.
Nagaland is the destination of colours, rituals, and festivals. The diversity of people and tribes, each with their own cultures and heritages, create a year-long atmosphere of celebrations in the state. The most prominent festival is the Hornbill festival. A lot of tourists from all over the world come to this destination to attend this festival.
The dazzling array of ethnic lifestyle opens up fresh insights into a land that has a prism-like beauty. In their festivals, we get to know about their rich culture and tradition. The sixteen tribes of Nagaland hold separate festivals with their culture and lifestyle. In that sense, Nagaland has a festival every month. The tribes in Nagaland have festivals around the elements like the spirits that saunter the villages and forests; the fertility of soil; community bonding; purification and rejuvenation. Nagaland is a perfect destination to explore unknown festivals.
The Sekrenyi festival of the Angami Nagas is their main festival. It is a celebration of purification accompanied by feasting and singing. A highlight of Sekrenyi is the Thekra Hie. Village youth gather and croon the traditional songs throughout for the day.
Aoleang Monyu is an ancient spring festival. Konyaks tribe celebrates this festival in the first week of April. The forefathers of Konyak believed they were direct descendants of Noah. And they have biblical names like Mosa, Kaisa, Aron etc. Added to this, it is believed that they crossed a mythical gate called Alem-kaphan. Which the Konyaks interpret as the gate of the sun. The village heads still use the word “Wang” for themselves which means “the beginning of everything”.
A new year of activities begins with the arrival of spring. Tsukhenye festivals all activities related to sports and entertainment begin after the harvest. The first morning the festival, the village priest sacrifices the first rooster that crows. The menfolk purify themselves by bathing in a designated well. No women are allowed here. After bathing, they invoke God for strength, long life, good harvest etc. Sukrunyi is one of the essential Chakhesang festivals. Girls and boys are consecrated through religious ceremonies and rituals.
The Aos celebrated Moatsu festival after the season of sowing is over. The festival celebrated with vigorous singing and dancing continues the customary practices of making the best rice beer.
Sumis main festival is Tuluni which means rice beer. As the festival sees a lot of consumption of beverages and food during the summer. That’s when the granaries are full and food abundant.
Naknyulem is a festival of bonding through the exchange of gifts and delicacies amongst friends and relatives. Meat, wine and freshly packed bread are abundantly used. Festival run through lots of fun sports and games. For this festival, the Chang decorate their houses with a special kind of tree.
Nagada is an annual celebration of the Rengmas Nagas. It is the festival of thanksgiving and rejoicing. Also, this underscores the end of the agricultural year.
The Sangtams have about twelve festivals spread over the calendar year. All the festivals are connected to food production, blessings, and prosperity. Mongmong is one of the important festivals of the Sangtams. The main feature of the festival is the worship of the God of the house and three cooking stones in the fireplace.
Moneu is a new year festival. And Monyu’s arrival is announced by the beating of log drums with a distinct tune. The features of the festival are men folk showing respect to their married daughters or sisters by offering them specially prepared food and rice beer. This custom reflects the high status of women in a Phom household.
Yemshe is the festival for blessing the upcoming harvest. all the Pochuries celebrate this festival with great pomp and gaiety anticipating a good harvest.
The Lothas celebrates Tokhu Emong once the harvesting is over. And the granaries are full. The entire village participates in the celebrations. The main features of the feast are community songs, dance, feast fun and frolic.
Miu is a bonding festival. The main purpose of Miu is to build and reinforce relations between a maternal uncle and his nephews and nieces.
Kukis celebrates Mimkut, a harvest festival for a week from the 17th day of Kuki month of Tolbol. The village medicine man sacrifices fowls and performs a series of rituals. Because they believe to propitiate the spirit of demon-god during this festival.
The Bushu is a post-harvest festival in January. And Kacharis people generally celebrate it around a full moon night.
The Yimchungers celebrate the Metumniu festival after the millet crop harvested. And Young girls and boys are get engaged during this 5 days long festivals.
Hega is Leliangs matrimonial festival, dedicated to the almighty. It is considered as an auspicious time for young couples to tie the nuptial knot. The festival begins with a variety of programmes and merrymaking.
Celebrate the life
Nagaland is a land of challenges is due to its geographical placement and weather. Most importantly, the tribes know how to take challenges positively and celebrate life. For them, festivals are meant for connecting with the community and thanking nature and God for food and life. This spirit of living is badly missing in the city. Hence once we should go and visit the destination of the festival to learn to celebrate life.
Travel brings surprises with a new trip. Travel teaches me how to earn people. I always get excited before travelling to a new place and rarely fall asleep the night before. Before my trip to Nagaland, I got to hear a lot about the place from known and unknown people. Those were so full of predictions and hallucination that a normal person would drop the idea of visiting Nagaland. But when I finally reached Nagaland, I was overwhelmed to see Naga people’s hospitality.
During a trip, we get to mingle with locals which is vital too. And once we get to mix with them, their culture, their life becomes much easier for us to understand. During my Nagaland trip, I get in touch with some Nagas. We gel very easily, which smoothen my way to understand their culture. I have a lot of stories in this regard, all in all, this blog will not end in one page, it may become a little book. The story I will share here has changed my whole thought about Nagaland and its people.
Hornbill Festival is one of the biggest tribe festivals in Nagaland. More than two lakh people from all over the world come here every year to attend this festival. The main purpose of this festival is to showcase the culture of the sixteen tribes of Nagaland to the whole world through the carnival. And I meet here some local people who are my age. I get a lot of information about Naga culture, Naga food and their daily life from them. They tell me about some authentic naga food and for my first-time experience, they order some of the items too. And no one allows me to pay the bill. The reason for them is simple and straight, they can’t allow their guest to pay for anything.
Life is beautiful not because of the things we see or do. Life is beautiful because of the people we meet. The people of Nagaland have made me feel like family. After our lunch at the Hornbill Festival, they drive me to different places around Kisama village. It turns out to be a special evening for me in Nagaland. I remember the moment when they take me to a hill to have coffee. We sit for a long time there and sing Hindi movie songs with hot coffee. At that moment it feels like I am at home with my people. They all start forcing me to spend my rest days in Nagaland with them in their house and I can no longer stay at my guest house.
They are waiting for me
Next morning a car comes to pick me from my guest house. They talk to the guest house owner and pick me from there. For the next few days, I belong to a Kohima house. I don’t know the name of that place.
From morning to afternoon, we roam around various places in Nagaland. I taste a lot of authentic Naga food, which are not usually found in any restaurant, only made at Naga home. They never miss keeping my only request of one cup tea in the morning. They request their Bengali neighbours for that tea. I don’t know how to say thank you to them. Every night we go to parties at hidden places in Nagaland. One night I pay our food bills secretly. But as they find out, they request me not to insult their culture. I feel ashamed. At that moment I don’t know what to say to them.
On the day of my return, they insist on driving me from Kohima to Dimapur. Kohima to Dimapur it’s around 4hr journey. I can’t let that happen. And somehow I manage to convince them. I already have my bus ticket from Kohima. I still remember when they come to see me off at the bus stand, we all group hugged. They say that next year too they will wait for me.