When I planned my first Nagaland visit, at that time many people gave me a lot of advice. Like Nagaland is not a safe state. Nagas are not ordinary people like us. Naga cuisine is very bad, even they eat dog and sometimes human also. Culturally they are wild. Nagaland does not have law and order. The most ridiculous part was these people never been in Nagaland.
So I asked to my those well-wishers one simple question. ‘HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN NAGALAND’. They confidently answered, “No, we hear all sort of stories”.I understood that these are popular believes about the beautiful Indian state NAGALAND. When we think about Nagaland, we tend to think about negative things only. As nobody has told them the positive story of this state. The believes are mostly like ghost stories. Nobody has seen it but heard a lot about it. So today I’m excited to give you a glimpse of what I had experienced in the beautiful state.
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My First Visit
I visited Nagaland in 2019, December, for the great Hornbill festival . And trust me, Nagaland is extremely safe, like any other cities of India, with the most friendly people I’ve ever met. They went out of their ways to ensure my safety and a good time. Until you visit the state you will never know what was missing in your life. So make your first move.
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my top 5 favorite things about NAGALAND
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I interacted with as many locals as I could. And not once on any occasion, I was disrespected or even looked funny or disappointed. I was invited dozens of times by the locals into their houses for a cup of naga tea or rice beers and even been offered a bed to sleep in. I accepted the offer and stayed there with one of them for 4 days. They prepared food for me, even they gave me a tour in Kohima city and nearby cities. And believe me, I was feeling so ashamed as they were not letting me pay a single penny for anything. I was trying to pay them for their hospitality, on the other hand, all they care about their hospitality. Such a difference. They truly believe that the guest is The God. I made many good friends at the Hornbill festival, and I can’t wait to go back and visit them all someday soon. All over Nagaland people are very friendly and helpful. They are also very colour full and concern about the tourist.
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The Hornbill festival
The ‘Hornbill Festival’ is held every year from December 1 to 10 at the Kisama village. More than 2.39 lakh people witness Nagaland’s annual cultural function. The festival was conceptualized to showcase Naga culture, traditional and contemporary, in the spirit of unity in diversity. The 10-days cultural extravaganza celebrating the age-old traditions of the 16 tribes of Nagaland through art, dance, music and obesely food. Since its inception in the year 2000, it has brought about radical changes in the tourism scenario of the state. This colour full festival is connected Nagaland to all over the world.
Nagaland is an unexplored beauty. Nagaland is also a place of abundant beauty evident in its mystifying hills and valleys spread everywhere. A land engulfed in mystery, inhabited by vibrant people zealously guarding their culture – dancer, warriors head hunters mountain, valleys, forests, all these from the portrait of Nagaland the moment the word is uttered. The cultural and the scenic merge is the main quintessence of this place. This is the land of Colour, rituals and festival. The untouched beauty of tribal history and customs is the added grandeur of this state. The river Doyang and Diphu pass through the place and create a mesmerising effect with the amalgamation with the hills. Nagaland has come a long way over the year and etched a name for itself in the world’s tourist destination map. So don’t listen to people about Nagaland, just listen to your soul.
We are always curious about naga cuisine. As per popular belief, we think naga people eat almost every eatable thing which actually they do. But every community and culture have their own survival struggle. History will tell us many incidents like this. When people are out of food, then they used to hunt everything to eat. Nagaland is not the exception. Naga people geographically and economically went through such time, which made a diverse change in their food habits. There are sixteen main tribes in Nagaland, each with similar yet unique traditions and practices. While food from each tribe overlaps, there are also certain dishes that are specifically known from a certain tribe. Rice, pork, chicken, dog, insects and worms, vegetables, and famous chilli sauces are essential in the Naga diet. For real Naga food, it’s best to eat it at someone’s home. A normal Naga food meal would include rice, some kind of meat either dry or gravy, pork with bamboo shoots, boiled vegetables, and spicy chilli sauces.
During the Hornbill festival, I had seen people all over the world enjoying authentic naga food like dried Pork, smoked pork stew, Nagaland pork w/dry Bamboo Shoots, Bamboo Steamed Fish and Roasted Intestines and Boiled Vegetables. And The rice beer is the topmost booze in Nagaland. Any house party to all over the hornbill festival the only drink you got this is rice beer. Naga people call Zutho.
The Falcon Capital of The World, Nagaland supports a flamboyant tribal culture which leaves anybody visiting the place amazed and dazzled. Nagaland has an ancient history of tribes whose count sums to be as much as 66 including the sub-tribes. Out of these, 16 are considered as major tribes. With a difference in language, all tribes have a similar leafy dress code, eating habits and traditional laws. Nagas are mostly Christians. The state is regarded as the most Baptist state in the world as 75% of it is dominated by them. Soft-heartedness and hospitality of Nagas leave anyone visiting the place astounded. They have a zest for life and are very exuberant when it comes to celebrating festivals or any other day of equal significance.
But naga people like western cultures very much. They like any kind of music but they like most western music. It made me feel sometimes that I was in China or Japan. In my eye, Nagaland is one of the beautiful places in India though it’s little neglected. But this land is pure gold.
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