- Tribes – 16 recognised tribes with sub-tribes, each with their own distinctive culture
- Festivals – 16 recognised tribes, each of whom follow their own annual calendar of festivals!
- History – Explore Kohima, known for its role in World War II
- Textiles, jewellery and bamboo crafts
- Music – traditional and western
- Dzukou Valley and its landscape of flowers
Often described as the land of festivals, Nagaland is home to 16 officially recognised tribes and sub-tribes, each with distinctive costumes, headgear and jewellery. Each tribe also has their own agrarian calendar of festivals. It is said that no matter which month you visit, there will always be a reason to celebrate.
But the mother of all festivals is the 10-day Hornbill Festival held in December. Here, members of all the Naga tribes congregate to put up cultural performances, indigenous games, a crafts bazaar, musical events and more.
For history buffs, there is also a World War II Museum that houses relics from the 1944 Battle of Kohima, which put Nagaland on the global map for the first time. An inner line permit is required to visit this state and an accompanying guide is recommended.
The craft culture of Nagaland is one of the best known in the northeastern region. The region harbours a fine weaving tradition. It is an inherited art form with traditional meanings attached to both the practice and the intricate motifs, patterns and colours – their combinations depict the status of the person wearing it as well as the identity of a tribe.
The International Loinloom Festival takes place in December in the craft village of Diezephe in Dimapur district. It is a two-day global event that was started to platform indigenous weaving tradition and protecting them with intellectual property rights laws. The other craft forms proliferating in the state are cane and bamboo, pottery, wood-carving and metal works.
Music is another important aspect of Naga culture and identity. Traditional folks songs revolve around the themes of romance, courage, bravery and wars. The Hereileu song is a war song that narrates the achievements from the battlefields. The people play instruments like the ‘theku’, ‘petu’, trumpets and many other string instruments. Naga youngsters are music enthusiasts and are quite active in the contemporary independent music scene. The Tetsuo Sisters, for instance, is a well-known brand comprising of four sisters who are bridging the gap between folk and contemporary music.
Naga cuisine is gaining popularity in the country and we can arrange meals in private homes along with visits to the local markets which can be quite an eye opener. Not for the fainthearted!