Official seal of the Government of Nagaland.
Nagaland is bordered by Assam, Burma, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur in north-east India. It is one of India’s smallest states with a total area of less than 17 000 square kilometres and its capital city is Kohima. It is known for its many mountains, its evergreen forests and the beautiful array of birds, animals and plants that inhabit these areas. Nagaland was once occupied by ancient Indian tribes. In the past, and even today, the Naga people have strong links with the Assamese. Burma took control in 1816 and Britain gradually took over until all of Nagaland was under their governmental power by 1892. Under English rule, Nagaland was incorporated into Assam.
However, the British also introduced various aspects of their culture and customs, one of the most significant of which was Christianity. Mission stations were built throughout India with the aim of educating the local tribes about the Bible. It was only at the beginning of the 20th century that Naga people began to recognise the possibility of independence from foreign rule. From this time they fought for such autonomy until 1947, when the subcontinent was declared independent from the Crown. Official India statehood was granted to Nagaland in 1963.
The mountains of Nagaland tower over the Brahmaputra Valley and reach heights of about 2000 metres above sea level. The state is also criss-crossed by webs of rivers and streams that feed the vegetation and assist with agricultural irrigation. The evergreen forests are lush and are used for the production of mahogany, bamboo, palms and timber. Some of the local animals that nature-lovers will enjoy spotting include various monkeys, bears and dogs as well as porcupines, pangolins, buffaloes, leopards and the beautiful Asian Elephant. Summer in Nagaland reaches average day time highs of up to 40 degrees Celsius, while winters can plummet to below five degrees.
The culture of Nagaland is defined largely by the customs, rituals and beliefs of the individual tribes. As these ones share the land and resources, they create a mixed melting pot that gives this Indian state its unique and fascinating identity. They are known for their intricate artwork in the form of wood carvings, bamboo items, woven goods and gorgeous shawls. They also use dance and song to tell stories, give praise and celebrate. Each tribe has its own dialect, despite English being the official language. Interestingly, none of the traditional tongues have a written form. This has meant that tales and their unique histories have been conveyed only by word-of-mouth, art and theatre, and not by written accounts.
Since Christianity was introduced by the English, it remains the dominant religion of the area. It has many churches, most of which are Baptist, Roman Catholic, Revivalist and Pentecostal. The minority subscribes to Hindu and Islam.
The state of Nagaland is supported mainly by the farming / agricultural industry. The main crops include millet, rice, tobacco, corn, pulses, potatoes and sugar cane. Unfortunately, it does not produce enough of the staple food crops to support its community and still relies heavily on imported foodstuffs. Other industries that sustain the Nagas include pottery, woodwork and weaving.
Tourism also acts as an important source of income for the locals, and visitors are advised to explore:
• The Kohima Village
• The World War II Cemetery
• The Shangnyu Village
• Japfu Peak
• The Nagaland State Museum
• The Dzukou Valley
• The Intangki Wildlife Sanctuary
• The Fakim Sanctuary
For more information, please view: https://tourism.nagaland.gov.in/