Nagaland was quite honestly like no where else I had ever visited in India, or even travelled before. It was like going back in time to a place before wifi, before the 21st century, a real adventure I could sink my teeth into.
Like most places in North East India, I didn’t really know what to expect, the guide book are always years out of date. But, as the concrete building from Assam turned into gateways with buffalo and Mithoon skulls before every village and thatched bamboo huts; I was getting a pretty good picture.
Little did I know, as my bumpy bus meandered through the state of Nagaland, that I was going to enter my biggest and most challenging adventure of all.
Here I met head hunters with facial tattoos, chief tribal kings who smoked opium all day, listened to Christian hymns float through the air, camped out for Hornbill festival and stayed in Longwa, a village which was as remote as you could get on the border of Myanmar.
It frightened and fascinated me at the same time and ultimately, I fell in love with the culture of Nagaland. I would encourage all travellers who are heading to the North East of India to experience it. It really is like no other place. It will steal your heart, chew it up and spit it out all at once but you’ll love it all the same.
Here’s the photos from Nagaland that will blow your mind; book a ticket and don’t look back!
For some context, please read my other honest and informative articles on Nagaland;
I would highly recommend reading travel blogs for planning your trip for Nagaland and the rest of North East India (there are plenty on my blog) as official guide books, even the holy grail of Lonely Planet, are four years out of date;
- The ultimate 2018 guide for Hornbill Festival; discover the tribes of Nagaland!
- A kick ass photographers guide to Hornbill Festival – 12 tips to get the best shots!
- the 19 little known tips about Hornbill Festival you need to know
- An essential guide to Longwa in Nagaland: Home of the last surviving head hunters
- 11 fail safe tips for meeting the head hunters of Mon in Nagaland
- 16 tips I wish I knew before visiting Longwa in Nagaland
So, if you’re ready, let’s go!
An ex Konyak head hunter in Longwa, Mon.
A view of Longwa from the ‘big tree’ point.
A warrior at Hornbill festival, keeping warm in the sun
Buffalo skulls – these were hanging on the Angh’s throughout Nagaland.
Waiting for the VIP to arrive in the showground at Hornbill Festival
A view of Longwa from the Myanmar border point
Meeting my tour guide’s father in his hut, although not a head hunter, he gained his fact tattoos after battle. Konyak tribes used to have face tattoos after their first battle as a sign of becoming a man.
Meeting the locals at Hornbill Festival
…and again but this time coming face to face with an ex head hunter in Longwa
More face tattoos in Longwa
The most perfect sunrise in Mon, Nagaland
Performing a traditional warrior dance in the showground of Hornbill festival
Making the most of some downtime at Hornbill Festival
A Phom tribe member, showing off on stilts at Hornbill Festival
A great example of the face and body tattoos in Longwa, Nagaland
Relaxing at my favourite viewpoint in Longwa
Taking a stroll to the abandoned Angh’s (houses) of Longwa. Most had skulls hanging on the outside. The buffalo and mithoon skulls were all the trophies of the tribesman that killed them…by hand.
Beautiful ladies in traditional dress at Hornbill Festival
A cheeky Konyak tribe member at Hornbill Festival
Despite the intimidating look, the head hunters were very friendly! They would ask questions about me through my guide and were very welcoming…when my guide was there. I would highly recommend hiring a guide if you do venture to Longwa. More details on this here.