Nagaland is a mountainous state in northeast India, bordering Myanmar. It's home to diverse indigenous tribes, with festivals and markets celebrating the different tribes' culture. Its capital city of Kohima suffered heavy fighting in World War II, commemorated by memorials at the Kohima War Cemetery. The Nagaland State Museum exhibits ancient weaponry, a ceremonial drum and other traditional Naga cultural artifacts.
Nagaland is a state in Northeast India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east, and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur. It has an area of 16,579 square kilometres with a population of 1,980,602 per the 2011 Census of India, making it one of the smallest states of India.
Nagaland became the 16th state of India on 1 December 1963. Agriculture is the most important economic activity and the principal crops include rice, corn, millets, pulses, tobacco, oilseeds, sugarcane, potatoes, and fibres. Other significant economic activity includes forestry, tourism, insurance, real estate, and miscellaneous cottage industries.
The state has experienced insurgency as well as inter-ethnic conflict since the 1950s. The violence and insecurity have long limited Nagaland's economic development, because it had to commit its scarce resources on law, order, and security.In the last 15 years, the state has seen less violence and annual economic growth rates nearing 10% on a compounded basis: one of the fastest in the region.
The state is mostly mountainous except those areas bordering Assam valley which comprises 9% of the total area of the state. Mount Saramati is the highest peak at 3,840 metres and its range forms a natural barrier between Nagaland and Burma.It lies between the parallels of 98 and 96 degrees east longitude and 26.6 and 27.4 degrees latitude north. The state is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.
The ancient history of the Nagas is unclear. Tribes migrated at different times, each settling in the northeastern part of present India and establishing their respective sovereign mountain terrains and village-states. There are no records of whether they came from the northern Mongolian region, southeast Asia or southwest China, except that their origins are from the east of India and that historic records show the present-day Naga people settled before the arrival of the Ahoms in 1228 AD.
The origin of the word 'Naga' is also unclear.A popularly accepted, but controversial, view is that it originated from the Burmese word 'naka' or 'naga', meaning people with earrings. Others suggest it means pierced noses.Both naka and naga are pronounced the same way in Burmese.The ancient name of Nagaland is 'Nakanchi' or 'Naganchi', derived from the Naga language.
Before the arrival of European colonialism in South Asia, there had been many wars, persecution and raids from Burma on Naga tribes, Meitei people and others in India's northeast. The invaders came for "head hunting" and to seek wealth and captives from these tribes and ethnic groups. When the British inquired Burmese guides about the people living in northern Himalayas, they were told 'Naka'. This was recorded as 'Naga' and has been in use thereafter.
With the arrival of the British East India Company in the early 19th century, followed by the British Raj, Britain expanded its domain over the whole of South Asia, including the Naga Hills. The first Europeans to enter the hills were Captains Jenkins and Pemberton in 1832. The early contact with the Naga tribes were characterised by suspicion and conflict. The colonial interests in Assam, such as tea estates and other trading posts suffered from raids from tribes who were known for their bravery and "head hunting" practices. To put an end to these raids, the British troops recorded 10 military expeditions between 1839 and 1850.In February 1851, at the bloody battle at Kikr?ma, people died on the British and the Kikr?ma Naga tribe side; in days after the battle, intertribal warfare followed that led to more bloodshed. After that war, the British adopted a policy of respect and non-interference with Naga tribes.
Despite this, between 1851 and 1865, Naga tribes continued to raid the British in Assam. The British India Government, fresh from the shocks of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, reviewed its governance structure throughout South Asia including its northeastern region. In 1866, the British India administration established a post at Samaguting with the explicit goal of ending intertribal warfare and tribal raids on property and personnel.In 1869, Captain Butler was appointed to lead and consolidate the British presence in the Nagaland Hills. In 1878, the headquarters were transferred to Kohima ? creating a city that remains an important centre of administration, commerce and culture for Nagaland.
On 4 October 1879, G.H. Damant (M.A.C.S), a British political agent, went to Khonoma with troops, where he was shot dead with 35 of his team.Kohima was subsequently attacked and the stockade looted. This violence led to a determined effort by the British Raj to return and respond. The subsequent defeat of Khonoma marked the end of serious and persistent hostility in the Naga Hills.
Between 1880 and 1922, the British administration consolidated their position over a large area of the Naga Hills and integrated it into its Assam operations. The British administration enforced the rupee as the currency for economic activity and a system of structured tribal government that was very different than historic social governance practices.These developments triggered profound social changes among the Naga people.
In parallel, since the mid-19th century, Christian missionaries from the United States and Europe, stationed in India,reached into Nagaland and neighbouring states, converting Nagaland's Naga tribes from animism to Christianity.
Language And Culture
Naga people speak over 89 different languages and dialects.Naga languages can be grouped into Western, Central and Eastern Naga groups. The Western group includes among others Angami, Chokri, Khezha and Rengma. The Central Naga group includes Ao, and Lotha ; while Eastern group includes Konyak, Phom, Sangtam, Khiamniungan, Yimchunger and Chang tribes. The Sumi group originating in both central and western parts. In addition, there are Naga-Bodo group illustrated by Mikir language, and Kuki group of languages illustrated by Sopvama and Luppa languages. These mostly belong to the Tibeto-Burman language group of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages.
The 16 main tribes of Nagaland are Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Dimasa Kachari, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchunger, and Zeliang. The Angamis, Aos, Konyaks, Lothas, and Sumis are the largest Naga tribes; there are several smaller tribes as well.
Tribe and clan traditions and loyalties play an important part in the life of Nagas. Weaving is a traditional art handed down through generations in Nagaland. Each of the tribe has unique designs and colours, producing shawls, shoulder bags, decorative spears, table mats, wood carvings, and bamboo works. Among many tribes the design of the shawl denotes the social status of the wearer. Some of the more known shawls include Tsungkotepsu and Rongsu of the Ao tribe; Sutam, Ethasu, Longpensu of the Lothas; Supong of the Sangtams, Rongkhim and Tsungrem Khim of the Yimchungers; the Angami Lohe shawls with thick embroidered animal motifs etc.
Folk songs and dances are essential ingredients of the traditional Naga culture. The oral tradition is kept alive through folk tales and songs. Naga folks songs are both romantic and historical, with songs narrating entire stories of famous ancestors and incidents. There are also seasonal songs which describe activities done in an agricultural season. Tribal dances of the Nagas give an insight into the inborn Naga reticence of the people. War dances and other dances belonging to distinctive Naga tribes are a major art form in Nagaland.
State animal: Mithun
State bird: Blyth's tragopan (Tragopan blythii)
State flower: Tree rhododendron (Rhododendron arboreum)
State tree: Alder (Alnus nepalensis)
How to Reach
It is well connected to all major destinations of India.
It is well connected to all the major Cities via regular trains. Nearest Railway Station is Dimapur.
Dimapur district in Nagaland is known to be the capital of ancient Kachari Tribe. There are regular flights from other major cities of the country to Dimapur.