One of the most obscure of all Indian states, Nagaland is slowly catching fancy in the travellers’ community. A land that is remote, mystical and home to a very interesting population, it will take you deep into nature as well. If you are eager for a truly offbeat travel experience in India, it is time to train the spotlight on Nagaland. With Myanmar, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam for its neighbours, it is a state that will give you memories for a lifetime. For the uninitiated, this is what you will find in Nagaland.
Dimasa Kachari ruins
Not many know that Nagaland is home to one of the most ancient ruin sites in the country. The Dimasa Kachari ruins in Dimapur date back to the 10th century and not much is known about their origin or purpose. The site is dotted with strange, mushroom domed pillars, and a popular belief says that it might be the site of a chess-like game. While the site is largely untouched and is facing apathy from the locals as well as tourists, conservation efforts are on.
Diversity at its best
If you thought India is a land of diversity, it is time to nod more strongly in approval! That, because the state of Nagaland is a trendsetter when it comes to proving the belief true. The state has 15 plus tribes and a whopping 36 different languages within its boundary, making it perhaps the most vibrant of all the Indian states. Some of the prominent tribes in Nagaland are Ao, Kacharis, Sangtams, Konyaks, Changs and Lothas.
The land of festivals
With a whopping number of different tribes and the cultural diversity that they bring, there is little wonder in the fact that Nagaland is famous as the ‘Land of Festivals’. With each tribe practising its own rituals and traditions, Nagaland is a state that has one major festival lined up for all months of a year. This fact is one of the key reasons for the state government to come up the now famous Hornbill Festival; it is believed to be an umbrella festival of sorts, bringing together all the tribes and their essence.
Hottest chilli pepper ever
One of the coolest thing about Nagaland is the fact that it is also home to the hottest chilli peppers in the world. Much (in)famous as ghost pepper, ghost chilli and red naga, it is deemed to be a shocking 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce! Apart from its use as a condiment, bhut jolokia was once rumoured to be used in experiments by the defence forces as a possible warfare ammunition!
Heads as trophies!
As badass as it might be, the practice of headhunting is one of the most brutally violent practices of wars. More badass is the fact that headhunting was once in vogue in Nagaland! Yes, it was till 1969 that men from some of the Naga tribes would bring back their enemies’ heads as war trophies. While the practice is banned now, you can visit the tribes and they will happy to tell you a tale or two.