Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nagaland At A Glance


Introduction

Nagaland is a colorful and distinct land, tucked in the extreme northeast corner of India. Nagaland is bordered by Myanmar in the east, Assam in the west, Arunachal Pradesh in the north and Manipur in the south. Nagaland is particularly distinguished for its explicit culture, tradition, and lifestyle that makes the state a singular entity from the other parts of the country. The state is dominated with Naga tribes who originally came from Southeast Asia and distributed all along Myanmar border and India. Except Dimapur, Nagaland is densely populated with this people and known for powerful and indomitable spirit. History says they are valiantly put off any intruders and even fought within their own community. Major Naga groups include the developed Angami and Rengma of Kohima district, the Lotha of Wokha district and the Konyak of Mon district where villages strikingly reflect a singular architecture of houses.

This exotic hill station of India is housed by 16 odd tribes and sub-tribes whose culture, colorful attire and jewelry are somehow very different and intriguing. The present Naga people have adopted western culture and quite modern in outlook than other parts of India. Most of the young generation are involved in fashion designing and other creative work. Nagaland is famous for its natural abundance of beauty; the picturesque landscapes, the colorful sunrise and sunset, lush green hills bestow an enchanting charm and an experience that can't be missed.

History

Naga tribes were originally from the Southeast Asia and settled around the border of Myanmar and some northeastern states of India. They were called as Naka in Burmese language, which means 'people with pierced ears'. Naga tribes had a close similarity with tribes of Assam and Burma in respect to political and socio-economic perspectives. During an invasion in 1816, Burma got control over the Nagaland and Assam and the period was notorious for atrocious and oppressive rule and turmoil. By 1892, the major parts of Nagaland was under the control of British and politically mingled with Assam. Most of the Naga people are Christians, owing to Christian missionaries who converted a large population into their religion.

After independence, Nagaland was a part of Assam but soon a separatist called Naga National Council demanded a political union of their ancestral and native group, adopted a violent means to echoed their voice, damaging several civil infrastructure and attacked government officials and buildings. The insurgency continued for a long time till in July 1960, a political consensus formed and centre admitted that Nagaland should be granted a consituent and self-governing state in the Indian union, statehood was officially granted in 1963.

Geography

Nagaland is tucked in the extreme northeastern corner of India. It is a mountainous land covered by lush green valley and mountains. The Naga hills rise from the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam to about 2000 feet and at the peak to the southeast as 6000 feet. Mount Saramati at an elevation of 12,552 feet is the state's highest peak. There are four rivers named Doyang and Diphu in the north and Barak and Chidwin river in the southwest crisscrossed the entire state.

Nagaland is enriched with exotic flora and fauna and covered by tropical and sub-tropical evergreen forests. Some of the main plants are palms, bamboo and rattan as well as timber and mahogany forests. The forests are rich in various animals such as monkeys, sambar, harts, oxen, and elephants, porcupines, leopards, bears and wild dogs. The great Indian Hornbill is one of the most famous birds found in the state.

Nagaland experiences a largely monsoon climate with high humidity levels. Annual rainfall averages around 70–100 inches (1,800–2,500 mm), concentrated in the months of May to September. Temperatures range from 70 °F (21 °C) to 104 °F (40 °C). In winter, temperatures do not generally drop below 39 °F (4 °C), but frizzing at high elevations.

Demography

Based on 2001 census, the population of Nagaland is 1.99 million and spread over 11 districts, 52 blocks and 1317 villages. The sex ratio of the state is lower than the national average. The state is largely dominated by different tribes such as Angamis, Zeliangs, Rengmas, Kukis, Semas, Aos, Lothas, Chang, Sangtam, Koyaks.

Culture & Heritage

Nagaland has a vibrant culture and an integral part of their lifestyle. The forests of Nagaland is enriched with bamboo trees and hence people are well skilled in weaving bamboo baskets and other crafts. Interestingly, the craft of Naga is restricted to men only, the Naga men knows how to weave mats of split bamboo, which is the chief material besides wood for constructing walls and floors of houses.

Cuisine of Nagaland has a distinctive flavor and mostly prefer non-vegetarian and hot food. Pork meat with bamboo shoot forms the common dish among the Naga people. The well known Naga dish is Anishe that is made up of dry yam leaves, which are smoked and then boiled with pork.

Different tribes of Nagaland have their own festivals and participation in the festivals is compulsory for every members of the tribes. Most of the festivals revolve round agriculture, most of the people are directly dependent on agriculture and lives in a thousands and odd villages located on hills or slope overlooking verdant valleys humming with murmuring streams.

Related Links

Tourist Attractions In Nagaland
Tourist Information & Safety Tips In Nagaland 

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