I was cleaning up some old papers and found notes from my 2011 Nagaland trip. Intent was to blog it, but never got around to doing it. It is very difficult to find authentic information about Nagaland on the internet, hence my observations will help those who plan to make a trip to this remote and not usually visited part of India.
A beautiful state which is a part of India and at the same time cut off from India. Nagaland is a North Eastern state, not easily accessible by rail and a creaking infrastructure. The whole state is serviced by the one and only airport at Dimapur and an erratic flight schedule. We entered the state from Assam, got our permits in Dimapur and proceeded to Kohima our first stop.
Not tourist friendly at all, most shops shut by 4pm and a few restaurants are open until 6pm. The state is a victim of insurgency, a parallel government comprised of insurgents, governs and collects taxes through extortion. Infrastructure is below standard, bad roads, unreliable public transportation, few hotels and 12 hour power cuts. The presence of the army is noticeable, being a dry state, they are your only source for a drink in the evening.
The state is 100% Christian, more Christian than many countries in the west. American missionaries reached there in the latter part of the 19th century, at that time most Nagas use to wear no clothes. The people of Nagaland owe their allegiance to one of the 16 tribes and then their religion. Each tribe speaks their own language and more than 300 dialects exist across the state.
Most Nagas are very suspicious about the Indian state and most want their own independent state. Lack of local jobs see about 30-40,000 youth leaving the state to work elsewhere in India.
Naga girls are extremely beautiful, outstanding features, good complexion and perfect figures. Very rarely do you see an overweight, malnourished or a crippled Naga. They excel in individual sports such as archery, shooting and badminton. Nagas eat everything without prejudice, insects, dogs, donkeys and their favourite meat is pork. They have a good sense of architecture and color combination, this I could infer from looking at some of the homes, churches and monuments. They are great warriors, instrumental in halting the advancing Japanese troops in the second world war. In 1944 during World War II the Battle of Kohima was the turning point of the Japanese U Go offensive into India. For the first time in South-East Asia the Japanese lost the initiative to the Allies which they then retained until the end of the war. This hand-to-hand battle and slaughter prevented the Japanese from gaining a high base from which they might next roll across the extensive flatlands of India like a juggernaut. The battle was fought from 4 April to 22 June 1944 around the town of Kohima. It is often referred to as the “Stalingrad of the East”. They are very binary in their relationships, they will either worship you or very ready to kill you, so please don’t try to judge their sense of humour.
A state which has still not integrated with the Indian union, beautiful people, breathtaking landscapes, governed by India and not Indian by any measure. A great time to visit Kohima is during the Hornbill festival held sometime during November.