Monday, October 29, 2007

Nagaland: one of the least-visited areas of India

Nagaland is a remote state in the Northeastern corner of India bordering Burma (Myanmar). The population is low by Indian standards (around 1 million). Another 2 million Naga live across the borders in Myanmar and in Manipur. There are 16 major tribes, each with its unique identity and language. Tourist facilities are minimal as the area has been kept isolated from the outside since British times.

All this is changing, says my old friend the historian and aficionado of north-east India, Jayant Shukla, who asserts that "Now is the time to see it in its original state".

Though the cost of entry is high - Home Ministry permission, limited hotel facilities, challenging roads and high cost road transportation, with only one daily direct flight from Calcutta and two flights a week from Guwahati in neighbouring Assam.

However, the isolation also means that large scale commercialization has not yet been allowed to destroy the Naga culture and one can see genuine tribal life in transition.

Every December, Naga tribes gather together to celebrate their uniqueness. Each tribe sends a troupe of dancers, wrestlers, acrobats, archers, artisans, cooks etc to prove to each other that their tribe is the best. Mock battles, feasting, singing during the day, beauty pageants and contemporary rock music bands during the night. This is the Hornbill Festival, and Jayant is using this as the anchor for a visit to Nagaland that he has announced, exploring the social, cultural, historical and ethnic building blocks of this society, which are more akin to those seen in Kunming in Southern China or Northern Myanmar and Northern Thailand, than New Delhi, India.

What a pity that the proposed dates for Jayant's tour don't suit me (30 November to 6 December 2007). However, those dates may suit you and this is an unusual opportunity to go to one of the least-visited areas of India
For details , see: Sphere: Related Content

No comments: