A typical Naga architecture speaks its own story as to which tribe it belongs, what status the owner holds in the village etc. Construction materials include bamboo, wood, thatch, reeds or palm leaves. Using tools like the dao, axe and chisel, the carvings and architecture are works of excellence.
Nagas are skilled wood carvers making use of simple tools like daos, hand drills and chisels. The carvings adorn village gates, house posts as well as objects of utility. One of the finest specimens that epitomize the skill of Naga craftsmen is found at Shangnyu village in Mon district.
The Diezephe Craft village in Dimapur is a good example of a craft concentrated village where the major source of income is from woodcraft.
Naga style wrestling is a traditional sport popular among the Angami, Chakhesang and Zeliang tribes. Traditionally, bouts of wrestling decided who the toughest was and even for settling of disputes.
December to March is the wrestling season. Wrestling evokes enthusiasm in the local people and is held in festive mood attracting large crowds.
A visit to the Naga Hills would be incomplete without sampling the delicious array of food prepared using traditional cooking methods with local spices adding to the flavour.
All tribes have their own special dishes and one can sample them during the yearly Hornbill festival hosted by the Nagaland government.
DANCES AND SONGS
Nagas are known for their rich repertory of beautiful folk tunes and dances. They are fond of solo, duet, choric, and seasonal songs. They have a penchant for vigorous dances. Agriculture being the mainstay of the Nagas since time immemorial, the dances and songs are designed to invoke god’s blessing for their crops. Various instruments are used to accompany the singing. Tati, a single stringed instrument is popularly used by the Angami farmers and young couples to sing traditional folk and love songs. Other indigenous wind instruments made of bamboo and buffalo horns are also used.
TEXTILE AND FASHION
Even within Nagaland state alone there are over 80 varieties of traditional textile designs. Naga women take great pride in making beautiful textiles for all occasions which is a driving force in preserving the colourful Naga culture. Each tribe uses distinct colours and motifs that are often based on the tribal folklore. Today, local designers combine tradition with modernity to create new designs which have found its way into the global market.
Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, which is being developed into a round the year tourist spot. It is also the site of the colourful Hornbill festival.
The State Government of Nagaland has evolved the Hornbill festival where one can see the melange of Naga culture on display in one place. The Hornbill festival of Nagaland celebrated from December 1 to 7 every year at Kisama (Naga Heritage Village), located about 12 km from state capital Kohima is a cultural extravaganza worth experiencing.
It is a festival to revive, protect and sustain the richness of Naga heritage and traditions. The State Government jointly organizes the festival along with various tribal unions and NGO’s. If you want to experience more of Naga culture, visit and unfold the enigma that is Nagaland during the Hornbill festival.