Nagaland offers a treasure trove of many mysterious and intriguing places. If you want to experience rich and unique tribal culture of India, then Nagaland is the state to visit. As many as 60 main and small tribes inhabit the state making it an ethnic paradise replete with colorful culture, civilization and history. Visit Nagaland tourist places and you would be surprised by the way the tribal live their lives, strictly holding on to their past traditions yet moving towards a better future for their upcoming generation. One such unique district is Mon, about which you would be learning through this blog.
How to reach Mon?
- By Train: Jorhat (161 KM away) is the ideal de-boarding point for a trip to Mon.
- Onward Journey: Buses and cabs are easily available from Jorhat (in Assam). Cab journey is suggested as it is timely and allows the tourists to traverse through magnificent landscapes, scenic villages and unplumbed valleys. You can witness the green beauty of Mon even before they set foot.
Mon district, is situated in North Nagaland and shares its borders with Assam to the west and Myanmar to the east. Located at an altitude of 8000 m above sea level. It is truly a bouquet of nature. Mon is nestled amidst lofty hills and surrounded by picturesque waterfalls and dense forests. Bluest of streams and rivers flow past the small tribal villages of Mon. Mist and cloud add to the charm of this scenic region in Nagaland. Filled with colorful flowers and lush green valleys, Mon’s landscape is truly bewitching. Mon is so beautiful that you feel the landscape has come straight out of a painting! Like many such beautiful places in the Northeast, Mon receives scant tourist footfalls. What’s more?
Mon’s famous Konyak Tribe
Well, if you want something more than just a picture perfect tourist destination, then Mon has a bit of mystery to it as well. This unique region is known as much for its inhabitants as its beauty. Konyak tribe is the primary inhabitants of this mysterious land and they are the ancestors of last head hunters in India! Konyaks from the past era were known as tattooed warriors who practiced headhunting. Even a couple of generations back, the Konyaks believed that chopping the heads of their rival clans blessed their lands with fertility!
Even though the practice of headhunting has long been stopped, yet the Konyaks practice many other traditions of their forefathers. Even today, the Konyaks wear their past symbols with pride. You would typically find a Konyak with face tattoos, blackened teeth, brass skull pendants and exquisite jewelry. The tribe till date believes that they are the direct descendants of Noah. It is no wonder than that most of the folks have biblical names. The Konyaks have a completely different dialect as well. It is mixture of Tibetan and Myanmarese. A trip to the Konyak village near Mon would experience the vibrant and rich culture of the Konyaks. Far from being fearsome warriors, the Konyaks that you would come across today are very friendly and inviting.
Places to visit in Mon
Longwa is the main city in Mon district, which is located near the Myanmar border. The Konyak tribe’s head, known as the Angh has his heritage house at the border with half of it in India and the other half in Myanmar! Angh is the hereditary autocrat who rules over them and is the final word when it comes to practicing customs and even their laws. He has 60 wives and rules over 70 villages inhabited by the Konyaks. His house is the biggest in the village and is adorned with real human skulls and some beautiful wooden carvings.
Shangnyu is also a prominent Konyak village and is located on a hill top surrounded by lush forests. It is one of the prettiest villages you will come across in India. There is a huge monument situated in the middle of Shangnyu village. This monument is believed to have been erected by the brave ancestors of the modern day Konyak dwellers, after they won a memorable victory over a formidable enemy clan.
Located just next to Longwa, Chui is famous for its traditional Naga huts. With a visit to the Chui village, the tourists can spend some time enjoying the Konyak way of life, which is very unique in every sense. The men in this village spend a significant portion of their day in dressing up. They wear the traditional Konyak attires (which have an array of colors), shinning jewelry and beautiful headgears. Though the headhunting practice has been long abolished, many of the ancient huts in Chui village are still decorated with skulls.
Naginmora is a beautiful vantage point, situated some 20 KM away from Mon. This small town offers panoramic views of the valley below and appears especially beautiful just after the monsoons. Visit Naginmora and you will realize that vegetation comes in various shades too. The town is surrounded by forests and streams giving it a picturesque setting.
This is the highest point in Mon district and is the ideal destination to head towards for a trekking lover. The climb is Medium in terms of the difficulty levels. Once you reach the Veda Peak you can enjoy splendid views of the mighty Brahmaputra River (in Assam) on one side and the Chindwin River (in Myanmar) on the other!
Unique Aoling Monyu festival of Mon
Aoling Monyu is the main festival of Mon region. This week long festival is celebrated in the month of April. And during this season the valley is filled with a rich assortment of colorful flowers. Aoling Monyu marks the end of the Konyak year and they celebrate the New Year with great pomp and grandeur. Men and women adorn their traditional attires and gather to spend the days of merriment. Many unique rituals are performed during the Aoling Monyu festival, which can be eye openers for the tourists. If a tourist visits Mon during this festival they can taste some of the traditional Konyak dishes. Cooking and King Chilly (world’s hottest chilies) eating contests are organized as a part of the festival.
Nagaland is just not about historical sights and beautiful scenery. The state also exhibits a rich tribal culture and you can get a taste of that by visiting Mon. What are you waiting for? Just grab your bags and head to Mon. You will definitely spend some extraordinary days in this beautiful land of Konyaks.