The state of Nagaland, covering an area of 16,488 sq. km. is encircled by Assam in the north and west, by Burma and Arunachal Pradesh in the east, and Manipur in the South. The state is predominantly dominated by Naga communities and hence, it forms a single cultural region generally definable by common cultural and linguistic traditions. This state was carved out of the territories that were earlier known as Naga Hills - Tuesnsang Area(NHTA), through the State of Nagaland Act, 1962. It was inaugurated on 1st December, 1963 by the then President of India, Dr S. Radhakrishnan.
The state lies between 2506 deg and 2704 deg of the equator and between the longitudinal lines 93015 deg E. The Barail range extending from the south-west via North Cachar runs up to Kohima, with its highest Peak, Japvo, attaining a height of 3,048 metres.
The earliest records throwing light on the politico-economic linkages of the Nagas with others are the Buranjis, the chronicles of the Ahoms of Assam. The early Buranjis describe that the Ahom Sukhapa encountered the Nagas of the Patkoi as early as the twelfth century. It is said that Sukhapa, an adventurer who left Maulung in 1215 AD, heading a force of eight hundred armed soldiers with 300 horses and two elephants, entered Naga territory enroute to Assam Valley. The subsequent rise and fall of his kingdom urshered in a chequered history of hostility and friendship with the Nagas. The Naga areas in 1852 were constituted into a sub-division under the Nowgong district, with Asaloo as its headquarters. The Manipuri interests, the threatening postures of the Burmeses and the belligerent attitude of the Nagas had forced the British to shift their headquarters to Samaguting, ten miles inside the Angami territory. In 1869, Captain Butler, the Political Agent of Naga Hills was given orders to initiate a process of consolidation of the colonial rule in Naga Hills by interfering in inter-tribal disputes. The Naga district, in 1874 was brought under the Chief Commissioner of Assam. The beginning of the effective administration of the Naga Hills started when Kohima was established as the headquarters in 1878.
The variations in the altitude, latitude, climate and soil have given rise to a diversity of forest types, ranging from tropical evergreen to temperate evergreen and the coniferous.
Bamboo groves are extensive everywhere. Among the common species, mention may be made of the Naga Bhe and plants such as Mesuaferrea, Careyaarbotrea and Fiscus Electica. On the hill slopes are found oak, chestnut, birch, magnolia, cherry, maple, laurel and fig. Pine trees are found at high altitude areas, varying from 3,000 to 4,000 ft. Wild vegetables, roots, fruits and tubers are found in abundance throughout Nagaland.
Nagaland constitutes a meeting ground for the sub-Himalayan, Indian, Chinese and Burmese type of fauna. Elephants, tigers, barking deer and sambar are found in different places through the state. Monkeys, jackals, wild buffaloes, wild pigs, bear and wild dogs are sparsely distributed through the Naga Hills. Among the ritually most valued species is Mithun. Other common species are lizards, toads, monitors.
There are are more or less identical fairs and festivals among the sections of the Angami, Sema, Lotha and Rengma Nagas. In the sphere of religion, the Rengma resemble the Angami and the Sema, and their festivals also roughly correspond. As among the Angami, there is a female first reaper, and stone pulling ceremony is practised. Every tribe has it's own festivals. Several festivals are connected with agricultural activities such as reaping, sowing and harvesting. Moastu festival is performed by Ao Naga in the month of May, after the sowing. Among the Lotha, pithi is the sacred specialist who performs all ceremonies and rituals. He inaugurates the sowing and harvesting. The Ao Naga celebrate many other festivals also, most of which are celebrated to mark the beginning and end of a particular agricultural activity. When crops are ready, the festival of Tsungremong is performed. Pigs are sacrificed during this ceremony, in honour of the deity, Lijaba. The other prominent festivals are Kuki Mimkut, ngami Sekrenyi, hom Monyu, Konyak Aoling, Rengma Ngada and Zeliang Nga-Ngai.
The entire Naga inhabited area may be described as one culture area, on account of several ethno-historical factors. There are 14 tribes in Nagaland. The traditional faith, religious beliefs and practices of Naga tribes show signs of being animistic. There is a belief of a supreme creator of mankind, and many deities, ghosts and spirits of trees, rivers and hills. There are priests and medicine-men who placate these spirits, banish those who give diseases, attract those who help and guard, and also take the lead in the rites and festivals, which stimulate the processes of agriculture. Among the Naga tribes (Chang, Sangtam, Khiamngan), there is a belief that the soul, after death, goes down a narrow path to the land of the dead that is guarded by a spirit with whom it must struggle. Most Naga tribes regard the ultimate ancestors of man and the tiger, as very intimately associated. The ancient Kachari capital, Dimapur is one of the important sites of megalithic culture. The ruins appear to be contemporaries with the Kachari civilisation, established before the Ahom invasion in the 13th century A.D. There are evidences of Hindu influence on most of them, though these are predominantly non-Aryan. Today 85% of the people are Christians.
|Nagaland Cities||Nagaland Festivals||Nagaland Wildlife||Adventure in Nagaland|
|Dimapur||Horn Bill Festival||Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary||Trekking in Nagaland|
|Kohima||Moatsu Festival||Itanki Wildlife Sanctuary||Dzukou Valley|
|Dzukou Valley||Nazu Festival||?|