Last year our roaming photographer Diana Jarvis took some time away from her usual stomping grounds in Europe and headed to the far northeastern Indian state of Nagaland to witness the annual Hornbill Festival. Here, she shares 15 pictures of the region's fascinating tribes.
“I’d visited India on several other occasions but my trip to Nagaland was a real photographer’s dream", she says, "the people are extremely welcoming and proud to show off their cultural heritage but equally connected to the modern world and, like anywhere else in India, they love to pose for photos."
"Nagaland didn’t become part of India until 1963 and, owing to its remote position bordering Assam and Myanmar, doesn’t feature regularly on many an Indian itinerary. During the second world war, however, the capital city Kohima was the site of a famous frontier battle between the Allies and the Japanese troops. As a result, the people of Nagaland have a great fondness for the efficiency of the Brits and many speak perfect English."
"The landscape is mountainous, dramatic and teeming with wildlife. The food – give or take the odd blow-your-head-off Naga chilli – was so unique and tasty that they have their own annual Masterchef competition at the Hornbill Festival. Other cultural highlights include demonstrations of a traditional stone-throwing game, ceremonial chanting, warrior dances, plays performed in various Naga dialects and the greased-bamboo climbing competition – but my highlight was witnessing the stone pulling at Viswema which, apparently, only happens roughly once every seven years."
A man from the Konyak tribe in battle mode
Ladies of the Konyak tribe fix an earring
Greased bamboo pole climbing competition at the Hornbill Festival
A gun-toting tribe line up for action
Stone throwing gets underway
Tribal men display feathers and weapons
Hornbill Festival dancing begins
An Angami tribesman
A Konyak tribesman
A smile as tribes get together
Konyak tribe member captures the moment
Stone pulling underway at Viswema village
All hands on deck
A ceremonial start
You can see more of Diana's work on her website. Explore more of India with the Rough Guide to India. Compare flights, book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.
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