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."
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Diana is a photographer and writer based in Margate, Kent. She has shot ten guidebooks for Rough Guides and undertaken numerous commissions for Visit England, National Geographic Traveller (UK), GreenTraveller and Cool Camping, among others. She is currently the editor of Eye for the Light a subscription-only, digital publication in association with Travel Photographer of the Year and is also the Publishing and Photography Director at the British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her on