On the Myanmar border, south of Arunachal Pradesh and east of Assam, Nagaland is physically and conceptually at the very edge of the Subcontinent. Home to the fiercely independent Nagas, its hills and valleys only opened up to tourism in 2000. One of India’s most beautiful states, it was once renowned for its head-hunters but is now ninety percent Christian. A visit to a Naga village provides a fascinating insight into a rapidly disappearing way of life. Most tour operators arrange guided trips; it is a good idea and far more informative to use a guide than going solo as some Nagas are tired of having their homes on show. If you do visit, bring a gift and offer money for the village to the chief (or angh).
Traditional Angami villages surround the capital of Kohima, including Khonoma. From Mon you can see various Konyak villages such as Shangnyu. The Ao tribe inhabits Mokokchung, while Tuensang is home to six different tribes. The state’s terrain is also ideal for trekking and mountain biking. Naga festivals are tribe-specific, characterized by ritualistic dances and songs in traditional attire. A good time to visit is during the Hornbill Festival, held in the first week in December, which showcases Naga art, dance, music and sport. Check to see if you’ll need a permit to enter Nagaland.