Naga tribal warriors in traditional outfit, Hornbill Festival, Kohima, Nagaland, India

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Long considered the ‘wild east’ of India, Nagaland abounds in primeval beauty and tribal culture. Its dazzling hills and valleys, reaching right up to the India–Myanmar border, are other-worldly places where, until not long ago, headhunting Naga tribes fought off intruders and each other. Today Nagas have abandoned headhunting and turned to Christianity. Traditional lifestyles linger strongest in the north, where many people live in thatched longhouses and follow farming and hunting lifestyles. The sense of Naga identity among the 16 or 17 main tribal groups, with multiple languages but cultural similarities, is strong. Traditional attire comes out in full feather-and-spear colour at the many tribal festivals, above all December's Hornbill Festival near Kohima.


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