The Reality about the People of Nagaland.
It is not unusual in my country to be discriminated for being different. Traditionally, India has always soaked in anyone from any background who came here. Religions , linguistics and every other form of social categories have always found a belonging in our country. So even after huge masses of immigration happened through out centuries , and everyone found a home in India, from time to time , we are be fooled to believe they were merely invasion. Not going into that discussion , as history is all about assumptions , yet we can see our ignorance as even in present times, we keep discriminating people of our own country for their different way of life. Here , from my experience I will try to light the true nature of Nagaland , as far as my experience of being their in my travels and tours.
The Nagas , refer to a cluster of tribes that belong from the northeastern states of India. To be told a fact , even outside Nagaland , Naga tribes spread in other states of Arunachal , Manipur , Assam and Mizoram. This tribes came into light under the British occupation of the region in late eighteen hundred. The origin of this tribes are disputed , as no strong historical evidence can be put forward to claim the source. However , at present there are 16 official tribes are inhabitants of the political region of Nagaland. English being brought in by the British with Christanity went a long way in bringing this tribes together. The ever warring Naga trives are now coexisting together for its development and in a quiet content way of living. They have reformed their practices , such as hunting into newer ways of economical avenues, saving the fine balance of nature and mankind. Being tribes, they always lived on hunting , and their ancestral accesories are all made of mostly tiger or leoprad claws, bones or skins of bear or deers found roaming in the wild, Bird feathers and meats are also quiet common for beautification and survival. However, with modern age , hunting has stopped , and they have conserved their forest for eco tourism to bloom and form the path towards a brighter future.
Being tribes, the people were very close to nature from there ancient days , and even now that can be seen in their general lifestyle. That dependency to nature and subsequent caring for it with utmost respect is what NAGALAND might inspire the rest of India to do. Almost all villages and tribes have a self sustainable living here. They depend highly on the nature that surrounds them. Wood from the forest , herbs for medicines or wild fruits to make wine and food is still a huge part of living in the modern Nagaland.
In ancient times, every tribe was almost at natural war with each other. Head hunting was a famous practice, where in , when two tribes met on battlefield, the winners would decapitate the fallen, and keep their heads or skulls as prize. These were awards to show the strength of a tribe and people. This practice is bygone now, and no more carried out. With modern social rules coming in, the tribes have found a cooperating existence among each other. Even though their languages and rules and laws , still differ, they adhere to the rules built up by the government. This is the proof , that if people are intending enough with good will , they can exist in peace. The Nagas known for their fierce battles and being warriors are also caring and happy family people, if you look closely. This myth , that Nagaland is only about soldiers and war , will soon perish as more and more travelers head there to see this beautiful culture.
Even though , in terms of GDP , the tribal areas do not contribute much , yet in the form of visions, they go a long way. Almost all houses in Nagaland have sustainable living, They make their general needs out of things they can find in their surrounding forest. From cultivating fishes to fruits and vegetables, each family has its treasure trove in its own , in the Naga country side. While on the tour in Nagaland , the food we eat in homestay is generally produced with in the surrounding of the house or cultivated, or found in the jungles nearby.
That was the way they lived hundreds of years ago, and still do. It is of importance to learn and realize this super value of the Naga society. Their needs are not much , and generally adheres to things that can be found with in the grasp of their natural habitat. The people here know how to make things and utilizes there time in every kind of handicraft possible from natural products, leaving no after effect on earth. The question is, with the advent of high consumerism , till when they can hold to their satisfied living?
Nagaland can also be called a state , where the rest of India must look up to for some inspiration , to diminish its conventional patriarchal miseries. Its a state ran by female power mostly. The Naga family heir is generally the youngest daughter of the house, and yet mostly family feuds are rare here, since their is a benevolent atmosphere. The homestays, where I lived in ,were all managed by women and they did a tremendous job. The women are also very productive here , since they create every house hold things necessary in the homes itself, rather relying on markets. Optimum utilization of time and nature can be seen, which needs to be implemented in our modern lives as much as possible too. Being a feminine driven state , the vibes are much more peaceful and relaxed here.
Nagas are primarily a non vegetarian population. The meats vary from tribe to tribe , but almost every tribe depends on that consumption. They have a healthy cuisine with lesser use of salt , as per my personal observation , which also helps their strong built. Chilies are heavily used , and cuisines mostly have meat as its primary ingredient. There is a negative obsession with what Nagas eat , specially the meat they consume. For the rest of India it is borne of classical conditioning. This curiosity behind the obsession , rather than being genuine, can be termed as a product of ethnocentrism of the Indian society.
A lot of this acceptance , that everything of a culture and tradition is because of the Geo political situation of a region and place , can be seen once you visit and live with the Nagas. This acceptance can breed tolerance and help our diverse country in bringing the ever glorified unity we so boast about , just like the different tribes of Nagaland has successfully practiced for modern coexistence.
Let me know your thoughts if you have been to Nagaland. If not, do plan up once, and let me know if my article motivates you to do so.
As more and more Indians are traveling , places are slowly turning into destinations that adhere to crowds and more Instagram friendly population only. Yet there are a lot of us , in search of places which are quite less visited or known. The small village of Pedong and my experience there will be one such. I did not hear about this place till last year, and January meant a good time to explore, and begin the year 2020.
Situated in the borders of West Bengal and Sikkim , in north east region of India, Pedong is a small village nestled in the laps of Himalayas. Surrounded by dense terai forest , a bird watchers paradise , Pedong is an ultimate destination for the nature loving folks.
The surrounding hills of Pedong give a lot of options for hiking, and which of course caught my heart. Small hamlets and hill top view points adore the region surrounded. Hiking through the dense jungle trails, discovering the bounty of nature while on it , makes up for a special experience here. From local berries in the forest , to an abundant healthy population of variety of birds, bush walking is all worth doing here.
The hiking trails also take you to other smaller villages situated at higher altitude. It is very much possible to spend a day or two and then come back. A lot of view points adore this regions, with breath taking views of Himalayas that border with Tibet and China.
Pedong is also well connected by road. It is the first night halt if you want to do a road trip in the Old Silk Route. The old silk route is the tail of the ancient silk road that connected China and India. Today it is one of the best road trip circuit, less visited yet unsubstantiated beauty. The road trip can be done in car, but motorcycles are more prefered. I was fortunate enough to find a co traveler , to explore the region near by. We rode to beautiful villages of Lolegaon, Lava and Rishop through misty forest tracks and mingled with the clouds and fogs.
All this villages have unique view of the Himalayan higher peaks, but are mostly covered in clouds and fog , except in early morning. So i will advise you ride more during those hours.
Pedong is also home to an ancient Tantric Buddhism monastery. The region flaunts its spirituality in beautiful monastries nestled in hills and covered by forests. The prime population of Pedong is Buddhism with a majority of Christianity too, The nearest big town to Pedong is Kalimpong , which is a colonial town built under the influence of British Raj.
It is easy to reach Pedong for backpackers or any travelers. Buses to Kalimpong are very frequent from Siliguri , the nearest town with train station and airport. From Kalimpong , shared taxis ply with in half an hour to reach this beautiful village.
It is a perfect destination for a two day stop , from a busy schedule of life. And if you are planning Sikkim, this should act as your country side experience to the beautiful state.
All in all , Pedong which is off the beaten path is sure to win hearts over with its rawness and simplicity. Travelers cannot forget the experience and surely would recommend others to visit here soonest.
To visit Pedong , or to know more, Kindly consult or message me. For a video experience of Pedong, click here
The sun scorched state of Rajasthan is famous for its deserts and rich culture. However , under the shadow of that popularity lies abundant wilderness and some elusive wildlife. It was this year , that finally I decided to pay a visit to this state and track one of the most elusive big cat of the wild.The leopards!
While leopard population is quiet good in India, yet due to its shy behavior , it is very less seen in the wild. If you're among big cats and wildlife lover like me, this blog will surely instigate a probable plan in mind.
To go leopard sighting was one of the most exciting thing I have done till date. The journey took me to the south of Rajasthan , in the region of Jawai dam.
Unlike the natural landscape of Rajasthan of desert and barren plains , Jawain boasts of greenary and vegetation quiet well around the area. The region is formed of ancient volcanic rocks , that forms the hills around the area. This hills are the homes to leopards, since it provides perfect lairs and caves to have a healthy lifestyle for the big cat.
The Jawai lake is a prominent spot to seek migratory birds and crocodiles , and it is here where our first safari to track a leopard started , early in the morning. The lake is beautiful enveloped between hills , and gives a beautiful outlook to the region.
In monsoon , the lake expands over hectares of area , submerging the grassland and swamp plains around it. Other times, this plains are used by local rural farmers to produce their crop.
Farming like most of India , is primary occupation , complimented by animal rearing in daily life. Herds of buffaloes , sheeps and goats can be seen tended to by the local people. This livestock not only aids the people living here , but also is one of the primary food base for the leopards that live in the hills around.
Surprisingly , the presence of leopards in the area have been for more than hundreds of years , and till now , no human has ever been reported dead , by its attack. This surprising co existence of leopards and humans in the Jawai region , is one of the most interesting cases of wildlife.
The hillocks put up perfect places for the leopards to ply their trade. Regardless of humans in vicinity , they are quiet comfortable here. Such is the behavior of the wild cat, that upon morning and evening , some certain places and known as favourite for the leopard population , where they come out to bask in the rising and falling sun.
This places are to be kept a watch , and the movement of leopards through carcass of kills, pug marks can be tracked. What helps in sighting is the knowledge of the huge area of Jawai which spans across many a miles, and only using gypsy jeeps , this region can be well patrolled for sighting leopards.
The gypsy are perfect for safari in this region. And not only does it serve to go around for leopard hunting but is an adventure in itself, The safari jeeps go up and down the hillocks , which is quiet a fearful experience, as without a experienced hand at helm, mishaps are eminent. This risk also makes the experience of tracking fun leopards fun. With binoculars and a steady eye , one has to go from hillock to hillock searching for the big cat. Slowly but surely , Jawai is gaining popularity with the wildlife lovers, as no region in the world can give such high probability to track a leopard in its natural habitat.
The tracking needs patience and love for wildlife, as long hours waiting can be eminent while on the drive.
The rewards for such hard work is the grace of the big cats lurking in the hills. They are well camouflaged with the brown boulder colors , and takes a little experience to get used to, in tracking them. The caves of the hills are their home, and while the leopards decide to reproduce , they change their positions to further places , which adds a toll in tracking them. They need a safe place to produce their litter which is why , they vanish from the eyes and from regular places that they generally ply around.
Other than live stocks , the Jawai region has a number of Nilgai , wild boars and other prey base for them to hunt.
While live stock is endangered and killed by leopards , the people of Jawai are aware enough not to kill them back. They are rightly compensated for the loss of the livestock by the authorities here. Due to the high population of leopards in the region, tourism is expanding , which brings good money to the region. What needs to be seen is how in coming years, commercialization is balanced with the preservation of wildlife here. Like the humans and leopards have co existed together here, it is of such prayer , that business and conservation finds its balance too.
To go on this exciting adventure of leopard tracking in Rajasthan , you can consult me for advice!
Note from the Author
" Travel made me rich and free. Magic and miracles are true , once you wander on the roads to places different and divine. Sharing with you all, those memories and stories , and wishing you all , that someday you guys travel far and wide too. I am not a great writer , so ignore my grammar and spellings, read it with feelings, and you might just be affected with the wanderlust to hit the road"