Festivals of India: Moatsu Festival

Celebrated by the Ao people of Nagaland, the Moatsü festival is celebrated in the first week of May every year with various rituals performed during this period. The Moatsu Festival is one of the most popular and significant festivals celebrated by the Naga tribe and is a time of great joy and celebration.

The Moatsu Festival is a harvest festival, and it is celebrated after the sowing season is over. The festival provides them with a period of recreation and entertainment after the stressful work of clearing fields, burning jungles, sowing seeds, cleaning up the Tsubu or wells and repairing and constructing houses by the elders of the Putu Menden or the village council, that stretches over a week. The festival also is the beginning of marriages in spring and the ploughing of old and new Jhum fields. The Moatsü festival which runs for three days from 01 to 03 May is marked by peppy songs and dances and is full of merrymaking and fun. The festival aims to invoke the blessings of the almighty after the completion of sowing. During the festival, the villagers come together to clean the village and the surrounding areas, as they believe that this will bring good luck and prosperity to their village.

During this festival, one of the symbolic celebrations is Sangpangtu, where a big fire is lit and men and women sit around it putting on their complete best attire, the womenfolk serve the wine and meat. The village witch doctors forecast whether good or evil days are awaiting the people and the village by the readings of the celebration.

The first day of the festival is known as the ‘Likhümthi’, which means the day of the cleaning of the village. On this day, the villagers clean their houses, the streets, and the village common areas. They also decorate their homes with flowers and other decorations to welcome the guests who will visit their homes during the festival. The second day of the festival is known as ‘Moatsu proper’. On this day, the villagers wear their traditional costumes and gather at the village ground to perform various cultural activities. The men and women dance together, sing traditional songs, and play various musical instruments. The Ao people are known for their traditional warrior dances, which are performed during the festival.

The third and final day of the festival is known as ‘Tsuru Nyekha’, which means the day of feasting. On this day, the villagers prepare traditional dishes and invite their friends and relatives to their homes for a feast. The feast includes a variety of dishes, including smoked pork, dried fish, bamboo shoot, and various other delicacies. The feast is a time for the villagers to bond and strengthen their relationships.

During the festival, one of the symbolic celebrations is Sangpangtu where a big fire is lit and women & men sit around it. The best women serve the best wine and meat and make merry. The forecast is made by the righteous men who live by the guidance of the Almighty to see whether good or evil days are awaiting the people.

The Moatsu Festival is not just a time for celebration, but it is also a time for the Ao people to reinforce their cultural identity. The festival is an opportunity for the villagers to showcase their traditional arts and crafts, such as weaving, wood carving, and beadwork. The festival is also an occasion for young people to learn about their cultural heritage and the traditions of their ancestors.


The Moatsu Festival has a deep spiritual significance for the Ao people when they offer prayers to their gods and goddesses for a bountiful harvest and good health. The Ao people believe that their gods and goddesses will bless them if they perform the festival with sincerity and devotion. The Moatsu Festival is also a popular tourist attraction with many tourists visiting Nagaland during the festival to experience the rich cultural heritage of the state. In conclusion, the Moatsu Festival is a time of great joy and celebration for the Ao Naga tribe in Nagaland, India. It is a time for the villagers to come together and celebrate their cultural heritage. The festival is a time for the Ao people to give thanks to their gods and goddesses for the bountiful harvest that they have received. The festival is not just a time for celebration, but it is also an opportunity for the villagers to reinforce their cultural identity and showcase their traditional arts and crafts. The Moatsu Festival is a unique festival that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Ao people and is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning about the customs and traditions of the Nagas

Travel Bucket List: India – Consolidated List of all States

As I started planning my travel, I started relying on my research for where to go and found it slightly ungainly to search through all the material I have to reach a specific destination. So here’s a consolidated list of all Indian states, in alphabetical order with the cities and towns next to each part which makes it easier to get to the place you are interested in.

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Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Part 1 – Introduction and Overview
Part 2 – Port Blair
Part 3 – Corbyn’s Cove Beach, Wandoor Beach, Viper Island, Ross Island, North Bay Island, Red Skin Island, Middle Andaman Island, Long Island, Baratang Island, Parrot Island, North Passage Island, Guitar Island
Part 4 – Aves Island, North Andaman Island, Diglipur, Stewart Island, Ross & Smith Island, Jolly Buoy Island, Havelock Island
Part 5 – Neil Island, South Andaman Island, Rutland Island, Little Andaman Island, Cinque Island, Barren Island, Narcondom Island, Kathchal Island, Campell Bay & Indira Point
Part 6 – Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Chidiya Tapu, The Chidiya Tapu Biological Park, Mount Harriet National Park, Saddle Peak National Park, Campbell Bay National Park, Galathea National Park, Middle Button Island National Park, North Button Island National Park, South Button Island National Park

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Andhra Pradesh
Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Vishakhapatnam
Part 2: Araku Valley, Vizianagaram, Annavaram, Samalkot, Kakinada, Rajahmundry
Part 3: Amaravathi, Vijayawada, Machilipatnam
Part 4: Guntur, Chirala, Nagarjunakonda, Srisailam, Cumbum, Nellore
Part 5: Kurnool, Mantralayam, Gandikota, Tadipatri, Anantapur, Puttaparthi
Part 6: Lepakshi, Horsley Hills, Chittoor, Srikalahasthi, Tirupati

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Arunachal Pradesh
Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Itanagar, Bhalukpong
Part 2: Bomdila, Tawang
Part 3: Ziro, Yinkiong, Mechuka, Roing, Tirap
Part 4: Khonsa, Changlang, Miao, Anini, Pasighat, Aalo, Daporijo, Anjaw, Tezu

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Guwahati, Dispur
Part 2: Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Goalpura, Barpeta, Nalbari, Hajo, Sualkuchi
Part 3: Darrang, Mayong and Morigaon, Nagaon, Tezpur, Jorhat
Part 4: Sivasagar, Majuli, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Digboi
Part 5: Sadiya, Haflong, Jatinga, Diphu, Karimganj, Hailakandi, Silchar
Part 6: Raimona National Park, Manas National Park, Orang National Park, Kaziranga National Park, Nameri National Park, Dibru Saikhowa National Park, Dihing Patkai National Park

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: Patna
Part 3: Hajipur, Nalanda
Part 4: Rajgir, Sasaram, Kaimur
Part 5: Bodh Gaya, Vaishali
Part 6: Muzzafarpur, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Lauriya Nandangarh, Bhagalpur, Valmiki National Park Tiger Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Raipur, Champaran
Part 2: Bhilai, Durg, Rajnandgaon, Chirmiri, Madku Dweep, Bhoramdeo Temple, Guru Ghasidas National Park
Part 3: Achanakmar Tiger Reserve, Bilaspur, Raigarh, Korba, Ambikapur, Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Mainpat, Malhar
Part 4: Mahasamund, Sirpur, Rajim, Jagdalpur, Dhamtari, Dhamtari, Dantewada, Kanger Ghati National Park

Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Daman
Part 2: Diu
Part 3: Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Part 1: Introduction and Overview, India Gate, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, Rajghat
Part 2: Iron Pillar, National War Memorial, Rajpath, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Agrasen Ki Baoli, Ghalib Ki Haveli, Alai Darwaza/Minar, Bhool Bhulaiya ka Mahal, Purana Qila,
Part 3: Tughlaqabad Fort. Siri Fort, Feroza Kotla Fort, Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, ISKON Mandir, Birla Temple, Chhatrapur Temple, Kalkaji Temple, Kali Bari Temple, Yogmaya Temple, Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, Lotus Temple
Part 4: Jama Masjid, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, Fatehpuri Masjid, Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb, Nizamuddin Dargah, Humayun’s Tomb, Safdarjung’s Tomb, Isa Khan’s Tomb, Hijron ka Khanqah, Nicholson Cemetery
Part 5: Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib, Rakab Ganj Gurdwara, Sunder Nursery, Lodhi Gardens, Garden of Five Senses, National Rose Garden, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya, National Museum, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum, Indian War Memorial Museum, National Handicrafts Museum
Part 6: Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum, Sanskriti Museums, Charkha Museum, Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, Shankar’s International Dolls Museum, Museum of Archaeology, National Railway Museum, Museo Camera, National Gallery of Modern Art, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Museum of Illusions, National Zoological Park, National Bal Bhavan, Connaught Place, Chandni Chowk, Dilli Haat, Sarojini Market, Lajpat Nagar, Majnu ka Tila, Pragati Maidan

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: North Goa, Vagator Beach, Anjuna Beach, Calangute Beach, Sinquerim Beach, Candolim Beach, Arambol Beach, Mandrem Beach, Morjim Beach, Miramar Beach, Siridao Beach, Bogdeshwara Temple, Mangeshi Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, Fort Aguada, Chapora Fort, Reis Magos Fort, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Chapel of St. Catherine, Church of Mae De Deus, Goa State Museum, Houses of Goa Museum, Museum of Christian Art, Casino Palms, Chorao Island, Harvalem Waterfalls
Part 3: South Goa, Butterfly Beach, Betalbatim Beach, Agonda Beach, Mobor Beach, Hollant Beach, Palolem Beach, Cansaulim Beach, Colva Beach, Talpona Beach, Kakolem Beach, Benaulim Beach, Our Lady of Remedios Church, Saviour of the World Church, St. Alex Church, Shantadurga Temple, Tambdi Surla Mahadev Temple, Chandreshwar Bhoothnath Temple, Naval Aviation Museum, Goa Chitra Museum, Big Foot Museum, The Grande Island, Pequeno Island, Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Dudhsagar Falls, Bamanbudo Waterfalls, Netravali Bubbling Lake, Cabo de Rama Fort, Chandor

Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: Surat, Vapi, Udvada, Valsad, Bilimora, Navsari, Bharuch, Saputara
Part 3: Ahmedabad, Lothal, Vadodara, Anand
Part 4: Gandhinagar, Patan, Mehsana, Palanpur
Part 5: Rajkot, Jamnagar, Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Palitana,
Part 6: Kutch, Bhuj, Mandvi, Rann of Kutch, Anjar

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Gurugram, Manesar, Sohna
Part 2: Faridabad, Nuh, Murthal, Rohtak, Meham
Part 3: Hisar, Panipat, Karnal
Part 4: Kurukshetra, Ambala
Part 5: Panchkula, Morni Hills, Narnaul

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Himachal Pradesh
Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Shimla, Kufri, Fagu, Theog, Hatkoti Valley, Chanshal Valley
Part 2: Chail, Solan, Barog, Nahan, Sirmour, Paonta Sahib, Shoghi, Kasauli, Arki, Nalagarh, Dadasiba, Bilaspur, Dalhousie,
Part 3: Kangra, Khajjiar, Bharmour, Chamba, Tattapani, Jalori Pass, Jibhi, Mandi
Part 4: Trithan Valley, Bhuntar, Sainj Valley, Barot, Bir Billing, Palampur, Kasol, Nagar, Manikaran Sahib, Tosh, Parvati Valley
Part 5: Kullu, Manali, Dharamsala, McLeodganj
Part 6: Keylong, Pin Valley National Park, Spiti Valley, Narkanda, Mashroba, Kinnaur, Sarahan, Sangla Valley, Kalpa, Pangi Valley, Nako

Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh
Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Kashmir, Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Pahalgam, Amarnath, Pulwama, Kupwara, Poonch, Anantnag, Baramulla, Dachigam National Park
Part 2: Jammu, Patnitop, Rajouri, Udhampur, Kathua, Katra, Vaishno Devi, Kishtwar
Part 3: Ladakh, Leh, Leh Palace, Thiksey Gompa, Pangong Lake, Magnetic Hill, Nubra Valley and Khardung La Pass, Kargil, Drass, Hemis High Altitude Wildlife Sanctuary, Lamayuru, Lake Tso Moriri

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Ranchi
Part 2: Hazaribagh, Bokaro Steel City
Part 3: Jamshedpur, Neterhat
Part 4: Dhanbad, Shikarji, Deoghar, Dumka

Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: Bengaluru
Part 3: Mysuru, Mangalore, Belgaum
Part 4: Hubli-Dharwad, Gulbarga, Bidar, Badami, Bijapur, Hassan, Shimoga, Hampi, Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Nagarhole National Park, Bandipur National Park, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Jog Falls, Shivanasamudra Falls, Kodasalli Backwater
Part 5: Coorg, Chikmagalur, Sakleshpur, Kudremukh, Kemmanagundi, Kotagiri, Masinagudi, Devarayanadurga, Karwar, Devbagh, Kumta, Netrani Island, Murudeshwar, Maravanthe, St. Mary’s Island, Udipi
Part 6: Udipi, Kollur, Sringeri, Dharmasthala, Horanadu, Talakadu, Belur, Shravanbelagola, Gokarna, Murudeshwar, Koodli, Srirangapatna, Pattadakal, Aihole, Kalasa

Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode
Part 3: Wayanad, Mallapuram, Palakkad
Part 4: Thrissur, Ernakulam, Alappuzha
Part 5: Kottayam, Idukki, Patanamthitta
Part 6: Kollam, Tiruvanathapuram

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Lakshadweep Islands
Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: Aminidivi, Cora Divh, Sesostris Bank, Bassas de Pedro, Cherbaniani Reef, North Islet, Byramgore Reef, Chetlat Island, Bitra Par, Kilthan Island, Kadmat Island, Kadmat Beach, Elikalpeni Bank, Perumal Par, Amini Island
Part 3: Laccadive, Amindivi, Agatti Island, Bangaram, Pakshipitti, Andrott Island, Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Suheli Par
Part 4: Minicoy, Maliku Atoll, Investigator Bank, Viringili

Madhya Pradesh
Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: Bhopal
Part 3: Indore, Ujjain, Alampur
Part 4: Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Mandu, Burhanpur
Part 5: Chanderi, Shivpuri, Orchha, Khajurao
Part 6: Gwalior, Jabalpur, Bhedaghat, Panchmarhi, Amarkantak, Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, Pench National Park

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Mumbai
Part 2: Pune
Part 3: Matheran, Lonavala, Khandala, Rajmachi, Lavasa, Kamshet, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Kaas Plateau, Maval, Bhandardara, Chikhaldara, Bhimashankar
Part 4: Amravati, Aurangabad, Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Lonar, Chiplun, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Nanded, Nashik, Triambakeshwar, Shirdi, Shani Shinganapur, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Satara
Part 5: Dahanu, Alibaug, Kashid, Diveagar, Harihareshwar, Murud, Karade, Ganpatipule, Tarkarli, Vengurla, Tadoba National Park, Bhamragarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Chandoli National Park, Gugumal National Park, Navegaon National Park, Malvan Marine Sanctuary, Rehekuri Blackbuck Sanctuary

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Imphal
Part 2: Moirang, Tamenglong, Thoubal
Part 3: Chandel, Tengnoupal, Moreh, Kaina, Ukhrul, Mount Koubru, Baruni Hill, Thangjing Hill, Sadu Chiru Waterfall

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: Shillong
Part 3: Mawphlang, Cherrapunji, Nongpoh, Mawsynram
Part 4: Jowai, Mawlynnong, Dawki, Balpakram National Park, Williamnagar, Baghmara, Tura
Part 5: Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Garo Hills

Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Aizwal, Falkawn Village
Part 2: Reiek, Hmuifang, Kolasib, Tamdil or Tam Lake, Mamit, Vantawng Falls, Serchhip
Part 3: Dampa Tiger Reserve, Lunglei, Champhai
Part 4: Murlen National Park, Phawngpui, Phawngpui National Park, Saiha,

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Dimapur
Part 2: Kohima
Part 3: Mokokchung, Tuensang, Phek, Mon, Pfutsero

Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Bhubaneshwar, Dhauli
Part 2: Cuttack, Rayagada, Daringbadi, Berhampur, Jeypore
Part 3: Puri, Baripada, Sambalpur, Rourkela
Part 4: Konark, Paradeep, Gopalpur, Chandipur
Part 5: Lake Chilika, Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary, Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Bhitarkanika National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary, Simlipal National Park, Duduma Waterfalls, Chandaka Forest, Kotgarh Elephant Reserve, Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Puducherry
Part 2: Karaikal, Mahé, Yanam

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: Chandigarh, Sirhind
Part 3: Rupnagar, Patiala
Part 4: Ludhiana, Bhatinda
Part 5: Jalandhar, Kapurthala
Part 6: Pathankot, Amritsar

Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Jaipur, Udaipur
Part 2: Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Sawai Madhopur, Pushkar

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: Gangtok
Part 3: Tinkitam Rayong, Namchi, Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, Kabi Longstok, Tendong Hill, Aritar, Zuluk, Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, Pelling, Yuksom, Ravangla
Part 4: Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, Geyzing, Yangtey, Borong, Mangan, Chopta Valley, Lachung, Lachen, Yumthang Valley, Thangu Valley, Gurudongmar Lake, Cholamu Lake, Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Khangchendzonga National Park, Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary, Goecha La

Tamil Nadu
Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Chennai
Part 2: Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Tiruppur, Tirunelveli
Part 3: Ooty, Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Coonoor, Yelagiri, Bellikkal
Part 4: Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai, Chidambaram, Vaitheeshwaran Kovil,
Part 5: Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Swamimalai, Rameshwaram, Madurai
Part 6: Mahabalipuram, Kanyakumari, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Hogenakkal Falls, Kutralam Falls

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Hyderabad Part 1
Part 2: Hyderabad Part 2
Part 3: Secunderabad
Part 4: Warangal, Nizamabad
Part 5: Khammam, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Mahbubnagar, Medak
Part 6: Nalgonda, Bhadrachalam, Koti Linga, Somasila, Vemulawada

Part 1: Introduction and Overview
Part 2: Agartala
Part 3: Kailashahar, Unakoti, Udaipur, Ambassa, Pilak Archaeological Sites, Chabimura, Mahamuni Pagoda, Manubankul, Buddhist Stupa, Boxanagar
Part 4: Baramura Eco Park, Kalapania Nature Park, Tepania Eco Park, Khumulwang Eco Park, Jampui Hills, Dumboor Lake, Dhalai, Rudrasagar Lake, Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary & Clouded Leopard National Park, Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajbari National Park, Rowa Wildlife Sanctuary, Gomati Wildlife Sanctuary

Uttar Pradesh
Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Noida, Loni, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Muzzafarnagar
Part 2: Hastinapur, Vrindavan, Mathura
Part 3: Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Garhmukteshwar
Part 4: Aligarh, Firozabad, Jhansi, Piilbhit, Bithoor, Naimisharanya
Part 5: Kanpur, Lucknow
Part 6: Ayodhya, Sravasti, Prayagraj
Part 7: Chitrakoot, Vindhyachal, Varanasi, Sarnath, Kushinagar

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Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Dehradun
Part 2: Mussoorie, Dhanaulti
Part 3: Auli, Joshimath, Chopta, Tungnath, Ukhimath, Lansdowne, Nainital
Part 4: Sattal, Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal, Kausani, Ranikhet, Almora, Binsar, Jalna, Kasar Devi, Jageshwar, Champawat, Munsiyari, Pithorgarh
Part 5: Bageshwar, Chamoli, Mana, Badrinath, Pandukeshwar, Hemkund Sahib, Kedarnath, Gomukh, Madhyamaheshwar, Gangotri, Gauri Kund, Yamunotri
Part 6: Rudranath, Guptakashi, Nandprayag, Rudraprayag, Devprayag, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Roopkund Lake, Nelong Valley, Gangotri National Park, Kedarnath Wild Life Sanctuary, Valley of Flowers, Nanda Devi National Park, Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajaji National Park, Jim Corbett National Park

West Bengal
Part 1: Introduction and Overview, Kolkata
Part 2: Howrah, Barrackpore, Chandan Nagar, Chinsurah, Bardhaman, Haldia, Midnapore
Part 3: Shantiniketan, Durgapur, Jhargram, Asansol, Murshidabad, Mukutmanipur, Malda, Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Bagdogra
Part 4: Kurseong, Mirik, Darjeeling, Tinchuley, Dooars, Kalimpong
Part 5: Rishyap, Lava and Lolegaon, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Rajabhatkawa, Jaldapara National Park, Jaldhaka, Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary, Gorumara National Park, Neora Valley National Park, Lataguri, Purulia, Sonajhuri Forest, Deulti, Sundarbans, Mayapur, Nabadwipa, Bakreswar
Part 6: Bankura, Bishnupur, Jayrambati, Kamarpukur, Tarapith, Falta, Raichak, Taki, Piyali Island, Machranga Dwip, Kakdwip, Mousuni Island, Bakkhali, Junput, Mandarmani, Tajpur, Shankarpur

Festivals of India: Sekrenyi Festival

Also known as Sokre-n and Phousanyi, Sekrenyi is a major annual festival of the Angami Nagas, in the northeast Indian state of Nagaland. It is observed for ten days from the 25th day of the Angami calendar month of Kezei, usually corresponding to 25 February in the Gregorian calendar. The festival is a time for purification, renewal, and thanksgiving, and is celebrated with a variety of rituals, feasts, and dances. It is a purification festival held to wash off all past sins. The objective of the festival is to renew and make holy by cleansing the body and the soul of the village as a whole, and to bring forth unity among all communities of Nagaland. It also marks the initiation of young people to adulthood and is considered an identity marker of the Angami. Christian converts among the tribals have gradually rejected these rituals.

Sekrenyi is a compound word formed by Sekre meaning sanctification and Nyi meaning festival. The festival calendar is linked to the agricultural cycle, which varies from village to village. Thus, the celebration is held between the months of December–March, and the duration also varies from ten to fifteen days. It is celebrated by both the Kruna Angami or Pfutsana and Christian Angami. The duration is reduced to five days for the Christian villagers who had earlier converted to Christianity but belonged to the same ethnic group; they participate in the festivities but they do not follow any of the rituals connected with it.

Many rituals and ceremonies are involved with the festival. On the first day, which is known as Kezie, people sprinkle themselves with a few drops of rice water drawn from a pot named Zumho. The water drops are first gathered into leaves, and the chief lady of the house reverently fixes the leaves at the three main corner pillars of the house. This is followed by the men assembling at the well to bathe. On the second day, young men of the village assemble in the village to perform ablutions. They adorn themselves with two new shawls, and then ritualistically sprinkle the holy water on their chests, knees and right arms as a mark of washing away all their sins and ill luck. When they come back from the well, a sacrificial offer of a cock is performed.

The fourth day of the festival marks the New Year of the Angamis. It begins with revelry by singing and feasting which lasts for three days. The young people, both men and unmarried girls with shaven heads gather and sing traditional songs the entire day; the songs relate to past days of valour and bravery. For the revelry of music and dance, the men and women of the community wear the traditional dress; while men carry head hunting spades, women carry baskets. The seventh day is devoted to hunting by the young men of the ethnic group. On the eighth day, the ritual involves pulling down a gate and replacing the old gate that demarcates the property. This is followed in the next two days by the people of villages formally exchanging visits and offering greetings. During the period of the ten-day festivities, field operations are suspended, In local terminology, this is called Penyu. Following the completion of the festival period, when men of the villages have cleansed themselves and sought blessings, cultivation, house building and marriages may restart for the year.

One of the most important rituals of the Sekrenyi festival is the offering of food and other items to the ancestors and the gods. This is done in the form of a feast, known as the Thuwali feast. The Thuwali feast is a grand affair, with a variety of dishes being prepared and served to the community. The food is prepared by the women of the community, who spend days preparing for the feast. This feast is a time for the community to come together and give thanks for the blessings of the past year, and ask for continued blessings in the coming year.

Another important ritual of the Sekrenyi festival is the performance of dances. The Angami people are known for their traditional dances, which are performed during the festival. These dances are performed by both men and women and are a form of storytelling. They tell the stories of the Angami people, their history, and their culture. The dances are accompanied by music, which is played on traditional instruments such as the nga or a bamboo flute and the dama or a drum. The dances are a vibrant and colourful spectacle and are enjoyed by the entire community.

The Sekrenyi festival is also an important social and cultural event, bringing together members of the community from across the region. During the festival, people from different villages come together to participate in the rituals and ceremonies. This is an opportunity for people to reconnect with friends and family, and to strengthen the bonds of the community. The festival is also an opportunity for young people to meet and mingle, and for potential partners to be introduced.

Travel Bucket List: India – Nagaland Part 3

This part will showcase some of the lesser known towns in Nagaland.

The cultural nerve centre of the Ao people as well as the most important economically and politically urban centre in northern Nagaland, Mokokchung is the third most important city after Dimapur and Kohima. The intellectual and cultural capital of Nagaland, historically, Mokokchung was one of the first Naga Hills sites where the Assam Rifles, led by the British, established their outposts, then called stockades, in the latter part of the 19th century. Much of the town initially grew around this post located in DC Hil which then gradually extended eastwards towards the remoter parts of the Naga Hills. The popular tourist spots in the area include the District Museum, the Town main Park located just above the Town Centre, the Unman village, which is the oldest and largest in the area and the Ao village.

About 18 km southwest of Mokokchung lies the village of Longkhum at an altitude of 1846 m above sea level. An Aos village from the days of the headhunters, the village is strategically located and commands a view of the surrounding hills and valleys with views as far as the eastern Himalayas, Arunachal Pradesh and beyond. The Aos have a belief that Longkhum is the resting place of the spirit of the dead on their onward journey to paradise. Mongzu Ki or the eagle’s eyrie is situated on a high precipice where eagles have nested for centuries and according to Ao mythology, eagles are the manifestations of the spirits of the dead. Mata Yimkong is a beautiful hilltop where once a fortress with the AKM Student Jubilee Tower the highest point at Longkhum. At the Imkongmeren Memorial Site, one can have panoramic views of the Doyang River. The Longlangba Longlangba or the Stone Bridge is a ridge of stones that passes through the Rhododendron woods which has small holes in the rocks that were carved into the stones so that spears could be placed in them and were warning signs to attackers that they would be killed and their heads be taken off. The man-made majang or observatory point is where one can have beautiful views with the backdrop of the Doyang River and the Mongzu-Ki or Eagle’s Cave can also be viewed from here. The legend behind Tangyim Maroksay that the water from this natural spring has the power to heal sickness. During September and early October, Cherry Blossoms bloom along the route to Longkhum. Achen Dang is where wedding ceremonies were conducted.

Ungma Village is the second-largest village in Nagaland and the oldest and largest of the Ao tribe reside here and the village was believed to be the birthplace of the Ao tribe. An old log drum, a Baptist church and an astoundingly pretty park located on the outskirts of Ungma are the famous tourist spots. The Chuchuyinlang Village is renowned for the celebrations of various tribal festivals with the most famous being the Moastu Festival that lasts for 3 days and commences on 1st May.

The Langpangkong Caves are situated between the valleys of Dikhu and Tzula Rivers and near the towns of Tuli and Changtongya. The caves are located in the Langpangkong mountain range and are believed to have given shelter to an Ahom King. The caves of Peren, Fusen kei and Mongzu Ki are the well-known yet unexplored caves of the region.

Tuensang was founded in 1947 to administrate the erstwhile North Eastern Frontier Agency or NEFA and lies about 227 km east of Kohima. In 1957, it was merged with the Naga Hills District to form a new administrative unit under the Ministry of External Affairs and later became a part of Nagaland. Tuensang is the headquarters of the Tuensang district, the easternmost and largest district of Nagaland, and has Myanmar to its east. It is also one of the fastest-growing towns in the state.

Noklak is a village situated on the edge of the district which is becoming popular due to its tribal festivals. It is inhabited by the Khiamniungan and is popular for its cane work, handicrafts and artefacts. Longtrok is an ancient village with remnants of the and Chungliyangti civilizations through its six celebrated stone structures. The most important ones are those of Tsongliyangti, Chungliyangti and Chungliyimti and are the most worshipped by the locals. The locals also believe that the Sangtams are the personifications of the ancient God who gave birth to other stones and moved them to different places. Between the town of Tuensang and the Hakchung village lies the very interesting village of Changsangmongko. Legend has it that this place is referred to as Changsang because of the Chang community settled here. The village is renowned for establishing a raised platform named Mullang, which is a symbol of the prosperity and well-being of mankind. An offbeat destination, Tsadang situated in the village of Longtrok is well known for its two ancient stones that picture two friends who regularly visited the village of Longtrok. They are placed in the vicinity of Tsongliyangti and Chungliyangti and are worshipped by the local people.

The name Phek is derived from the word Phekrekedze which means a watchtower. The district is inhabited by three major tribes, the Kheza, the Chokhri and the Pochury with at least five linguistics groups, namely the Chokri, the Khezha, the Pochury, the Sapu, and the Semas. Phek has moderately warm summers and cold winters. The people are expert craftsmen, excellent in making pots, baskets, sculptures and furniture. Phek is a hilly area rich in flora and fauna and the Shilloi Lake is an important attraction in the area apart from the amazing hills.

A beautiful foot-shaped lake in the heart of the Patkai range, the Shilloi Lake located in Lütsam Village has verdant valleys surrounding it. The lake is considered very important as it is believed that the spirit of a holy child rests in the bottom of the lake and it is one of the reasons why no one fishes or uses the lake water for drinking and irrigation. The four-meter deep lake spreads over an area of 250 to 300 m. There are many legends associated with the lake with one being a baby was found floating in the middle of the lake and two hands were seen bobbing the baby. It is said that the baby is the reigning queen of the lake and that the spirits of the lake are its protectors and so it is believed that no one can drown in the lake with no reported deaths by drowning in the lake. The area is known for its fishing spots with the best time to fish between June and September. The lake is also a haven for migratory birds like Siberian Cranes.

Atop Mt Zanibu near Thuvopisumi village, the Dzudu Lake is surrounded by lush greenery in the middle of dense jungles. The narrow strip of water is also called Zanibu Lake and is a paradise for bird watchers. The Phek Waterfall lies amid natural beauty in the middle of a jungle. One will have to walk quite a bit to reach the waterfall in the jungle.

About 70 km from Phek and 3 km from Pfutsero town, Glory Peak stands 2600 m above sea level overlooking the valley. From the peak, which is a local favourite picnic spot, one can also catch sight of the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest.

The small village of Khezhakeno is set amid picturesque surroundings. It is believed that many Naga tribes originated from Khezhakeno and migration led them to the other parts of the region. According to another popular legend, the village has a stone slab from which helps paddy miraculously multiply when placed on any drying land.

Home to the Konyaks nagas, Mon provides visitors with a unique and mesmerising view of tattooed faces wearing feathery loincloths. The district, except for the foothills, has a difficult terrain with steep slopes. Even though Mon doesn’t have a lot of sightseeing places, but it still attracts many visitors. There are numerous villages close by which offer one a closer picture of the life of the Nagas. Veda Peak and Naganimora are among the famous tourist spots here and one can see a waterfall near the Veda peak, one of the most pristine places in the region. Veda peak is located around 70 km from Mon. Among the few villages in the region that are worth visiting are Chui, Longwa and Shangynu.

Veda Peak is the highest peak in Mon and is located almost 70 km from district headquarters. The peak gives clear and stunning views of the Brahmaputra river as well as the Chindwin river which runs through Myanmar when the skies are clear. The famous waterfall at the peak is also worth visiting. The Angh’s or Chief’s house at Shangnyu Village is believed to be more than 500 years old. Chenloisho Village is one of the biggest villages in the Chen area. Located near the India-Myanmar border, this village has a small museum that houses all kinds of traditional ornaments of the region. Human skulls which are of the head-hunting days are displayed in Waloo. Longwa Village is one of the largest villages in Mon and this village is very interesting because the village lies in both India and Myanmar. The chief or the Angh’s house lies half in India and half in Myanmar. Villagers hold dual citizenship in both India and Myanmar. Four rivers flow through the river, two in India and two in Myanmar and so the natural beauty of the village is worth making the trip there.

Pfutsero is the highest-altitude town and the coldest inhabited place in Nagaland with the temperature dropping below zero degrees Celcius during some winter nights and is inhabited mostly by the Kuzhas and Chokris and a commercially important town. The best time to visit is between mid-October which is when harvesting begins and April. The most important festival of the Khezhas is the Tsükhenye festival celebrated in April or May which takes place at the Pfütseromi Village.

This brings us to the end of this wonderful state that I hope I get to visit one day. Let me know in the comments below if you have been here and if I have missed anything that I should put on my bucket list. Check this space for another state soon.

Travel Bucket List: India – Nagaland Part 2

This part is all about Nagaland’s capital city, Kohima.

The capital of Nagaland, Kohima is the second-largest city in the state. Originally known as Kewhira, Kohima was founded in 1878 when the British colonial rulers established its headquarters of the then Naga Hills District of Assam Province. It officially became the capital of the state after the state of Nagaland was inaugurated in 1963. Kohima was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II and the battle is often referred to as the Stalingrad of the East. In 2013, the British National Army Museum voted the Battle of Kohima to be Britain’s Greatest Battle. Located in the foothills of the Japfü rang, the city has an average elevation of 1,261 m.

Kohima was originally known as Kewhi–ra which is an Angami name that means the land where the Kewhi flower grows. The name, Kohima, came about as the British could not pronounce the Angami name of Kewhi–ra, but most locals still prefer to use Kewhi–ra when speaking about the capital city.

Kohima was originally a large village named Kewhira, located in the northeastern part of the present-day Kohima urban area and was divided into four large clans or thinuos. The East India Company administration started to expand into Kohima beginning of the 1840s and continued to annex the region after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Kohima was the first seat of modern administration as the Headquarters of Naga Hills District, then under Assam.

In 1944 during World War II, the Battle of Kohima along with the simultaneous Battle of Imphal was the turning point in the Burma Campaign. For the first time in South-East Asia, the Japanese lost the initiative to the Allies, which the Allies then retained until the end of the war. This hand-to-hand battle and slaughter prevented the Japanese Army from gaining a base from which they might have easily gone into the plains of India.

When Nagaland became a full-fledged state on 1 December 1963, Kohima became the state capital. On 20 March 1986, two students were killed in indiscriminate firing by the Nagaland Police when they participated in a peaceful protest called by the Naga Students’ Federation or NSF to rally against the state government’s decision on the introduction of the Indian Police Service cadres and the extension of the Disturbed Area Belt from 5 to 20 km along the Indo-Myanmar border. The event was so tumultuous that it led three Cabinet ministers and five state ministers of Nagaland to resign.

On a green and verdant hillock, lies the township of Touphema. Built by the local community in partnership with the Tourism Department of Nagaland, Touphema Village is a collection of small huts built and decorated in traditional Naga design which gives visitors the feel of living in a Naga tribal house. A very popular tourist attraction, the village is a wonderful recreation of a traditional AngamiNaga village set up with cabins and rooms that have been built to look like traditional huts and cottages. A short walk around the village can transport one way back in time when Naga tribes lived. The AngamiSekrenyi annual festival is celebrated with great fervour in the village in February. Most of the traditional village buildings have roofs made of corrugated iron without chimneys. Located on a gentle hillock with a panoramic view of the surrounding valleys, Touphema offers a chance to stay in quaint little huts, enjoy pleasant evenings around bonfires with cultural dances just adding to the rustic feel of the entire place and offer some of the best photo opportunities. A recently refurbished museum inside the village offers an extensive ethnographic collection including wood carvings, musical instruments, textiles, handicrafts traditional artefacts, jewellery, and archaeological finds.

A town belonging to the Angami Naga tribe, Khonoma Village is a one-of-its-kind project located about 20 km from the state capital. In a Green Village, where all forms of hunting have been abolished for a more sustainable ecosystem, the residents live a more sustainable way of living. Nestled on the base of the mountains, this eco-friendly, conservation-based village also provides fantastic views of misty valleys, gently sloping hillocks, and terraced farms.

The Naga Heritage Village in Kisama on the outskirts of Kohima seeks to preserve and promote the culture and traditions of the Naga people. The name Kisama itself is an amalgamation of the Naga villages, Kigwema (Ki), Phesama (Sa), and the word Ma which means a village. The venue for the famed Hornbill Festival, the village is designed in the form of an ancient Naga village to give an authentic feel of a true Naga village and the experience of travelling back in time. The village is opened to the public for a week in December, during the Hornbill festival which is the best time to visit. The Hornbill Festival is the biggest annual festival in North East India. The festival is held every year from 1 to 10 December with the purpose to promote the richness of the Naga heritage and traditions. It is also called the ‘Festival of Festivals’. The week-long festival unites one and all in Nagaland and people enjoy the colourful performances, crafts, sports, food fairs, games and ceremonies. Traditional arts which include paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures are also on display. The festival highlights include the traditional Naga Morungs exhibition and the sale of arts and crafts, food stalls, herbal medicine stalls, flower shows and sales, cultural medley – songs and dances, fashion shows, the Miss Nagaland beauty contest, traditional archery, Naga wrestling, indigenous games, and a musical concert.

The Kohima Cathedral also known as the Help of Christians Cathedral is a prominent Kohima landmark in Kohima. The church is noted for its architecture which incorporates many elements of traditional Naga houses, including its facade which resembles that of a Naga house and the architecture blends into the hill on which it is situated. The 16 feet high carved wood crucifix is one of Asia’s largest crosses. Conceptualised by Kohima’s first bishop, the cathedral complex also contains his tomb and was constructed in 1998. After the battle of Kohima, the Japanese contributed to the making of this church in memory of their loved ones.

The enchanting Dzükou valley with its emerald green rolling hills, interspersed by a gently flowing stream, is tucked away at an altitude of 2,438.4 m, about 30 km south of Kohima. A trekker’s delight, Dzükou is known for its bio-diversity with the bamboo bush its predominant plant and looks likes a fully mown lawn from afar. The valley is considered to be the base of the crater of an old volcano and is well known for its natural environment, seasonal flowers, flora, and fauna with the North Eastern Valley of Flowers a sight to behold.

The second-highest peak in Nagaland, Japfu Peak stands 3048 m above sea level and is about 15 km south of Kohima. The best seasons for climbing this mountain are between November to March. In the Japfu range, one can find the tallest Rhododendron tree, featured in the Guinness Book of World Records, over 109 ft tall and the girth at its best measures more than 11 ft. The sight of the sunrise from the hump of Japfu peak in November is something that needs to be experienced.

The Kohima Museum takes visitors closer to the lives of the tribals living in Nagaland. Built to introduce visitors to the rich culture and tradition of the 16 tribal groups of Nagaland, the Kohima Museum is located in Upper Bayavu Hills and displays gateposts, endemic regional animals and birds, statues, jewellery items and pillars. The museum also houses life-size models depicting costumes, weapons and jewellery worn by the people.

The Kohima State Museum allows visitors to get a deeper insight into the history and culture of the tribes residing in the state. Established in 1970, the museum houses rare artefacts belonging to the 16 tribes of Nagaland. From tribal attires and weapons to jewellery and sculptures, the exhibits of the museum leave visitors fascinated. There is an art gallery, which displays amazing paintings made by local artists as well as showcases musical instruments used by the Naga tribes. One of the best attractions of the museum is the models of traditional Naga huts known as Naga Morung. The museum also houses a rare collection of precious stones like cornelian and tourmaline along with brass artefacts and silver bells.

Set amidst picturesque surroundings, the Kohima War Cemetery was built in April 1944 to honour the brave soldiers of the 2nd British Division of the Allied Forces who lost their lives during World War II. The war cemetery houses 1,420 graves and is well-maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The cemetery was built in the tennis court of the then deputy commissioner’s residence, the exact place where one of the fiercest battles against the Japanese was fought. Popularly remembered as the Stalingrad of the East, the battle of Kohima was fought from April 4 to June 22, 1944, and offers gorgeous panoramic views of Kohima. The cemetery’s top also houses a dome-like memorial raised to honour the 917 Hindu and Sikh soldiers who lost their lives in the battle and were cremated according to their faith. The cemetery is well kept with lush green, mowed lawns and well-groomed flowers. There is also a War Museum as well as the Kohima Cathedral nearby.

The Kohima Zoo houses the state bird, the rare Tragopan, and the state animal, the wild buffalo. The zoo is created on a hill and the hill has been beautifully used to provide natural landscapes for the animals. The golden langurs and Blythe’s tragopan are the biggest attractions of the zoo with a section of the zoo turned into a special area for kids with a play zone and fun facts about the animals.

Established in 1923, the Ntangki Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a reserved forest in 1975 and converted into a national park in 1993. Located about 29 km from Kohima, the national park is said to be home to several animals including elephants, wild buffalos, the rare Hoolok gibbon, sloth bear, barking deer and black storks. The 200 km national park has a natural and protected habitat.

In the next part, our last part about this wonderful state, we will explore some of the lesser known towns in the state.