Tattooed Headhunting tribes Aoling festival in Nagaland, India

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01 Apr 2018
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Tattooed Headhunting tribes Aoling festival in Nagaland, India


In this tour we visit the remote Indian state of Nagaland, where we visit Mon, not only one of the most backward districts but also the most traditional, untouched and fascinating- it is the home to the last generation of tattooed headhunters belonging to the Konyak tribe.

The main form of sustenance for the tribe here is Jhum or the practice of shift cultivation by way of slash/ burn method of forests, logging and hunting, which is being practised from very ancient times and has made the state difficult to have vast virgin forest. Tourism provides an alternative method of livelihood for these people. Tourism is new to the state, which until very recently was closed to the outside world. Our organisation has been working very closely with the communities here to encourage tourism, with the help of the village heads and elders we advise people about the effects of positive interactions with the outside world.

Our guests are encouraged to try the local Naga dish, which is prepared almost entirely from local produce and most often the herbs used come from the host's kitchen garden or a trip into the nearby forest.

We use small cars to move our clients between villages and always park our cars in the outskirts of the villages to minimise the disturbance caused by movement of vehicles and we walk in small groups of 4-5 not to overwhelm the villagers.

There is a problem of water scarcity and power shortage in Mon, we advise our guests about this - water is provided in buckets and advise limited use of power for essential activities.


In this tour we visit Tuophema village and stay at the community cottages, which is a joint initiative by the local Angami village community and the Govt., where each of the twelve traditional huts is built and looked after by a 'Khel' or a family and proceeds from this directly benefit the community. Staying at this community project also gives one the chance to witness the Angami Naga way of life. There is a community kitchen which prepares food for the guests and this is an initiative of all the villagers of Tuophema.

In Mon, we visit the local bazaar where our guests can help a craftsman by purchasing a small souvenir, a handbag or a handmade scarf.

We use a different local guide for each different area within Nagaland, in Mon, we have a local Konyak guide, in Mokokchung an Ao guide and in Tuophema a local Angami guide - this is important as each of the different tribes belonging to the state of Nagaland speaks a different language and each tribe has its own different tradition. And we try to bring about the best interactions.

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