away in the far north-eastern corner of India lies the mystical and
beautiful hill state of Nagaland. The dissected landscape dominated by
crumpled mountain ranges is bounded by Myanmar in the East, the Indian
states of Assam in the West, Arunachal Pradesh and a part of Assam in
the North, and Manipur in the South. The often surreal landscape of
towering peaks and deep gorges is interspersed with dense patches of
vibrant semi-evergreen rain forests of breathtaking beauty. To top it
all are the people - strong, proud, hospitable and cheerful. People
who embrace tradition but are not drowned by it. Ingredients that make
Nagaland a true "Jewel in the East". Pity that history and geography
has led to its relative isolation from the outside world. Those who
have never been to Nagaland do not know what they have missed.
Map showing districts of
Nagaland is thinly populated (density 120/ sq.km)
and predominantly tribal. There are 16 major tribes along with other
sub-tribes of Indo-Mongoloid lineage. Each tribe is distinguished in
terms of tradition, custom, language and dress.
Clan traditions and loyalties play an important part in the
life of Nagas. English is the official
language in Nagaland and Nagamese acts as the bridge language between
people whose tongue differs from tribe to tribe.
Most Nagas are Christians today, and an overwhelming majority
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy with
about 70% of the population dependent on it for a living. Rice is the
staple food. The major land use pattern is the destructive slash and
burn cultivation system locally known as 'Jhum'. Wanton 'jhumming'
leads to pressures on the forest and wildlife which is compounded by
the widespread prevalence of traditional hunting. Most of the land
area is under tribal ownership and is managed under their customary
Nagaland is part of two bio-geographic zones. i) Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin
Rain Forests (IM0131) and, ii) Northeast India-Myanmar Pine Forests
The Mizoram-Manipur-Kachin Rain Forests
represents the semi-evergreen sub-montane
rain forests that stretch from the Arakan Yoma and Chin Hills into the
Chittagong Hills, the Mizo and Naga hills and
finally into the hills of Myanmar. It's
location at the junction of the Indian, Indo-Chinese, and Indo-Malayan
bio-geographic regions results in the presence of biotic elements from
all these regions making it very rich in floral and faunal resources.
Resultantly, the region has the highest bird species richness of all
eco-regions in the Indo-Pacific region.
Intanki and Puliebadze are protected areas in this region.
The Northeast India-Myanmar
Pine Forests region is located in the Burmese-Java Arc. The
Patkai, Lushai, Naga, Manipur and Chin Hills
are a part of this Arc. Pine forests occur
in this eco-region between 1,500-2,000
meters. Due to the nature of forests, the biodiversity of this region
is limited. However, they contain some species unique to the
ecosystem. Fakim is a protected area in this eco-region
has a wide variety of forests types. Forests occupy 21% of the land
(i) Northern Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests
- Mon District. Dominant species are of the evergreen type.
(ii) Northern Tropical Semi Evergreen Forests
- Mokokchung, Wokha & Kohima Districts.
Deciduous species are dominant.
(iii) Northern Sub-tropical Broad Leaved Wet
Hill Forests - Occurs in areas
between 500m and 1800m elevation in all
districts of Nagaland. Dominant species are mostly semi-deciduous.
(iv) Northern Sub-tropical Pine Forests -
This type is found in elevations between 1000m to 1500m in Phek
and Tuensang Districts. Pine is the dominant species.
(v) Northern Montane Wet- temperate Forests
- These forests occur above 2000 meters in Japfu,
Saramati, Satoi, Chentang ranges. The flora
species are typically evergreen.
(vi) Temperate Forests -
These forests are found above 2500m in areas
like Saramati and Dzukou. The species that dominates is rhododendron.
Luxuriant tropical forests amidst diverse topographical and climatic
conditions favour an abundance of plant and animal forms - and
Nagaland is no exception. Despite serious hunting pressure and
conversion of forests to agriculture, Nagaland's bird list easily
crosses 500 species and most of them can be found in Nagaland even
now. Top of the list of birds in Nagaland is the Blyth's Tragopan -
the State bird. It is fiercely protected in
most places that it occurs. Other key birds include three regional
endemics - the Striped Laughingthrush Garrulax virgatus, the
Brown-capped Laughingthrush Garrulax austeni and the (Cachar)
Wedge-billed Wren Babbler Sphenocichla humei roberti and
specialities like the Spot-breasted Parrotbill, (Naga) Long-tailed
Wren Babbler, Tawny-breasted Wren Babbler, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch,
Dark-rumped Swift and Rufous-capped Fulvetta.
To the outsider Nagaland often resembles the
killing fields as far as wildlife is concerned. Hunting is as old in
Nagaland as the people who inhabit it, and most Nagas find it odd that
people could just watch birds! But as forests shrink and weapons
improve, the traditional balance between the hunter and the hunted
shifts inexorably in one direction and it is hoped that the wise
people of Nagaland will recognize that before it cannot be reversed.
[Covering the Districts
of Kohima, Peren and Dimapur]
Khonoma area in Kohima District: The
picturesque village of Khonoma, which lies 20 km west of Kohima, was known for
its fighting prowess in the past. It is also known for the fallow management of
its Alder trees and for its beautiful terraces which are carved out of the hill
slopes surrounding the village. But today it is known as a hotspot of birding
activity as a direct result of a hunting ban over a 70 sq. km area imposed by
the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary which was set up in 1998.
The ban was initially imposed to conserve the Blyth's Tragopan in its natural
Khonoma village's immediate habitat comprises of agricultural land, land under
Alder, degraded forests and small patches of conifers. Dense and undisturbed
tropical forest of considerable diversity is found on the border dividing Kohima
and Peren district in the Dzulekie area. Key birds include: Mountain Bamboo
Partridge, Striped Laughingthrush, Brown-capped Laughingthrush, (Cachar)
Wedge-billed Wren Babbler, (Naga) Long-tailed Wren Babbler, Rufous-capped
Fulvetta and Chestnut-vented Nuthatch. Common birds around Khonoma include
Crested Finchbills and Grey Sibias.
Benreu area in Peren District: Benreu is a little village perched 1950
meters under the foot of Mt. Paona. Benreu is famous for housing an unique
community where 20 percent of an animist population dictates the customs and
social rules of the majority Christians. The key to bird diversity in Benreu is
the intact natural forests characterized by an abundance of broad-leafed
evergreen and deciduous trees. The area has wild cherries, apples, lemon,
banana, walnut, fig and other tree species like Bonsum, Gogra, Alder, Oak. A
rare species of bamboo, believed to be the tallest bamboo in the world, is found
in the foothills of Peletkie village close to Benreu. Birding in Benreu is along
the road and key species that can be found in the area include a variety of
thrushes (including Grey-sided in winter), galliformes (including Blyth's
Tragopan), and most of the birds that occur in Khonoma plus the enigmatic
Intangki area: The Intanki National Park is the centre of all birding
activity in the lowlands of Peren District. Intanki is a low elevation tropical
deciduous forest and abounds in Himalaya foothill species. Access to Intanki is
difficult with the nearest village at Llilen still 10 kms short of the Park.
Infrastructure at Llilen is basic and one has to depend on the hospitality
extended by the villagers to spend any time at this place. Despite seasonal
hunting (daily on Mondays and Thursdays between June - February), Intanki is a
birding hotspot with an abundance of lowland birds which include drongos,
minivets, bluebirds, thrushes, barbets, woodpeckers, green pigeons, hornbills,
bulbuls. Key birds include Brown Hornbill, White-Winged Duck and Black-headed
Dimapur Area: Dimapur
is almost entirely in the plains and the only place to see birds is the
protected Rangapahar National Park and Zoo. Only 15 kms odd from Dimapur city,
this small walled area is a true haven for birds. The birdlife here is largely
unexplored but a brief visit gave us birds like Spot-winged Starling and
Green-billed Malkohas. Bulbuls and starlings abound in the scrub/grass habitat
and there was local information that suggested the presence of green pigeons and
pheasants in the area. Access to Rangapahar Zoo is from Dimapur. We found that
it opens after 10 a.m. despite literature that suggests an earlier start time.
How to reach
Air: Dimapur has the only airport in Nagaland. Direct flights
connect the airport to Guwahati and Kolkata.
Rail: Dimapur has a railway station on the main line of the Northeast
Frontier Railway. It is well connected to Guwahati.
Road: NH 39 is the main highway for entry into Nagaland from Assam. It
connects Kohima with Dimapur, a distance of 74 kms. Tarred roads connect much of
Nagaland internally. Many near repairs.
Where to stay
The HeritageR. Officer's Hill,
Kohima. Tel: (0370) 224 1864; Email: email@example.com
Khonoma: 1. Baby's Home Stay. Khonoma, Nagaland.
2. Meru’s Homestay, Khonoma, Nagaland. Tel: (0370) 234 0061
For bookings contact: 1. Angulie Meyase +91-94360-71046; 2. Help Toursim
+91-98310-31980; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dimapur: Aier's EnclaveR.
No-7, Vikiye Colony. Dimapur - 797112, Nagaland.
Mobile: +91-9436000264. Email: email@example.com
Benreu: MT. Pauna Tourist Village. Benreu, Nagaland. Tel: (0370) 227 0072
For bookings contact: 1. Angulie Meyase +91-94360-71046; 2. Help Toursim
Llilen: Community Hall, Llilen-2 or at Jalukie about 2 hours from Intanki
Tourists visiting Nagaland are required to get an Inner Line Permit /
Restricted Area Permit / Protected Area Permit as follows:
A. Indian travelers
ILPs are issued Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, New Delhi (Tel:
+91-11-23012296 ) and Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, Kolkata
(Tel: +91-33-22823247). These can also be obtained from Deputy Commissioner of
Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung.
B. Other travelers
Foreign tourists can obtain a Restricted Area Permit / Protected Area Permit
from all Indian Missions abroad; Home Ministry, Govt. of India; FRRO - New
Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai; Commissioner, Home Affairs, Govt. of Nagaland;
Commissioner & Secretary, Tourism, Govt. of Nagaland and The Resident
Commissioner, Nagaland House, New Delhi.
[Disclaimer: Information provided here is on a best effort
basis and may not be accurate. Please check with relevant authorities or your
travel agent for correct updated information]
Important Facts and
Area: 16,527 Sq.Km
State capital: Kohima (1444m)
Population: 2,000,000 appx.
Important tribes: Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang,
Khiamniungan, Kuki, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sumi, Sangtam,
Language: English. Nagamese is widely used in
Religion: Mainly Christianity.
Staple food: Rice. Pork is an important protein
Highest Peak: Mt. Saramati 12,552 feet (3,826 m)
Key rivers: Doyang, Diphu,Barak and Chindwin
Protected places: Intanki NP, Puliebadze WLS, Fakim
WLS and Rangapahar NP
Temperatures: Summer 16 C - 31 C; Winter 4 C - 24 C
Location: Between 25°6'N - 27°4' N and 93°20'E -
Govt. of Nagaland website
Department of Forests, Ecology, Environment and Wildlife, Nagaland
3. Nagaland Tourism
India, GOI website
WWF- Terrestrial Ecoregion (IM0131)
WWF- Terrestrial Ecoregion (IM0303)
7. Nagaland -
8. Khonoma Village
A sad encounter with migratory Amur Falcons
12. A Pocket Guide to the Birds of Nagaland by Anwaruddin Choudhury; 2003.
Gibbon Pocket Guides
13. Some bird records from Nagaland, north-east India - Anwaruddin Choudhury;
Forktail 17 (2001): 91-103
Travel to Nagaland