Third Eye Traveller

Longwa Village Nagaland – An Essential Travel Guide & Top Things to Do

By: Author Sophie Pearce

Posted on Last updated: August 18, 2023


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I really didn’t know what to expect when I was visiting Longwa Village in Nagaland.

The North East doesn’t have endless travel guidance, but, I definitely knew one thing about this place; it was the home of the last surviving head hunters!

Hornbill Festival gave me a tourist taste of Naga tribal culture, but we weren’t in Disneyland anymore folks.

As my bumpy night bus from Kohima wound around the dusty Naga hill roads at dawn, the concrete houses and modern life as I knew it slowly turned into thatched huts and tribal villages.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

The adrenalin started to run through me, finally, a real adventure! One where I didn’t feel certain or secure, where I didn’t know what lay ahead of me. I was on a mission to meet the Konyak head hunters of Mon (eek!).

Longwa was a place that intrigued, confused, and amazed me all at once. It was a mix of Opium fumes, Christian Hymns blaring out, and tribal face tattoos.

It was definitely THE place in North East India that I will never forget. I guess it’s hard to wipe encounters with a chief tribal king offering you opium and ex-head hunters from your mind.

This is a full travel guide for your visit to Longwa Village in Nagaland.

nagaland headhunters

Where is Longwa Village and Mon in Nagaland India?

Nagaland is bordered by Myanmar in the East, Assam to the West, Arunachal Pradesh  on the Northside, and Manipur in the south.

The state is comprised of 17 major tribes which are;

Angami – Ao – Chakhesang – Chang – Dimasa Kachari – Garo – Khiamniungan – Konyak – Kuki – Lotha – Phom – Pochury – Rengma – Sangtam – Sumi – Yimchungru  – Zeliang

Although hard to believe you are still standing on Indian soil but no one speaks Hindi here, the local language is Nagamese.

Getting into the state of Nagaland is easy with Dimapur airport being located on the West side of the state. This is in the perfect location to access the Capital City of Kohima which is a further 3 to 4 hours drive away.

Mon is located on the East side of Nagaland and can only be accessed by road. Mon and Longwa Village is home to the Konyak tribes; every last name is Konyak here!

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Do I need a permit to enter Nagaland?

No, you do not need to buy a permit to enter Longwa Village or Nagaland. But, you will need to inform the police station that you have arrived, where you’re staying and how long you plan to stay.

I will go into this more below.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

How to reach Longwa Village in Mon, Nagaland & formalities for when you arrive

I decided to get a night bus to Eastside city of Mon after attending Hornbill Festival for a few days.

This was a rather long bus journey which left at 1 pm that day and got into Mon at 6 am the following morning.

Nagaland roads are notoriously terrible and the bus actually went into the state of Assam to the West and back into Nagaland to the Eastside to avoid long delays. Assam has better roads which makes sense.

It was a pretty terrible ride as the buses were crowded with tourists and locals wanting to leave Hornbill and go back home. I was pretty much the only foreign girl on the bus travelling alone at the back, but it was safe enough.

hornbill festival guide 2018

When I got into Mon, I decided to hop in a Sumo jeep that morning straight to Longwa from the sumo counter.

Luckily, one was available at ‘special request’. What this means is that, although the regular cheaper jeeps were full, a couple of people wanted to rent one privately.

It was only 100 rupees more and cost me 250 rupees. I was lucky or I would be staying on Mon for the night.

Sumo Jeeps in Nagaland are the only means of public transport and only a few run to Longwa each day. It’s a gamble if you’ll get a ticket so I would recommend as far in advance as you can!

If you’re a foreign visitor, you must sign in with the government official in Longwa once you arrive.

Your guesthouse owner will take you there. Bring your ID like a passport. He’ll take down your details about where you’re heading next and where you’re staying.

Click here for more tips for travelling around North East India

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Where to stay in Longwa Village

In Mon there were only 2 guesthouses to choose from and in Longwa it’s the same. I stayed at the ‘Traveller’s Inn’ which was opposite Chief Angh’s residence (the King of Longwa!).

Although it looked a little intimidating with the locked barbed wire fence, I took comfort in the fact that I would be safe in my stay.

This was a great, clean, and tourist-friendly place to stay. The beds were warm with extra blankets, electricity, and a private bathroom. Hot water was available on request and in a bucket like most guesthouses in North East.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Breakfast was included and there was a kitchen where a lunch/dinner buffet was prepared by a local chef daily at a small cost.

The room rates are 1500 a night per room but most have 2 beds inside. So, if you have someone to share with all the better!

For bookings contact +91 9856015152 or email [email protected].

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

I was staying here with two Israeli guys who were on their Royal Enfield bike. They were pretty much high all the time.

As there wasn’t much to do in the evening, we’d watch Rick and Morty to pass the time ha!

If you’d rather stay in a homestay type experience you can stay at Aunty’s guesthouse which is a typical village hut. I didn’t stay here or hear of anyone who did but it does sound cool to stay in a Naga hut for a few days.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Things to do in Longwa Village

If you’re travelling here solo, I would highly recommend a local guide to show you around.

The language barrier is quite strong so having someone that speaks Nagamese can really open doors for you. Don’t expect people to be friendly and welcoming without! And, if you want to meet the head hunters, this is a must.

I took comfort in my friendly guide from my guest house Namei. Of course, you pay a guide fee of around 1500 rupees for a whole day.

But, I spread the cost over the days I was there. It was the only way I would have met the headhunters and that’s what I was determined to see!

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

On the occasion I did decide to go for a walk alone, I felt strangely intimidated.

There were so many stares and not the curious ones, heckles and laughing in Nagamese and even kids threw rocks at me! Go careful.

If you’re not comfortable going at it alone, I would go on a tour. Sange Tsering at  Holiday Scout  is one of the top people you can know in the Himalaya’s and will have you in good hands.

For some context see my full review of my tour with him in Arunachal Pradesh here

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Visit the Cheif Angh (King) in his official residence…and sit in the opium den

According to the laws here, every traveller who visits Longwa must meet the chief King in his Longhouse.

You must be prepared with a gift of a donation…usually in the form of money for opium.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

I have to admit the fact that I was going to meet a king set my expectations pretty high and I was nervous!

But, actually, it wasn’t all that grandeur. The king has only been recently inaugurated and isn’t covered in tattoos like the warriors from long ago. Both times when I sat in the longhouse I was taken into a visitors room which was pretty much a drug den.

The fumes of Opium filled the air – even in the morning. It’s constant. The chief king was pretty high when I met him around the campfire.

The second king pretty much prepared opium for himself, the chief king, and others all day.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

If you’re not familiar with opium it’s a drug that I’ve only heard of being used in Victorian times in the UK.

It’s a type of morphine that’s extracted from the opium poppy. The way the mixture was prepared here was in a spoon being burned over the open flames of the campfire.

Tobacco is then saturated with the vaporised liquid. This tobacco is then put into a bong and toked. Then, you drink tea.

Lol, as you can tell I’m not an expert in this field but that’s what it looked like to me!

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Although I was offered to take part, I declined. I never do drugs and as a solo female traveller it just wouldn’t be safe.

The fact that I knowingly would do that may cause complications if something were to happen to me.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

India has a strong view of ‘loose’ women who visit from a Western society and I didn’t want to be a victim of that. 

Don’t worry the king won’t be offended, it just means more for him and his officials. As long as you’ve contributed a donation (I think I gave 300 rupees as I had no cash), you’re all good.

Luckily, the two Israeli guys took the offer, it would have been a short visit otherwise!

As the language barrier was quite strong, one of the Israeli guys got out his recorder and it went off a hit in the palace! The king and his officials were impressed.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

The chief house in itself is worth a look around. I met the Queen and the new prince of Longwa who was just a baby (and so cute).

Saw a dozen Mithun and Buffalo skulls on the walls and learned that half of the longhouse is Indian and half is Burmese.

Just make sure you visit with a local or your guide, don’t walk in uninvited.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Explore the beautiful Longwa Village on foot

The fact that Longwa is on top of the Naga Hills makes for some amazing scenery! You truly feel on top of the world. Namei took me around the whole village and just walking around it was stunning.

There was a walk up towards the Army camp which was really beautiful. You’ll walk past Longhouses, huts, the church, and look into the plains of Myanmar!

Make sure you take some time to explore.

travel tips longwa

Be in two countries at once – step into Myanmar at the lookout point

Longwa stands directly on the border with Myanmar and almost half is classed as Burmese.

So, you can actually walk into Myanmar here without border control. Obviously, you can’t go any further than this point but it’s definitely something you should see, for the glorious views alone.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

The marker is placed on a vantage point and one side is in Hindi and one side is in Burmese.

There were some cute kids playing as we walked up. I couldn’t stop staring at the amazing rolling hills, the landscape was so lush, green, and incredible!

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Meet the last surviving head hunters

Ah, the thing that all tourists want to see when they visit.

It was a strange feeling coming face to face with a head hunter. To see the years of opium take an effect, the surprising kind eyes staring back, the wrinkled skin with the tribal tattoos over their face and bodies.

I had so many questions that would remain unanswered and an admiration mixed with anguish. To know that these were head hunters, I was face to face with a famous killer.

After every raid of headhunting, the warriors were traditionally inked. First on the face, neck, and then other parts of the body.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

The different tattoos worn by Naga tribes represent the different stages, status, and achievements in their life.

For men, they were inked once they became a man and went into battle, and for women, it represented different life cycle stages.

Headhunting was banned by the British in 1935, so these are truly the last surviving head hunters! Give it 10 years or so and these guys won’t be there anymore. Most are 80 to 90 years of age.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Although headhunting became illegal, the battles between tribes here were frequent until Longwa converted to Christianity in the 1980s. Today, these face tattoos are illegal.

You will need a guide to show you around to meet them, without one it may not be possible. They mostly spend time at home and with family. They also won’t be dressed up in a traditional dress. Most of the Naga people don’t these days.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Come prepared with tips if you want to take photographs and to meet them. I would say 100 or 200 rupees per person should be enough.

On request, they will get dressed up in traditional wares. One even showed me his headhunting basket too!

My guide translated that the Naga people kept saying ‘although the language isn’t the same, smiling is the same’ and I guess that’s the only language we had! They were so friendly and would ask questions through my guide.

For more information, you can see my fail safe tips for meeting the headhunters of Mon here.

visit nagaland photos

Attend a Sunday service

The church of Longwa is huge and stands in the middle of the village. I was curious to take a peek inside a Naga church.

Would they have the bible translated in Nagamese? What did it look like? All these questions drew me in more.

I missed the Sunday service as I was touring around and just caught the locals leaving, all in their Sunday best! The church was quite spartan with long lines of benches to fit everyone in.

I learned at Hornbill Festival that Nagaland is a devout Christian state. British missionaries arrived here as early as the 1930s.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Nagaland converted entirely in the 1980s as, before this time, the tribes were always fighting each other. Hence, where the term head hunter came from!

Namei told me that his father was actually one of the first people to bring Christianity to Longwa.

For me, I had a hard time digesting it all. I hated the colonialist feel of taking over a culture with the idea that Christianity is somewhat superior.

That the values of one religion are better than the other. But, when speaking to the locals they thought that it was the best thing that ever happened and were happy to be. I guess people got tired of fighting and would rather be united than divided.

Head hunting was banned by the British in 1935, so these are the last surviving head hunters! The tattoos they received were also banned Give it 10 years or so and these guys won't be there anymore. 

Shop for local handicrafts

I had already bought a brass skull necklace at Hornbill Festival, but there were SO many options to choose from here.

You’ll find a lot of the local handicrafts for sale outside of the King’s house each day. The prices are reasonable to the time they took to make and they are such interesting souvenirs to take home.

You can buy necklaces, shawls, masks, and antiques. Sure beats the typical Indian Pashmina or Ali Baba Pants.

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The children are nice on the surface, but watch out..

At 29 you’d think I’d be too grown up to be intimidated by little kids but in Longwa you’d be wrong! When I was with Namei, a lot of them were terrified of me and hated me because of my camera.

Kids would throw rocks at me, one threatened me with a makeshift bamboo sword, some would run at me with clenched fists.

Head hunting was banned by the British in 1935, so these are the last surviving head hunters! The tattoos they received were also banned Give it 10 years or so and these guys won't be there anymore. 

Apparently, a lot of them are told ‘no photos’ and that the camera takes the soul out of you. So, no wonder they were terrified! But also I saw a lot of kids working at stone yards, maybe the citizens of Longwa didn’t want the world to see.

So, if you find you’re under attack, just get the camera out and they’ll flee. They were so cute but so terrifying at the same time!

The only time they were happy was when the Israeli guy started playing with his Dapostar and we got our phones out and started taking selfies haha. So, maybe get your Snapchat filters out?

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Top tips for visiting Longwa Village, Nagaland

  • Guesthouses – Longwa doesn’t see much tourism so you won’t find many guesthouses which have been set up here. But, you won’t find that the rooms are sold out either.
  • Electricity –  This comes on when the lights go down, so make sure to charge your phones and equipment at night.
  • Eat in your guest house  – Longwa doesn’t have ‘restaurants’ per se. They have kitchens in the guesthouses that can prepare you meals. Traveller’s Inn would prepare a huge buffet each day for Dinner and Lunch for 350 rupees a day. That included rice, meat, breads, vegetables, tea, and water.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

  • Language Barrier -Nagamese is the local language and not many speak Hindi or even English. This is why I feel it’s good to have a guide with you who can open doors for you.
  • Get a guide to show you around or go on a tour – Next time, I would go on a tour. Not only do these guys probably have a relationship with the locals to show you around, you also get driven in and out and don’t have to stay over. Although I was comfortable, I didn’t feel completely safe at all times.
  • On Sunday’s everything stops and closes –  As Nagaland is devout Christian they’re completely by the Holy Book. That means that everything is closed. It’s illegal to work. The ATMs shut down and transport doesn’t run. Sunday’s are a day of rest so prepare for that if you’re staying over.
  • Bring some warm layers – as Longwa is on a hill and has strong winds, it’s freezing once the sun goes down. Bring some warm layers to walk around and sleep in at night.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

  • Book your bus out in advance –  As I arrived on Friday and I couldn’t leave Sunday, I had to factor in an extra day and luckily I got my ticket Saturday afternoon. I would highly recommend booking your sumo jeep out of Longwa on the day you get there. There are only a few that run and each has 10 spaces that get taken up in no time. If you don’t get the jeeps that day, it’s another night.
  • Bring lots of cash from Mon – Although I was advised that there was a cash point, it was false information. So, stock up when you get to Mon city for Longwa. Luckily, my kind guesthouse owner took me to an ATM in Mon to pay for my guesthouse. But, as it was Monday, there was a half-hour wait for cash. Stock up before going!

Click here to read more of my Longwa travel tips I wish I knew before my visit!

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Is it safe to visit Longwa Village solo?

I would say for the most part, yes.

Of course, I visited as a solo female traveller and so I took extra precautions by staying in a locked guest house and hiring a guide to show me around. When I was with my guide the people were so friendly as I had a Nagamese speaker who could translate.

But, on the one attempt I took to go out alone, I felt very intimidated. Young men were laughing and making jokes asking for my number, I was getting a lot of unkind stares, kids were being the terrifying kids they were hurling rocks.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

I had heard before my visit that without a guide Nagaland isn’t so friendly and, although I’m sure nothing would happen I didn’t personally feel that safe then.

You have to think a place isn’t designed to make you feel safe, it’s to make its own people feel safe. I feel that Longwa is very protective and doesn’t want or really ‘need’ the tourism.

It was out of my comfort zone and in a way I loved it. But, I always have to consider my safety. So, next time I wouldn’t go it alone and go on a tour.

guide longwa nagaland head hunters

Visit Longwa village now before it’s too late

The headhunters of Longwa village aren’t going to be around forever, so put this on your list before it’s too late!

It was an incredible experience to come face to face with head hunters. Although years ago they were fierce and have the marks of bravery on their faces and skulls around their necks. Nowadays they’re living out their days with family and melting their memories with opium.

For more information, you can see my guide to meeting the Headhunters of Mon, here.

Or read the 16 tips I wish I knew before heading to Longwa .

You don’t want to miss out, so visit Longwa village the next time you’re in Nagaland!

With thanks to Traveller’s Inn for hosting my stay. For bookings contact +91 9856015152 or email [email protected].   All views, opinions and pictures are my own.

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Wednesday 3rd of August 2022

Hiya Sophie, we chatted on an another blog of your on Hornbill. Longwa/ Mon is on my list too. I have visited the headhunters of Borneo and am very curious about the one in Mon. You mentioned Namei as your guide. Did you hire him for the whole stay? Would you recommend using such a guide or going on a tour? I contacted Travel Scout and almost booked a tour but their cancellation policy is weird. Can't risk losing my huge deposit whatever may be the reason. They are firm on it. How and where did you hire the SUVs? Any and all advice is much appreciated. Your blog is so informative. Thank you for that. Any other place in the area worth visiting? Best.

@Sophie Pearce, thanks. I meant Holiday Scout indeed. I want to combine it with Ziro valley too and yes a car and a guide would be the handiest. Will update on how it went post travel. I'm going to Kohima just for the Hornbill festival and trying to combine the rest.

Sophie Pearce

Hi Sheela, yes Namei was my guide who was part of the Longwa Tourist Guest House. I did hire him for the whole stay. I would personally always recommend a guide in Nagaland. Having a guide will help you to meet the head hunters and locals. Unless you speak Nagamese, or know the village, they may not be very welcoming to outsiders. If you can I would go on a tour with Holiday Scout but I did it self-guided. I hired a Sumo from Mon to Longwa Village. You can take an overnight bus to Mon from Kohima after Hornbill and it takes 12 hours. I just visited Longwa and Mon in this area then travelled over to Jorhat in Assam to see Majuli Island. Again, this was a pretty long bus journey due to the quality of roads in Nagaland. But, you could always break up the journey in Sivasagar Assam which has lots of culture and temples. Nagaland has many pretty places near Kohima like Dzukou Valley but this isn't great in December, it's best visited in the summer season. Thanks, Sophie x

Justin Featherstone

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

This was a really useful and well considered post. I am off to some of the villages near Mon and to Longwa to research the Konyak attitudes to community, value and leadership. I will be spending around 3 weeks there and really wanted some basic information which you provided along with some really valuable insights. Thank you

Monday 13th of January 2020

Hi Justin, Wow that sounds like an incredible line of research. 3 weeks in Longwa will be quite an adventure! I'm really eager to find out what you thought of it and the outcome of your research. If you wouldn't mind letting me know, I'd love to add some of their opinions of tourists/outsiders to this article! Have an amazing time and stay safe :) there is a reporting post where you need to show your passport and you'll probably have to check in with him every few days. Safe travels. Sophie x

Soumya Chowdhury

Friday 12th of April 2019

Hi Sophie have described the place really well ...would say kind of resolved all my doubts and queries ....thank you...

Thursday 25th of April 2019

Hi Soumya, That's great, I'm glad the post helped you. Have an incredible visit. Thanks for reading, Sophie x

Thursday 12th of July 2018

I was there in May. And I loved it. I travelled solo but luckily had an Italian traveller as a friend and managed to get into places I wouldnt have gone alone.

Nicely captured all details, Sophie!

Wow amazing! It's such a great part of India, right? Oh that's good! I wish I had a travel buddy :) Thank you for reading .Sophie x

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Longwa Village Nagaland: Journey into the Realm of Headhunters

tourist guest house longwa

Longwa village in Nagaland offers the unique opportunity to meet the last generations of tattooed headhunters, who were once very fierce before headhunting was banned in India in 1960. Our Longwa village travel guide takes you through a village situated in two countries, with one part of the house in Myanmar and the other part in India. These are not just stories but fascinating realities that make Longwa a must-visit destination. Hope this travel guide will help you learn more about Longwa Village and make your tour plan beforehand.

A scenic drive through the winding roads of the Naga Hills takes you to Longwa, a beautiful village located at the top of a hill. From here, you can enjoy a breathtaking birds’-eye view of the entire Mon Town and Myanmar. The village is especially dreamy during the evening when you can revel in the fresh air and stunning sunset.

tourist guest house longwa

Where is Longwa village?

Longwa village is located in the Mon district 40 km from the Mon town, which is the northernmost district of Nagaland. The village nestles between the international borders of India and Myanmar, with every villager enjoying dual citizenship of both countries. Longwa is bounded by Arunachal Pradesh to the north, Assam to the west, and Myanmar to the east. Mon is an important town in the area inhabited by the Konyak Naga tribe , one of the sixteen tribes of Nagaland, known for their headhunting practices.

Indo Myanmar border at Longwa village

How to Reach Longwa Village

Sibsagar district, located in Assam, is the nearest town to Mon, from where it takes around 3–4 hours to reach Longwa. The road to Longwa passes through scenic tea gardens and hilly roads.  You can reach Mon from Mokokchung district as well. Which takes around 9 -10 hrs depending on road condition. Jorhat and Dibrugarh are two nearest towns of Mon. You can easily reach Mon from these two places apart from Sibsagar.

Exploring Longwa Village

Early in the morning of the next day, we started our journey to Longwa. It took us around 2 hours to reach the village. Upon arrival, we first visited the house of the Angh(king) , who is the head of many villages. The Angh rules over 35 villages on the Myanmar side and 5 villages on the Indian side. Longwa has many kings and deputy kings who have ruled the region.

The Angh’s House: A Must-Visit Place in Longwa Village

Located in the center of the village the Angh’s house it the major attraction of the village. The house is beautifully decorated with wood carving, buffalo horns and photographs.  Various wooden sculptures of animals and other objects can be seen in every corner. Traditional weapons, instruments, including a big, long drum, used during times of war are also preserved in the house very nicely. Skilful wood carving is unique to this region, and visitors can see different objects crafted from a single piece of wood.

Angh's house in Longwa village

The traditional big kitchen in Angh’s house, where guests are offered black tea and snacks, is a must see.  The India-Myanmar border goes through this kitchen, where the area to the right of the fire-pit falls in Myanmar, and the portion to the left of the fire-pit is in India. Women in the house make beautiful jewellery, such as neckpieces, earrings, and shawls, and visitors can also purchase traditional weapons, woodcraft, jewellery, masks, and antiques from them, A small road site market is also available in front of Chef’s house where travellers can buy various jewellery and decorative items very unique to this reason.

Check our comprehensive guide to Hongphoi Village   to know everything about it before visiting the head hunters village of Nagaland.

Attractions in Longwa

Traditional gun makers, is another attraction in Longwa where the process used to make guns can be observed, and traditional air guns can be seen.

Longwa village has a rich cultural heritage to explore. Apart from the welcoming community of headhunters, the village also boasts traditional Morungs , beautifully decorated with wood crafts. These Morungs serve as common areas where elders teach valuable skills to the young boys and girls of the village. This practice is widespread throughout Nagaland and is an essential part of their culture. Additionally, Longwa village also has a church worth visiting.

Check our Nagaland tour packages to find the most suitable tour package for you.

Homestay in Longwa village

longwa travel guide

Few families in the village offer stay in their home for tourist. To observe the location culture and tradition homestays are best option. One of the best homestay in the village is Longsha homestay.  It is a beautiful traditional homestay decorated with wooden sculptures  and Naga Cultural symbols. where you can meet the princess of Burma. One can observe the women wearing traditional jewelry and headgear and even meet tribal men with tattoos on their whole bodies. The traditional home of the king’s family, decorated with woodcrafts, is a must-visit in Longwa. Very few basic guest house are also available in Longwa.

Konyak Naga Tribe: The Tattooed Headhunters of Longwa

Longwa village, located in Nagaland, is home to around 30 living tattooed headhunters, with the oldest one being over 80 years old. Visitors can explore their homes, talk with them, and learn about their history and way of life. To meet them and learn about their way of life, it is necessary to hire a local guide who can show you around. 

Headhunter of Longwa

In Longwa, people receive tattoos for different reasons, including identifying those belonging to the same clan or village through distinct patterns and celebrating accomplishments. Tattoos were also made on arms, legs, and backs using ink made from the soot of tree sap combined with crushed leaves. It’s important to note that tattoos were banned in India in 1960.

As Longwa village lies in both India and Myanmar, the residents hold dual citizenship and can roam freely in both countries. 

Check our tribal tour package in Northeast India to plan your tour in Longwa village in Nagaland.

longwa village

Check the best itinerary to visit the last generation of headhunters in Nagaland

Top tips for visiting Longwa Village, Nagaland

  • To visit Longwa village, it is essential to hire a local guide as the villagers do not understand Hindi or English and speak their local dialect.
  •  There are no hotels or restaurants in the village, so it’s best to have breakfast early at your hotel and order food in advance at the homestay.
  •  The village can only be explored on foot, and it’s recommended to enjoy storytelling sessions at night since people in the village sleep early.
  • Everything in the village is closed on Sundays.
  • Take permission and pay something before taking anyone’s photo.

Now a days the whole village is transformed into a tourist friendly and peaceful villages. When we visited in 2023 the effect of Opium is very less. We find all the youths very active and friendly.

Visiting the headhunters of Longwa village is an amazing and unforgettable experience. These villagers were once known for their bravery and fierceness, as evidenced by the unique tattoos on their bodies. Nowadays, they live in harmony with their families and spend their time sharing memories. Don’t miss out on the chance to immerse yourself in this fascinating culture before it’s too late!

Hope this travel guide will help you to make your travel plan to Longwa village comfortably. If you have any queries, please write to us !

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Unveiling the Secrets of Nagaland’s Longwa Village: A Borderland Community

Longwa village: exploring its geography, culture, and the unique experiences it offers..

Table of Contents

Geography and Location:

Longwa Village is perched on the northeastern border of India, sharing its boundary with Myanmar. This geographical location not only makes it a remote and exotic destination but also adds a layer of mystique to its identity. The surrounding hills and valleys provide a breathtaking panorama that will leave you in awe. Imagine waking up to the sight of mist-kissed hills and listening to the melodious chirping of birds as you sip on freshly brewed tea. Longwa’s location truly offers a glimpse into the unspoiled beauty of Nagaland’s landscapes.

The border straddling nature of Longwa Village is a rare phenomenon. The village’s chief and some of its residents have the remarkable distinction of living in a house that is divided by the international border. This unique situation showcases the harmonious coexistence of different cultures and nationalities, fostering a sense of unity and cooperation among the villagers.

Cultural Heritage:

The Konyak Naga tribe, the primary inhabitants of Longwa Village, possess a rich cultural heritage that you won’t find anywhere else. Their traditional attire is a visual feast of color and craftsmanship, often adorned with beads, feathers, and intricate handwoven fabrics. The iconic facial tattoos worn by the elders are not only a symbol of beauty but also carry deep cultural significance.

As you interact with the locals, you’ll discover captivating stories from their folklore, accompanied by soul-stirring music and dance forms. The traditional dances often incorporate vibrant costumes and rhythmic beats, transporting you to another world. Participating in these rituals allows you to become a part of their living cultural legacy.

Longwa Village Chief’s House:

The chief’s house is an architectural marvel and a living testament to the uniqueness of Longwa Village. The fact that it straddles the international border is not just a curiosity but a symbol of the seamless integration of cultures. The chief, known for their respected role in the community, often plays a crucial role in mediating between different clans and maintaining peace within the village. The house, with its grandeur and historical significance, is a must-visit spot that encapsulates the essence of Longwa’s intriguing blend of cultures and traditions.

Local Experiences:

Participating in traditional activities in Longwa Village is a truly enriching experience. From tilling the fields to weaving intricate baskets, you can immerse yourself in the daily lives of the locals. These activities not only provide insight into their way of life but also foster a sense of camaraderie and understanding. Additionally, sharing a meal with the villagers and savoring their traditional delicacies is a heartwarming experience that strengthens the bond between visitors and the community.

Exploring the Surrounding Nature:

Longwa Village is surrounded by pristine natural beauty that beckons explorers and nature enthusiasts. The lush green forests are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, making it an ideal destination for nature walks and birdwatching. If you’re lucky, you might spot some of the region’s unique wildlife, adding an adventurous aspect to your visit. The village also serves as a base for trekking and hiking expeditions into the Nagaland hills, offering an unforgettable opportunity to connect with nature.

Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Travel:

Responsible tourism is paramount in Longwa Village. Initiatives are in place to preserve the unique cultural heritage and protect the environment. As a responsible traveler, you can contribute to these efforts by respecting local customs, minimizing your environmental footprint, and supporting local businesses. Purchasing handmade crafts directly from artisans not only ensures that your souvenirs are authentic but also provides a sustainable source of income for the villagers.

Exploring Longwa Village: Your Comprehensive Travel Guide

Nestled in the verdant hills of Nagaland, Longwa Village beckons travelers with its intriguing blend of culture, geography, and timeless traditions. This comprehensive travel guide aims to answer all your questions about planning a visit to this remarkable destination. From logistics to cultural etiquette, we’ve got you covered.

Getting There and Permits:

To reach Longwa Village, you’ll first need to make your way to Mon, the nearest major town. Mon is well-connected to Kohima, Nagaland’s capital, by road. From Mon, it’s a scenic drive to Longwa Village. Don’t forget to obtain your Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter Nagaland, which can be acquired at designated offices in major cities.

Best Time to Visit:

Longwa Village is at its most enchanting during the winter months, from November to February. The weather is cool and pleasant, making it ideal for exploration. Monsoon season, from June to September, should be avoided due to heavy rainfall and the risk of landslides.


While Longwa Village offers guesthouses and homestays run by the friendly locals, it’s important to note that these accommodations are basic, providing a rustic experience. Make reservations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Staying with a local family is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of the village.

Dress Code and Etiquette:

Dress modestly out of respect for the local customs. For women, knee-length skirts or pants and tops with sleeves are recommended. Men should wear long pants and shirts. During cultural ceremonies, you may be offered traditional Naga attire, which is a wonderful way to engage with the local culture. Always ask for permission before taking photographs, particularly of people and their homes.

Must-Try Local Cuisine:

Longwa Village introduces you to the delectable flavors of traditional Naga cuisine. Sample dishes like smoked meat, bamboo shoot curry, fermented soybeans, and rice beer. These culinary delights offer a unique experience deeply rooted in the local culture.

Exploring the Village:

Longwa Village itself is a significant attraction. Wander through the village to see tribal huts, interact with friendly locals, and witness their way of life. Be sure to visit the Chief’s house, a remarkable structure straddling the international border, showcasing the unity of different cultures and nations.

Nature and Adventure:

The pristine natural beauty surrounding Longwa Village is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Explore the lush green forests, go on nature walks, and enjoy the serenity of the region. For the adventurous, consider embarking on treks into the nearby hills, offering breathtaking vistas and a deeper connection with the environment.

Responsible Travel:

Longwa Village is committed to sustainable tourism and preserving its cultural heritage. Support these efforts by purchasing locally made handicrafts directly from artisans, practicing eco-friendly habits such as not littering, and engaging with the community respectfully. Learn about the local customs and traditions, and embrace the experience with an open heart.

Cultural Sensitivity:

While in Longwa Village, it’s crucial to respect the customs and traditions of the locals. Ask for permission before entering someone’s home, participating in rituals, or taking photographs. Being polite and open to learning about the culture will enhance your experience and leave a positive impression on the community.

Longwa Village isn’t just a destination; it’s an immersive journey into a world where geography, culture, and traditions seamlessly intertwine. By following this comprehensive travel guide and approaching your visit with respect and curiosity, you’re bound to create lasting memories and forge connections with the warm-hearted people of Longwa Village. So, pack your bags, set out on this extraordinary adventure, and let Longwa enchant you with its secrets, stories, and endless hospitality.

Longwa Village is a destination that leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of those who visit. It’s a place where the boundaries of geography blur, and the richness of culture and tradition takes center stage. By immersing yourself in the beauty of Longwa’s landscapes, the warmth of its people, and the depth of its heritage, you embark on a transformative journey. Longwa Village isn’t just a destination; it’s an encounter with the soul of Nagaland, a tapestry of stories waiting to be woven into your own travel narrative. So, pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and let Longwa Village enchant you with its secrets, stories, and endless hospitality.

frequently asked questions (FAQs) that travellers might have when planning a visit to Longwa Village:

Q. how do i reach longwa village.

Longwa Village is located in the Mon district of Nagaland, India. The nearest major town with transportation links is Mon town. You can reach Mon town by road from the state capital, Kohima. From Mon town, Longwa Village is accessible by hiring a local taxi or arranging transportation through a tour operator.

Q.  Do I need a permit to visit Longwa Village?

Yes, visitors to Nagaland, including Longwa Village, require an Inner Line Permit (ILP) for entry. These permits are usually obtained from the Deputy Resident Commissioner’s office in Nagaland’s major cities, including Kohima and Dimapur. You can also check for online application options.

Q. What is the best time to visit Longwa Village?

The best time to visit Longwa Village is during the winter months, from November to February, when the weather is cool and pleasant. The monsoon season (June to September) should be avoided due to heavy rains and the possibility of landslides.

Q. Are there accommodations in Longwa Village?

Longwa Village offers basic guesthouses and homestays run by local residents. These accommodations provide a unique opportunity to experience the local way of life. However, amenities may be limited, so it’s advisable to check in advance and be prepared for a rustic stay.

Q. What should I wear when visiting Longwa Village?

It’s respectful to dress modestly when visiting the village. For women, knee-length skirts or pants and tops with sleeves are recommended. For men, long pants and shirts are suitable. Traditional Naga attire may also be provided during cultural ceremonies.

Q. Can I take photographs in Longwa Village?

While the villagers are generally welcoming to tourists, it’s essential to ask for permission before taking photographs, especially of people and their homes. Some residents may request a small fee for photography.

Q. What are the local dishes I should try in Longwa Village?

Longwa Village offers a taste of traditional Naga cuisine. You should try local delicacies such as smoked meat, bamboo shoot curry, fermented soybeans, and rice beer. These dishes provide a unique culinary experience rooted in the local culture.

Q. What are the must-visit attractions in and around Longwa Village?

Besides the Chief’s house, explore the village’s tribal huts, the beautiful natural surroundings, and consider going on treks in the nearby hills. The village itself, with its unique location and cultural heritage, is a significant attraction.

Q. How can I contribute to sustainable tourism in Longwa Village?

To support responsible travel, consider purchasing local handicrafts directly from artisans, respecting the environment by not littering, and engaging with the community respectfully. Additionally, be mindful of the cultural sensitivities and traditions of the villagers.

Q. Are there any customs or traditions I should be aware of when visiting Longwa Village?

It’s essential to be respectful of the local customs and traditions. Ask for permission before entering someone’s home, participating in rituals, or taking photographs. Being polite and open to learning about the culture will enhance your experience.

Visiting Longwa Village offers a chance to connect with a unique culture and immerse yourself in a breathtaking natural setting. By being mindful of local customs and embracing the experience with an open heart, you’ll create lasting memories and contribute positively to the community.

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Headhunting tribes of Nagaland – Longwa Mon Guide

Last Updated on September 5, 2023 by asoulwindow

Mon and Longwa is totally different from Kohima, Khonoma, Mokokchung and other similar nearby regions of Nagaland. Both Mon and Longwa are collectively called the ‘Wild East’ of India. I was super excited to see its raw and untamed character. The Nagaland tribes and the unique headhunting tribes piqued my curiosity.

I had not seen anything like this anywhere in the world, let alone India. Known for its last surviving headhunting tribes, Longwa, Mon and Honphui Konyak village are populated with people from the Konyak tribe.

Longwa, Mon and Khonoma are some of the most exciting tourist destinations in Nagaland where you can meet the last surviving headhunters of Nagaland. You can meet more Nagaland tribes at the annual Hornbill festival in Kohima. Dress in all their sartorial best, these tribes of Nagaland will transport you to a bygone era.

  • Visit Angh’s or King’s house, Longwa

The top reason to visit Mon is the opportunity to meet the Angh or the King of Longwa, the hereditary ruler. I could not believe that I was having tea with the king in the kitchen of his home around the fireplace. He was after all the ruler of around 70 villages in both India and Myanmar. Someone also told me he has 60 wives. I met just two though! It was a dark rainy night and there was no electricity when I visited the house of chief Angh.

In the huge kitchen cum dining hall of the King of Longwa, we sat around the fireplace and conversed with the King. We visited Angh’s home every night during our Longwa Nagaland trip.  

The main hall of the Angh was even larger. I just could not take my eyes off the brilliant carvings on all the walls, especially the pillars. I had not seen anything like this before. As I keep saying, despite traveling extensively in India since 2008, I am still discovering new facets of this amazing country every year. These are just some of the things every Indian should know about Nagaland.

I got a little ambitious and even wanted to get a glimpse of the Angh’s bedroom. Of course, I was denied with a laugh.

  • Visit Burma by crossing Longwa village border

I am a self proclaimed border junkie and I totally loved flipping in and out of India and Burma border several times. I did not even realize when I was in India and when I was in Myanmar. In fact many of the places we visited and thought were in India, were in Burmese border. This is one of the most talked about and exciting tourist destinations in Nagaland. You will also see many Nagaland tribes here.

Longwa dual citizenship

The Nagaland people of Longwa hold dual citizenship of both India and Myanmar which helps them move and trade freely between the borders of two nations. In fact, many local people of Longwa, India are also engaged with the army of Myanmar.

Soul Window Tip:

Indian travelers are allowed to visit some areas of Burma side. In our case no one checked our documents when we crossed Longwa village border. Foreign visitors have to take a visa for the same.

  • Visit Deputy King and Queen’s home

Not many know but you can visit the Deputy’s King and Queen’s home as well. Located at a walking distance from the home of Chief Angh or King, the Deputy King’s home was equally impressive. The King was not present when we visited his home, but the queen was present. We spent a lot of time around the fireplace with the queen and her relatives, house helps and their kids. The queen and other people knew neither Hindi nor English, so we could talk only through our Nagamese guide who spoke very good Nagamese and English.

It was just so amazing to sit there and become a part of the history. I looked attentively even as the cat of the queen rubbed past my legs coldly.

Their hall cum dining area was equally huge. After some time, I stepped up from the cushioned low stool and inspected the home of the Deputy King and Queen. The unusual utensils, drying corn on the ceiling of home and intricate carvings on the pillars of the home had me in splits.

The queen excitedly ran to her bedroom to change the dress and wear some local jewelleries when I requested for a picture of hers through my guide. She was feeling cold when I requested her to come out of the house (for better light), so I didn’t bother her much. It is a must see place in Longwa Nagaland.

You should pay the queen INR 500 or more as a mark of respect if you want to take picture with/of her and chit-chat with her over some local tire by their personal fireplace.

  • Meet tattooed headhunters Nagaland – Tribes of Nagaland

Now I am going to share some of the most interesting facts about Nagaland. Headhunting in Nagaland in North East India is what it is famous for. We also met a former tattooed headhunter from Konyak tribe in his home. The tattooed headhunter was the father of our Nagamese guide. Headhunters of Nagaland have a very interesting history.

The Konyaks are the most interesting of all tribes of the state of Nagaland. The other Naga tribes include communities such as Aao, Kuki, Chakhesang, Angami, Sumi, Lotha, Khiamnungan, Pochury, Zeliang, Rengma, Chang, Yimchungru and Sangtam , just to name a few.

What is the Religion of Naga People

Our young Nagamese guide lived in Mon while his father and brother and sister-in-law lived in Longwa village. The younger generation of Konyak tribes dressed in pants and shirts, lived in cities like Mon and have adopted Baptist based Christianity. Such conversion to Christianity is common not only in the Indian state of Nagaland but many parts of North East India. Many members of Nagaland tribes have converted to Christianity now.

Our guide grew up in this same house and even used to walk to Mon from Longwa everyday for school. He took pride in the fact that he belonged to respected headhunting tribes of Nagaland. The older Konyaks, the fiercest of all headhunting tribes do not follow Christianity that passionately though.

Konyak Tribe – Headhunters Nagaland

Konyak tribe is one of the fiercest of all tribes of Nagaland. The former member of practicing headhunting tribes showed us all the skulls of Mithun he had collected over the years. It was displayed on the wall of the home of this proud member of Konyak tribe, both outside and inside.

He also told us excitedly about the Naga history, head hunting and tattoos in detail which his son, and our local guide, explained to us. Experiences like these are indeed priceless. He was also one of the last surviving headhunters of Longwa village.

He has been featured in many documentaries, videos and coffee table books. I saw his pictures in one of the coffee table book displayed in the hotel where we stayed. It was a privilege to be able to talk to headhunters Nagaland.

The tattoos on the face and torso of Konyak tribe members represent the clan, tribe and status in Naga society. Just one of those less talked about things which every Indian should know about Nagaland.

Headhunters meaning:

This is what every Indian should know about India’s northeast, which remains unknown for Indians in the rest of the country! The tattooed headhunters of Nagaland are famous all over the world. I was fortunate to meet the last surviving members of the headhunting tribes in Longwa and nearby Hongphui village in Mon district.

Ban on headhunting

Headhunting prevailed in the state of Nagaland as late as till 1960s when Nagaland was not in touch with the rest of India, let alone world. The closed culture of headhunting tribes, mainly Konyak tribe, was a secret until few years ago. 

In old days during the warfare and territorial conflicts between the tattooed headhunters of Konyak tribe and other tribes of Nagaland, The Konyaks used to behead their enemies and bring their heads back as a trophy in a specially made basket made for the purpose. These hunted heads were displayed with pride outside and inside the home (on walls and doorways) of the Konyak warriors. It was believed that the skull of the defeated person contains their soul force. The Konyaks see it as a mark of fertility and prosperity.

The headhunting tribes of Nagaland were banned from hunting by the Indian Government by the 1960s. The skulls were collected and buried at a mass burial site in order to discourage the headhunting tradition. However, it was still practiced for few years in a clandestine manner. Isn’t Nagaland history interesting?

  • See Morungs-Monuments of Nagaland tribes

I had visited a huge Morung in the Longwa village. The carvings on the huge drums and pillars were beautiful. Inside, the Morung was abandoned. The locals used it to store their dry palm leaves (to make thatched roofs) and the army used it as a resting place. If you are looking for some Nagaland historical monuments, then morungs are your best bet. These authentic but perishable monuments of Nagaland are made up of wood and might not survive for long. Many tribes of Nagaland practice Morungs.

You can understand Nagaland history by a visit in these traditional morungs. Many Nagaland Tribes still maintain Morungs. I saw many of these on display in the Hornbill festival in Kisama, near Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. You can read my blog on Hornbill festival in the box. Links are shared at the bottom. You will be amazed to meet members of various Nagaland tribes here.

  • Visit a Guns and Rifles workshop in Burma

Yes, we even visited a guns and rifles workshop. It was a dark room. A man was busy repairing some rickety rifles by the window even as the woman of the house were tending to more domestic chores. Countless guns and related equipments and machinery parts were scattered all across his home, reflecting his passion as well as expertise for guns.

We even saw some other accessories made with animal parts such as hornbill beak and bear’s hair. I do not approve of it but that is how wild and untamed life is here. This is located across the Longwa village border.

  • Buy handicraft directly from the artists

The best part of Longwa is that unlike big cities and online ordering, you can buy directly from artists in Longwa. How amazing it is to know where your favorite art piece in your drawing room came from. The souvenirs you will pick from Longwa will be your prized possessions, I guarantee.

Apart from the metal work mentioned above, you can also pick wooden artefacts and traditional Nagamese jewelleries worn by local people here. The locals sell beautifully shaped wooden pots, masks, show pieces and other handicrafts at a very reasonable rate. You can buy handicrafts of different headhunting tribes of Nagaland in Longwa.

  • Viewing Point of Longwa

From here you can get a sweeping bird’s eye view of Longwa. The views of rolling verdant valley is a sight to behold. Longwa after all, is one of the best places to see in Nagaland.

  • Collect Burmese coins and notes.

Are you a numismatics fan? If yes, then you might want to return from Longwa with some local coins and notes of Myanmar. Many Burmese people will exchange their currency if you request them politely and tell them why you want it. Sorry, ticking off Burma as a destination is not allowed though. You have still just touched the surface even if you visited some part of Burma from Longwa.

  • Hire a Nagamese Guide

I advise you to hire a local Nagamese guide who understands all of these languages Hindi, English and Nagamese. Holiday Scout has developed some amazing local talents all across the North East India. You may contact Sange Tsering from Holiday Scout for facilitating best of local guide anywhere in North East India, suitable for both private or group bookings. Sange will show you the best places to visit in Longwa and elsewhere in North East India.

Most of local people of Longwa and Mon Nagaland do not speak Hindi or English. As you reach Longwa from Mon, you will notice that none speak Hindi or English in Longwa. It makes sense to hire a local guide in a place like this.

The local guide can also take you to secret places which you will miss otherwise if you try to explore on your own. Pay for exclusive experiences. It is totally worth the money! The stories of various tribes of Nagaland are very interesting!

  • Take a Stroll and wave to Nagaland people

Longwa is a dream place for walking. The lovely weather, fresh air, Green environment and pollution free atmosphere is ideal for walking. The fact that there are hardly any cars or motor vehicles plying on the dirt tracks of Longwa makes it all the more pleasurable.

If it was not raining most of the day when I visited, I would have walked here all day. Some places can be muddy and puddles might form if it is raining a lot, so wear good shoes for a clean walking experience.

Soul Window Tip

Just be careful that you do not venture deep inside the Burmese territory without a guide or documents.

  • Chat with Indian Army

Of all the places I traveled to in North East India, India army was most responsive to me here. Longwa is a very small and remote place and the Indian Army personnel become happy when they see an outsider here. In fact I found someone from Gorakhpur, my native place in Uttar Pradesh posted here. I was taken aback. Who would have thought?

The chances are the Army men will initiate the conversation with you themselves, like they did with us at the check point. I also met a solo army man in one of the empty morungs . He stayed there all day and had even set up a stove to make teas for me.

He was also from North India and invited me to have tea with him. Such a pity I was leaving Longwa and was in a hurry to reach Mon Nagaland. I had to politely tell him about my situation. But one day I will be back to Longwa to have tea with him. Or in Ladakh ! Or Jaisalmer in Rajasthan !! The other army heavy areas. Because why not? You can also visit Indian Army’s Assam Rifles’ camp in Longwa.

  • Visit Churches

There is a huge Christian Church in Longwa which you can visit on some days. The Church was closed when we visited. Check out the timings with locals and pay a visit. The Church staff also lives just behind the Church in a gorgeous residential complex. There is a huge field right ahead of the Church. The Church is located close to the house which has a metal workshop.

  • See Metal work – Things to do in Nagaland

We visited the workshop cum home of a local blacksmith, dressed in a army pant,sweater and beaded jewellery. He was working on a piece of art when we paid him a visit. It was pretty dark when we arrived. The soft glow from the fireplace helped us see how he looked like. Suddenly, the fireplace caused lot of smoke in the room and we had to come out.

The young blacksmith who inherited the metal work from his father, who had won a state Governor award, told us about his art and showed us some of his best work. I was pretty impressed with the metal artefacts of Nagaland headhunter, Mithun (a local animal), warriors, Naga people and many others.

I had not seen such type of metal work anywhere in India. Some of these pieces cost as much as INR 5,000 to 10,000. The smaller pieces can cost up to INR 500, INR 1,000 etc. The cheapest things available here are metal bangles and ornaments for women.

Some of the metal art work use animal parts such as hair of bear, tooth, buffalo horn, feathers etc. I do not support using animal parts in any product, so I didn’t buy those. But you can ask which pieces do not have animal parts and buy those. You can also order a customized art piece. Do pick some quirky brass handicrafts from here. This is located in the Burma or Myanmar side across the Longwa village border.

  • Eat Vegetarian and Vegan Local Nagamese Food in Longwa

There are no local restaurants in Longwa. It is a very remote place and all local people eat at home, which is a good thing. The fresh, organic vegetables and fruits will leave you begging for more. That said, avoid Paneer dishes (Indian Cottage Cheese) in Longwa though. It is not their forte. There are no fancy restaurants in Longwa.

I didn’t have Nagamese dishes as they contain meat and I eat only vegan and vegetarian food. The food we had at the hotel comprised of papad , spinach, salad, alu bhujiya , yellow daal , steamed rice, passable alu paneer and pickle.

Local Nagaland Food

Nagaland food is not entirely made up of meat as many think. We ate many vegan and vegetarian dishes such as cooked Banana flowers, Yongchak Eronba . It is a spicy Manipuri chutney made with yongchak (stinky beans), potatoes, galangal (pullei), broad beans etc. It is also called stinky beans chutney. I loved it. Some versions may contain Ngari or fermented fish, so ask if you are vegan too. The Local Naga Daal was different then what I had anything yet. Do taste the delicious Nagaland Food when in Longwa. Various tribes of Nagaland have different cuisines. Do let me know in the comment section if you tasted a unique vegetarian Nagaland food.

Bhoot Jholakia

This is the star of all Nagaland Food. Spicy bamboo shoots chutney and bhoot jholakia chutney are quite popular here too. Take very small portions of these. In case it burns your stomach, have curd to make it better. Bhut Jholokia is the hottest pepper in the world measuring 1,041,427 SHU or Scoville Heat Unit on the scale. So watch what you are biting into. Whether food of Nagaland or otherwise. Bhut Jolokia can make you cry, literally! In case you still loved it you can buy bhut jolokia sauce for as less as INR 50 or INR 100.

Contrary to popular opinion, you can find amazing vegetarian and vegan food in Longwa. I even dipped my hands into a soul satisfying plate of simple and nutritious Daal Chawal (Lentil and rice) with assorted pickles, accompaniments, curries and chutneys. I enjoyed a very small amount of chutney made with the bhut jolokia pepper. In fact, during my 15 days epic road trip to North East India, the meal I had in Longwa was one of the best. Surprised? Read more….

  • Shopping in Longwa- Where to buy local handicrafts?

You will be surprised to know that you can buy the local handicrafts of Longwa directly from the home of Chief Angh. Yes, the verandah of his beautifully decorated house is where the locals display their handicrafts, pots, masks, brass skull necklaces, bags, vases and jewelleries. You can also buy similar art and craft from other independent artists around Longwa Village. You can also visit the Hong Kong market. The brass skull necklace is a symbol of heritage.

Some kids and locals might approach you unconfidently with random handicraft in their hand. The prices start at a shocking INR 30. Yes, read that again. The masks can sell anything between Rs. 200 to Rs. 500 and above. Some shopkeepers can speak broken English but that is rare. Use sign language or take help from your Guide, even if you are an Indian. Yes, Longwa is in India and still very different from what regular India is.

  • See local farming – Naga Tree Tomatoes

Longwa is an agricultural rich land. Most of the fertile lands of the Longwa village as well as other nearby Konyak villages have acres and acres of terraced farms and gardens. You can visit one of these farms and see the local Konyak tribe farming techniques up, close and personal.

I was particularly amused to see the unique plant of bitter Naga Tree Tomatoes. This tomato is found only in the state of Nagaland. I saw it in the backyard of the home of a former Nagamese headhunter, who also happened to be the father of the local guide we had hired.

  • Enjoy lack of Electricity

I think most Indian from the 1990s generation grew up coping with daily or regular power cuts. That doesn’t happen now as frequently at least in urban areas. If you are missing that (You are weird!), then you can relive those days in Longwa, the beautiful Konyak village.

It was raining heavily on the first night of our arrival. The hailstorms lashed at the glass windows and the power was gone. We almost had a candle light dinner before the power was restored. It was exciting nonetheless. Just like in the good old 90s, we reconnected again by chatting the night away over a few drinks and snacks.

  • Enjoy the cold weather of Longwa

Longwa was comfortable in the day and very cold in the night. I recommend that you carry woolen clothes, jackets, raincoats and mufflers when you visit Longwa. The abundant open spaces make it colder when it is raining and windy. The days are pretty sunny and comfortable though. The weather changes anytime in Longwa so always carry an umbrella when you go out for a walk.

  • Enjoy a football match or join in

There is a large ground near the home of Deputy King and Queen where you can enjoy a live football match. The locals in North East India are very enthusiastic about the football. You may even join the young boys after permission, of course. Only if you have it in you though!

  • Make Pit stops at nearby villages – headhunting tribes

You will see many quaint villages as you drive from Mon to Longwa village. You can stop at one of those picturesque villages if and when you have time. You never know which headhunter from Konyak tribe you bump into.

  • Indulge in travel photography

Both Mon and Longwa village are a photographer’s delight. The latter, more so! Having visited this area of Nagaland myself, I can vouch for it! Some amazing shots you will get in Longwa include portraits of members of Konyk tribes, village life, landscapes, fauna, architecture etc.

If you are in a private vehicle, always keep the camera ready. There are many places en route where you can request to stop for a picture or two. So, keep those batteries charged and the SD cards empty! Thank me later!

While Mon district area is a rough town, much like the Wild West, Longwa is picture postcard perfect. There is no pollution or dust in Longwa, the Konyak village. The local costumes, beaded jewelleries, brass skull necklaces, sharp facial features of local people, dreamy huts in the hills etc are great subjects for travel photography! Be creative and shoot some very exclusive pictures in this picturesque Konyak village.

  • Hang Out With Chief Angh’s Dogs

While I was enjoying the fireplace with the King of Longwa in his kitchen, his dog identified me as a dog lover and snuggled next to me. I patted the dog couple for hours. The next day, dog recognized me and we played early in the morning. It was some fun! The dog was very friendly and fun loving. They roam around the Longwa Angh house.

  • Listen To Local Songs: Things to do in Longwa

We didn’t really meet any professional singers here, but you can always request a local to sing a local song, of course, with the help of your interpreter cum local guide. Don’t you want to hear what Longwa sounds like? Headhunting in Nagaland, aside! For more interesting facts about Nagaland, please read on.

  • Engage with local kids of Nagaland Tribes

The kids in this Konyak village are super curious of the outsiders. They will stare at you, try to strike a conversation (and fail), get pictures clicked with you, ask you for a chocolate and even want to sell things to you. Personally, I do not encourage distributing chocolates and turning the kids into one of the tourist charms. This is how a culture builds up in the long term.

Have meaningful engagements with kids. Instead, forge the kind of engagements which have no hidden agenda, but just pure connecting with local lifestyle.

  • Do grocery shopping

Since there are no restaurants in Longwa except that of the hotel or home-stay you are staying in and you have forgotten to carry dry snacks yet again, the grocery shops come to your rescue. There are very few grocery shops in Longwa where you can buy some North India style chips, namkeens , farsaans , bread etc. You can also get other things such as tobacco, cigarettes, soaps, oils, creams etc.

But be warned, mostly you will not get your preferred brands. These shops are very few and far between. It is better to pack some from Longwa or Assam before you enter Nagaland. We did the same. However, we didn’t need to open those packets. The in house restaurant of our hotel had enough food all day.

  • Aoling Spring Festival

Aoling Spring Festival is celebrated with much fanfare every year in Longwa. T is a good time to be in Longwa.

  • Lakes and rivers

If you have time you can visit the Shilloi lake and Doyang river, located in Longwa.

  • Visit Mon district area

Mon Nagaland is raw, rustic and unlike anything I have seen in India or even elsewhere for that matter. I got the kicks here. This is totally my kind of place, wild and untamed! Just like how I am! You will learn many interesting facts about Nagaland during your visit here.

  • Visit Hongphui Village for headhunters

You can meet many last surviving Naga headhunters in Hongphui near Mon. These Nagaland headhunters have become used to tourists and happily spend some time with them in their authentic costumes. This village is located close to Mon District.

Where to Stay in Longwa

Tourist Guest House Longwa: We stayed in a basic but lovely hotel right in front of the house of Chief Angh. They had few basic rooms with good ventilation and reasonable space. The room had a dressing table, table, 2 single beds and an attached washroom. They also have individual cottages in case you are fancying more aesthetic stay. Charges are INR 1,000 per day for double room with private bathroom.

They also serve great local food. I was surprised to find plethora of delicious vegetarian and vegan food on their dinner buffet menu. Traveller’s Inn, the guesthouse of Nah-Mei is another option.

Jeilei’s Ponghum home stay and Nyakto’s homestay (INR 800 for double room, +918131903195) are other places to stay in Longwa.

Where to stay in Mon Nagaland

We stayed in Paramount Guest house in Mon. It is managed by a Assamese lady (married to an Aao tribe Naga man) and her daughter and she cooks amazing brinjal curry. Her husband left her for other woman. She said it casually and with a smile. I could see the pain in her eyes. She and her young daughter, who’s also a school teacher run the homestay I stayed at. I tried to cheer her up. But I am numb within. This is not a perfect picture. But so is life.

Best Time to visit Longwa

December to February: I visited Longwa in the month of January, which is winter in India. It was a bit cold in the early morning and night and warm and sunny in the day. It even rained heavily when we visited. Mon Nagaland weather was pleasant when I visited.

October to May: It is a good time to visit Nagaland, including Mon district area and Longwa. It is also during this time when many Naga festivals and fairs take place.

June to September: The monsoon season in Mon town Nagaland and Longwa village is from June to September. Avoid the rainy season for better experience.

How To Reach Longwa Village

Longwa can be easily accessed from Mon town Nagaland. In fact Mon is the base village if you want to visit Longwa or any other Konyak village nearby. Every one arrives first at Mon, stays overnight and then proceeds to other nearby destinations on the next day.

Enveloping Nagaland from the western and northern side of Nagaland, Assam is most likely going to be your entry and exit point. It is also the easiest route. The roads are not very good here which explains why you should hire a private car and not buses.

How to reach Longwa village from Kohima

You can also arrive at Mon town Nagaland and Longwa from Guwahati, the capital of Assam and Kohima, the capital of Nagaland.

The distance between Kohima to Longwa is 360 kilometers and it takes around 12 hours and 35 minutes via Dhodar Ali road. From Kohima, you need to come to Mokokchung (Middle Nagaland) via bus or private cab. The bus takes INR 200 and the journey takes 6 hours. The bus from Kohima to Mokokchung leaves at 6 a.m. from the Nagaland State Transport Corporation station .

From Mokokchung you can take a shared cab like jeep or Tata Sumo to Mon. It takes around 9 to 10 hours from Mokokchung to Mon via NH2 and Tuensang-Mon-Naginimora Road. The distance between Mokokchung and Mon is 206 kms. The cans leave at 6 a.m. from Mokokchung.

While you are in Mokokchung, you can also visit Ungma village, the biggest village in Nagaland. Home to more than 1000 homes, Ungma is not only Nagaland’s biggest village but also its oldest. Located just 3 kms away from Mokokchung town, Ungma village was first inhabited by Aao tribe of Nagaland.

Below are various modes of transports you can avail to reach Longwa.

Nearest airport from Longwa

Jorhat airport or the Rowriah airport in Assam is the closest airport from Longwa. Distace between Rowriah airport to Mon is 161 kms or 6 hours. You can cover this distance by road or take bus from Jorhat to Simulguri or Sonari and from here to Mon. From Mon you can arrive at Longwa.

By road trip in a private car

The best and most comfortable way to reach Mon is via private cab. It costs extra but saves you from all the hassles. Travelling in North East India is not easy. You have to manage ILP (inner Line Permits) even for Indians, manage vegetarian food on the go etc.

The public transport is not easily available. The public transport are very few and often packed or irregular. In case you miss a bus or cab, you will have to wait for an extra day. Also, direct transports are not available. You will have to change several times depending on where you are starting from.

Getting a private cab solves more than half the problems.

Road Trip via Shared Tata Sumo Cab

Shared Tata Sumo cabs are very popular among locals of North East India. These are packed like sardines and do not leave till it is full. The back seats are not comfortable, so try to get in the middle seats. These shared cabs have a fixed rate though some drivers may try to rip you off by charging more. Always check rates with local people, when in doubts.

You can also get Sumos for Mon and Longwa from Tizit in Nagaland for INR 200. Please note that the road condition in most of Nagaland is not very good. The last sumo from Mon to Logwa leaves by 2 p.m. From Mon you can also get cabs to Naginimora, Wakching, Tahani and Tanhai village. Contact number: 9862803232, 9862556667. You can check Tata Sumo timings on these numbers. The shared Tata Sumos don’t run on Sundays in most places of North East India.

How to reach Longwa by railway

Both Mon and Longwa do not have railway stations or airports of their own. Below are the routes you can take. Trains are the cheapest mode of transport in India.

Route 1: The nearest railway head from Mon is at Bhoju Railway Station in Assam. You can arrive at Mon from the Sonari route. Distance between Sonari and Bhoju is just 7 kilometres.

Route 2: You can also arrive at Simulguri railway station in Assam. From Simulguri, you need to go to Naginimora via bus. From Naginimora, you further need to catch a bus to Mon and from Mon to Longwa. Not an easy route, huh!

How to arrive at Mon and Longwa by Bus

The ASTC buses of Assam have good frequency. Chowkidinghee is a major bus stand in Assam. If you are moving in Dibrugarh region, you can take a mini-van for as low as INR 100. It takes just 2 hrs on baby bottom smooth roads. ASTC bus stand in Sibsagar has many buses to Mon Longwa as well. Sibsagar to Sonari takes 2 hours and costs INR 60 on a bus.

Sonari, Assam to Mon

Located in the Sibsagar district of Assam, Sonari is just 65 kilometers away from Mon.

Simulguri, Assam to Mon

Distance between Simulguri to Mon is 95 kilometers. However, you will have to take a bus from Simulguri to Naginimora in Mon. Both are 20 kms apart. You can arrive at Mon via a bus from Naginimora. The distance between both Mon and Naginimora is 75 kms. From Mon, you need to come to Longwa. It is not an easy route and if you miss a bus or take a late bus, you will lose money and time.

How to travel from Guwahati To Mon & Longwa

It is a very long route and I do not recommend it. From Guwahati in Assam, you will need to reach Sibsagar or Jorhat, both in Assam. You will end up spending a day in making this journey. Both Jorhat and Sibsagar are connected via bus, train and private cabs. It takes around 3 hours to cover the distance between Sibsagar and Jorhat.

Here is the route – It is a long and tiring route and may take 2-3 days to reach just Mon from Guwahati. Count one more day to arrive at Longwa from Mon. It is a short distance but if you arrive at Mon late evening you will have to make the Mon to Longwa journey on the next day.

Route – Guwahati – bus to Jorhat (304 kms, 7 hrs) – Bus to Sibsagar (3 hours) – Bus to Sonari (2 hours) – Shared Sumo and jeep from Sonari to Mon (3 hours) – Mon to Longwa ( 2 hours 11 minutes, 45 kms) Tired? Better get a cab!

Distances, route and time taken to reach Longwa from other places

Below chart is in ascending order so that you can plan your Nagaland trip with ease!

Nyahnyu to Longwa distance – 12 kms

Phomching to Longwa distance – 14 kms

Tangnyu to Longwa distance – 28 kms

Chen Town to Longwa distance – 63 kms

Mon to Longwa distance :  38 kilometers, 1 hour and 45 minutes via Mon Longwa road

Sibsagar to Longwa distance :  127 kilometers, 5 hours and 10 minutes via NH702C and NH702

Jorhat to Longwa distance :  174 kilometers, 6 hours and 45 minutes via NH702 and Dhodar Ali road

Majuli to Longwa distance : 201 kilometers, 7 hours and 50 minutes via NH702 and Dhodar Ali road

Mokokchung to Longwa distance :  235 kilometers, 9 hours and 30 minutes via NH2

Dimapur to Longwa distance :  290 kilometers, 10 hours and 21 minutes via Dhodar Ali road

Kohima to Longwa distance :  360 kilometers, 12 hours and 35 minutes via Dhodar Ali road

Dibrugarh to Longwa distance :  375 kilometers, 8 hours and 45 minutes via NH715 and NH2

Guwahati to Longwa distance :  485 kilometers, 13 hours and 25 minutes via NH715

Distances from Mon as per Border Road Organisation:

Wakching to Mon – 30 kms

Tizit to Mon – 40 kms

Namtola to Mon – 45 kms

Naginimora to Mon – 73 kms

Simaluguri to Mon – 87 kms

Languages spoken in Longwa aka Lungwa

Most of the people in Longwa speak the Nagamese language called Konyak language. It is a Sino-Tibetan language. Some people can speak broken English. I didn’t see anyone speaking Hindi except for the Army men who were stationed in Longwa. You will need a guide to easily communicate and understand about the local culture in a better way. How will you have an immersive experience unless you can not even communicate with the locals? Longwa is also known as Lungwa.

Army Check post

There is a small Army Check Post as soon as you enter Longwa. The Army Check post at Mon is bigger. The army men at both Mon and Longwa will check your documents, maybe even chit chat with you and give you some general instructions on Dos and Don’ts. It takes just 5 to 10 minutes at both Mon and Longwa village.

Is Nagaland safe for tourists – Safety in Longwa

After my return from Longwa and Mon, many people asked me if Nagaland is safe to visit. I found places like Longwa, Mon, Dzouko Valley, Kohima, Kisama and Khonoma to be pretty safe. The locals people of Nagaland are friendly and quiet. At most they will be indifferent.

But most of the Nagaland people in Longwa are just curious about you. And many want to sell you some handicraft. I also know some female friends who traveled solo to Longwa and did fine. The headhunting tribes are friendly too.

However, it is advised to take the safety precautions which you will take in any other place such as offbeat places like Almora and Mukteshwar . Just don’t venture out too far after dark. Do not get into arguments with local Nagaland people as that may take an ugly turn.

Medical Emergency

While returning from Longwa to Mon, a local Naga woman asked us for a lift. We obliged because her daughter had hurt her while picking woods from the jungle. There were no medical facilities in Longwa so they had to go to Mon district, which has better overall facilities.

In case you have a medical emergency, it is better to have a car or bike at your disposal for quick access to healthcare in Longwa village. Mostly you will be fine, but just in case. Also, if you take some medicines, please ensure that you are carrying the stock before coming to Longwa.

Inner Line Permit for Longwa Nagaland

Yes you need to get an inner line permit before you enter both Mon and Longwa. A local travel agent will help you get one. Indian also need to get ILP issued before they enter Nagaland.

Conclusion: Last word on Longwa

Longwa, one of the top places to visit in Nagaland is unlike any other places I have been to in India or or nations. The unique language, unheard of customs, vibrant dresses, pleasant weather, good vegan and vegetarian Nagaland food make Longwa a must visit place.

Meeting tribes of Nagaland is the biggest highlight of Longwa Mon. Konyak Tribe, the main of Naga Tribes that live in Longwa and Mon are friendly and pose happily for pictures. You will never forget your visit to the homes of headhunting tribes. The Nagaland people will welcome you warmly if you behave. Hope you enjoyed reading this guide on top places to see in Longwa, Mon.

The view from my Soul Window is exotic!

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States › Nagaland › Mon › Longwa Village

Longwa Village Mon

Nagaland’s Mon district is full of diversity and uniqueness and Longwa village is just one of the best examples of it with the largest acres of encompassing area. The unique thing about Longwa is that the inhabitants of the village have dual citizenship- one of India and the other of Myanmar. There are around twenty seven Konyak villages on the Myanmar side. The village lies in the district of Mon and is 42 km away from the main Mon town. It has a lot of interesting sightseeing spots as well. Another interesting fact about this village is that the Indo-Myanmar border passes from this village dividing the chief’s house into two halves, one of which is in India and the other half is in Myanmar. The chief is also called as Angh and he has 60 wives and rule more than 70 villages. The villagers don’t need a visa to move around the border and roam freely. Even, some families have their kitchen in Myanmar and bedroom in India. Some young residents of this village are enrolled in the Myanmarese Army as well. Longwa is quiet and serene place with hospitable Naga people.

Popular things to do & see in and around

The village itself is one of the best places to visit in the North-east with such unique and interesting facts. It is abundant with scenic beauty like the Doyang River, Nagaland science centre, Hong Kong Market, Shilloi Lake and many more tourist attractions to see. Just nearby lie the camps of an Assam Rifles (AR) company and some miles away from the village, on a hill, there is a pillar, indicating the international border and ‘154 BP 1971-72’ is inscribed on it.

The local tribe Konyaks had been the headhunters, and collectors of enemy skulls. The core people of the tribe still have brass skull necklaces at home that are symbols showing that they have taken these heads during the battle. The basic belief behind this was that head hunting can boost crop fertility. However, the rise of Christianity in the region completely stopped this tradition of headhunting in the 1960s. This village is a key zone to get opium in Nagaland.

Getting There 

This Konyak village now has better transport connectivity as The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnels have repaired the narrow uphill road pretty well for a smooth drive.

Longwa Village in Mon

Once you reach the village of Mon Nagaland availing Nagaland State Transport Corporation buses, you can take rental cars to reach Longwa.

Best Time to Visit

In between the months of October and March, Longwa village can offer you the best. The weather is very pleasant during those months and will also help you enjoy the sightseeing without any problem. During that time, Nagaland Tourism is also at its peak owing to many festivals and fairs.

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Exploring the Enchanting Longwa Village: A Cultural Gem in Nagaland

Wonder Less Wander More

Welcome to Longwa Village, a hidden gem nestled in the mystical land of Nagaland. Known for its unique cultural heritage, captivating beauty, and intriguing cross-border characteristics, Longwa Village offers a truly immersive travel experience. Let us take you on a virtual journey through this enchanting village and discover its hidden wonders.

A Glimpse of Longwa Village: Situated on the border of India and Myanmar, Longwa Village is home to the Konyak tribe, known for their rich traditions and fierce warrior heritage. As you step into this traditional village, you’ll be greeted by the awe-inspiring sight of the Chief’s House, which straddles the international boundary. Here, you’ll witness the fascinating blend of Indian and Burmese influence, where one half of the house falls in India, and the other in Myanmar.

Embracing the Cultural Heritage: Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the Konyak tribe as you explore the village. Engage in conversations with the locals, who will share fascinating stories of their ancestral heritage and customs. Admire the intricate tattoos adorning the faces of the Konyak men and women, symbolizing their bravery and achievements. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness traditional dances and rituals that depict the tribe’s deep-rooted traditions.

Discovering Local Traditions: The Chief’s House holds immense significance in the community. As you step inside, you’ll be welcomed by the Chief, who plays a pivotal role in the village’s governance. Observe the traditional way of life, where you’ll witness the craftsmanship of the Konyak people, displayed through their exquisite handicrafts, woodwork, and handwoven textiles. Engage in traditional games and activities, and learn about their unique agricultural practices.

Exploring the Natural Beauty: Beyond its cultural heritage, Longwa Village is blessed with mesmerizing natural beauty. The surrounding hills offer breathtaking panoramic views, inviting you to embark on scenic hikes and treks. Follow the trails that wind through lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and terraced fields, offering a glimpse into the region’s pristine natural wonders. Keep your camera handy to capture the awe-inspiring landscapes and vibrant wildlife that call this place home.

Savoring Authentic Cuisine: Indulge in a culinary journey through the flavors of Nagaland as you sample traditional Konyak dishes. Delight your taste buds with smoky pork delicacies, bamboo shoot-infused curries, and fiery chili-based condiments that define Naga cuisine. The locals’ warm hospitality extends to their dining experiences, where you can savor a traditional meal served on banana leaves, accompanied by local rice beer.

Planning Your Visit: To experience the magic of Longwa Village, plan your visit during the winter months (November to February) when the weather is pleasant. Ensure you obtain the necessary permits for border areas and respect the local customs and traditions during your stay. Accommodation options are available in nearby towns, allowing you to embark on day trips to Longwa Village.

Conclusion: Longwa Village in Nagaland offers a glimpse into a world where culture, traditions, and natural beauty intertwine. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the fascinating customs of the Konyak tribe, explore breathtaking landscapes, and create lasting memories. Prepare to be enchanted by the charm of Longwa Village, a cultural gem that invites you to discover the rich tapestry of Nagaland’s heritage.

Note: At Wild Hill Adventure, we offer customized tours and itineraries to Longwa Village, ensuring you have a memorable and authentic travel experience. Contact us to embark on this incredible journey of exploration and discovery.

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tourist guest house longwa

Roots and Leisure

Meet the locals of north east india, longwa village in nagaland might be your best bet for a quiet and enriching getaway.

One of the coolest things to do right now if you are looking to refresh your mind or just plain bored of the usual stuff on social media – is to go and visit a village and experience Mother Nature and her folks in the purest form. Having said that, there are tons of beautiful villages in every corner of Nagaland, in the Northeast region of India, and our local friends  recommend visiting  Longwa village in the district of Mon in Nagaland. With just around 600 households, Longwa village promises to be a quiet getaway while also enriching you with their rich historical and natural offerings. It is said that there are only 7 Chief Anghs (a ruler; sole authority of a village) in Mon district and Longwa is one of them that proudly has a Chief. Here are some local information about the place, it’s people and their food.


Photo Courtesy: ChaloHoppo

This village shares borders with Burma and India

An interesting thing about Longwa is that, it is located on the borders of Myanmar and India. The Chief’s place also shares both the soil. This village holds a treasure trove of history where you shall see tons of war symbols in the form of brass skull necklaces and other such souvenirs in most of the houses which is an attestation to their war victory; used to exist in the earlier days.

Take a stroll and have a chat with the locals

Apart from the abundance of greenery and the scenic view, a stroll around the village is highly recommended. Whether you want to have your own reverie moment sitting by the vast landscape on a breezy evening, having a story told of the good old days by an elderly local or a little hobnobbing with the village folks by cruising around, serendipity will surely follow you.

A chat with the locals will give you a beautiful sense of their hospitality, and an insider view of their rich history through the stories of their great great ancestors; and the traditions that  they follow even today. On a regular day, you will  find the villagers mostly tending to their farms and go to church on Sunday mornings. The people are hardworking, simple, hospitable and warm-hearted.


Do not miss the local food!

When in Longwa, do not miss to try out Taro curry – a dish made of colocasia roots, bamboo shoot and smoked pork; the famous sticky rice , local chutney and cooked bamboo sprouts . The people of Longwa, like most of the other Konyak villages and most parts of Nagaland, also live by strong red tea .


Sticky Rice [Photo Courtesy: Lidang]


Local chutney ingredients – clockwise from left : Dried red chillies toasted on hot ash, axone (fermented soybean), roasted cherry tomatoes and salt. [Photo Courtesy: Lidang]

Best time to visit Longwa Village

Best time to travel to this village is during the first week of April during which the “Aoleang Festival” is celebrated; one of the most famous and celebrated festivals of the Konyak Nagas.


If you need more information about traveling to Longwa village, post your queries in the comment section below; we do respond to all your queries! Or send in your queries to

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FootLoose Dev

Travel blog by an Indian travel blogger.


Visiting Longwa, In Mon: My Highlight In Nagaland

Visit Longwa, in Mon, Nagaland, and experience the life of headhunting Naga tribes.

Considered the ‘wild East’ Nagaland is home to many headhunting tribes, who, until very recently and valiantly, fought off intruders. They would chop off their enemy’s head and ostentatiously hang it on the entrance. And this was prevalent in many places across Nagaland until the late 20 th century.

Village Longwa, in the district of Mon, was no different.

Though of course, Nagaland, as we know it today, is only a remaining shadow of its once fierce self, we can still find tribal Naga people in exotic attire looking just as dangerous (minus the headhunting ritual of course).

And in search of ‘that’ exotic, I visited the border village Longwa, on Mon.

A lot of people still fear while visiting many parts of northeast India, especially Nagaland. If you too are repeatedly questioning your safety yet want to visit Nagaland, read my other blog on Is Nagaland Safe To Travel?

longwa mon

A King With 60 Wives

It is said that the king of Longwa (locally known as ‘Angh) eats in Myanmar and sleeps in India. And that is because a part of his house is located in India, and apart, from Myanmar.

He has 60 wives and he rules over more than 70 villages extending to Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh — a lavish life indeed!

And that’s not it, the king, in addition to all the residents of Longwa holds dual citizenship for India and Myanmar.

longwa mon

What To See And Do In Longwa, Mon

As interesting as the rest of Nagaland , there are many things to see and experiences to behold in the village of Longwa.

For one, Longwa is home to an influential king, and his house remains a dominating attraction.

Accessible without any prior permission and without any cost, the king’s house in will take you back in time and through some of the rare artefacts of losing Naga (and of the local Konyak tribe’s) culture. Many tourists visit Mon to only visit the King’s house.

tourist guest house longwa

Compared to the main town of Mon (there is a town called Mon and the entire district is also called by the same name) it’s also much cheaper to stay in Longwa.

So all in all, if you’re visiting Mon and want to experience Nagaland’s culture, there can’t be a better & safer place.

tourist guest house longwa

Three, Longwa is known as India’s opium den, where tourists can enjoy the company of opium-sucking locals (though not advised, as it’s illegal to do so) and be merry.

One can also see the complete process of cooking the opium and locals sucking it through bamboo pipes with tribal engravings on them.

tourist guest house longwa

And last but not the least, it’s one of the rare places in Nagaland where spotting the last of the tattooed headhunters is a possibility.

Tourists can moreover photograph them, though, of course, against a cost. And if you want them to show their tattooed bare-chest, that is possible too.

tourist guest house longwa

But among all the reasons, why I wanted to visit Longwa, in the first place, was because of its distinction as the last border town.

Here, India concludes its territory and opens its gates to Myanmar. Tourists are, however, free to trespass, walk into Myanmar for a day, and return.

There’s also a viewpoint right outside the town of Longwa, with a milestone installed over it. The milestone mentions the name of the two countries, and with that, divides them with an invisible borderline.

tourist guest house longwa

How To Travel To Mon

Public transportation in Nagaland is a nightmare and to make sure you get a seat on a bus, you’re required to book it several days in advance. And if you happen to travel on a Sunday, as was the case with me, consider it your biggest misfortune.

When Britishers left Nagaland, they taught the local Nagamese to not do anything on a Sunday and only visit the church and relax. And seems everyone in Nagaland took it just too seriously. Nagaland+Sunday = A Deserted World!

longwa mon

About My Visit From Kohima to Longwa

Since I didn’t book a bus ticket in advance, it took me a long way and two days to travel all the way from Kohima to Longwa.

After getting lucky with hitching from Kohima to Dimapur, I took a train from Dimapur to Bhojo, in Assam, followed by a sleepless night at the train station in Bhojo.

The next morning, as it happened to be a Sunday, I travelled from Bhojo to Nagaland’s northern entry-point of Namza. From Namza another lucky hitchhiking effort (though after 4 hours of waiting) took me to Mon.

Where a bus would have taken 800 Rupees and a little over 12 hours to reach Mon, from Kohima, I spent one-third of the price but bled an unnecessary 48 hours — a kind of experience that doesn’t make you feel very proud. After a night in Mon, I made my way to Longwa in a shared 150 Rupee taxi the next morning.

Tip : If travelling from Kohima, book your ticket at least 24 hours in advance. Don’t try to break the journey, and make it long and tiring. The bus leaves at 1 pm every day (except for Sundays) and reaches Mon early next morning. From Mon, you can get a shared taxi.

If you are visiting Kohima, you may also be interested in reading about my Dimapur to Kohima Nagaland Road Trip and about visiting Khonoma from Kohima . If you happen to be there in December, read my Hornbill Festival guide .

longwa mon

Mon District: Best Place In Nagaland

Despite being a popular tourist trail, the district of Mon is one of the best places to visit in Nagaland.

It offers an unparalleled experience for tourists to understand the village culture in Nagaland. And Longwa just happens to be a popular and comfortable place to do so.

Come here for spotting the last of the tattooed headhunters or get closer to the border of Myanmar, travelling with locals in a shared taxi or drive your own car, come here for anything because if you happen to spend a day or two in Longwa, you will get a good idea about the everyday life in this part of the world.

Here most families have no money to survive and where the younger generation still thrives on no employment, yet everyone, as a society, lives beautifully, eats well and is merry.

It is also worth visiting the Mon district during t he Aoling Festival .

longwa mon

Where To Stay In Longwa

As far as I know, there are two tourist homes in Longwa.

One of them belongs to the community offering a more tourist-like experience, and the other, to a local (but influential) family.

The homestay of Jeilei (who happens to be a distant relative of the king of Longwa) is a perfect place for tourists and backpackers alike and enjoys the village culture.

longwa homestay

Jeilei’s homestay is an incredible place for experiencing the Konyak lifestyle, in its truer and more conscious form. Their massive kitchen has a central fireplace where food is slow-cooked and is the ideal place to continuously sip black tea, have lengthy (and often confusing) conversations and get to know one another.

An extensive collection of rural and traditional artefacts such as the real beak of a hornbill, wooden carvings, and a muzzleloader gun makes is also available for purchase.

The food is moreover as organic as it can get and their service is excellent.

tourist guest house longwa

With their homestay being a good source of income, they take great care of the guest.

The rooms and sheets can be expected to be clean, with thick duvets to keep you warm. The rooms moreover have incredible views of the village of Longwa.

longwa mon

All in all, the experience is great, and Jeilei’s is a perfect village home with basic amenities, but kind and welcoming hearts.

Have you been to Longwa or someplace else around Mon? Would you agree that it was one of the best places to visit in Nagaland?

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Hey Dev.. your blog is awesome. And I have decided to visit Longwa, however I want to go to the exact same places u went to.. because I too want to click the same photos 🙂 🙂 Please if I could get in touch with you over phone/ whatsapp if thats convenient to you please ? I am planning this year Dec. 1st week. Please drop in an email with your contact number please. I need to book my flight tickets tomorrow after having word with you if possible infact today.. lol 🙂 best regards

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Hi Vaishali. I will be there in Longwa on Nov 30 Saturday evening, and will be there all of Dec 1 Sunday, and leave next morning. I will be put up at Nah-mei’s guesthouse which straddles the two countries and is opposite the Angh’s place. If you read this, mail me on [email protected] and I can help you further. And just to let you know I’m a journalist, bit of a blogger and love to travel. Will be publishing an article on my experience at Longwa on the daily I work with in Goa.

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BEWARE OF THIS HOMESTAY Owner of this HOMESTAY is a dishonest person. He and his staff stole both my mobile phone. I am in tourism sector for last 10 years and know this person. I met many incident where guest(indian and even foreigners) lost there things. If possible bring your own lock and key to keep your things safe.

There are other option to stay in longwa nagaland. BEWARE OF THIS HOMESTAY THE OWNER AND ALSO THE STAFF.

I have voice recorded proof but he do not act as he himself set these stealing act.

BEWARE OF THIS HOMESTAY Owner of this HOMESTAY is a dishonest person. He and his staff stole both my mobile phone. I am in tourism sector for last 10 years and know this person. I met many incident where guest lost there things. If possible bring your own lock and key to keep your things safe.

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Do visit us again…

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Hey Dev!! It was such a delight reading your blog. It is one of the best reads in the recent times. I am planning to visit Longwa and Mon in April and it’s been a great help. However, is it safe for solo female travellers. Thanks

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Speaking of women and safety, consider Northeast India is quite safe.

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Dev thanks for your excellent blog in detail.I myself have travelled through 66 Country’s to date and on the route indulged in numerous “Extreme Sports” like “Bungy Jumping” etc. Will be visiting North East in March 2018 and your blog would be one of my guides. Thanks.

Glad to know that Rudolph. Northeast India is very different and adventurous. I am sure you’ll like it. Don’t miss Meghalaya, Nagaland and Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh.

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All you need to know about Longwa Village Nagaland

All you need to know about Longwa Village Nagaland

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

  • Travel Guide

Adventures In Longwa Village, Nagaland

Published: November 4, 2023

Modified: December 27, 2023

by Hetti Wegner

  • Travel Destinations



Welcome to Longwa Village, a hidden gem nestled in the lush green hills of Nagaland. This remote village is not only known for its breathtaking natural beauty but also for its unique blend of tradition, modernization, and spirituality. Longwa has become a symbol of the coexistence of contrasting cultures – the allure of ancient traditions and the influx of modern influences.

Situated on the international border between India and Myanmar, Longwa Village holds a rich history that dates back centuries. Its strategic location has played a significant role in shaping the village’s cultural heritage and creating a fusion of different traditions and practices.

As you step into Longwa, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder. The village is characterized by traditional thatched-roof houses, adorned with intricate wood carvings, reflecting the skilled craftsmanship of the local artisans. The locals, known as the Konyak tribe, take great pride in preserving their age-old traditions and customs.

However, in recent years, Longwa has experienced the impact of modernization and the infiltration of junk culture. With the advent of technology and globalization, the younger generation has been exposed to Western influences, leading to a shift in lifestyle and values. This clash between tradition and modernity has given rise to an interesting phenomenon – the coexistence of junk and Jesus.

The influence of Christianity, brought to the region by the missionaries, has also left its mark on Longwa. Today, you can find numerous churches scattered throughout the village, standing as a testament to the strong Christian presence. The locals have embraced Christianity, intertwining it with their native traditions to create a unique blend of spirituality.

This article will delve into the captivating story of how Longwa Village has managed to preserve its cultural heritage while navigating the challenges posed by modernization and the influence of junk culture. We will explore the traditional beliefs and practices that still hold significance, the impact of modern influences, the coexistence of junk and Jesus, and the challenges and opportunities this community faces.

Join us on this fascinating journey through Longwa Village, where tradition meets modernity, and discover the intricate tapestry of cultures that exist in this remote corner of Nagaland.

History of Longwa Village

The history of Longwa Village stretches back centuries, with its roots deeply intertwined with the rich tapestry of Naga folklore. The village is home to the Konyak tribe, one of the major Naga tribes known for their fierce warrior heritage and distinct cultural practices.

According to local legends, Longwa Village was founded by a mythical figure named Angh. He was believed to be a great warrior who led his people to this land and established the village as a stronghold. The strategic location of Longwa, situated on the border between India and Myanmar, gave the village a unique advantage in terms of trade and defense.

Throughout history, Longwa has been a key player in the interactions between different Naga tribes and neighboring regions. The village served as a meeting point for trade and cultural exchanges, making it a melting pot of different influences. The Konyak tribe, known for their headhunting practices in ancient times, showcased their warrior prowess and bravery, often engaging in territorial conflicts with rival tribes.

With the arrival of British colonial rule in the region, the dynamics of Longwa Village began to change. The British introduced new administrative systems and exerted their influence, replacing traditional tribal governance structures. Nevertheless, the Konyak people fiercely held onto their cultural identity, resisting assimilation while adapting to the changing times.

Today, Longwa Village stands as a testament to the perseverance and resilience of the Konyak tribe. The ancient structures and monuments in the village evoke a sense of nostalgia, reminding visitors of the village’s rich heritage. The handcrafted wood carvings on the houses depict scenes from Naga folklore and pay homage to the artistic talents of the local craftsmen.

It is important to acknowledge that the history of Longwa Village is not just a story of triumph and glory. The village has also faced its fair share of challenges, including the impact of conflicts and political unrest in the region. Nevertheless, the residents of Longwa have managed to preserve their cultural identity and cultivate a strong sense of community, making Longwa a living testament to the enduring spirit of the Naga people.

Traditional Beliefs and Practices

The traditional beliefs and practices of Longwa Village are deeply rooted in the spirituality and cultural heritage of the Konyak tribe. The locals continue to uphold their ancient traditions, which shape their way of life and foster a strong sense of community.

One of the central aspects of traditional Konyak beliefs is animism, the belief that spirits dwell in natural elements such as mountains, rivers, and forests. The Konyak people have a close relationship with nature, viewing it as sacred and imbued with spiritual energy. They believe in the existence of supernatural beings and place great importance on appeasing and seeking their blessings.

The Konyak tribe also practices ancestor worship, considering their forefathers as a significant part of their lives. Their ancestors are believed to provide guidance, blessings, and protection to the living. The villagers perform various rituals and ceremonies to honor their ancestors, such as the annual Moatsu festival, where they gather to offer prayers, perform traditional dances, and partake in cultural activities.

Headhunting, once a prominent aspect of Konyak culture, held symbolic significance in the past. It was believed that by taking the head of an enemy, the Konyak warriors gained spiritual power and protected their community from harm. However, headhunting is no longer practiced today, and the Konyak people have embraced a more peaceful way of life.

The traditional attire of the Konyak tribe is a unique reflection of their cultural identity. Men wear intricately designed tattoos on their faces and bodies, serving as symbols of bravery and social status. They also adorn themselves with colorful headgears made from feathers and animal horns. Women, on the other hand, wear vibrant handwoven shawls and necklaces made from beads and shells.

Traditional music and dance play a vital role in Konyak culture, with various forms of expressive art performed on special occasions and festivals. The vibrant dances, accompanied by rhythmic drumming and chanting, are a celebration of life and a way to communicate with the spirits.

The traditional beliefs and practices of Longwa Village are not stagnant but continue to evolve and adapt. The village elders play a crucial role in passing down the oral traditions and cultural knowledge to the younger generation, ensuring the preservation of their unique heritage.

Visitors to Longwa Village have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Konyak culture, witnessing the customs and rituals that have been practiced for generations. The warmth and hospitality of the locals make for an unforgettable experience, providing a glimpse into a world where tradition and spirituality intertwine.

Impact of Modernization and Junk Culture

The enchanting village of Longwa has not been immune to the winds of modernization and the influx of junk culture, brought about by the advancements in technology and globalization. The rapid changes in the outside world have undoubtedly left their mark on this remote corner of Nagaland, affecting the traditional way of life and cultural practices of the Konyak tribe.

One of the prominent impacts of modernization is the shift in lifestyle and values among the younger generation. With increased access to technology and exposure to Western influences, the youth of Longwa have embraced elements of modern culture, such as fashion trends, popular music, and digital media. This has led to a gradual erosion of traditional values and practices as young people navigate the complexities of blending their indigenous identity with the allure of the outside world.

The infiltration of junk culture is another significant consequence of modernization in Longwa. The availability of processed and packaged foods, convenience items, and non-biodegradable materials has brought about a change in consumption patterns and waste management practices. Plastic waste, once non-existent in the village, has become a pressing environmental concern, impacting both the pristine natural surroundings and the health of the community.

Furthermore, the rapid influx of tourism in recent years has had both positive and negative effects on Longwa Village. While tourism has brought economic opportunities for the locals and has helped in preserving certain aspects of their cultural heritage, it has also led to increased commercialization and commodification of their traditions. Authentic experiences have at times been diluted, with the focus shifting more towards catering to the expectations of visitors rather than preserving the genuine essence of Konyak culture.

Despite these challenges, it is important to note that the impact of modernization and junk culture is not solely negative. The integration of modern conveniences has also brought benefits, such as improved infrastructure, better healthcare facilities, and increased connectivity with the outside world. However, it is crucial to find a balance that allows for progress while preserving the core values and cultural identity of the Konyak tribe.

Efforts are being made by the community and local organizations to raise awareness about sustainable practices, environmental conservation, and the importance of preserving their cultural heritage. Initiatives such as promoting eco-friendly alternatives, organizing workshops on traditional crafts and skills, and encouraging responsible tourism are helping to mitigate the negative impacts of modernization and junk culture.

The path forward for Longwa Village lies in the hands of the community itself, as they navigate the challenges posed by modernization while cherishing their roots. By embracing their cultural heritage, adapting to change, and finding innovative solutions, the people of Longwa are determined to preserve the soul and authenticity of their village while embracing the possibilities of the future.

Influence of Christianity

The influence of Christianity has played a transformative role in the cultural landscape of Longwa Village. The arrival of Christian missionaries to the region introduced the teachings of Jesus Christ to the Konyak tribe, leading to a significant shift in faith and worldview.

The conversion to Christianity brought about profound changes in the spiritual beliefs and practices of the villagers. Many embraced the teachings of Jesus Christ, finding solace in the message of love, forgiveness, and hope. The traditional animistic beliefs of the Konyak people began to merge with Christian values, giving rise to a unique blend of spirituality that is characteristic of Longwa today.

The presence of Christianity in Longwa can be seen through the numerous churches that dot the village landscape. These places of worship serve as spiritual sanctuaries for the local Christian community, providing a space for congregational gatherings, prayer meetings, and religious ceremonies. The churches also serve as community centers, fostering a sense of unity and fellowship among the villagers.

Christianity has had a profound impact on the social fabric of Longwa as well. The teachings of equality and compassion have played a role in fostering a more inclusive and egalitarian society. The Christian influence has led to a transformation in social norms, advocating for gender equality and rejecting harmful traditional practices.

Education has been another important aspect of the Christian influence in Longwa. Christian missionaries played a significant role in establishing schools and educational institutions in the village, providing access to formal education for the local children. This has empowered the younger generation with knowledge and skills, shaping their aspirations and opportunities for the future.

However, it is worth noting that the influence of Christianity has not completely erased the traditional cultural practices of the Konyak tribe. The villagers have managed to find a delicate balance between their Christian faith and their ancestral traditions, creating a syncretic blend that is unique to Longwa. Traditional ceremonies and festivals still hold significance, incorporating Christian elements and symbolisms.

The influence of Christianity has not been without its challenges. There have been instances where conflicts and tensions have arisen between those who embrace Christianity and those who adhere strictly to traditional beliefs. However, the community has worked towards fostering harmony and understanding, recognizing that diversity can strengthen the fabric of their society.

The influence of Christianity in Longwa Village is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the Konyak tribe. The fusion of traditional beliefs and Christian values has created a unique spiritual landscape, where the ancient customs and the teachings of Jesus coexist harmoniously. It is a reflection of the villagers’ ability to embrace change while holding onto the core principles that define their cultural identity.

Coexistence of Junk and Jesus

The coexistence of junk and Jesus in Longwa Village represents the unique juxtaposition of tradition and modernity that the community grapples with. While the prevalence of junk culture and the infiltration of modern influences pose challenges to preserving the traditional way of life, the strong influence of Christianity serves as a spiritual anchor in this delicate balance.

On one hand, junk culture has made its presence felt in Longwa. The easy access to processed and packaged foods has led to a shift in dietary patterns, with traditional cuisine sometimes taking a backseat. Non-biodegradable waste, particularly plastic, has become an environmental concern, with efforts being made to promote sustainable practices and environmental conservation.

Furthermore, the allure of the modern world, with its fast-paced lifestyle and consumerism, has influenced the younger generation. The rise of digital media and globalization has brought in outside influences, including fashion trends, music, and technology, which can sometimes overshadow the traditional practices and values of the Konyak tribe.

However, amidst these challenges, the spiritual influence of Christianity provides a grounding force in the community. The Christian faith intertwines with the traditional beliefs of the Konyak people, creating a unique blend of spirituality. The churches in Longwa serve as not just places of worship, but also as community centers that foster a sense of belonging and unity among the villagers.

Christianity promotes values such as compassion, love, and forgiveness, which have a positive impact on the social fabric of Longwa. The teachings of Jesus encourage the villagers to treat one another with respect and to work towards the well-being of the community as a whole.

Despite the coexistence of junk and Jesus, there is an ongoing effort to strike a balance and preserve the traditional cultural heritage. The village elders play a crucial role in passing down the ancestral practices, ensuring that the younger generation remains connected to their roots.

Local initiatives promote the revival of traditional arts and crafts, such as weaving and woodwork, as a means of preserving cultural identity and generating sustainable livelihoods. Visitors to Longwa Village are encouraged to participate in these activities, allowing them to immerse themselves in the traditional practices and contribute to their preservation.

It is through this delicate coexistence of junk and Jesus that Longwa Village is shaping its future. The community recognizes the importance of embracing change while preserving the essence of their cultural heritage. By finding harmony between tradition and modern influences, the villagers of Longwa aim to create a sustainable and vibrant community that honors their roots while embracing the opportunities of the modern world.

Challenges and Opportunities

Longwa Village, like many other communities, faces a unique set of challenges and opportunities as it navigates the complexities of preserving its cultural heritage while adapting to the changing world. These challenges are not obstacles, but rather opportunities for growth, innovation, and a chance to shape the future of the village.

One of the primary challenges is striking a balance between tradition and modernity. The infiltration of modern influences and junk culture poses a threat to the traditional way of life, yet it also presents an opportunity for the community to adapt and evolve. By finding innovative ways to integrate modern practices while preserving their core values, the villagers can ensure the continuity of their cultural identity.

Environmental conservation is another pressing challenge. The influx of plastic waste and the impact of modernization on the pristine surroundings of Longwa have raised concerns about sustainability. Implementing eco-friendly practices, promoting waste management techniques, and raising awareness about the importance of preserving the natural environment are crucial steps in overcoming this challenge.

Preserving and passing down traditional knowledge and skills to future generations is also a vital challenge. The elders of Longwa play a crucial role in transmitting the cultural practices and rituals to the younger members of the community. It is essential to provide support and recognition for the preservation of traditional crafts, such as weaving and woodwork, while encouraging the younger generation to embrace and carry forward these valuable skills.

However, these challenges also present numerous opportunities. For instance, tourism can be a powerful tool for economic growth and cultural preservation. By promoting responsible and sustainable tourism, Longwa can showcase its rich heritage, generate revenues for the local community, and raise awareness about indigenous cultures.

Education and technology can also be powerful catalysts for positive change. By providing access to quality education, the villagers can equip themselves with the necessary skills to adapt to the changing world while preserving their cultural values. Embracing technology can open up new avenues for preserving and promoting traditional practices, as well as connecting with a wider audience.

Collaboration and partnerships with external organizations and individuals can provide additional support and resources to address the challenges and seize the opportunities. Through these collaborations, Longwa Village can benefit from knowledge exchange, funding for cultural preservation projects, and expertise in sustainable development.

Ultimately, the challenges and opportunities faced by Longwa Village require a collective effort and a holistic approach. The community, along with external stakeholders, must work hand in hand to find innovative solutions, adapt to changes, and preserve the cultural heritage that makes Longwa unique.

Longwa Village in Nagaland is a place where ancient traditions, modern influences, junk culture, and the teachings of Jesus Christ coexist in a delicate balance. The village’s rich history, vibrant cultural practices, and breathtaking natural surroundings create a captivating tapestry that enchants visitors from around the world.

Longwa Village has faced the impact of modernization, the infiltration of junk culture, and the challenges of preserving its traditional way of life. However, it has also embraced Christianity, which has become an integral part of the community’s identity, providing spiritual guidance and an anchor amidst the rapid changes.

The coexistence of junk and Jesus represents the complex dynamics and the resilience of the Konyak tribe. The villagers strive to find a harmonious balance between their traditional customs and the allure of the modern world. They adapt to change while holding onto their cultural roots, honoring their ancestors, and nurturing a sense of community.

Despite the challenges, Longwa Village is brimming with opportunities. Through responsible tourism, educational initiatives, and sustainable practices, the village can harness its cultural heritage as a catalyst for economic growth, environmental conservation, and preservation of its indigenous identity.

The path forward for Longwa Village lies in embracing change while honoring its past. By finding innovative ways to integrate modern influences, promoting sustainable practices, and preserving traditional knowledge, Longwa can create a bridge between the old and the new.

Longwa Village stands as a testament to the resilience, adaptability, and vibrant spirit of the Konyak tribe. It is a place where tradition meets modernity, where the past merges with the future. As visitors immerse themselves in the captivating world of Longwa Village, they bear witness to the ongoing journey of preserving cultural heritage while embracing the possibilities of the modern world.

Longwa Village is a testament to the enduring spirit of its people and serves as an inspiration for communities around the world, reminding us of the importance of cherishing our roots while embracing the opportunities of the future.


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In the village of the last headhunters—where the king sleeps in India, eats in Myanmar

By Aman Alam

A home in Longwa Nagaland. Photo Aman Alam

It took two days of rides on cabs, trains, hitchhiking on pickup trucks and jolting on state transport buses with dubious suspension to get from Guwahati to Mon, Nagaland in the northeastern corner of the state, next to Myanmar. Patchy internet and the inability to rely on Google maps due to a blanket internet ban in the region during the civil protests of 2019, made the journey to Mon somewhat of a quest. When I finally found myself in this small town on a sunny Sunday afternoon in December, it felt like no mean feat.

Nagaland State Transport buses and good suspension can't be used in the same sentence. Photo Aman Alam

Nagaland State Transport buses and good suspension can't be used in the same sentence. Photo: Aman Alam

Mon was the last pitstop in my journey to the village of Longwa, long associated with the fabled Konyak tribe, and home to the last headhunters of this warrior clan. Reaching the village was another adventure as the largely Catholic state of Nagaland completely shuts down on Sundays and I could do little to make my driver eschew his god-given day of rest. Finally, a young man called Taka and his auto-rickshaw came to my aid and non-existent roads and a less than trusty chariot notwithstanding, we were on our way. The two-hour journey expanded into five as our vehicle stopped and sputtered over a rocky road. And yet, it was memorable to say the least. For here I was on a rickety auto rickshaw, driving through a dense jungle inhabited by wild boars and bears, with no cell phone connectivity, and on my way to meet the last surviving headhunters of this country.

Perched on the border of India and Myanmar, Longwa extends into both territories. Its population consists of 700-odd households, all held together by faith and history and ruled by the Angh or the chieftain, who also rules over 100 other villages. Part of his power in these parts meant that this tiny village had stellar 4G connectivity even while bigger villages in the state remained off the grid.

A thatched roof Naga house at the end of a winding road. Photo Aman Alam

A thatched roof Naga house, at the end of a winding road. Photo: Aman Alam

I reached at around 9pm to a village in slumber. Everyone had gone to bed two hours ago. Finding the way to my host Longsha's house was assisted by the fact that it was the only house with a light flickering in the window. This beautiful Naga-style thatched roof house with frescos on the walls and old statues in niches was the perfect place for a photographer to seek safe haven.

The Konyaks: One people, two nations

My routine was set for the next two weeks. Mornings started early at 5am with the crowing of the roosters. I'd finish a quick breakfast comprising tea and meat and rice and head out with Pohi, my hostess, on treks through the jungles of Longwa to meet the Konyak headhunters, and document their lives. Afternoons were spent attending lunch invitations thanks to the generosity of the Konyak people. Evenings were spent in the army barracks with the officers of the Assam Rifles, sampling the best of the army canteen offerings and listening to old stories of the Burmese junta militants and the fierce history of Longwa.

Longsha and Phohi my hosts in Longwa pose for a portrait on Christmas morning before heading to church. Photo Aman Alam

Longsha and Phohi, my hosts in Longwa, pose for a portrait on Christmas morning before heading to church. Photo: Aman Alam

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The Konyaks of Longwa are some of the most fascinating people I've met on my travels. Oft overshadowed by the fame of their mythical headhunter forefathers, their culture many a time gets reduced to that one footnote. They're the only Indian tribe to have legal dual citizenship of both India and Myanmar and a lot of them even vote in both elections. The international border runs exactly down the middle… the chief's house at the center of the village has its kitchen in India and bedroom in Myanmar.

When I asked Longsha how the drawing of the international border right through their village affected the lives of the locals, he laughed. He said that since no one had consulted them before splitting their village in two, it was only fair that the Konyaks also continue to live life and move around as before, without consulting anyone.

The point where the border passes with Myanmar to the left and India to the right. Photo Aman Alam

The point where the border passes, with Myanmar to the left and India to the right. Photo: Aman Alam

Longwa: Yesterday, today and tomorrow

Although most of the tribe has now converted to Catholicism, the remnants of their earlier nature worship continues. The Konyaks used to pray to the sun and the forests, and the tradition of headhunting and collecting enemy skulls was the norm. The elders still wear brass skull necklaces, with each skull symbolizing the heads they've cut in their lifetime. I saw an old man with six! Apart from showing superiority over the defeated enemy, headhunting was also believed to boost the agricultural yield. However, the rise of Christianity in the region brought the tradition of headhunting to an end in the 1960s.

Manyam waits patiently while I ready the lights and the scene to take his portrait. Photo Aman Alam

Manyam waits patiently, while I ready the lights and the scene, to take his portrait. Photo: Aman Alam

The interiors of a classic Naga house in Longwa. Thatched roofs wall carvings animal skulls and carrom boards are a...

The interiors of a classic Naga house in Longwa. Thatched roofs, wall carvings, animal skulls and carrom boards are a staple. Photo: Aman Alam

A portrait of Aangh Alu in a pensive mood. Photo Aman Alam

A portrait of Aangh Alu, in a pensive mood. Photo: Aman Alam

Chinglan loves to entertain guests and loves to prank outsiders by attaching a head of doll to his helmet. Photo Aman Alam

Chinglan loves to entertain guests, and loves to prank outsiders by attaching a head of doll to his helmet. Photo: Aman Alam

Konyak kids come running down a stone road to greet me a ritual that took place almost daily. Photo Aman Alam

Konyak kids come running down a stone road to greet me, a ritual that took place almost daily. Photo: Aman Alam

Late one evening, I sat with Longsha near a fire. He was a very charismatic man, and as someone with political aspirations, was well versed with the issues and ways of his people. We spoke about the aspirations of the younger Konyaks and their desire for better education and healthcare. Plumbing and better access came second. Over a discussion that lasted many cups of tea and countless cigarettes, we talked about the future of this village set outside of time. This was a village where people didn't feel like they were looking at the rest of the world through a keyhole and a place that had the same fighting chance to survive in this country, as everyone else. Despite being cut off from the mainland, despite being exoticised and relegated as curious relics from a distant past, Longsha's voice rang deep with hope when he spoke of Longwa's future.

A village elder reads a manual from the church to his grandchildren. Photo Aman Alam

A village elder reads a manual from the church to his grandchildren. Photo: Aman Alam

The embers from the fire cast a faint orange glow on the hornbill beaks, deer skulls, and weapons that lined the walls of Longsha's house. An old but working rifle hung in a corner next to old black and white photographs of his family. The simple decor literally spanned centuries of change. This was much like the story of the village itself—straddling time with one foot in the past, the other in the future.

Beyond Wild Places

Your guide to the wilder side of life

How to Get to Longwa in Nagaland

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Nagaland is known for its tribal culture. The mountainous state in Northeast India is home to a diverse range of indigenous tribes, many of which are still largely traditional. The most famous of these tribes is the Konyaks, living in the Mon district around the India-Myanmar border region. They have a fascinating history of headhunting and facial tattooing and the possibility of meeting with the last remaining headhunters of Nagaland is what brings most visitors to this far northeast corner of India. 

Longwa is one of the largest villages in Mon district on the Myanmar border and one of the most accessible and friendly places to visit the Konyak tribe. Spending time in Longwa is one of Northeast India’s most incredible adventures. However, it’s far from an easy place to reach.

If you’re interested in heading there, then this blog post explains how to get to Longwa in Nagaland and where to stay during your visit.

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links which means I get a commission if you buy a product through my link at no extra cost to you. By doing so, I can keep this blog going and continue to create helpful guides for you. Read more:  Privacy Policy

When is the best time to travel to Longwa

You can travel to Nagaland  all year round , with moderate temperatures for most of the year. However, it’s best to arrange a visit  between   October and May  to avoid the wet rainy season during the months from June to September.

The winter months of December to February can be a little cold with temperatures dropping at night, but day time temperatures are still pretty moderate. I was there in January and the weather was fine, with clear days and just a bit cold in the mornings and night.


How to get to Longwa village

Mon  is the main town in Mon District and the main base for exploring the Konyak villages, including Longwa. You need to reach Mon first in order to travel onto Longwa. Mon town is in the far north of Nagaland and is not the easiest place to reach. The roads in Nagaland are some of the worst I’ve ever experienced which makes journey times extremely long and arduous. Reaching Longwa is certainly an adventure!

Getting to Mon is actually easiest  via Assam state . The roads in northern Nagaland are actually so bad that public transport doesn’t use them. So no matter where you begin your journey to get to Mon and Longwa, you will most likely go through Assam. Assam surrounds the west and north of Nagaland.

This means that it’s just as easy to travel to Longwa from Guwahati, the capital of Assam, as it is from Kohima, the capital of Nagaland.  So I will explain here how to get to Longwa village from both Guwahati and Kohima.  

No matter which way you choose,  allow 3 days  to get from Guwahati or Kohima to Longwa village.

Nagaland hills

From Guwahati to Mon

Guwahati in Assam is the major transport hub of Northeast India. It’s the region’s biggest airport and train station and has transport links with most states across the Northeast. There’s a couple of steps to reach Longwa from Guwahati:

Guwahati to Sibsagar

If you’re beginning your journey from Guwahati to Longwa, you will first need to reach either  Jorhat or Sibsagar . Both towns are northeast of Guwahati along the Brahmaputra River in Assam. Allow a  full day  to reach either town from Guwahati. 

There are  both trains and bus options  to reach Jorhat and Sibsagar from Guwahati. Jorhat is the larger town and only a 3-hour bus trip away from Sibsagar, so no matter which one you reach on the first day, you will still get to Mon within two days of leaving Guwahati. 

You can check the latest train schedule  here .

You can check the bus times, company options and prices  here .

Whether you choose to stay in Jorhat or Sibsagar overnight, here are a couple of accommodation options:

Hotel Jonata Paradise  | This hotel is one of the most popular budget places with a convenient location just a minute’s walk from the ASTC bus station in Jorhat. A basic room starts from 600 rupees (AU$12) and their restaurant has some of the best food I had in Assam.

Hotel Raj Palace  | This is a popular hotel for travellers stopping in Sibsagar. I didn’t stay here but I’ve heard decent things, with basic rooms and nice food available. Perhaps its best feature is that its located just near the ASTC bus station making it convenient for a quick stopover.

Kohima bus station

Sibsagar to Mon

If you stayed in Jorhat overnight, you’ll need to take one of the frequent local buses to Sibsagar which is a 3-hour journey.

Then, from Sibsagar take a local bus to  Sonari , a town close to the Nagaland border. These buses tend to leave regularly whenever full and the trip takes 2 hours.

When you arrive in Sonari, ask for transport on to Mon . There are  shared sumos and jeeps  heading to Mon that pass through Sonari and you should be able to find a spare seat. The trip from Sonari to Mon is about 3 hours.

Many people helped me along the way for this leg. These small towns can be difficult to navigate with indiscriminate bus stations and stops. Ask people, especially bus conductors and drivers, and they will be able to point you in the right direction (usually).


From Kohima to Mon

Kohima is the  state capital  of Nagaland. It’s situated in the rolling Naga hills and the sprawl of the city can be seen stretching far over the ridges. Still, it’s a relatively unassuming and quiet city for Indian standards and only has 100, 000 inhabitants.

The  Nagaland State Transport bus station  is right in the middle of the main bazaar area of the city, on the Kohima-Mokokchung Rd. This is where you’ll find the bus ticket counter and parking lot and some shared jeeps also congregate on the road around the station. It’s best to book your tickets in advance and check the latest timetable for departures. This is the main transport hub for the state.


Kohima to Mokokchung

If you’re starting your journey to Longwa from Kohima, the first place you’ll want to reach is Mokokchung, a major town in the middle of Nagaland. 

I took a public bus from  Kohima to Mokokchung  at 6am from the  Nagaland State Transport Corporation station , in the main bazaar area of the city. I didn’t pre-purchase my ticket the day before and I didn’t need to worry, there was only a handful of people on the bus. The trip took 6 hours in total and cost 200 rupees (AU$4).

It’s best to stay overnight in Mokokchung so you can continue your journey to Mon the following day. Here are a couple of budget accommodation options in Mokokchung:

Whispering Winds  | Although it’s a bit of a steep 2km walk from the town centre, this is a great place to stay in Mokokchung. It’s by far the most popular place and is often full, with limited accommodation options in town. I paid 1000 rupees (AU$20) for a nice private room. The staff were very helpful and friendly and they offer room service too. 

Circuit House  | This is a government-run hotel next to Whispering Winds. It’s popular for travellers and government officials, but don’t expect any sort of luxury, it offers basic rooms. They were full when I was in town, but I’ve heard rooms can be around 700 rupees or more.

Mokokchung sumo counter

Mokokchung to Mon

From Mokokchung, the transport options to Mon are limited to  shared sumos/jeeps . They travel outside of Nagaland into Assam and then come back into Nagaland to reach Mon, because of the terrible road conditions of northern Nagaland. 

I pre-booked my ticket from  Mokokchung to Mon  from the  sumo/jeep counter  underneath the MMC Shopping Complex in Mokokchung the day before. 

Link Transport jeeps/sumos  have a couple of jeeps per day running to Mon. All the ticket counters and departures leave from the parking lot underneath the same shopping complex. 

My departure was for 6am, although we left closer to 7am. The journey was a long 10 hours via Assam to Mon.


Mon town in Nagaland

Despite being the main town in the district, Mon is a very quiet town with hardly any tourist infrastructure or basic amenities. There are only a few unreliable accommodation options and only one ATM that accepts foreign cards, although don’t expect it to always be working. You’ll find small snack shops and market stalls selling fresh produce along the main road. I did manage to find a decent cafe in Mon town, just down from the traffic roundabout, where I could get a meal though.

Mon accommodation

Helsa’s Cottage  | This is definitely the most popular place for travellers to stay, however, it can be a little unreliable as to whether it’s open. I stayed there before travelling to Longwa and I got a large basic room for 1000 rupees (AU$20). They also serve dinner and breakfast for an extra fee, which was very good and served on the balcony. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the middle of town. No Wi-Fi. 

Paramount Guesthouse  | When I returned from Longwa, Helsa’s Cottage was closed so I went in search of another place. I found this guesthouse which is closer to town above the SBI Bank. It was closed but the guy who runs the little shop nearby told me to call the phone number on the door. A woman came and showed me a basic room and I paid 1000 rupees for it (seems it was the standard price throughout Nagaland). She also cooked and brought me dinner. No Wi-Fi.

Mon shared sumo

How to get from Mon to Longwa village

The final leg of your journey to Longwa is to take local transport from Mon.

A  shared sumo/jeep  leaves Mon town at 7.30am from a small shop down towards the Mon-Longwa road turnoff. Ask around because there’s no sign or any indication, but it’s not too far of a walk from the centre of Mon. People are generally pretty helpful. It’s best to book the day before but it wasn’t full on the morning I left.

The journey from Mon to Longwa took 2 hours and cost 150 rupees (AU$1.50).

Konyak headhunter

Longwa village

Longwa is one of the most accessible and friendly villages to explore the Konyak tribe. This village sits uniquely straddling the border with Myanmar and has a very welcoming vibe compared to some of the other Konyak villages around Mon. 

I recommend staying in Longwa for at least two nights.  There are a number of great homestays that have popped up in Longwa over the last couple of years. These homestays are run by local families who open their houses to travellers and offer a bed and food for a certain agreed price. I highly recommend this experience in Nagaland. There is simply no other way to really get to know the unique and fascinating Nagaland people. 

Your homestay host usually doubles as a guide as well and can offer a real insight into the local culture. Longwa is particularly interesting, as you’ll hear about the fascinating history of headhunting and you may even get to meet with the Angh, village chief, as well as, former headhunter warriors.

Be aware, however, that opium and other drug use is common in the area. It’s normal to find the men sitting around a fire and smoking. Do NOT take photos without asking permission and respect people’s response if they decline a photo. It’s become an expected gift to give some money if you want to take a photo of a headhunter. Unfortunately, this has been encouraged by tourists and now it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to take any photos without paying for them.

Longwa chief house

Longwa homestay

I stayed in a local homestay with Longsha’s family. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s the first home when you come into Longwa village and comes highly recommended by many travellers, including myself.

Longsha’s Homestay  | Longsha charges around 1000 rupees for the room per night and around 150 rupees per meal, as well as 1500 rupees per day if you take him or his brother as a guide around the village. I paid this guide fee for one day that I was there, as his brother took me around and spent a few hours explaining the history and culture with me. Longsha’s number is  +91 8974390751 , it’s highly recommended that you make contact at least a day before arriving.

Leaving Longwa

Many shared sumos/jeep leave Longwa every morning heading back to Mon. Longsha can secure a ticket for you by making a phone call. Otherwise, you can stand on the road and wave them down as they pass.

Once your back in Mon, you’ll find all the bus and jeep counters clustered in the main street. You’ll probably have to spend a night in Mon, as most of the transport leaves early in the morning from around 6am. 

You can follow my above routes in the opposite direction to leave Longwa back to Kohima or Guwahati.

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Aoling Festival at Nagaland – The Grand Festival of Konyak Nagas

Festivals , Nagaland , Northeast India

Aoling Festival at Mon Nagaland

Last Updated on: Jul 6, 2023  

About this Blog: Aoling Festival, also known as Aoleang Festival or Aoleang Monyu is one of the most important festivals of the Konyak tribe in Nagaland. It is celebrated every year between April 1 to 6 in Mon district of Nagaland. This blog is about our experience at the Aoling Festival and other relevant information about where to visit and stay if you decide to experience this colorful festival in Northeast India.

While India is known for its festivals and has gained the moniker of “land of festivals” to the world, it is Nagaland which is known as the “land of festivals” within India. I have been planning a trip to Nagaland for a long time to get a glimpse of the cultural aspects of the state. Attending the Hornbill Festival is a great way of doing so. After all, the festival offers a vibrant and exuberant display of the culture and traditional rituals of all the tribes of Nagaland. As much as we loved the Hornbill Festival, we were also intrigued by the Konyak tribe. They were the last headhunters of Nagaland, and we wanted to meet them.

Performances at Aoling Festival in Longwa

And it is our love for experiencing local and folk festivals of India that landed us at Mon district on the 3rd day of April. We were on our way to attend the Aoleang Festival and get an insight into the life of the famed Konyak tribe of Nagaland while meeting the last of the headhunters of Nagaland.

Aoling Festival Video

Mon – the land of the Konyaks

Nagaland, located in the northeastern part of India is one of the smallest states of India – beautiful and wild. It is a land of folktales and fables passed down from generations. The Konyak tribe is one of the most prominent tribes of Nagaland known for their fierce headhunting practices. The Konyaks reside in Mon district of Nagaland which is bordered by Myanmar on the east and Assam on the west.

Tattooed headhunters of Nagaland India

The Mon district is mostly a hilly region extending from the foothills to the slopes of the Naga Hills and the Patkai ranges. Mon Town is the headquarters of the district as well as the largest town of the district.

Mon district of Nagaland

As mentioned earlier, Mon district is the home of the fearsome Konyak tribe who are infamously known for beheading the heads of their enemies and bringing back their heads as a trophy to their villages. If you want to know more about them, please read our article on the Konyak tribe, the fierce headhunters of Nagaland.

Meeting the Konyaks and Celebrating Aoleang Festival with them

Usually when it comes to festivals, we always try to spend most of the time of our trip attending the celebration. Traditional festivals and celebrations are one of the best ways to understand a culture and the people. It gives an interesting insight into the culture of the people and place in a unique way that you might not get if you just visit the place on a trip.

Konyak Nagas are an ethnic group of Nagaland

We had only a few days leave this time and so utilized most of the days enjoying the Aoling Festival with the Konyaks. We planned this trip almost at the last moment and as a result we could not find any stay at Mon town. After all, it was festival time and almost all the hotels we called up were booked. We might have gotten a place to stay once we reached there. But a friend suggested a homestay in one of the villages near Mon town.

With trepidation I called up the owner and he confirmed that he has rooms for us. I gladly asked him to reserve the rooms for us.

Reaching Mon

On the way towards Mon

However, once we were in Mon town, we were in for a mild shock. We could not find any directions to Sheanghah Chingyu (that is the village we were going to) on Google Maps. It seemed that in our last few trips, we were traveling to places whose routes are not on our reliable Google Maps!

Nevertheless, we called up our host and he gave us directions towards his village. We drove for almost an hour from Mon town on the Mon-Longwa Road till we came to a signboard saying Sheanghah Chingyu. Taking that road, we off-roaded for another 45 minutes till we reached the village. And all this time, I kept on second guessing my choice of stay. But as much as I doubted my decision, it turned out to be one of the best ones I had taken on the trip.

Church at Sheanghah Chingyu village Mon district Nagaland

Sheanghah Chingyu was one of the warmest Konyak villages we visited. The people were friendly and we enjoyed our stay in the village.  We also got a proper insight and knowledge about the Konyak tribe and the headhunters here after talking to the local people. We visited their traditional log houses, met with the local people, listened to stories of the past and present and enjoyed some great Naga cuisine. And finally, we also celebrated the Aoling Festival with them.

What is the Aoling Festival?

Aerial view of dancers at Aoling Festival at Mon

While the Konyak tribe have rituals and feasts all around the year, Aoling Festival is one of their major festivals. A spring festival, it marks the beginning of new year and the start of the sowing season. Also known as Aoleang Monyu, it is celebrated between April 1 to 6 every year after the completion of sowing seeds in their fields. This is done in order to seek blessings from the supreme god, Yongwan. Several rituals take place and sacrifices of cattle are made to appease the supreme power. Family, friends and neighbors are invited over to lavish feasts.

Aoling Festival is the time to meet friends and families

The Konyaks dress up in their traditional gorgeous attires. Both men and women adorn themselves with colorful embroidered dresses and beaded jewelry. It is a time of fun and merriment for them. They indulge in songs and traditional dances and beat log drums. The men in their traditional attire including headdresses decorated with hornbill feathers and boar tusks, and brass skull necklaces perform war dances. It is a way to remember their headhunting days.

Women sing folk songs that speak about the festival and other mundane things of life.

Aoling Festival is also a time when the families of recently deceased say their final goodbyes and end the period of mourning.

Children dressed up in traditional attire during Aoling Festival in Sheanghah Chingyu village in Nagaland

Significance of Aoling Festival or Aoleang Monyu

Each day of the Aoling Festival has its own significance. The first two days are known as Hoi Lai Yah Nyih and Yin Mok Pho Nyih . These two days are for preparation for the festival. Food and rice beer are prepared during this time. The Konyaks get ready traditional clothes and gather the animals that are to be slaughtered.

There is also an interesting ritual on these days. The head of the family goes to their field and sacrifices a chicken and sprinkles its blood on the altar while praying to the supreme power for a good crop season. He also predicts the future of his family by looking at the intestine of the chicken.

The third day is known as Yin MokShek Nyih . On this day, the animals that were gathered are slaughtered.

The most important day is the fourth day known as Lingnyu Nyih . On this day, men and women dress in their traditional attires and ornaments. There are day-long songs and dance performances and merrymaking. And not to forget, the best feast is made on this day.

Aoling Festival celebrations

The last two days are known as Lingha Nyih and Lingshan Nyih . In these two days, families spend time with each other and clean their houses after the festivities.

Though each day has its own significance, sometimes, each village might celebrate the main day of festivities on different days. At Sheanghah Chingyu, the main ceremonies of song and dance were held on the fourth day and in Longwa it was held on the sixth day. Thus it gave us the opportunity to observe the Aoling Festival in both the villages.

Our Experience at the Aoling Festival

Mon is quite a remote district in Nagaland. One of the easiest ways to reach Mon is to arrive at Dibrugarh either by flight or train and then drive to Mon. You can also reach there by public transport, about which I will share later.

We arrived at Dibrugarh on a cloudy day and started our journey towards Mon. After a long and bumpy ride among tea gardens and quaint villages, we reached Mon town. Another hour of off-roading brought us to Sheanghah Chingyu village.

Sheanghah Chingyu

Sheanghah Chingyu village

Sheanghah Chingyu is one of the largest villages in Mon district and is one of the most powerful ones amongst the Konyak tribe. Their Ahng (chief), also revered as the king of the village is one of the influential kings of the Konyak region.

We reached Sheanghah Chingyu amidst heavy rains. The homestay where we stayed belonged to the deputy Ahng, or the deputy chief of the village. Incidentally, the Ahng has a certain number of deputies and our host was one of them. He was quite an affable person, always smiling. But we could also see the steel in his eyes, if the situation demanded.

We stayed at the quaint and beautiful bamboo homestay and enjoyed the hospitality. We listened to stories of the past, headhunters and tattooing from the locals. In the evening, we were invited for a feast at a neighbor’s place.

Meeting the Ahng (King) of Sheanghah Chingyu Village

Sheanghah Chingyu village Nagaland

The next day started with heavy rains. Everyone was worried about the weather. After all, who likes weather to play a dampener during festivals! The rain stopped at noon. After that we went out to roam around the village. First, we went to meet the Ahng or chief of Sheanghah Chingyu. It is customary to give the king a gift when you meet him. We bought some eatables from a nearby shop and presented them to the King and Queen when we met. The Ahng definitely looked like someone who yielded quite a power.

A plaque in front of Ahng's house at Sheanghah Chingyu

After our meeting with the Ahng, we went on exploring the village. We met a headhunter, who told us stories of the past, albeit with an interpreter. We also met some villagers, went to the gun factory of the village. Oh! Did I tell you that all the Konyak houses possess locally made guns? And these guns are made and assembled in the village itself.

The day passed on lazily and soon it was dark. The next day was the main event of the Aoling festival and we all prayed to the weather gods so that there would be no rains!

Aoling Festival celebration at Sheanghah Chingyu

Aoling Festival celebrations at Sheanghah Chingyu

It rained heavily at night and in the early morning. I amost lost any hope of a clear day. However, after 9 am, the sun came up and the sky was cleared off any clouds. We were happy, but the villagers seemed ecstatic.

Some time later we went to the village field where the Aoling Festival celebrations would take place. The field was decorated minimally, as it had been raining the previous days. Gradually, people in their best attires started gathering around the field. We roamed clicking pictures and looking around. Finally, at around 11 am, the celebrations started.

Festival ground at Sheanghah Chingyu village at Mon District, Nagaland

Folk songs were sung. There was a meat eating competition for the men and another one for the women of the village. Then a group of women came in and sang folk songs.

Women performing fold song and dance at Aoling Festival at Sheanghah Chingyu

Finally, the men in their traditional attires came in to perform the warrior dance. They enacted scenes from what used to happen during the headhunting expeditions.  It was such a vivid and flamboyant affair.

Men performing war dance at Aoling Festival at Sheanghah Chingyu

We simply did not know how time passed. Soon it was 2 pm and the celebrations were almost over. People started going back to their homes laughing and making merry. But all was not over. The celebration ended with a gun firing competition.

The Aoling Festival celebration at Sheanghah Chingyu was a beautiful and lively affair. And it was so raw and unfiltered. I was glad that we had decided to come to this village to witness the Aoling Festival celebration.

Competetions at Sheanghah Chingyu village during Aoling Festival

After attending and celebrating the Aoling Festival at Sheanghah Chingyu, it was time for us to head to our next destination, Longwa. The main celebrations of the Aoling Festival was to be held there the next day and so we headed towards this border village of Nagaland.

Longwa village Nagaland

Longwa is an interesting place located by the Indo-Myanmar border. In fact, the international border lies through the middle of the house of the Ahng of Longwa. The Ahng of Longwa is a powerful person. He rules over 30 Konyak villages in Myanmar and 11 Konyak villages in India. And as such the residents of Longwa has dual citizenship. They can easily pass the border to meet their relatives. This is also one of the most peaceful borders between two countries. It is often jokingly said that the Ahng sleeps in India and has his breakfast in Myanmar!

The hills of Longwa and Myanmar

Longwa is known in the tourist circuit of India. Even though one might say Longwa is touristy, the place is still unfiltered and without the so-called tourist traps.

At Longwa, we stayed at Longwa Tourist Lodge which is located right opposite to the Ahng’s house on a hilltop.

Aoling Festival Celebrations at Longwa

Aoling Festival at Longwa Nagaland

The main celebrations of the Aoling Festival at Longwa took place on the 6th day of April this year. The day was sunny and bright without a trace of rain and everyone was happy. It seemed that the Aoling spirits wanted the celebrations to go on without a hitch.

The Aoling Festival celebrations took place in the ground in front of the Longwa Baptist Church. Just like Sheanghah Chingyu, the local people in their colorful and best attires started gathering at the field. But the numbers at Longwa were more than that at Sheanghah Chingyu.

Konyak men dressed as warriors during the Aoling Festival at Longwa

The programme started at around 11 am. Each Morung had their own group participating in the celebrations. There were groups of women performing the folk song. Then the men dressed in their traditional dresses performed the war dance. A few elder headhunters were there at the festival ground as well.

Aoling Performances

Konyak Women getting prepared for performance at Aoling Festival at Longwa

After each Morung performed their own song and dance routine, all of them started performing together. The entire field looked vibrant and cheerful. Sounds of songs and war cries permeated the surroundings. We could also hear the sounds of the log drums beating. The entire atmosphere was electric and we were also carried away by the spirit and verve of the occasion.  You have to see it to believe it. In the meantime, have a look at a few of the pictures!

Dance performance during Aoling festival at Longwa

And then there was the gun firing. All the men who participated in the dance had their guns and they started shooting blank in a designated area of the field. Don’t worry, there were no real bullets there. I am sure the loud blasting of gunfire could be heard even from a distance. The entire area smelled like gunpowder. The men went around in a circle firing their guns. Even after this was over, they kept on firing guns at random.

Here too, we did not understand how time flew by. Soon we were at the end of the programme and the locals were going back to their homes. We too went back to our guest house.

In the evening, we explored Longwa and visited the gunsmith and the metal smith house. What we did in Longwa will be covered in a separate article.

Aoling Festival in Longwa – A Travel Video


We spent a wonderful time at the villages of Mon celebrating the Aoling Festival with the Konyaks. It was an experience beyond our imagination and we will always cherish it. What separates the Aoling Festival from Hornbill is that it is totally authentic and traditional. We could see the actual rituals and traditions. And of course, it was much less touristy. Although the Aoling Festival is gradually gaining popularity, there were fewer tourists even at Longwa.

Aoling Festival Travel Guide

Now for some practical information if you want to visit the Aoling Festival!

How to visit the Aoling Festival?

To experience the Aoling Festival you have to visit Mon district of Nagaland. Aoling Festival is the major festival of the Konyak tribe who lives in Mon district. The festival is celebrated in all the Konyak villages in Mon district. However, there are a few places where it is celebrated in a grander way and as a traveler or cultural enthusiast it will appeal to your senses better.

How to visit Aoling Festival

Mon Town celebrates the Aoling Festival in a grand way at the festival ground. You can also visit Mon village, Sheanghah Chungyu and Longwa to get a proper taste of the festival.

What to do at the Aoling Festival?

Konyak elders enjoying Aoling Festival performances

You will celebrate the festival and enjoy the programmes, of course! You can watch the song and dance performances, enactment of war dances and watch the other shows taking place,

However, if you have more time, you can do several other things.

Go for village exploration: There are several villages around Mon and you can explore them on your own. All these villages are located on hilltops and are beautiful. You can take a local guide who will give you an insight about the local culture and ways of life. He can also explain to you the several rituals taking place in the festival.

Explore Sheanghah Chingyu village

Visit the Gunsmith and Metalsmith’s house: These two places should definitely be on your list. While during the festival time, you might not see them at work, but you will be amazed to visit their houses.

Depiction of headhunting through figurine - handicrafts of Nagaland

Visit the Morungs: The Morungs are like community centres or dormitories where the boys and young men stay before they get married. The Morungs are beautiful structures and you will get an insight into the life of the Konyak men once you visit there.

Morung at Longwa

Enjoy local Naga cuisine: If you are attending the festival at Mon town, you will come across the exhibition where you will find several handlooms and handicrafts. You will also get several food stalls serving Naga cuisine and local delicacies like smoked pork, bamboo shoot curry and rice beer.

Naga Cuisine

However, these food stalls are not available at the smaller villages. There you have to depend on your host.

What are he dates of Aoling Festival or Aoleang Festival?

Aoling Festival or Aoleang Monyu is celebrated every year between April 1 to 6.

How to reach Mon?

The nearest airport to Mon town is Mohanbari Airport in Dibrugarh. Mon town is located about 130 km from Dibrugarh and it takes about 5 hours to reach there. The road conditions after the border town Tizit are quite bad. You can hire a car from Dibrugarh to reach Mon.

Similarly, the nearest railway station is Dibrugarh Railway station.

Mon entrance gate

Reaching Mon by public transport

If you are looking for public transport, then you have to reach Sonari from Dibrugarh. From Sonari, you will get shared sumos towards Mon town. However, remember that these sumo to Mon from Sonari are found only in the morning by 7am. Also, during the festival season, it is difficult to get a sumo.

If you are not opposed to multiple changes of vehicles, then take an auto from Sonari to Namtola. At Namtola, cross the Assam-Nagaland border gate to go to Tizit. From Tizit, you will get shared sumos to Mon all through the day.

Dimapur/ Kohima to Mon

You can also visit Mon from Dimapur or Kohima. Dimapur has an airport. Buses are available from both Dimapur and Kohima towards Mon. The distance from Dimapur to Mon is about 280 km and it will take about 11 to 12 hours to reach Mon. Be prepared for a bumpy journey at parts.

From Kohima, buses are available as well. However, these buses actually take a longer route through Assam to reach Mon. The roads through Nagaland are quite rough and bad.

Shared sumos are also available from Kohima and Dimapur to Mon.

Once you reach Mon town, you will get shared sumos to other villages you want to visit. However, their numbers are limited and most of them run during the afternoon at around 1 pm.

Where to stay during the Aoling Festival?

Homestay at Sheanghah Chingyu

A visit to Mon or Longwa or any other village during the Aoling festival is undoubtedly going to be an unforgettable experience. However, the accommodation options at Mon are still lower in number. If you are planning to visit during the Aoling Festival, we advise you to book your stay ahead.

There are a few hotels and guest houses available at Mon town and homestays in the villages like Longwa, Mon village and Sheanghah Chingyu.

Respect the local culture and tradition

A young girl from Sheanghah Chingyu village

If you are traveling to Mon during the Aoling Festival or otherwise, we strongly advise you to respect the local tradition and culture of the place. Each community has their unique ways of life and we, as travelers or tourists, have the responsibility to be mindful of the impact we have on these local communities.

There might be things that you might not agree to. There might be things that you will not be comfortable about. In such cases, please keep your judgements and opinions to yourself. It is their way of life. If they do not judge you, you are in no place to do the same. If you do not like it, do not see it or hear it.

We as travelers usually come across various experiences and situations on the road. This makes us empathic and open to other cultures and views. We believe that there should be meaningful cultural exchange based on mutual understanding and trust. It is in this way we will be able to preserve the traditions of the past.

So visit Nagaland with a spirit of curiosity and celebrate the Aoling Festival with the Konyaks with the same joy.

Hope you liked this blog about the Aoling Festival? Are you planning to visit Nagaland anytime soon? Have you visited any folk festivals? Do let us know in the comments below. We would love to know about your experiences.

A Few More Photographs of Aoling Festival

Beating of log drum at Morung in Sheanghah Chingyu Nagaland

So that was Aoling Festival!

If you liked this blog and found it useful, please share this with yor family, friends and neighbours.

Pin it for a later read!

Aoling Festival Nagaland

Agni Amrita

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    Longwa is known in the tourist circuit of India. Even though one might say Longwa is touristy, the place is still unfiltered and without the so-called tourist traps. At Longwa, we stayed at Longwa Tourist Lodge which is located right opposite to the Ahng's house on a hilltop. Aoling Festival Celebrations at Longwa

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