Caption– This the entrance to Kohima the town of Nagaland
It won’t be wrong if we call Nagaland as one of the most exotic hilly states in India. A feast for the eyes and soul, this place has a bucket full of surprises for its visitors. From primeval landscapes to huts on rice terraces to colorful traditions, Nagaland is often called The Switzerland of the East, and we could not agree more.
The miraculous beauty of incredible hills and mountains, lavish vegetation, and pleasing climate adorned by this state give visuals of modern life Eden. Even though the times have turned to modern life, Nagaland, however, still has treasured its traditions and follows it dearly.
Caption- Terrace farming at Pfutsero
Walking across the streets of Nagaland, the ancient lifestyle will speak to you themselves, showing you a glimpse of tribal culture that is quite well intact. Along with that, you might wander there, with an amazed mind looking at the relationship they share with nature and the architectural style of the place. They have strictly followed vernacular architecture that suited the hilly region, and that could also maintain the warmth inside against the cold outside.
If we are on the topic of street architecture, then one can witness the dominance of three materials used in the houses, which are wood, thatch, and bamboo. These readily available materials, also bad conductors of heat, made it easier to build insulated tribal houses, keeping the interiors warm. Besides that, it is fascinating to see how, without any technological elements, the Naga people design their houses to endure any natural calamities, which is quite common there.
Caption– View of the Glenfinnan Viaduct
The most interesting is while roaming around this place, apart from the artistic streets, are the two main architectural patterns seen at almost every corner. One being the houses planned in a group that shows the unity and sense of a healthy neighborhood, and the other is that these groups are divided with fences, depicting personal space. Another architectural find has to be the skulls of animals, hunted by tribesmen as one of their traditions, hanging around the huts in the villages. Even though this activity is no longer in practice in Nagaland, you can still see the skulls as décor in older houses.
Caption- Old Naga monolith stone
Another one of the many goodnesses residing in Nagaland is its approach to planet-friendly architecture. Besides, it urges the visitors to reconsider how to treat the planet so that it sustains a little longer than we expect it. We learn a lot from the vernacular architecture of Nagaland, which is inherently sustainable without external technological help. Walking through the narrow yet spacious lanes, the shape of the houses you will see is part of the Sema Architecture. It includes the structures with a broad front and narrower end, and rooftop a little higher at the entrance.
Caption- Thatched dwelling of Konyak tribe Mon district
Although the architectural design of huts varies from one tribe to another, similarities in the materials and the slightly arched tapered roof are quite prominent. Amongst the tribes of Nagaland, the most interesting design of huts is from Khiamniungan Tribe, who used slated stone for the roofs.
Caption- Old Naga traditional hut of a village chief
While you sink into the streetscape of Nagaland, do not forget to travel to a few places that will surely make you sink in the beauty of this place a little more. To start with, let us travel to Kohima, home to one of the few ancient Naga tribes surviving, Angami. And no doubt the capital of Nagaland will leave your mind and soul baffled with its locations.
Caption- Thatched dwellings of the Konyak tribe Mon district
Now traveling 20 km from Kohima, Dzukou Valley welcomes you with its enormous rainforests. You can also experience local Naga richness in a village called Kigweman in Jakhama, located in Kohima. Moreover, it offers travelers the most-wanted authentic cultural experience with homestays and local food.
Caption- Miniature of traditional Naga tribal hut at Kisama Heritage Village in Nagaland
The streetscape of Nagaland continues to flow in the form of Dzulekei Stream, located 40 km from Kohima. Architecture is all about how you feel in a city amidst all those hustle-bustle going around. And this particular place caters to that feeling, surrounded by lush green forest, and it’s a treat for the eyes as well.
Caption- Dzukou Valley
Furthermore, architecture is also about the picture you perceive of its historical elements from being in a place. To support this statement, Kohima Night Market fits the choice. You can have delicacies and do street shopping in the essence of Nagaland. However, nothing will top the experience of living in the ancient tribal hut, named Morungs. The Naga people have made a replica to the design of the hut that Naga ancestors used to live in and are the perfect space to stay and have rice beer in bamboo glasses (freshly-brewed).
Caption– Hornbill Festival in Nagaland
Every nook of this place leaves its traveler in awe, whether it is a vast valley or a narrow street. The beauty is surreal and showcases the untainted architecture of one of the seven sisters of the East of India.