Saturday, 8 December 2012

Angami village at Kigwema and Rajadhani

Thommen Jose

Kigwema village, a few kilometres from Kisama is a settlement of Angami tribe. Akieno's sister took us on a tour to this traditional village with two modern Christian churches. We could see two traditional Angami-Naga homes with crossed horn gable (kikeh) which were not in use but rented to foreign tourists upon request. These houses are adorned with mithun skulls sporting a spooky appearance. The village is divided into four colonies with a morung (boy's dormitory) in each colony. Most of the houses are roofed with corrugated metal sheets. Until the common cemetery came up, the graves were built in front of the houses. There are huge water tanks in each colony where people shower, do laundry and fetch water for their houses. Peace settlement inscribed stones recording the settlement fee - number of mithuns - generated curiosity amongst us. These recent settlements were to end fierce head hunting practice which continued until 1980s. Today the Naga people sport jeans and shirt and wear their ethnic dresses and full warrior costumes only for festivals. The kids at the village are extremely friendly, lent me their circular wheel rotated by a metal hook for a joy ride. Adults seemed to be very serious and tight lipped, the need for being accompanied by a local guardian was very obvious.

We had the company of few wonderful people at the home stay. Joe, a globe trotter from Alaska, Fabienne, an avid traveller and Indophile from Brussels, Len, a gardener from Oregon, US accompanying his friend Becca, a teacher who was born in India retracing her early childhood in India.  Becca's father, a Baptist missionary  worked in Naga and Garo hills in 1950s and contributed linguistically to tribesmen. Swapping culture and travel stories, all of us made ourselves at home around the heater (charcoal filled a metal basket) at Akieno's sitting room.

Though we wanted to spend two weeks in Nagaland, the economics of Hornbill Festival was not suitable for our budget. We hitched a 'rocky ride' with Joe to the town- sitting on rocks in a Tata Mobile. Spent some time gazing at the delicacies unique to Nagaland- dog meat and other crawlies. Hiring a cab from Kohima to Dimapur after 5pm took 2hrs of haggling with taxi drivers, ended up paying Rs.300 per head. A police officer's intervention was too late. At Dimapur an ATM was guarded by five army men, this town cannot be considered totally safe after dark. Sleeping at the railway platform was  checked in our wish list while randomly waiting for a train. We never knew we would be travelling in Rajadhani to Dibrugarh! That too without tickets, but paying a small commission to the Ticket Inspector.

"You get angry, when you are hungry or in a hurry" - a traveller's wisdom by Joe


  1. Hi romin, today i read your blog and found that you and Megha are so interesting personality, i ever met in my life. Both of you are so lucky to be so nice and compatible couple. I met you at assam, arunachal bhawan for innerline permit to arunachal. You are amazing guy with unique and extraordinary passion........I am so lucky to met a person of such passion. Hope to meet you in future and god bless you both

  2. Thank it to tourism that some of the old culture and architecture survive!