Monday, 28 September 2009

Village Life Around Kohima

Old ladies carrying firewood in Khonoma Village

For the majority of Nagas life is predominantly lived in the village and so you have to go to the villages to see what Naga life is all about. So after the Hornbill festival we visited a couple of villages near Kohima - neither our first nor last visit to Naga villages but still worth a picture series.

The first village we visited was Kigwema, which is very close to Kisama, where the festival takes place. It is a very big village but only a few traditional houses left. However, the village is very much alive and it's possible to see lots of activity such as women weaving traditional Naga shawls.

The following day we went to the smaller and quieter, but much more picturesque - and historically significant - village of Khonoma, which Nitoli and I had visited 2 years earlier and also wanted my family to see. Below are pictures from both villages. This post is quite long with many pictures, but I hope you find it worthwhile to look through them.

Houses of Kigwema Village

Angami lady weaving a shawl outside one of Kigwema's nicest houses with traditional Naga wood carvings on its facade.

Another lady weaving - this is all manual work, with very simple tools to assist. The shawls are such an important part of Naga culture, hopefully not a custom which will die out with modernization

Another house with a semi-traditional facade and some really, nice and huge weaved baskets below - probably containing rice

The boys dormitory (morung) which is an important institution in Naga society. This is the closest traditional Naga equivalent to a school where Naga boys would learn about the norms, values, knowledge and traditions of their tribe.

In most Naga villages the animals roam freely looking for food. I particularly like the chick which is second from the right in this picture. Look how cool its head is.

Village Elders enjoying the December sun (yes, I'm that far behind on my blog!)

Another village elder sitting outside on his low bench and watching life go by - you see this a lot

Yet another bench and another old villager. The oldest of these guys would have seen and perhaps even participated in the WWII battle of Kohima

Naga girls in front of a commemorative tablet in central Kigwema village

A new day and new sights: Rice terraces on the way to Khonoma

The big gate welcoming you to Khonoma Village signifies that this is a place, which - by Naga standards - sees a fair amount of visitors.

View of Upper Khonoma Village. On the left you can see the new Catholic church which lies on the road between Khonoma and the rest of the world. On the right you can see a few of Khonoma's famous rice terraces.

The exact opposite view taken from the Catholic church - showing the woody side of the hill on which Khonoma is situated

One of many little circular spaces surrounded by painted stones - an important meeting place in Angami villages

Old lady enjoying a cup of morning tea

View from Upper Khonoma down to lower Khonoma and the rice terraces in the bottom of the valley

My brother Ole in front of the rice fields of Khonoma

In Naga villages you don't necessarily go out and buy your baskets - when you can weave your own

Everything is done entirely by hand

Idyllic street in lower Khonoma

An older girl sitting with her younger sibling

Naughty boys chasing each other

My dad taking a picture in the Catholic Church


oreneta said...

I adore those baskets...and the naughty boys! They look great.

Esben said...

Yeah, the baskets were pretty cool - so they quickly caught my eye. And the naughty boys... well, they are just the same all over the world.

nino said...

Thanks for sharing ur picture of my village kigwema ;)
they are beautiful, hope u enjoyed your trip to nagaland.

Esben said...

Thank you for your comment Nino, I'm glad you liked the pictures. And yes, I enjoyed my trip to Nagaland. In fact I have been back once since - but this will only come to my blog later.