Monday, 29 January 2007

Dimapur, Nagaland's Biggest City

Susanna's family lives in Dimapur which is Nagaland's largest and most commercialised city. Unlike the rest of Nagaland it is situated not in the hills, but on the plains, and therefore has a more Indian feel to it, than for instance Kohima (which I will get back to in future posts). From a tourism viewpoint Dimapur is not all that spectacular, but we did look around a bit and found some interesting things.

This post contains some rather gory images. Sensitive people might want to skip the bottom part of the post - especially dog lovers! I will insert one more warning before the potentially offensive pictures.

Dimapur is actually a quite old city, but it has very few historical remains. Perhaps the only archaeological site of any interest is that of a series of mushroom domed pillars with obvious phallic connotations. They were created by the Kachari kingdom, which ruled here long before the Nagas came down from the hills and took over the city, but other than that their origin and purpose are largely mysterious. Here you see Susanna leaning on one of these old pillars.

Not all of the pillars are equally well maintained. Some still stand in all their glory while others have fallen to the ground or crumbled into nothing. But it is a very interesting place quite unlike anything else I have seen in India. It might not rival the fairytale castles of Rajasthan or the magic of moghul tombs such as Taj Mahal, but at least this is something you won't see anywhere else but right here.

The Kachari ruins above are set in a nice park like area, which also houses a pool filled with pink water lotus.

There is also plenty of high grass for little girls of all ages to play in.

Close to the Kachari ruins the local Wednesday market was on, providing a very interesting insight into Naga life. Here fresh spices are on display.

And here you see a stall selling local wicker (kurve-) products.

You can also buy animal troughs made from old tires. Nice to see some recycling.

Or you can go to the "Beauty Polour".

Or you can buy this colourful food - probably some type of corn.

If you are very sensitive, especially when it comes to animal welfare and such, then this is a good place to stop reading.

But it is not all charming, but familiar products such as spices, corn and wicker products. Next to vegetables you frequently see huge worms being sold for human consumption. In fact they are considered a delicacy.

A closer look at this unusual type of food. As the hundreds of worms lie there spread out on a blanket most of them are still alive (so people know they are fresh). The picture cannot show it but they are all wriggling about.

Freshly caught deer is also on display. Don't know if the head is sold seperate.

And here more meat is on display. This is a type of meat you certainly won't see in Western supermarkets....

...yes you guessed it - it is DOG meat. Nagaland is in many way culturally closer to South East Asia than to India proper, and this is also seen in the food culture. It is not uncommon to eat dog, although I have promised Susanna to stress the point that this is not something that ALL nagas do or condone. In fact Susanna herself has great difficulty even just looking at something like this without feeling sick, and I know that many of her friends feel the same way. Never the less, however people might feel about it, it is still something which takes place even in the largest and most Indianised of Nagaland's cities.


Sun Tzu's disciple said...

hey esben, why sound apologetic about dog meat??
The Silkworms you show are amazing too!

food is food.The only valid objection would be from an animal lover who is pure vegetarian.

ekon said...

would appreciate if you delete the pics of dog and please i love dogs,infact every nagas love dogs .its just that once in a blue moon that people try out of curiousity and not because of any reason.anyway i love the silk worm and no offence .

Esben said...

Hi ekon,

I appreciate your request, and understand that not all Nagas eat dog meat - for instance my wife doesn't. But that being said, some people eating dog meat is a fact of life in Nagaland (as with other countries like Vietnam, China etc.) so I don't see any reason to try to hide that.

ekon said...

you are being misunderstood,actually its about the pics iam talking about.i mean those dog pics really looks eeeooo........

sachin said...

hey esben u hv done a great job...hats off to u man ,,,,,u hv shown da real picture of nagas thanks man

sachin said...

hey esben u hv done a great job...hats off to u man ,,,,,u hv shown da real picture of nagas thanks man