Sunday, 21 June 2009

Into the Naga Villages: Medziphema

Semi-traditional residential house with courtyard, Medziphema Village, Nagaland

Nagaland is not a state of great cities. So one of the great attractions of travelling in Nagaland is to visit some of the state's many small towns and villages and we continuously did so over our stay. The first we visited was Medziphema, a village belonging to the Angami tribe located just a few hundred metres off the main road between Nagaland's two most important cities: the economic hub of Dimapur and the political capital of Kohima.

(For those interested in going to Nagaland and visiting any villages this is the best map I have been able to find. Medziphema can also be found on this)

Given its location on the most important highway in Nagaland, this is by no means a place untouched by modernization. By Naga standards this is very developed village, but still a nice and idyllic place to go for a wander and many of houses are still semi-traditional: Weaved from bamboo thatch and other natural materials (as seen in the picture above) rather than made from concrete and processed wood. However these semi-traditional houses are not architecturally not as interesting as houses here would have been in older times, and most have at the very least a metal roof.

One of the more modern houses, built from wood and even with a small car parked outside

Flowers are everywhere, both wild and cultivated

As in most Naga villages the church is the biggest building. During our visit it was under restoration

Worker painting the cross on the church roof

This would be my family's first impression of the "real" Nagaland in the hills. And it was a great success. My mother loved the chance to see how people live in a semi-developed village like this and the locals were very friendly - albeit much more reserved than mainland Indians - and we were followed around by an entourage of curious kids, as this is not a place where tourists normally come. We were invited into several houses and at the end we were even given a bag full of delicious pomelo fruits plucked fresh from the tree.

A kitchen in one of the more traditional houses. It does have wooden floors...

...yet the section (in the same house) around the fireplace only has a dirt floor

A more advanced kitchen with gas hotplates instead of a fireplace.

Female workers carrying big bamboo sticks

Another lady worker smiling despite her hard physical labour (photo: Ole Agersnap)

One of the many kids following us around. He was quite naughty this one.

Another naughty one

A shy, not so naughty one

And yet another. It took a bit persuasion to convince this child to be photographed but I think the result is priceless. I love the facial expression and the folded hands

Local man picks Pomelos for us with baby helping out

On the village's main road, my mother carrying the bag of Pomelos. In the picture you see my father, mother, brother and our friends Lone and Troels, who had joined us for the wedding celebrations.

Women and Children in front of the local rice mill, as I understood a state project to support the local economy.

Inside the rice mill

A skull hung on the wall - this is an old custom for many Naga tribes

One of the more reserved boys observing us from behind a wooden fence

The road back to Dimapur is lined everywhere with small shacks selling fresh pineapples picked from the nearby fields that very same morning. Incredibly sweet and good compared to the ones you can buy in Europe., at virtually no cost.


Latin Sardar said...

Beautiful pics...

Ole said...

Halløj Ebsen..
Nu hvor du er flyttet, skal du så ikke ændre din location på forsiden af din blog?

bollywood said...
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Kshitij said...

iam seeing your blog from last few months.all the pictures are amazing also one can learn a lot r looking at you pictures.keep up the good work.

Branni said...

Hi, I am travelling to Nagaland tomorrow! These are by far the best pictures I have seen of the village life. Now I can't wait to visit.
Thank you for the inspiration.

Esben said...

Thanks to all for the comments.

Ole, det ser jeg lige paa.

Branni, I guess you must be well into your trip to nagaland, or maybe even over with it. Glad I could give you some inspiration, would love to hear more about how your trip went.

viketousie said...
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imcha said...
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along said...

hi a dimapurian, working outside nagaland...n i saw ur pics while i was browsing...thnx a lot for making me relive those moments with you...God Bless.

SuniL said...

nice pic .. n that place kohima is really very nice i am so attracted to that place that each year i go back to that place from Delhi. i love the silence of war cemetery kohima.

107065915794153669006 said...

Hey Esben, this post is awesome. Nagaland is truly an exotic state!

Hopeto said...

Hi. I am from nagaland and its feels great to see all these wonderful photos of my land.