Thousands of Amur falcons congregate at the stunning Doyang Reservoir in Wokha district, Nagaland
Part of the Seven Sister States that are India’s most eastern states, Nagaland is home to one of South Asia’s Ultra-prominent peaks, Mount Saramati, which is a natural border that the state from the country of Myanmar, also known as Burma. The population of Nagaland boasts origins from over 50 major tribes and sub tribes.
Much of the ancient history of the Naga people is a mystery, but it is believed that Sanskrit scriptures bearing texts on Kiratas are, in fact, referring to the aboriginal golden skinned inhabitants of the far eastern mountains of ancient Nagaland. Some anthropologists suggest that Naga people migrated to the region before the Tai Ahom Kingdom came into power in the early 1220s.
Due to India’s geographical location, each state of the country is steeped with rich biodiversity. The state of Nagaland was declared the ‘Falcon Capital of the World’ due to a million Amur falcons that roost in the Doyang reservoir in the Wokha district; that equates to approximately 50 falcons per km2. Elephants, leopards, porcupines, an array of monkey species, the great Indian hornbill and the mithun, also known a gayal, which is a semi-domesticated Indian bison only found in north eastern Indian states, are amongst many animals that can be found in Nagaland. The state tropical and sub tropical forests have inspired many traditional crafts, where skilled tribal artisans have utilised the environment that they inhabit.
Weaving and embroidery, popular north east Indian crafts, have their own distinct variations in Nagaland. For centuries, generations of master artisans have created works of art derived from natural resources found in these forests, including bark and wicker for basketry and natural dyes for wefts. Colourful Angami Naga shawls, embroidered by the native Angami community, are locally known as sami lami phee. In ancient times, these shawls were presented to gallant fighters, embroidered with motifs and patterns of wild animals found in the region. To this day, descendants of the tribes of Nagaland continue to exhibit their distinct craftsmanship in both traditional and contemporary items of high endurance and fine quality.
Image: Ramki Sreenivasan