For the first time ever, visit Northeast India in an offbeat cultural tour to the Aoling Festival, celebrated by the fascinating Konyak Tribe during the first week of April.
(TRAVPR.COM) INDIA - February 22nd, 2013 - Considered to be one of India’s remotest regions, Nagaland is a land blessed with sixteen fascinating tribes and scenery of verdant mountains. Greener Pastures, an ecotourism enterprise based in Northeast India which promotes responsible and community benefitting tours to exotic destinations around the region, has recently launched a first ever tour to the Aoling Festival in Nagaland. Celebrated by the Konyak Tribe during the first week of April, in and around the very interior hills of Mon District, the festival marks the coming of a new year and of spring season.
Once upon a time one of the deadliest headhunters in all of Asia, the tribe today lives peacefully, spending most of their time in agriculture, fishing, hunting, drinking and smoking opium. But come April, the tribe comes together in gusto and zest to celebrate the Aoling. The first few days of this festival are spent preparing for the main day, where various food items are collected, rice beer is brewed, new cloths are weaved and domesticated animals are gathered.
Animistic ceremonies such as sacrifices of animals and singing of folklores are held. For tourists, the main day is when all the fun happens. The Konyaks come together with pride, wearing their colorful and fashionable tribal clothing. Elaborate dances are performed which tell of Konyak culture and bravery. One such is the dance of the warriors, where the tribe performs their ritualistic victory dance carrying skulls and weapons. Another interesting aspect is the endless feats consisting of exotic ethic cuisine that are available during the festival. The tribe takes drinking seriously and ensure for an endless flow of the local rice beer during the festival to keep the morals high. Invitations are not needed, and visitors to the festival are often overwhelmed by the hospitality of the locals.
The director of Greener Pastures, Vaivhav, is enthusiastic about the festival. He says, “Mon is an exotic destination. The hills and villages there feel far away, and display simple and sustainable living. The inhabitants, the tattooed warrior Konyaks, are unarguably one of India’s most fascinating and somewhat savage tribe. This makes the Aoling Festival a truly unique and offbeat experience. It is one of those festivals which not many people have heard of, expect for the devout culture seeker. A part of our responsible tourism initiative to bring sustainable income to remote areas, with the launch of this tour, we wish to showcase this incredible culture to the world and hope that the awareness we are trying to create will benefit the tribe.”
As for the itinerary, the tour begins in the town of Dibrugarh in Northeast India. Known as the ‘tea country of the world’, from Dibrugarh, the tour will cross the medieval ruins of the Ahom Dynasty at Sivasagar to arrive in the hill town of Mon in eastern and remote Nagaland. Apart from participation in the festivities, the tour also provides travelers an opportunity to visit various Konyak villages, visit their houses, interact with them and learn about their way of life. It is quite an offbeat vacation, a doorway to a forgotten culture which traces its origins to ancient tribal history.
Visit The Aoling Festival Tour of Nagaland for more details.