FOOD

Aoling Festival: In the Celebrating Lands of Nagaland

Majestic hills with green forests, breath-taking valleys and the serene atmosphere are some of the attractive points of north eastern wing of India. The moment we think of the northeast India terrains, divine places like Sikkim, Meghalaya, and Gangtok overpowers our mind and thoughts. Nagaland being a part of the eastern India is equally mesmerizing as if God has bestowed entire natural beauty to this place. Nagaland is known as the land of festivals and it’s the time for the Konyak tribe to celebrate their most awaited and upcoming festival called “Aoling”.

Nagaland is one of the major parts of our diverse cultural country. The state has been a part of tourism for the travelers who have keen interest to know about the culture and mysticism of Nagaland and its tribal lifestyle. Recent economic development has paved the way for exclusive tourism of the state. The Major upcoming festival “Aoling” is worthy to visit and celebrate with the Konyak tribe. The festival dates in the 1st week of April 2019 from 1st of the April to 10th April 2019.

The festival is celebrated blissfully by the Konyak tribe of the Nagaland. They are the most popular tribe residing among the mountains of Northeast. The tribe is popular for their head-hunting skills. The practice of head-hunting has been stopped. Their traditional way of festive celebration and their lifestyle is still the same and unique. The colorful dresses, food, rice wine and meat preparations are the main components of the festival Aoling.

So awaken tour travel spirit inside you and book your tickets to land the beautiful capital city “Kohima”. Check out your ticket availability on IRCTC ticket booking portal. It also facilitates to check the PNR status of your tickets booked in waiting or RAC status. Do not hold back or postpone as the season of spring is getting celebrated at Nagaland with enthusiastic spirit. Enjoy the vivid colors of lifestyle and unique traditions followed in the tribal culture of Nagaland.

About the Festival “Aoling”
Aoling is the festival of Konyak tribe celebrated every year in the first week of April. The festival is celebrated to mark the New Year and the arrival of spring season. The prayers are offered to appease the divine the spirit for a good upcoming harvest. The festival is celebrated with immense joy, unity and happiness among the people. The festival lasts for 10 days where the tribe worship their divine God/spirit to bless the land with fertility and good harvest.

When is the Festival Celebrated:
For this year, the festival is organized from 1st April and will conclude by 10th April. The festival is celebrated with intense excitement and euphoria. The dates of the festival might differ in other villages and nearby areas. It’s the main reason why the celebrations days differ from one location to another. Though the festival is for a week the festive mood of the tribe ends with massive celebration on the 10th day.

What is the Festival all about?
In a nutshell, the festival is all about regional dance forms, local tasty meat food, wine, beer drinks, colorful traditional dresses, jewelries, worship methods and animal sacrifices. The first three days of the festivals are spent in the preparation of the festival. The Konyak tribe spends these three days in weaving of clothes, making of ornaments, arrangement of animals to be sacrificed for divine powers.
Fourth day of the festival is the most mesmerizing day of the week, when all the Konyak tribe members spent their days in dancing, singing dressed in their traditional colorful attire. Whole day is spent with great enthusiasm and joy when all the tribal members dance together, drink wine and prepare their traditional food made out varieties meat.

Last two days of the festival is dedicated to the family members and house. People reside at their home and spend their time with family members. They indulge themselves in cleaning of their house and neighborhood areas. They practice this to please their God for blessings as they believe that cleanliness in next to God.

How to Reach for the Festival?
The festival is celebrated in the Mon district of Nagaland. The district is a home to the Konyak tribe where they reside with their own custom, tradition and freedom. You are advised to go with tour or travel operators as they will provide you better transportation medium, food and ensure all the security measures during the trip and festival.

There are trains available for Nagaland from different parts of the city. The major railway station is Dimapur railway station in Nagaland which serves as the doorway to enter in the Nagaland by train. The trains from Guwahati, Kolkata and New Delhi run to the Dimapur railway station. From the station you can board locals passenger trains to reach Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland. From Kohima or Dimapur, you can take the help of any local tour operator to become the part of this dynamic and vivid festival.

Things you should keep in the mind:

  • Please keep your Indian passport with you remaining its validity at least of 6 months from expiry.(Non-Indians and foreigner tourists)
  • An Indian visa is also required for touring the city. So apply in advance. (foreigners)
  • Do not forget to pack your dorm essentials. You might not get it easily.
  • Respect the local culture and lifestyle of the tribe.
  • If you’re a solo female traveler, carry all your essentials and save the helpline numbers in your smartphone.
  • Don’t laugh/ comments on the local people, custom, tradition and food.
  • Wear proper dresses to keep your body comfortable and safe from outside weather.
  • Don’t take unwanted pictures especially at the places where photography is prohibited.
  • Tribal life style is completely different from the modern day’s life style. Accept this and respect it.
  • Don’t give food or any other materials to the locals, children or anyone.

What will you get out of the tour?
Adventure, excitement, knowledge and remembrance! This full trip will last in your heart and mind forever. You will get the chance to meet the tribal group and explore their daily lifestyle and other celebrations. The headhunters who have spent their lives by the means of agriculture will share their experience and the fierce past stories throughout their dance forms.
The head of the village “Angh” (head) tells the story of their headhunting days and how fierce they had been in their past. The festival also offers a window to learn and experience the diverse culture of Nagaland. Tribal culture still remains out the main stream society of modern India, but still sporty, happy and contented with their life. The Aoling festival is a mirror to the same. So book your train tickets and get ready to explore a completely uncovered, intensified, cultural heritage of Nagaland. You will be surprised to visualize the beauty of the remote district Kohima.

(Image Credits: Gosahin, Bharat Ke Rang and Pixabay)