Thursday, November 16, 2017

Northeast Calling: Exploring Nagaland beyond the Hornbill Festival

If you haven't made a trip to the northeast yet, now would be a good time to start planning one. The annual Hornbill Festival will take place in Nagaland at the beginning of next month, bringing with it a host of events. From folk dances to wrestling competitions, from cooking contests to one that involves chomping down on hot Naga chillies, there is plenty to keep you fascinated. To help plan your trip, we got two experts to tell you how you can explore Nagaland beyond the festival.

Northeast calling

On December 1 to 10
At Kisama village, Hornbill–Kisama Road, Nagaland.

Meet the Konyak tribesmen
The Konyak tribe (in pic, above and right) of Nagaland was known for its vicious headhunting practice for  centuries, right until the 1970s. In fact, back in the day, they would hang the heads of their enemies on the walls of their morung (communal houses). "Today, instead of human heads, you will be greeted by the skulls of  animals they've hunted.

Northeast calling

Despite the reputation they've earned, they're lovely people. At the Hornbill Festival, they reenact scenes from their headhunting days," says Amit Rane, director of DCP Expeditions, which is conducting a trip-cum-photography workshop to the festival.

Amit Rane

Visit a heritage village
The members of the Angami Naga tribe of Khonoma village, located around 20 km from Kohima, gave up hunting several years ago to help wildlife conservation efforts in the region. "In 1998, the village council declared 20 sq km as the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary. In Khonoma, you can meet local craftsmen and check out 200-year-old rifles used in battle," says Rane.

Call 61818464 (DCP Expeditions)

Take a peek into the lives of Naga tribes. pics courtesy/amit rane
Take a peek into the lives of Naga tribes. pics courtesy/Amit Rane 

Head to a war cemetery
The Kohima war cemetery sits at the very same spot where the Battle of Kohima took place in April 1944.

Head to a war cemetery

"The  memorial is dedicated to soldiers of the 2nd British Division of the Allied Forces who lost their lives here fighting Japanese forces," says Kankanmoni Deka of Guwahati-based Golden Woods Travels, which organises trips to Nagaland. He adds that history buffs could also pay a visit to the war museum, which houses informative exhibits and World War II artefacts.

Kankanmoni Deka
Kankanmoni Deka

Trek through a valley
Dzukou Valley, situated at the border of Nagaland and Manipur, is a beautiful piece of paradise for trekkers, flush with rolling carpets of green and meandering rivers. "The trek is an easy one, and along the way, you will pass by little villages. The villagers are incredibly warm, and are happy to meet visitors. You can even sit down for a meal with them," says Deka. Make it a three-day trek and stay overnight in a dormitory.

Call 8134025468
(Golden Woods Travels)

Getting there

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Travel: Smart and handy tips to plan your December holiday

If you are planning a vacation in the last month of the year then this is the time for you to book the flight tickets as chances are that you will get lowest hotel rates, says a report. Travel site TripAdvisor announced the "Best Time to Book" for the Holidays report on Wednesday revealing that travellers can consistently find the lowest hotel rates on hotels for the last two weeks of December if they book the tickets by November 18.

Travel: Smart and handy tips to plan your December holiday
Representational picture

For a hotel in the US, travellers booking till November 18 can save 18 percent compared to early year peak rates. Also, travellers planning to stay in a hotel in Europe can book during this window to save 21 percent compared to peak and for hotels in Asia, travellers can get 12 percent off versus highs.

Also while airfares change frequently and are dependent on the departure destination, this year, with the Christmas holiday falling on a Monday, travellers can save 14 percent on average by flying on Sunday, December 24, compared to flying the day before on Saturday (December 23), said a statement. Similarly, flying on New Year's Eve (Sunday, December 31) will save travellers 12 to 23 percent on average.

"The approaching holiday season has travellers looking for best prices and bargains for their travel considering hotels and flight prices soar during this time. TripAdvisor's Best Times to Book report is meant to help price-conscious Indian travellers feel confident that they're going to make the most of their travel budgets and that they have a great time this year-end," said Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India.

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