Knowing the Konyanks- Last of the Tattooed Headhunters
The rare tradition and culture of the north-east is what sets it apart from the rest of India. And as I am addressing this as ‘rare’, my dear readers you will be surprised to know that much of north-east tradition is fast disappearing and losing its identity with passing years. So, why not have a sneak peek at Nagaland’s (one of the seven sister states) dying culture and appreciate Phejin Konyak’s effort in restoring her heritage? Getting Familiar with Phejin Konyak! Wondering who is Phejin Konyak? Well, she is one of the last few tribes of Nagas and great-granddaughter of Ahon, a celebrated name in Konyak’s tribe. She with her sheer dedication from over the past three years, travelled in Nagaland’s Mon district from village to village, trying to get in touch with the elderly members of the Konyak tribe and recording their personal stories and folktales to document her culture in the form a book. The book is titled “The Konyaks Last of the Tattooed Headhunters” and one can easily get it from the bookstores near them. She has meticulously described in her book about her people i.e The Konyaks. Out of all the tribes residing in the hills of Nagaland, the Konyaks were the most feared tribes. Why? The Konyaks are well-known for their traditional body and facial tattoos and practices of headhunting which has been banned for a long time now. According to Konyak Naga history, the skull of a person stored all the soul force of that being and which could bring the Konyaks prosperity and fertility to their villages. And hence this very well explains that why the Konyaks indulged in headhunting. It is believed that these tattoos were a symbol of courage and strength and hence, the Konyak men celebrated their puberty and adulthood by getting themselves tattooed. This kind of rituals greatly determined Konyak culture. However, a majority of Konyaks have rehabilitated themselves as Christians leaving the konyak’s culture dying back. Some Fascinating Facts about the Border Town of Longwa in the district of Mon
- It is alleged that the king of Longwa (locally recognized as ‘Angh) eats in Myanmar and naps in India because a part of his house is located in Myanmar, and a part, in India. He has a total of 60 wives and rules over more than 70 villages which stretched to Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh — can you believe it? Also, the king along with the residents hold a dual citizenship for India and Myanmar- lucky people indeed!
- Forget about the internet, mobile signals, lavish restaurants and cars in Longwa. Yes, you read it right, this tribal land is still very remote which makes it much more special. Know that this village is a car-free zone and roads aren’t easily accessible by all. There are limited rides available and so you have to be lucky enough to bag one!
- You won’t find many hotels up in there and so you don’t have much options to choose from. Homestays and guest houses in Nagaland offer its tourists with ample tribal experiences to cherish.
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