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Mon- The Kingdom of Konyak Tribes. Mon district of Nagaland is located at an altitude of 897.64m above sea level. Home to the Konyak Nagas, Mon is simply a mystic and euphoric place that resonates the rich tribal heritage.
Mon is the home of the Konyak Nagas and it is interesting to see tattooed faces wearing feathers. Konyaks are adept artisans and skilled craftsmen. The Konyak tribe is very famous for their violent head hunting.
They have embraced Christianity and now, Christianity has become the cohesive bond between the Nagas, who, earlier were at constant fight with each other, one who had the maximum skulls of his enemies being considered the mightiest and most powerful. Konyaks still decorate their houses with skulls, hornbill beaks, elephant tusks, horns and wooden statues. The Konyak women are adept in weaving intricate traditional designs and in bead craft. Both men and women wear a lot of traditional bead and brass ornaments. The men with inked face wear a brass skull necklace which denotes the number of heads taken by them.
Longwa Village – One Village, Two Nationality
One of the biggest villages in Mon district, it is an interesting sight to see. As the village straddles an international boundary line, one half of the Angh‘s house falls within Indian territory, whereas the other half lies under Myanmar control. However, the whole village is controlled by the Angh and the village Council Chairman. Another interesting feature of this village is that the Angh of the village has 60 wives and his jurisdiction extends up to Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh.
An “Angh” rules each village. He is the sole authority in the village and held in high esteem by his villagers and hold immense power in his village and other subordinate villages. There are altogether seven “Chief Anghs” within the Mon District, namely (a) Mon (b) Chui (c) Shengha Chingnyu (d) Longwa (e) Shangnyu (f) Jaboka and (g) Tangnyu. The Chief Anghs of these villages rule over a group of sattelite villages under them, some of which are in Arunachal Pradesh with 54 villages and 87 villages in Myanmar. All these villages are Konyak villages having strong customary and traditional relationship with the rest of the 110 villages of the Mon District having no land dispute between the villages and are all under the umbrella of the Konyak Union. The Angh of a village is assisted in his task by the Deputy Anghs of each Morung (Pan) and the elders or Gaon Burras. Each village has a ruling clan and commoner clan or the “Pen” clan. The members of a clan are bound by blood-ties and so inter-marriage is prevented. But they can marry a boy or a girl of other clans. The Anghs belong to the ruling clan. A heir to the post can take any girl from other clans as his wife, but he has to marry a princess of another village as his real wife. The other wives are treated as his concubines and their children cannot claim to become the Angh. The Anghs practice polygamy and can have a number of wives. But only the eldest son of a real princess has the right to inherit his paternal property and to be adorned as the Angh after his father’s death.
For administrative convenience, each village is divided into a number of “Morungs” or “Pan”. It is an institution for training youths in discipline, nationalistic feelings, safeguarding the village from intruders and for efficient execution of tasks during emergencies etc. Morungs are men’s dormitory, which is in hierarchical order. The unmarried youths assemble in the evenings and discuss about important matters pertaining to their socio-economic, political and day-to-day aspect of life.
AOLINGMONYU is the main festival of the Konyaks. It is celebrated every year in the spring season i.e. after the sowing of seeds. The festival lasts from 1st to 6th April. This festival is celebrated to ask for blessings from God “Yongwan” for a bumper harvest for the year. Young and old in traditional dresses and headgears decorated with feathers and wild boar tusks, accompanied with log drums chant folk songs and have a merry time with great feasting.