Though the Nagas cannot boast of any written documentation of how they came about, a look at the Nagaland Museum in the state capital can give the visitor an idea about the legacy of the Nagas. Located at Bayavu Hill, about 1.5 km from the main town, it houses a rare collection of artifacts of each Naga tribe. The State Museum also has authentic Naga precious stones on display. Here one can see the most valued and expensive necklaces used by the Nagas. They are an assortment of precious stones which include cornelian, tourmaline, coral, core of xancus, ivory and other beads, brass and silver bells. Another interesting display is the Naga Morung/hut models. One can make out that the villages were located on hilltops. Perhaps it was to survey/watch the valley below for approaching friends or foes. The variations in architecture among the different tribes are just amazing. Musical instruments are also displayed. The various instruments give an insight into how music formed an integral part of Naga life. Log drum, Tati, a single stringed instrument, and other instruments made of bamboo and buffalo horns are used during festivals and other social gatherings. For the art lovers the state museum has an art gallery which houses collections of paintings by different local artists. The themes vary from traditional to modern.
Visiting Hours : Timings: 10 A.M. - 4 P.M. (Closed on all Holidays except Sundays.)
The Government sales Emporium is in the heart of the town. It has a collection of Naga handloom and handicraft items. Some of the more prominent outlets where mementoes can be purchased are GURTEL near the war Cemetery and Belho Weavers near Assam Oil Company (AOC). There are many shops dealing with Naga cultural items in the Super Market area as well.
NAGA HERITAGE COMPLEX KISAMA - KOHIMA:
The Naga Heritage Complex was inaugurated by the Government of Nagaland on 1st December 2003, where the HORNBILL FESTIVAL is celebrated annually. It is a permanent site at KISAMA situated 12 kms away from Kohima on NH-39. The Naga Heritage Complex serves as "Window to Nagaland" (WTN), aims to showcase the state in a single platform, through which one can have a peep into the Naga Heritage. The complex will also house the "World War II Museum".
The WTN houses the traditional houses or "Morungs', representing the 16 recognized tribes of Nagaland. Each of these units display the distinctive aspects of each tribe, in terms of crafts, cuisine, cultural activities, etc., as well as provide the market outlets for the many unique local products of all the tribes in the state. It also have a commercial complex for leasing out to local entrepreneurs for handloom and handicraft products, souvenir outlets, amphitheatre, PCOs, internet cafes, restaurants and other entertainment outlets. An added attraction are the "Flower Garden", for display, sale and exhibition of flowers and plants, Trekking Route to the peak for the birds eye-view of the Heritage complex and her vicinities, Rope-Ways and the Amusement Park are off the offing. The Complex on completion will be opened through out the year, with various activities, shows, exhibitions, displays, cultural events, competitions, eateries etc., which can be enjoyed by all. The facilities at the WTN can also be hired out to interested parties/persons.
Considered as the point of origin of Kohima, it is believed to be one of the largest and populous villages in Asia. According to legends, Kohima village was established by a man called Whinuo hence Kewhira, the original name. Legend has it that after his selection of a place to settle down, Whinuo had a strange dream. He dreamt of an empty habitation but heard sounds of children laughing, playing and of mourning. He was greatly disturbed by the dream. He knew mourning implied death and sorrow but at the same time sounds of children were good omen. The villagers believed that he chose to believe in the good omen and decided to settle down in what is presently called Kohima Village. With a population of 13,705 people, 3965 households (2001 census) Kohima village is divided into four khels - Dapfutsuma [D Khel], Lhisema [L Khel], Pfuchatsuma [P Khel], and Tsutsonuoma [T Khel]. Khel is a distinct Naga institution that brings together several clans within the village community. Membership of a khel is either decided by birth or heredity. This is the most important and effective institution in village governance. No village decision can be taken without a consensus from all Khels in the village.
Kohima Village is an admixture of the past and present. In the olden days it was believed that Kohima Village had seven lakes and seven gateways. Till today a huge gate still stands at the entrance of the village, which is engraved with traditional Naga art and adorned with buffalo horns at the top. Stones of varying sizes and shapes implanted within the compound or skulls of buffaloes and Mithuns adorning the portico reminds the glorious status of the great ancestors who had performed grand feasts of merit Located 20 kms west of Kohima is Khonoma village. Reputed for their courage and valor, it is the village of A. Z Phizo, Father of Naga Nationalist Movement. It has its own share of brushes with history. It was here that the Naga warriors made their last stand against the British in 1879. A simple white pillar commemorates G H Damant, major C R Crook, lieutenant H H Forbes and Sub-major NurbirSai, who died fighting the Nagas in Khonoma. The Khonoma gate tells the story of the British infiltration into Naga Hills. The village referred to as "Khwunoria" by the residents is estimated to be around 700 years old and is surrounded by hills that are as high as 9000 ft. It runs along a ridge which is a characteristic of Angami Villages and its domain extends from the terrace rice fields in the valley immediately beneath the ridge into the uplands of the Barail range all the way southwards till the border with Manipur, Senapati district. One of the outstanding features of Khonoma village is the presence of the fort called Kuda which literally means "a place of defense". There is one fort in each of the three khels (Locality). It is believed that in ancient times the strength of the Khel is measured by the condition of the kuda and the presence of young warriors. Even today each khel takes responsibility for the maintenance of their khel fort. The terrain is hilly - from gentle slopes to steeply rugged crags and the hills are covered with lush forests, with numerous perennial trees. The Village is named after a plant locally known as "Khuno" that grows in the area. The alder tree (AlnusNepalensis) is found in abundance in this region and Khonoma is famous for its management of jhum fields with alder trees, which fixes nitrogen in the soil and checks soil erosion.
In an effort to conserve the Blythe's Tragopan, an endangered pheasant of the state and other wild life in its natural habitat, Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan sanctuary (KNCTS) was set up in 1998 by the ecologically conscious people of the village. This sanctuary which covers an area of over 70 sq km is privately owned and managed by the village community in Khonoma. It is also the habitat to many other endangered and rare species of plants and animals. The sanctuary is also an ideal place for adventure and nature study. With its mission" Green Khonoma", it has become the Model Village for eco-tourism. The Village Council has made it mandatory for every household to have dustbins. Once in a month, sanitation drive is carried out and the community's garbage is burnt. The ashes and the residue are then used as manure. The combination of rich bio-diversity and stunning landscape makes Khonoma habitat an excellent candidate for eco-tourism that ranges from the "active"- 2 or 3 day tracks into the Dzukou uplands, wildlife spotting camps to The "passive" - walks through the village "myths and legends" trails, through megaliths and the terrace rice fields which produces 20 varieties of rice. Known for its beautiful natural landscape, Khonoma is a destination which truly makes for a tribal travel experience!