Chilling at the Burma borderLongwa is right at the Burma border. In fact the King’s house is half in Burma and half in India. They say he eats in India and sleeps in Burma! We stayed at a cozy homestay here run by a childless couple who have adopted two dogs as their babies – Jack and Jimmy. We would all crowd around the kitchen because in a Naga house that is where all the action is – around a fire. With layers of meat hung above it to smoke, a kettle with black tea always on. Cats, dogs, humans- are all in that space. I have always loved the fact that food is such a ritual in the Indian culture and the Naga kitchen is the perfect embodiment of it. The whole day is planned around food and the space where food is cooked and eaten is where life is.
My next plan was to visit Mon, in the northern part of Nagaland, where the Konyaks live. A bus from Kohima to Mon would take about 14 hours on bad roads, overnight. So I instead chose to go back to Dimapur, and take a train to Bhojo in Assam (the train would take 4-5 hours). From Bhojo take an auto to Sonari, and then you can take a taxi or a bus and reach Mon in 3 hours. I then went to an intriguing village called Longwa, half of which lies in India, and the other half in Myanmar. This is the only part of Nagaland where you can meet headhunters. Other attractions include the Angh's house, through which the international boundary line runs and the border pillar which gives a vantage point to both sides of the village. You can reach Longwa from Mon by a shared jeep, but the seats are limited and you need to book in advance.
And one of the very last areas to experience that one such cultures was in the town of Longwa in Mon, Nagaland — popular as the basecamp of the headhunting tribe of the Konyaks.
Aru kiman dur? (How much more?)I turned around and saw my friends struggling to climb up the hill. One had already removed his jacket and tied it around his waist. We were on our way to the India-Burma (now Myanmar) border that was on top of a hill. While we waited in silence, a slight breeze hit my face and I heard the chirping of a bird not so far away. Though the sun was directly overhead, in the middle of the afternoon, the breeze made me forget the heat for a while. I turned around and saw our guide aimlessly looking around waiting for us to resume our trail.Let’s go guys! And I started walking again.How come you’re not already tired? One of my friends asked.My stamina is better than you two, I said with a mocking smile. Now let’s go!After some more huffing and puffing, we finally reached the top. I excitedly looked around but all I saw was barren land on one side and big bushes on the other. My friends and I exchanged confused look. Our guide was already on his way towards an abandoned wooden gate, which was hardly seen amidst the bushes. He started climbing up the stairs beyond the gate. We followed him and reached a small clearing on the far top where there was one big stone in the middle. On the stone was carved India on one side and Burma on the side. We were finally there.