Nagaland, a tiny land of sixteen tribes, has ever since had a fascination with headhunting. Even two decades back, the forests of this India’s hilly northeastern state stood witness to inter tribal rivalry. However, headhunting has never been viewed as a taboo and headhunters have always been admired and revered in their tribes. The more heads one has killed, more the respect. For example, in the Konyak Tribe, the warriors use to tattoo their faces and bodies with lines symbolizing the heads taken. The effect of headhunting in the culture and lifestyle of the tribes is quite profound. Folklore, songs and dances have all been somewhere inspired by the bravery and skills of a warrior. It is interesting to notice that each village once use to have a skull house and everyone was expected to contribute. Though these huts are today destroyed, there still are one or two villages where such houses can be seen.
The above photograph has been contributed by David & Elinor Camass. They toured with us to see the tribal cultures of Nagaland and to attend the Sekrenyi Festival.
Explore the region with our tour of tribes of Nagaland – Aos, Angamis and Konyaks.