Think you’re cut out for experiential travel? Nagaland-Kaziranga may just be what you need to add to your 2018 bucket list.
Owner and founder of the Obvious Choice, Zaritha van Wyngaardt, is no stranger to off-the-beaten-track destinations and experiential travel adventures. 2017 was her year of travel – serious travel.
Her 2017 travels include Spain, Abu Dhabi, Oman, India, Nepal, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, Cuba, Ecuador, Iran, Thessaloniki, Cyprus and Istanbul. She concluded the year’s travels with a visit to Kaziranga, Nagaland in Northeast India.
Based on her experience, Zaritha explains why she loved this journey and why people with a passion for experiential travel, wildlife safaris and cultural festivals should consider a visit to Nagaland and specifically, Kaziranga.
1. Nagaland is a combination of natural beauty and ethnic diversity.
Nagaland is a state in Northeast India and is populated by the Naga people of Mongoloid stock.
The Nagas have a rich tribal history and they were brave warriors. The status of a warrior got ranked according to the number of human skulls he could display on a tree in his village (headhunting.) This custom later changed to animal skulls only.
Nagaland’s 16 major tribes each come with their own language, customs and traditions.
Today, most of the Nagas (90%) are Christians due to British colonisation. Although the Nagas have very much westernised, they still preserve the remnants of their early culture and ancient traditions.
Men are still the decision makers and women are expected to be humble and obedient, despite the current outcry for equality. Women supplement their household income by selling and weaving colourful shawls.
2. Nagaland is all about preservation and nature conservation.
In 2012, Kohima (capital town of Nagaland), received a boost as a tourist destination with the launch of a nature conservation and eco-tourism project. You will be overwhelmed with the sight of natural vegetation and virgin forests all around. Praise to the Kohima community for their efforts in preserving and conserving flora and fauna in their region.
Dzükou Valley and Japfü Peak offer great trekking experiences to adventurers. At the Japfü ranges you can also witness the tallest rhodendrum tree as featured in the World Guinness Book of Records.
3. The Hornbill Festival.
Agricultural themed festivals are essential to the people of Nagaland.
The Hornbill Festival has been established as an annual event on the Indian Festival Calender and takes place from 1- 10 December. The festival draws travellers from all over the world and is a perfect opportunity for the Nagas to showcase their artistry, skills, music and dance.
Be sure to book your accommodation well in advance for this calender highlight.
4. The Silk n Dye Festival in Kaziranga.
From Kohima, Zaritha travelled 283 km (+/- 8 hours) towards Kaziranga where she attended the Silk n Dye Festival.
In short, the Silk n Dye Festival is a platform for silk weavers from the Kaziranga region to showcase their products and introduce an age old tradition of silk farming and natural dyeing to visitors from all over the world. This annual event takes place from 2-10 December at the IORA Festival Grounds in Kaziranga, Assam.
Zaritha’s voicenote over Whatt’sApp said it all, “I am losing my mind. Too many beautiful things here!”
5. Wildlife Safari at Kaziranga National Park.
Kaziranga National Park is located in the Golaghat and Nagaon district of Assam.
The park was established in 1905 as a reserve forest and has since achieved notable success in wildlife conservation.
This sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1985), hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses. The park is also famous for its tiger reserve (the largest in the world.)
Breeding populations also include elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.
Zaritha was on a mission to find the famous Bengal tiger – endangered on the IUCN Red List, but unfortunately Mr. Bengal had other plans. (Maybe next time.) Despite the fact that she never got to see the Bengal tiger, she had a great time in the wild. To her, Kaziranga is the one place where the endangered can still roam free – totally protected.
Have a look at these amazing images from Zaritha’s trip. (You’ll see why we are in absolute awe with this place.)
PS: Should you be interested in more information about Nagaland or an experience similar to this one, email Zaritha at the Obvious Choice. Let’s get in touch.
In the meantime,
ABOUT THE OBVIOUS CHOICE:
Owner and Founder of the Obvious Choice, Zaritha van Wyngaardt, is passionate
about travelling and offers corporate clients, as well as individuals, the opportunity to
travel to vibrant destinations to experience, energise and revitalise.
The Obvious Choice is your one-stop solution for Experiential Travel, Conferences,
Incentives and Event Management.
Image Credit: Zaritha van Wyngaardt
Written by Deidré Schoeman