Clockwise from top:
Etymology: Land of Nagas
Land of Festivals, Falcon Capital of the World
The map of India showing Nagaland
Location of Nagaland in India
Coordinates: 25°40′N 94°07′E / 25.67°N 94.12°E / 25.67; 94.12
Country India
RegionNortheast India
Before wasPart of Assam
Formation1 December 1963
Largest cityDimapur
 • BodyGovernment of Nagaland
 • GovernorLa. Ganesan
 • Chief ministerNeiphiu Rio[1] (NDPP)
 • Deputy chief ministerT. R. Zeliang (NDPP)
Yanthungo Patton (BJP)
State LegislatureUnicameral
 • AssemblyNagaland Legislative Assembly (60 seats)
National ParliamentParliament of India
 • Rajya Sabha1 seat
 • Lok Sabha1 seat
High Court Guwahati High Court -Kohima Bench
 • Total16,579 km2 (6,401 sq mi)
 • Rank25th
Elevation610 m (2,000 ft)
Highest elevation3,841 m (12,602 ft)
Lowest elevation140 m (460 ft)
 • TotalNeutral decrease 1,980,602
 • Rank26th
 • Density119/km2 (310/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Rural
 • OfficialEnglish
 • Official scriptLatin script
 • Total (2023–24)Increase0.373 lakh crore (US$4.5 billion)
 • Rank30th
 • Per capitaIncrease175,551 (US$2,100) (19th)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 codeIN-NL
Vehicle registrationNL
HDI (2021)Increase 0.670 Medium (16th)
Literacy (2011)Increase 79.55% (15th)
Sex ratio (2011)931/1000 (21st)
Symbols of Nagaland
Blyth's tragopan
State highway mark
State highway of Nagaland
List of Indian state symbols

Nagaland (/ˈnɑːɡəlænd/) is a state in the north-eastern region of India. It is bordered by the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh to the north, Assam to the west, Manipur to the south, and the Naga Self-Administered Zone of the Sagaing Region of Myanmar (Burma) to the east. Its capital city is Kohima and its largest city is the twin ChümoukedimaDimapur. The state has an area of 16,579 square kilometres (6,401 sq mi) with a population of 1,980,602 as per the 2011 Census of India, making it one of the smallest states of India.[3]

Nagaland consists of 16 Administrative Districts, inhabited by 17 major tribes along with other sub-tribes. Each tribe is distinct in character from the other in terms of customs, language and dress. It is a land of folklore passed down the generations through word of mouth. The earliest recorded history of the Nagas of the present-day Nagaland dates back to the 13th century.[4]

In the 19th century, the British India forces began expanding their influence in Northeast India, including the Naga Hills. After India's independence in 1947, the question of the Naga Hills' political status emerged. Nagaland was a district in the State of Assam until 1957, known to others as “The Naga Hills”. The Naga National Council, led by Zapu Phizo, demanded an independent Naga state and launched an armed insurgency. The Indian Government, however, maintained that Nagaland was an integral part of the Indian Union. The conflict between the Naga National Council and the Indian Government resulted in a protracted insurgency. The State of Nagaland was formally inaugurated on 1 December 1963, as the 16th State of the Indian Union, and a democratically elected government took office in 1964.

Nagaland is home to a rich variety of natural, cultural, and environmental resources. It is a mountainous state and lies between the parallels of 95° and 94° eastern longitude and 25.2° and 27.0° latitude north. The high-profile Dzüko Valley is at Viswema, in the southern region of the state. The state has significant resources of natural minerals, petroleum, and hydropower, with the primary sector which is mostly agriculture still accounting for 24.6% of its economy.[5] Other significant activities include forestry, tourism, insurance, real estate, horticulture, and miscellaneous cottage industries.[6][7][8]

Names and their etymologies

The origin of the word 'Naga' is unclear.[9] The present day Naga people have historically been referred to by many names, like "Noga" or "Naka" by the inhabitants of the Ahom kingdom in what is now considered as Assam which means "naked",[10] "Hao" by Meitei people of Imphal Valley[11] and "Nakas" or 'Naga' by Burmese of what is now considered as Myanmar[12][13][14] meaning "people with earrings, others suggest it means pierced noses.[15]

Before the arrival of European colonialism in South Asia, there had been many wars, persecution and raids from Burma on the Nagas, Meiteis and others in India's northeast. The invaders came for "head hunting" and to seek wealth and captives from these tribes and ethnic groups. When the British inquired with Burmese guides about the people living in the northern Himalayas, they were told 'Naka'. This was recorded as 'Naga' and has been in use thereafter.[8][9]


Main article: History of the Nagas

See also: Naga people

The ancient history of the Nagas is unclear. Ethnic groups migrated at different times, each settling in the northeastern part of present India and establishing their respective sovereign mountain terrains and village states. There are no records of whether they came from the northern Mongolian region, southeast Asia, or southwest China, except that their origins are from the east of India, and historical records show the present-day Naga people settled before the arrival of the Ahoms in 1228 CE.[7][9]

Kingdom of Mongkawng and Mongmao

According to the Burmese chronicles Tagung Yazawin, the first Chaopha of Mongkawng Samlongpha (1150–1201 CE) with the main town in Mogaung captured Naga country in the early 1200s. In the chronicle Naga country is named as "Khang Se".[16]

Mongkawng in North in 1572
Nagaland as one of the many polities of Mong Mao (yellow) in 1360 CE

Kingdom of Ava

In Yan-aung-myin Pagoda inscription found in Pinya of Myanmar mentions that the Kingdom of Ava under Minkhaung I (1400–1421) in the early 1400s extended till the territories of the Nagas.[17]

Ava kingdom in 1450

British administration

A British India 1940 map showing Nagaland and Kohima City as part of Assam.

With the arrival of the British East India Company in the early 19th century, followed by the British Raj, Britain expanded its domain over the whole of South Asia, including the Naga Hills. The first Europeans to enter the hills were Captain Francis Jenkins and Lieutenant Robert Pemberton in 1832. The early contact with the Naga ethnic groups was characterised by suspicion and conflict. The colonial interests in Assam, such as managers of tea estates and other trading posts led defensive action against raids from the ethnic groups who were known for their bravery and "head hunting" practices. To put an end to these raids, the British troops recorded 10 military expeditions between 1839 and 1850.[9] In February 1851, at the bloody Battle of Kikrüma, people died on both the British side and the Kikrüma (Naga) side; in the days after the battle, inter-ethnic warfare followed that led to more bloodshed. After that war, the British adopted a policy of caution and non-interference with Naga ethnic groups.[18][19]

A sketch of Angami Naga tribesman from 1875

Despite this, colonists continued to move into Naga peoples' territory. Between 1851 and 1865, Naga ethnic groups continued to raid the British in Assam. The British India Government took over the holdings of the East Indian Company following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The failings and atrocities of the East Indian Company led the British Crown to review its governance structure throughout South Asia including its northeastern region. In 1866, the British India administration established a post at Samaguting with the explicit goal of ending intertribal warfare and tribal raids on property and personnel.[7][8]

In 1869, Captain Butler was appointed to lead and consolidate the British presence in the Nagaland Hills. In 1878, the headquarters were transferred to Kohima — creating a city that remains an important center of administration, commerce, and culture for Nagaland.[9]

On 4 October 1879, British political agent G. H. Damant went to Khonoma with troops, where he was shot dead with 35 of his team.[20] Kohima was subsequently attacked and the stockade looted. This violence led to a determined effort by the British Raj to return and respond. The subsequent defeat of Khonoma marked the end of serious and persistent ultimatums in the Naga Hills.[9]

Between 1880 and 1922, the British administration consolidated their position over a large area of the Naga Hills and integrated it into its Assam operations. The British administration enforced the rupee as the currency for economic activity and a system of structured ethnic government that was very different from historic social governance practices.[7]

In parallel, since the mid-19th century, Christian missionaries from the United States and Europe, stationed in India,[21] reached into Nagaland and neighbouring states, converting Nagaland's Naga ethnic groups from animism to Christianity.[7][22]

World War II

Kohima War Cemetery, Kohima, Nagaland
Kohima War Cemetery
Kohima War Cemetery, Nagaland

Main article: Battle of Kohima

See also: Battle of the Tennis Court

In 1944, during World War II, the Japanese Army, with the help of the Indian National Army led by Netaji Subhashchandra Bose, invaded through Burma and attempted to take India through Kohima. The population was evacuated. British India soldiers defended the area of Kohima and having lost many of their original force were relieved by British in June 1944. Together the British and Indian troops successfully repelled the Japanese troops.[23] The battle was fought from 4 April to 22 June 1944 from the town of Kohima, coordinated with action at Imphal, Manipur.[24][25] The Indian National Army lost half their numbers, many through starvation, and were forced to withdraw through Burma.[26][27]

There is the World War II Cemetery, and the War Museum, in honour of those who died during World War II during the fighting between the British Empire and Japanese troops. Nearly 4,000 British Empire troops died, along with 3,000 Japanese. Many of those who died were Naga people, particularly the Angami Nagas. Near the memorial is the Kohima Cathedral, on Aradura Hill, built with funds from the families and friends of deceased Japanese soldiers. Prayers are held in Kohima for peace and in memory of the fallen of both sides of the battle.[28][29]

Kohima War Cemetery, Nagaland

Naga national awakening

In 1929, a memorandum was submitted to the Simon Statutory Commission, requesting that the Nagas be exempt from reforms and new taxes proposed in British India, should be left alone to determine their own future.[30]

The Naga Memorandum submitted by the Naga Club (which later became the Naga National Council) to the Simon Commission explicitly stated, 'to leave us alone to determine ourselves as in ancient times.'[31]

Post-independence history

After the independence of India in 1947, the area remained a part of the province of Assam. Nationalist activities arose amongst a section of the Nagas. Phizo-led Naga National Council demanded a political union of their ancestral and native groups. The movement led to a series of violent incidents, that damaged government and civil infrastructure, attacked government officials and civilians. The central government sent the Indian Army in 1955, to restore order. In 1957, an agreement was reached between Naga leaders and the Indian government, creating a single separate region of the Naga Hills. The Tuensang frontier was united with this single political region, Naga Hills Tuensang Area (NHTA),[32] and it became an autonomous area under Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India. It was to be "administered by the Governor as the agent of the President but will be distinct from the North East Frontier Administration"[32].
However, This was not satisfactory to the Nagas, however, and agitation with violence increased across the state – including attacks on army and government institutions, banks, as well as non-payment of taxes. In July 1960, following discussion between Prime Minister Nehru and the leaders of the Naga People Convention (NPC), a 16-point agreement was arrived at whereby the Government of India recognised the formation of Nagaland as a full-fledged state within the Union of India.[33]

Nagaland statehood and late 20th century

Accordingly, the territory was placed under the Nagaland Transitional Provisions Regulation, 1961[34] which provided for an Interim body consisting of 45 members to be elected by tribes according to the customs, traditions and usage of the respective tribes. Subsequently, Nagaland attained statehood with the enactment of the state of Nagaland Act in 1962[35] by the Parliament. The interim body was dissolved on 30 November 1963 and the state of Nagaland was formally inaugurated on 1 December 1963 and Kohima was declared as the state capital. After elections in January 1964, the first democratically elected Nagaland Legislative Assembly was constituted on 11 February 1964.[32][36]

The rebel activity continued in many Naga inhabited areas both in India and Burma. Ceasefires were announced and negotiations continued, but this did little to stop the violence. In March 1975, a direct presidential rule was imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the state. In November 1975, some leaders of the largest rebel groups agreed to lay down their arms and accept the Indian constitution, a small group did not agree and continued their insurgent activity.[37] The Nagaland Baptist Church Council played an important role by initiating peace efforts in the 1960s.[9]

21st century

In 2004, two powerful bombs were set off on the same day and struck the Dimapur Railway Station and the Hong Kong Market, resulting in 30 deaths and wounding over 100 others in the deadliest terrorist attack in Nagaland to date.[38][39]

Over the 5-year period of 2009 to 2013, between 0 and 11 civilians died per year in Nagaland from rebellion related activity (or less than 1 death per 100,000 people), and between 3 and 55 militants died per year in inter-factional killings (or between 0 and 3 deaths per 100,000 people).[40]

In early 2017, Nagaland went into a state of civil unrest and protests in response to the announcement to implement 33% women's reservation in the Civic Elections.[41]

On 4 December 2021, a unit of the 21st Para Special Forces of the Indian Army killed six civilian labourers near Oting Village in the Mon District of Nagaland. Eight more civilians and a soldier were killed in subsequent violence. The incident was widely condemned, with many calling out to repeal and revoke the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.[42]

The most recent Nagaland Legislative Assembly election took place on 27 February 2023 to elect the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in the 60 Assembly Constituencies in the state. A voter turnout of 87% was observed in the election.[43] The election created history by electing two women candidates for the first time in Nagaland — Hekani Jakhalu Kense and Salhoutuonuo Kruse. Both candidates were from the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).[44][45] Salhoutuonuo Kruse later became the first woman minister of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly.[46]


Sunset from the hills of the central part of Nagaland
Dzüko Valley on the border between Nagaland and Manipur
Doyang River in Wokha District

Twenty per cent of the total land area of the state is covered with wooded forest, a haven for flora and fauna. The evergreen tropical and subtropical forests are found in strategic pockets in the state.[47]


Nagaland has a largely monsoon climate with high humidity levels. Annual rainfall averages around 1,800–2,500 millimetres (70–100 in), concentrated in the months of May to September. Temperatures range from 21 to 40 °C (70 to 104 °F). In winter, temperatures do not generally drop below 4 °C (39 °F), but frost is common at high elevations. Summer is the shortest season in the state, lasting only a few months. The temperature during the summer season remains between 16 and 31 °C (61 and 88 °F). Winter often arrives early, with bitter cold and dry weather striking certain regions of the state. The maximum average temperature recorded in the winter season is 24 °C (75 °F). Strong northwest winds blow across the state during the months of February and March.[48]

Flora and fauna

About a million Amur falcons roost in Nagaland.[49] That is about 50 falcons per square kilometre.
Kopou phool (Rhynchostylis retusa), a type of orchid, in bloom

About one-sixth of Nagaland is covered by tropical and sub-tropical evergreen forests—including palms, bamboo, rattan as well as timber and mahogany forests. While some forest areas have been cleared for jhum cultivation, many scrub forests, rainforests, tall grassland, and reed-grass marshes remain. Ntangki National Park, Pulie Badze Wildlife Sanctuary, Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary and Rangapahar Reserve Forest are some natural reserves in Nagaland. Some noteworthy mammals found in Nagaland include the slow loris, Assamese macaque, pig-tailed macaque, stump-tailed macaque, rhesus macaque, capped langur, hoolock gibbon, Himalayan black bear, few sun bear, dhole, occasional Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, clouded leopard, marbled cat, golden cat, Indian elephants, Indian rhinoceros, gaur, red serow, common and leaf muntjac, eastern hog deer, sambar, Chinese pangolin, Malayan porcupine, Asiatic brush-tailed porcupine, and Hoary bamboo rats.[50]

Nagaland has a rich birdlife with more than 490 species.[51] The great Indian hornbill has a place in Naga culture. Blyth's tragopan, a vulnerable species of galliform, is the state bird of Nagaland. It is sighted in Mount Japfü and Dzüko Valley of Kohima District, Satoi range in Zünheboto District and Pfütsero in Phek District.[52] The state is also known as the "falcon capital of the world"[49] thanks to the hundreds of thousands of Amur falcons that stop at Doyang Reservoir to feast on flying termites on their way from China and Siberia to Africa each year.

Mithun (a semi-domesticated gaur) is the state animal of Nagaland and has been adopted as the official seal of the Government of Nagaland. It is ritually the most valued species in the state. To conserve and protect this animal in the northeast, the National Research Centre on Mithun (NRCM) was established by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 1988.[53]

Blyth's tragopan or the grey-bellied tragopan
Great hornbill

Nagaland is home to 396 species of orchids, belonging to 92 genera of which 54 having horticultural and medicinal economic importance.[54]


Forest around Pangti Village and Doyang Dam region

Several preliminary studies indicate significant recoverable reserves of petroleum and natural gas. Limestone, marble and other decorative stone reserves are plentiful, and other as yet unexploited minerals include iron, nickel, chromium, and cobalt.[55]


The Nagaland population is largely rural with 71.14% living in rural regions in 2011.[56] Census reports up to 1951 listed just one settlement in Nagaland as a town, the capital Kohima. The next two settlements, Dimapur and Mokokchung were listed as towns from 1961. Four more towns appeared in 1981, Tuensang, Wokha, Mon and Zünheboto.[57]

The relatively slow rate of urbanisation in Nagaland was described in the 1980s as being an effect of (a) the largely administrative roles of the towns, except for Dimapur which had a more diversified economy, and (b) a low level of mobility among the tribes of Nagaland, scheduled tribes constituting nearly 90% of the population.[57]



Mokokchung is one of the most populated places in the northern part of Nagaland
Historical population
1951 213,000—    
1961 369,000+73.2%
1971 516,000+39.8%
1981 775,000+50.2%
1991 1,210,000+56.1%
2001 1,990,000+64.5%
2011 1,980,602−0.5%
Source: Census of India[58]

The population of Nagaland consists of almost 2.2 million people, consisting of 1.04 million males and 0.95 million females.[9] Among its districts, Kohima has the largest population (270,063) followed by Dimapur (170,000). The least populated district is Longleng (50,593). 75% of the population lives in the rural areas. As of 2013, about 10% of rural population is below the poverty line; among the people living in urban areas 4.3% of them are below the poverty line.[59]

The state showed a population drop between the 2001 census and the 2011 census, the only state to show a population drop in the census. This has been attributed, by scholars,[60] to incorrect counting in past censuses; the 2011 census in Nagaland is considered most reliable so far.[61]

The largest urban agglomerations are centred upon Dimapur (122,834) and Kohima (115,283). Other major towns (and 2011 census populations) are Tuensang (36,774), Mokokchung (35,913), Wokha (35,004), Mon (26,328), Chümoukedima (25,885), Zünheboto (22,633), Kiphire (16,487), Kuda (16,108), Kohima Village (15,734), Phek (14,204), Pfütsero (10,371) and Diphupar 'A' (10,246).[62][63][64][65][66]

The life expectancy of Nagaland stands at 75.4 years, 79.9 years for females and 71.5 years for males (2019-21)[67] while the infant mortality rate amounts to 3 per 1,000 births (2019),[68] on par with the most developed countries. Both health indicators are the best among Indian states. The fertility rate of 1.7 children per woman (2019-21)[69] lies below the population replacement level.

Ethnic groups

The state is home to 15 major native Naga ethnic groups – Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sümi, Tikhir, Yimkhiung, Zeme-Liangmai (Zeliang) and 2 other ethnic groups namely Kuki and Kachari with decent number of community.[55][9]

Some other recent minor tribes or subtribes that can found in the state are Garo, Karbi, Chirr, Makury, and Rongmei.[70]

There are also sizeable populations of non-native communities like Bengalis, Marwaris, Nepalis, Punjabis and others living mostly around Dimapur City.


Languages of Nagaland in 2011[71][72][73]

  Konyak (12.33%)
  Ao (11.67%)
  Lotha (8.96%)
  Angami (7.67%)
  Chokri (4.60%)
  Sangtam (3.83%)
  Bengali (3.77%)
  Yimkhiungrü (3.74%)
  Chang (3.31%)
  Khiamniungan (3.12%)
  Rengma (3.11%)
  Zeliang (3.05%)
  Phom (2.71%)
  Nepali (2.71%)
  Kuzhami (1.73%)
  Hindi (1.59%)
  Pochury (1.08%)

Naga people form the majority of the population. According to the 2011 census there are 2 million people living in Nagaland. The Naga people number around 1.8 million in the state, constituting over 90% of the population. These belong mostly to the Sino-Tibetan language family.[74] Shafer came up with his own classification system for languages found in and around Nagaland.[75]

In 1967, the Nagaland Assembly proclaimed Indian English as the official language of Nagaland and it is the medium for education in Nagaland.[76] Other than English, Nagamese, a creole language based on Assamese, is widely spoken.[77]

The major languages spoken as per the 2011 census are Konyak (244,135), Ao (231,084), Lotha (177,488), Angami (151,883), Chokri (91,010), Sangtam (75,841), Bengali (74,753), Zeme (71,954; covering Zeliang, 60,399 and Zemi, 11,165), Yimkhiungrü (74,156), Chang (65,632), Khiamniungan (61,906), Rengma (61,537), Phom (53,674), Nepali (43,481), Kuzhami (34,218), Pochury (21,446), Kuki (18,391), Chakhesang (17,919), Assamese (17,201), Bodo (12,243; covering Bodo 7,372 and Dimasa 4,871), Manipuri (9,511), Sema (8,268), etc.[78]



The Catholic Cathedral in Kohima City. About 80% of Nagaland's citizens are Baptists.

Religion in Nagaland (2011)[79][80]

  Christianity (87.92%)
  Hinduism (8.75%)
  Islam (2.47%)
  Buddhism (0.34%)
  Jainism (0.13%)
  Sikhism (0.10%)
  Other religion (0.16%)
  not religious (0.12%)

Main article: Christianity in Nagaland

See also: Nagaland Baptist Church Council

The state's population is 1.978 million, out of which over 90% are Abrahamics in general and 88% are Christians in particular.[81][82]

Nagaland is known as "the only predominantly Baptist State in the World" and "the most Baptist State in the World."[83][84][85]

Christianity arrived in Nagaland in the early 19th century. The American Baptist Naga mission grew out of the Assam mission in 1836. Miles Bronson, Nathan Brown and other Christian missionaries working out of Jaipur to bring Christianity to the Indian subcontinent, saw the opportunity for gaining converts since many parts of India's northeast was principally animist and folk religion-driven. Along with other tribal regions of the northeast, the people of Nagaland converted to Christianity.[21]


Main article: Hinduism in Nagaland

Hinduism is the second largest religion in Nagaland. Hindus are concentrated mainly in the erstwhile Dimapur District (as per the 2011 Census of India, comprising the present districts of Dimapur, Niuland, and Chümoukedima)[86] (28.75%) and Kohima District (9.51%).[79] Dimapur Kalibari is a famous temple in Nagaland.[87]

Other religions

There are also folk religions practised by some Nagas, specially among the Zeliangrongs (Zemes and Rongmeis) but few among other Naga ethnic groups.[88]


Main article: Government of Nagaland

Further information: Nagaland Lok Sabha constituency

The governor is the constitutional head of state, representative of the President of India. He possesses largely ceremonial responsibilities apart from law and order responsibilities.


See also: Political Parties in Nagaland

The Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) is a state level coalition of political parties. It headed the government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (United) (JDU). It was formed in 2003 after the Nagaland Legislative Assembly election, with the Naga People's Front (NPF), and the BJP.[89] The alliance was in power in Nagaland from 2003 to 2018.[90]

The NDPPBJPNPF alliance led UDA government has won the majority in 2018 Nagaland Legislative Assembly election and has been in power since then.[91]

Administrative districts

Main article: List of districts of Nagaland


The sixteen districts of Nagaland, and their headquarters, 2011 census populations,[92] areas and elevations (of the seat) are:

District Seat Area
Chümoukedima District Chümoukedima 610 171 125,400 81,884 43,516 2021
Dimapur District Dimapur 70 145 170,000 0 170,000 1997
Kiphire District Kiphire 1,130 896 74,004 57,517 16,487 2004
Kohima District Kohima 1,207 1,444 267,988 146,900 121,088 1957
Longleng District Longleng 885 1,100 50,484 42,871 7,613 2004
Mokokchung District Mokokchung 1,719 1,325 194,622 138,897 55,725 1957
Mon District Mon 1,786 655 250,260 215,816 34,444 1973
Niuland District Niuland n/a 154 11,876 11,876 0 2021
Noklak District Noklak 1,152 59,300 59,300 0 2017
Peren District Peren 2,300 1,445 95,219 81,429 13,790 2004
Phek District Phek 2,026 1,524 163,418 138,843 24,575 1973
Shamator District Shamator n/a n/a 12,726 n/a n/a 2022
Tseminyü District Tseminyü 256 1,261 63,629 60,766 2863 2021
Tuensang District Tuensang 2,536 1,371 137,296 100,522 36,774 1957
Wokha District Wokha 1,628 1,313 166,343 131,339 35,004 1973
Zünheboto District Zunheboto 1,255 1,852 140,757 113,160 27,597 1973


The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Nagaland was about 12,065 crore (US$1.4 billion) in 2011–12.[93] Nagaland's GSDP grew at 9.9% compounded annually for a decade, thus more than doubling the per capita income.[94]

Nagaland has a literacy rate of 80.1 per cent. The majority of the population in the state speaks English, which is the official language of the state. The state offers technical and medical education.[94] Nevertheless, agriculture and forestry contribute a majority of Nagaland's Gross Domestic Product. The state is rich in mineral resources such as coal, limestone, iron, nickel, cobalt, chromium, and marble.[95]

Terrace farming at Pfütsero

Plantation crops such as premium coffee, cardamom, and tea are grown in hilly areas in small quantities with large growth potential. Most people cultivate rice as it is the main staple diet of the people. About 80% of the cropped area is dedicated to rice. Oilseeds is another, higher income crop gaining ground in Nagaland. The farm productivity for all crops is low, compared to other Indian states, suggesting a significant opportunity for farmer income increase. Currently, the Jhum to Terraced cultivation ratio is 4:3; where Jhum is the local name for cut-and-burn shift farming. Jhum farming is ancient, causes a lot of pollution and soil damage, yet accounts for the majority of the farmed area. The state does not produce enough food and depends on the trade of food from other states of India.[55]

Tourism has a lot of potentials but was largely limited due to insurgency and concern of terrorist violence over the last five decades. More recently, a number of Small Medium Enterprises and private sector companies have actively promoted Nagaland tourism, helping initiate a growing tourism market. Tourism experts contend that the state's uniqueness and strategic location in northeast India give Nagaland an advantage in tapping into the tourism sector for economic growth.[96]

The state generates 87.98 MU compared to a demand for 242.88 MU. This deficit requires Nagaland to buy power. The state has significant hydroelectric potential, which if realised could make the state a power surplus state. In terms of power distribution, every village and town, and almost every household has an electricity connection; but, this infrastructure is not effective given the power shortage in the state.[55]

Natural resources

After a gap of almost 20 years, Nagaland state Chief Minister, T. R. Zeliang launched the resumption of oil exploration in Changpang and Tsori areas, under Wokha District in July 2014. The exploration will be carried out by the Metropolitan Oil & Gas Pvt. Ltd. Zeliang has alleged failures and disputed payments made to the statement made by the previous explorer, the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).[97]


Nagaland's rugged and mountainous landscape presents a major challenge to the infrastructural development of transport. Roads are the backbone of Nagaland's transportation network. The state has over 15,000 km of surfaced roads, but these are not satisfactorily maintained given the weather damage. Yet, in terms of population served for each kilometre of surfaced road, Nagaland is the second best state in the region after Arunachal Pradesh.[55]


International highways passing through Nagaland

AH1 passing through Nagaland.

National highways in Nagaland


Dimapur Airport departures

Dimapur Airport, is the sole airport in Nagaland with scheduled commercial services to Kolkata, Guwahati, Imphal,[98] and Dibrugarh. It is located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Dimapur, and 70 kilometres (43 mi) from Kohima. The airport's asphalt runway is 2290 metre long, at an elevation of 487 feet.[99]


Ao Naga lady wearing teperemsü, a traditional Ao Naga skirt
Embroidered textile of Nagaland
Hunted skulls at the entrance of a house in rural Nagaland

See also: Music of Nagaland and List of Naga ethnic groups


Sümi Martyrs' Day observed for Sümi Warriors who died during Mukalimi Siege

Nagaland is known in India as the Land of Festivals.[100] The diversity of people and ethnic groups, each with their own culture and heritage, creates a year-long atmosphere of celebrations. In addition, the state celebrates all Christian festivities. Traditional ethnic-related festivals revolve round agriculture, as a vast majority of the population of Nagaland is directly dependent on agriculture. Some of the significant festivals for each major ethnic groups are:[9]

Ethnic groups Festival Celebrated in
Angami Sekrenyi February
Ao Moatsü, Tsüngremong May, August
Chakhesang Tsükhenyie, Sükhrünyie April/May, January
Chang Naknyulüm, Kundanglüm April, July
Dimasa Kachari Bushu Jiba, January, April
Khiamniungan Miu, Tsoküm May, October
Konyak Aoleang, Lao-ong Mo April, September
Kuki Mimkut, Chavang Kut January, November
Lotha Tokhü Emong November
Phom Monyiü, Moha, Bongvüm April, May, October
Pochury Yemshe October
Rengma Ngada November
Sangtam Mungmung September
Rongmei Gaan-ngai January
Sümi Ahuna, Tülüni November, July
Yimkhiungrü Metümnyo, Tsungkamniu August, January
Zeliang Hega, Langsimyi/Chaga Gadi and Mileinyi February, October, March

Hornbill Festival

Main article: Hornbill Festival

Hornbill Festival

The Hornbill Festival[101] was launched by the Government of Nagaland in December 2000 to encourage inter-ethnic interaction and to promote cultural heritage of the state.

It is held at the Kisama Heritage Village which is about 12 km south of Kohima. All the ethnic groups of Nagaland take part in this festival. The aim of the festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its history, culture and traditions.[102]

Hornbill Festival, Nagaland

The festival is named after the hornbill bird, which is displayed in folklores in most of the state's ethnic groups. The week-long festival unites Nagaland and people enjoy the colourful performances, crafts, sports, food fairs, games, and ceremonies. Traditional arts which include paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures are on display. Festival highlights include traditional Naga Morungs exhibition and sale of arts and crafts, food stalls, herbal medicine stalls, shows and sales, cultural medley – songs and dances, fashion shows, beauty contest, traditional archery, naga wrestling, indigenous games, and musical concerts. Additional attractions include the Konyak fire eating demonstration, pork-fat eating competitions, the Hornbill Literature Festival (including the Hutton Lectures), Hornbill Global Film Fest, Hornbill Ball, Choral Panorama, North East India Drum Ensemble, Naga King Chilli eating competition, Hornbill National Rock Contest,[103] Hornbill International Motor Rally and WW-II Vintage Car Rally.[104][105]

Hornbill Festival,Nagaland


See also: List of traditional Naga games and sports


Further information: Kene (Naga wrestling)

Kene or Naga wrestling is a folk wrestling style and traditional sport of the Nagas.[106]

Aki Kiti

Further information: Aki Kiti

Aki Kiti or Sümi kick fighting is a traditional combat sport originating from and was practised by the Sümi Nagas. It is characterised by kicking and blocking solely using the soles of the feet. The sporting event served the purpose of righting wrongs, restoring honour, or "settling scores" between tribes and tribesmen without resorting to violence. It was practised during tribal ceremonies.[107]


Main articles: Nagaland cricket team and Nagaland women's cricket team


Main article: Nagaland football team


Main article: Cuisine of Nagaland

Historical rituals

Feasts of Merit

In Naga society, individuals were expected to find their place in the social hierarchy, and prestige was the key to maintaining or increasing social status. To achieve these goals a man, whatever his ascendancy, had to be a headhunter or great warrior, have many sexual conquests among women, or complete a series of merit feasts.[108]

The Feasts of Merit reflected the splendor and celebration of Naga life.[7] Only married men could give such Feasts, and his wife took a prominent and honoured place during the ritual which emphasised male-female co-operation and interdependence. His wife brewed the beer which he offered to the guests. The event displayed ceremonies and festivities organised by the sponsor. The Feast given by a wealthier community person would be more extravagant.[109] He would typically invite everyone from the ethnic group. This event bestowed honour to the couple from the community. After the Feast, the tribe would give the couple rights to ornaments equally.[7][110]


See also: List of institutions of higher education in Nagaland

Nagaland's schools are run by the state and central government or by a private organisation. Instruction is mainly in English — the official language of Nagaland. Under the 10+2+3 plan, after passing the Higher Secondary Examination (the grade 12 examination), students may enroll in general or professional degree programs.

Nagaland has three autonomous colleges:

Along with one central university—Nagaland University, one engineering college—National Institute of Technology, one medical college— Nagaland Institute of Medical Science and Research, one College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry in Jalukie[111] and three private Universities—St. Joseph University,[112] Northeast Christian University (NECU)[113] and Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India University (ICFAI University).[114]


Hornbill Festival

Main article: Tourism in North East India

Tourism experts contend that the state's uniqueness and strategic location in northeast India give Nagaland an advantage in tapping into the tourism sector for economic growth.[96] The state has been extremely successful in promoting the great Hornbill Festival, which attracts Indian and foreign tourists alike. The key thrusts of Nagaland's tourism are its rich culture, showcasing of history and wildlife. Tourism infrastructure is rapidly improving.[115] Local initiatives and tourism pioneers are now beginning to promote a socially responsible tourism model involving the participation of the councils, village elders, the church and the youth.[116]

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Further reading

  • Drouyer, A. Isabel, René Drouyer, "THE NAGAS: MEMORIES OF HEADHUNTERS- Indo-Burmese Borderlands-vol. 1", White lotus, 2016, ISBN 978-2-9545112-2-1.
  • Glancey, Jonathan. 2011. Nagaland: a Journey to India's Forgotten Frontier. London: Faber
  • Hattaway, Paul. 2006. 'From Head Hunters To Church Planters'. Authentic Publishing
  • Hutton, J. 1986. 'Report on Naga Hills' Delhi: Mittal Publication.
  • Kunz, Richard & Vibha Joshi. 2008. Naga – A Forgotten Mountain Region Rediscovered. Basel: Merian.
  • Oppitz, Michael, Thomas Kaiser, Alban von Stockhausen & Marion Wettstein. 2008. Naga Identities: Changing Local Cultures in the Northeast of India. Gent: Snoeck Publishers.
  • Stirn, Aglaja & Peter van Ham. The Hidden world of the Naga: Living Traditions in Northeast India. London: Prestel.
  • von Stockhausen, Alban. 2014. Imag(in)ing the Nagas: The Pictorial Ethnography of Hans-Eberhard Kauffmann and Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf. Arnoldsche, Stuttgart, ISBN 978-3-89790-412-5.


General information