Ancient World

The Inimitable Lives of THE AGHORI MONKS

The Aghori monks are ash-smeared ascetic Shiva sadhus, found mostly near charnel grounds seeking a different way of life as per the teachings of Lord Shiva. They practice black magic, eat flesh from corpses, wear jewellery made from human bones and meditate at cremation grounds to attain their true calling. Found in small groups in Varanasai, their lives are both simple and unique…

WORDS: SANGEETA S

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AGHORI Sadhus (or monks) are a small group of ascetics who indulge in after-death (post mortem) rituals. These Lord Shiva worshippers are generally found in the city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, and can be identified by their ash smeared bodies with human bones in hand. The Aghoris believe in Lord Shiva manifested as Bhairava who seek moksha from the cycle of reincarnation. They often use human bones to make jewellery and can be found with Kapalas (skullcups) in hand.

It is believed that they have lot of healing powers which they gain through renunciation and tapasya (deep meditation). They are mostly found influence of dope and alcohol and, can be found in cremation grounds or in the Himalayas or in hot deserts. They are mostly found where normal civilization cannot habitate.They are often feared because of their extreme practices; they eat human flesh and drink from skulls. It is the combination of alcohol, marijuana and meditation that helps them attain their enlightenment. They are often seen without clothes and with their faces painted. They discourage attachment to anything materialistic and believe that a human body is transitory medium for the soul. This is the reason why they surround themselves with decay and death. They believe in doing things that is taboo for others that helps them achieve enlightenment and bring them closer to Lord Shiva. However, it is because of these practices that they are looked upon with fear and disgust.
These devotees of Lord Shiva seek self-realization with absolute spiritual enlightenment. For them, reaching Lord Shiva is the ultimate; they believe that Shiva is perfect and is responsible for everything that happens. Since Lord Shiva is responsible for everything according to them, calling anything imperfect would mean denying Lord Shiva. As per the Aghoris, every human soul is Shiva but it is because of sensual pleasure, anger, greed, fear, hatred, and obsession that soul becomes impure. They do sadhana to remove these bonds. Staying in cremation ground removes fear, staying naked removes shame and similar such practices help them remove all the bonds and they become one with Shiva.
Aghoris are respected as well as feared. Their rituals using human skulls and sex with corpses arouse curiosity. They are also associated with cannibalism and other bizarre rituals. Like sex, alcohol and meat is something one does not associate with sadhus but Aghoris are exceptions. According to them, it is Goddess Kali who demands these things and to satisfy her, they consume alcohol and meat. They do not believe in any discrimination and that is the reason they eat everything, including things like faeces, human flesh etc.
They live a life of celibacy but according to them, when Goddess Kali demands sex then they have to comply. And to appease the Goddess, they have intercourse with corpses. Their focus is on finding purity even in filthy objects. They remain focused on God even while having sex with corpse or while eating meat. Everything is pure for them.
There are also other rituals related to sex which do not sound normal but for them, it is sacred. They have rituals for intercourse and it is believed that sex amongst the dead gives rise to supernatural powers. The Aghoris often assemble in a graveyard to perform special sex ritual amidst the dead.
To conclude, one can say that we find Aghoris unnatural because they do not fall in line with our regular (socially acceptable) way of life. They have their own logic and thinking which is different from ours but they do not mean harm to anyone.

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QUICK FACTS ABOUT AGHORIS:
 An Aghori has no hatred in his heart. He believes that one who hates cannot meditate
 They share meals with dogs and cows and, they eat from the same bowl
 They believe that worrying about little things will move their focus away from their higher goal of becoming one with Lord Shiva
 Aghoris are fearless; they do not fear the dead or the cremation ground
 They fearlessly smear ashes of burnt corpses on their bodies to be like Lord Shiva
 They will always have human skull or kapal with them. Before a sadhu starts his life as an Aghori, he must acquire the skull
 He also has to eat human flesh and take baths in the icy, chilled waters of the Ganga
 He will meditate in cremation grounds at night which normally people fear
 They eat what normal people find filthy; faeces, urine, human flesh etc. They believe that eating such things destroys the ego
 They practice cannibalism but they do not kill humans for their needs; they consume flesh from the corpses at cremation grounds
 They are mostly nude or with minimum clothes
 They claim to have miracle medicines which they make by extracting oils from corpses. However, the authenticity of their claim has not been tested
 They practice black magic which they never use to harm anyone
 The Aghoris believe that though they follow a different way to reach God, their way is quicker

TWIRL LIKE A SERPENT IN THE KALBELIA FOLK DANCE

The Kalbelia Dance is one of the famous dances of Rajasthan. The dance is performed by the local Kalbelia tribe who are known for this dance. While women are dressed resplendently in stunning traditional attires, men play the musical instruments and compose lyrics on the spot. This dance forms an important part of their culture, and is a must-watch in your ‘To Do’ list for Rajasthan.

WORDS BY- SANGEETA S

KALBELIA, which is one of the most famous folk dances of Rajasthan, is also called the ‘snake charmer dance’ or the ‘sapera dance’ as it is popularly known locally. Originating from the Kalebalia tribe, this dance is a form of their expression.
For them, no occasion or celebration is complete without this dance which is a part of their pride, identity and culture. The theme of the dance is based on mythology and folktales.
While there are no institutes or books to teach this art, the art is passed from one generation to another whilst amalgamating the sequences of the present. The dance is spontaneous and often lyrics are composed on the spot during performances.
This is also a sensuous dance wherein men play instruments and women dance in beautiful colourful attires. Different musical instruments used by men include pungi, which is mainly played to capture snakes, dufli, dholak, khanjari, jhanjhar, sarangi etc.
Men keep increasing the beat as the dance progresses and women make faster and faster movements.

Watching this dance is a wonderful experience, and the steps used in the dance displays the agility, flexibility and high energy levels of the dancers.

The whole attire of dancers is a treat for the audience. The dress is mainly black combined with red laces and silver threads. The whole outfit is combined with mirrors that gives the effect of a twirling black snake. The long, colourful skirt with wide circumference looks divine when the women swirl around replicating the movement of a serpent. And the best part is that women make the dress themselves. The accessories which go with their dresses are worth noticing. The traditional jewellery they wear consists of beads, necklace, bangles and armlets. The bangles go up to their elbow and make them look stunning. One can even see beautiful elaborate tattoo designs on their bodies.
The dance has been added to UNESCO’s representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity from the year 2010. The combination of music, colours and dance movements is beautiful to watch.

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THE KALEBELIA TRIBE
The Kalebelia tribe is a nomadic tribe who live in makeshift camps in the outskirts of villages or cities in Rajasthan. They follow Hinduism and are known as snake charmers also. They have expertise in snake catching and are often called upon by locals to catch snakes. Their connection with snakes is evident in their dance movements and costumes too.
After the Wildlife Act of 1972, the tribe had to stop handling snakes as a profession and since then they have moved on to performing this splendid art for their living. Though they have received recognition worldwide but performance opportunities are limited which has led to many moving out of the trade to look for alternate sources of income. The India and State Government is making efforts to keep this tradition alive by providing opportunities to them in national festivals and fairs which attract global audience.

WHERE TO SEE KALEBELIA?
Kalebelia dance can be seen all across Rajasthan. Since the dance is performed only by Kalebelia tribe who are nomads and who move all across the state, this dance is popular all through the state. Whenever you visit Rajasthan, find out where you can watch this beautiful dance. Many hotels organize shows in their premises for their guests which include these dancers. Check with them or your travel agent about this show. You may even contact them directly or talk to them if you find them roaming in the market place or desert area. Your visit to Rajasthan cannot be complete without attending a show of Kalebelia dance.

TPOPULAR RAJASTHANI FOLK DANCES:
GHOOMAR – It originated from the indigenous Bhil community and was mainly performed as entertainment for Kings in ancient times.

CHANG – Also called Dhamal, it is a fast paced dance on the rhythm of Chang – a musical instrument that resembles a tambourine.

BHAVAI – In this dance, women balance many pots on their head and twirl to traditional moves. With up to eight pots on their head, they move around on a plate or glass.

KATHPUTLI (PUPPET SHOW) – Mythological stories are narrated through this dance form where puppets are held by the strings. The beauty lies in the way the artists control the strings.

CHARI – In this dance, stunt balancing is done with brass pots on the head.

KACHCHHI GHODI – This dance indicates bravery where men ride on a puppet horse in traditional costumes.

GAIR – The origin of this dance can be traced to Bhil community where both men and women dance in attractive and colourful attire.

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Kancha Sport

If colourful marbles remind you of your childhood then you belong to the generation which played traditional outdoor sports. Yes we are talking about Kancha – the traditional Indian sport.

WORDS BY- SANGEETA S

Among the various traditional games, Kancha or the Marble game was amongst one of the popular games and is still played in villages. For those who have grown up playing kancha the story on Kancha Sport will be a nostalgia trip and our current generation may also find it interesting.

KANCHA THE GAME
Kancha also called ‘Goli’ or ‘Goti’ or ‘Marbles’ is a popular street game of our country. Often while passing through villages you can see kids with bags of marbles in hand, aiming at other marbles; they would be wearing a serious look while aiming with precision and typical technique. Yes, they are enjoying the game of Kancha. This ancient game was once played across the country before our children got totally digitized.
The game is played using colourful marbles called kancha. Kancha or marbles are balls made of glass that come in various colours. Many collect them even today just for memory and some use it for decoration also.
The game of kancha is ancient and can be counted in the list of traditional games of our country. Going by some, it seems the game originated in the Dwapar Yug when Lord Krishna used to play this game with his friends. Initially stones were used to play this game and marbles were introduced later.
Of course the game has been forgotten in the cities but marbles can still be seen in some houses as decorative items; people fill their vases with colourful marbles or use them to make beautiful pieces like candle holders etc. But apart from using it as decorative items if marble game can be revived our city children will definitely benefit in more ways than one. And also remain rooted to culture.
Once it used to be a favourite game of children in cities as well as villages; the game is still played in villages.

RULES OF THE GAME
There are many versions of the game. Some are simple versions while some little complicated. The simple way kids play this game is by just hitting the target kancha using their own kancha. With one eye closed the player would aim at the target kancha from a distance. If he hits he collects the kancha. A particular type of technique is used to hit the marbles. It used to be a matter of pride as to who owns maximum kanchas; some kids would collect more than 100 kanchas. Children had passion for this game.
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In another version of the game, a small hole is dug and from a distance the player kneels down and tries to send the marble into the hole. The person who is able to send all the kanchas into the hole is the winner.

BENEFITS OF THIS GAME
The nature of the game is such that it helps in the overall development of the child; both physical and mental. This game of Kancha involves body movements which is good for physical fitness. The game involves a typical posture and one has to kneel and bend on the ground to play this game with precision, this helps the child in being physically

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fit. Since it is an outdoor game, played in the grounds, the kids who play this get to enjoy lot of fresh air, sun and open environment. And finally the game also improves focus and concentration. A target is set and the person has to hit the target (marble) from a distance. The person or child trying to hit the target requires lot of focus and concentration; this helps hone the concentration of the child.
Another big plus point of Kancha is that one doesn’t require any special gadget or infrastructure to play this simple yet interesting game. Children from all social status can easily enjoy this game. Most of the traditional games can be played anywhere.
The game also helps children develop their social interaction skills. Social interaction confined to the virtual world is not helping our children grow as desired. To be able to handle the challenges of the life one needs actual life interactions.

THE GAME NEEDS REVIVAL
With the mobile era coming in lot of our traditional games are getting lost; Kancha being one of them. These days even in villages you can find children playing games in their mobiles. Many online kancha games are available which children are playing all the time.
Though it is still played in some villages but it seems if efforts are not made to revive the game it may get lost completely. And with these dying games we may also lose touch with our culture.

Small efforts are being made but bigger effort is the need.
Most of our societies don’t have enough space for children to play. It is the job of adults to provide space, time and opportunity for children to be able to play such games. Once the necessary environment and motivation is provided, children will definitely move outdoors.

Revival of ancient games
Global Kancha Marble Sports For All is working to revive the game. With trained referees, they keep organizing tournaments and seminars. The organization wants the kancha Marble sport to get recognition by MAYAS (Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports) and IOA (Indian Olympic Association).
The Indian Traditional Games Festival was conceptualized in 2010 to propagate and make people aware about ancient Indian Games and our rich culture. The festival held every year includes games like kho-kho, langadi, kabaddi, gilli-danda, lagori etc.

Why Traditional Games
• Allows more social interaction
• Builds interpersonal skills and social bonding
• Improves physical fitness of the child
• Improves focus and concentration
• Helps child remain rooted to culture

CHHAU DANCE

Chhau dance is a popular form of tribal dance that integrates martial arts into its movements. The majestic performance is a must watch at least once in your life…

WORDS BY- SANGEETA S

Listed in UNESCO’s world heritage list of dances, the Chhau Dance belongs to the people residing in the eastern parts of India. It is a tribal martial dance known for its vigour and vitality, predominantly practised in the states of Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal. There is not much difference in the dance forms in these different geographic locations; they are mostly characterised by the look and dance style. The folk dancers use sword, bow, or shield which demonstrates the dancer’s dexterity. The dance brings together people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds in a festive and religious spirit.

Chhau’s Origin
The Chhau Dance is believed to have many origins. Perhaps, it has originated from the martial dance Phari Khanda Khela which involves playing with a sword and shield. Some even believe that the word ‘Chhau’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Chhaya’ meaning ‘shadow or image’ and it is therefore performed to influence Sun God. Chhau also means ‘mask’ because the dance is performed by wearing a mask. The narrative of Dance includes the depiction of birds, animals and other epic characters. There is another interpretation from Oriya language, where the meaning of three colloquial terms gives the perfect interpretation: ‘Chhauka’ – the quality of attacking stealthily; ‘Chhari’ – an armour and ‘Chhauni’ – military camp.The Chhau Dance is usually performed during important ceremonies – Gajan and the Sun Festival. Mostly, these dances are performed on the floor and the performers recreate a magical enactment for the audience as they sit in a circle or a semi-circle around them to watch the performance. As the dance is considered to be sacred, the participants take a bath and perform certain holy rituals before the performance starts. The dance mostly happens at night in an open area which is lit by fire poles called ‘mashaals.’

The dancers wear a mask and different moods are shown through various body movements. The costume and music are an important part of the performance. The rhythms are traditional and various musical instruments are used but drums are considered as an important part of the performance. The dance begins with the invocation to Lord Ganesha by beating the traditional drums. The dance starts with the impersonation of Lord Ganesha along with other mythical and natural characters like other Gods, demons, animals and birds.

The Chhau can be described as a colourful dance with various bright colourful costumes being used. The style and variety of the costume of the dancers largely depends upon the characters being portrayed by them. Different colours are used by the dancers playing the roles of Gods and for those playing the roles of demons. Goddess Kali has a black costume. In order to create a distinct identity, the characters of animals and birds use suitable type of masks and costumes.

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purulia-chhauDifferent Styles
The dance is found in three different styles named after the location where they are performed. The styles are –
Purulia Chau of Bengal – This is known for its energetic and dramatic characteristics. Asura masks are used that have fierce countenance and are painted bright green and red.
Seraikella Chau of Jharkhand – The dancers cover their face with mask and emphasize on expressing their Rasa (sentiments) and Bhav (mood) through body movements. There is no emphasis on Drishti Bhedo (movements of the eye and glances).
Mayurbhanj Chau of Odisha – This is different from other dance forms as it is performed without masks and has highly evolved techniques of its own.
Recognition
The Government of Odisha established a Government Chhau Dance Centre in 1960 in Seraikella and The Mayurbhanj Chhau Nritya Pratisthan at Baripada in 1962. These institutions engage in training and sponsor performances. The Chaitra Parva festival, significant to the Chhau Dance, is also sponsored by the Odisha State Government. The Sangeet Natak Akademi has established a National Centre for Chhau Dance at Baripada, Odisha.
In 2010, the Chhau Dance was inscribed in the UNESCO‘s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Chhau Dance and Research Centre
With an aim to re-establish this age-old art, ‘The Chhau Dance and Research Centre’ was inaugurated at Chandankiyari in Bokaro district, Jharkhand. The Centre will facilitate the development of research initiatives and give a new boost to this traditional dance. This research centre will cover three eastern states of the country including Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal for the promotion and research of Chhau Dance.
Natya Veda
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma created the fifth scripture in addition to the four vedas, which is the Natya Veda. Certain elements from all the four Vedas were taken to create the fifth veda: speech from the Rig Veda, Abhinaya (speech, body, dress and facial expressions) from the Yajur Veda, music from the Sama Veda and aesthetic experiences from the Atharva Veda. Chhau is one such dance which reflects all these elements.
Chhau Mask
The beauty of the Chhau Dance depends on the masks they use. Made of paper, mud and clay the masks are painted to give bold look; the eye- brows, mouth, and eyes are painted to give those special effects. You can buy the masks; they are even available online. You can use them for the Chhau Dance being organized locally in your area. These colourful masks can be used to decorate your home or can be given away as gifts. The epic characters symbolise the Indian culture. The vibrant colours of the mask will add to the beauty of your home.

The themes for these dances include local legends, folklore and episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and other abstract themes. The Dance has evolved over the years – from showcasing the mythologies of the Jain and the Buddhist era, to the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Sometimes a few episodes of Indian Puranas are also depicted. The Dance requires lot of energy and vigorous movements throughout. Though there is no discrimination against women to perform the dance, it is usually performed by men and boys as Chhau requires a lot of energy and is difficult to dance that long wearing a mask.

Pithoo – The game of seven stones

Have you come across children on the street trying to knock down a pile of stones or rebuild the knocked stones then you have witnessed a traditional game called Pithoo, known for its health benefits – both physical and mental…

WORDS BY- SANGEETA S

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A few of us born in the 70’s and early 80’s (and maybe even earlier) may recall an interesting game we once played as young kids during our childhood called ‘Pithoo- – a popular folk game which was played in both rural and urban parts of India. Of course, with the advent of satellite television, internet and mobile phones, these traditional games were quickly forgotten and replaced with online gaming and PS4s.

So how is it played? It is a very simple game – all you need is a tennis or rubber ball, seven stones and two teams with an equal number of players. There is no restriction on the number of players if both teams have an equal number of players in them. The stones are stacked up to form a small tower where one team must break the tower with the ball and another team must rebuild before getting hit by one of the opponents.

This game has been played for generations and is known to improve both, a child’s concentration and physical fitness. It also improves the running abilities of children along with inculcating important values like teamwork and camaraderie. Pithoo focuses on the physical abilities is us like running, catching, observation, aiming and even swiftness. It also helps keep focus as hitting the target is the important part of the game.

In fact, all our traditional games like Kancha, Gulli-danda, Kabaddi etc. require agility and swift body movement. These games can be of great benefit to children as these games keep them physically active and mentally alert. Playing such games requires you to swing your arms, jump and run which makes you a physically active person. Since these games are mostly played in a group, they help in building friendships and learning the importance of sportsmanship. Children these days are more inclined towards the virtual world with very little human interaction. Such games can solve this problem to a large extent.

In fact, not only at the physical and social level, these traditional games even help improve eye-to-hand coordination. Such traditional games can help in the overall development of children. It benefits them physically, socially, intellectually and in many more ways. The games develop creativity and imagination.
With so many benefits, these games need to be preserved and passed on to our future generations, so that the heritage is revived and help in the development of a fitter and healthier India.

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With so many benefits, these games need to be preserved and passed on to our future generations, so that the heritage is revived and help in the development of a fitter and healthier India.

Rules of the Game
Players are divided into two teams of equal players. A coin toss usually decides which team starts the game. A member of one team tries to knock the stones with the help of a tennis ball. This team gets three chances from three different players to knock over the pile of stones. If they are unable to knock over the pile of stones in three tries, the other team get a turn. And if they can knock the stones the game begins.
Once the stones are knocked down the team must restore the pile of stones while the opposing team tries to stop them by throwing the ball at the players. If the ball touches any player, that player is out. The team tries to rebuild the stones while managing to not get hit by the ball from the opposing team. If the team manages to rebuild then they have defended the pittu and they get one point and also the chance to hit the stones again. In case they fail to do this, and all the players are out, the defending team will gain the point and then it’s the other team’s turn to hit the pile of stones.
History & Promoting Pithoo
The game has a history which dates to the Bhagwata Gita which talks about Lord Krishna playing this game. The traditional sport of Pithoo was revived in India with the launch of a new tournament -Indian Lagori Premier League (ILPL), based on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pro-Kabaddi League (PKL). The Karnataka Amateur Lagori Association (KALA) brought back the much-loved game in a new avatar. The game is called by the name Lagori in Karnataka. KALA, an associated body of the Amateur Lagori Federation of India (ALFI) introduced the sport in Mysuru with several youngsters showing a keen interest in the sport. Different associations from different states are trying to revive this sport.

The real Tribes of Nagaland

Bordering Myanmar in the northeast India, the mountainous state of Nagaland is known for its diverse indigenous tribes, festivals and culture. Read on to learn more about the beautiful state and its beautiful tribes and people.

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Call them the fighters, soldiers or the headhunters, Nagas can be called the strongest people living in northeast India. It is difficult to trace their origin though the word ‘Naga’ could have originated from the Burmese word ‘Nagka’ which means people with pierced earlobes. Today it covers number of tribes that reside in Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
History proves that they are great warriors who always fought to defend themselves and their clan. Nagas are warm hearted people, progressive in nature with primitive style of living still intact. The predominant religion of Nagaland is Christianity; Nagaland was Christianized in the 19th century by the well-known American missionary, Edward Clark. As far as the dialect is concerned each tribe has a different language. However, the Nagaland Assembly proclaimed English as the official language of Nagaland and it is the medium for education in Nagaland.
There is a lot of mystery around the people, their tribes and practices. Each tribe has its own attire, beaded jewelries and signature hat. They celebrate festivals all through the year which is a good way to know their deep rooted culture. It is interesting to explore and learn about the different tribes and their unique cultures. A visit to Nagaland can never be complete without exploring the beautiful tribes of Nagaland.

Tribes of Nagaland
There are 16 major tribes in Nagaland. Each tribe is unique in character with its own distinct customs, language and dress. Historically, Naga tribes celebrated feasting and head hunting.

Angami
The Angamis are a major Naga ethnic group settled in Kohima and Dimapur Districts. They are hill people depending basically on cultivation and livestock-rearing. They are traditional warriors known for terraced wet-rice cultivation. They are also known for the Sekrenyi celebrations every February.

Konyak
You can distinguish Konyak Naga by their pierced ears and tattoos. They have tattoos all over their faces, hands, chests, arms and calves. Facial tattoos were earned for taking an enemy’s head. They have certain unique practices that set them apart from other nagas; they are known for iron-smelting, brass-works, and gunpowder-making and wood sculptures. The Konyaks were the last among the Naga tribes to accept Christianity.

Ao
One of the major Naga tribes of Nagaland, Aos were the first Naga tribe to embrace Christianity. They are well known for multiple harvest festivals held each year. They have a rich tradition of clothing; The Ao Naga warrior shawl is called Mangkotepsu. This is exclusively worn by the men folk.

Chakhesang
Former ‘Eastern Angamis’ the Chakhesangs are now recognized as a separate tribe. Most of the villages of this tribe fall within Phek district of Nagaland. The tribe is basically divided into two groups known as Chokri and Khezha. Their festivals are based on agricultural cycle and Sukrunye is their most important festival.

Chang
According to oral tradition, the Changs emerged from a place called Changsangmongko, and later settled at Changsang. Another theory says that the Chang migrated to present-day Nagaland from the east, and therefore call themselves Chang (“Eastern” in the local dialect).

Dimasa Kachari
The Dimasa people (or Dima-basa, and also called Dimasa-Kachari) are an indigenous ethno-linguistic community presently inhabiting Assam and Nagaland states in Northeastern India. Agriculture is the principal occupation and main source of livelihood of the Diamsa Kacharis. Their important festival is Bushu which is celebrated after the completion of harvest.

Khiamniungan
Khiamniungan is one of the major Naga tribes, mainly found in the Noklak district of Nagaland, India and the adjoining areas of Burma. According to a popular myth, Khiamniungan means ‘source of great waters’ – the place from where the early ancestors of Khiamniungan are said to have originated. Unlike several other Naga tribes, the advent of Christianity had little impact on the Khiamniungan for a long time, due to their remote location.

Kuki
The Kukis constitute one of several hill tribes within India, Bangladesh, and Burma. It was the arrival of missionaries and introduction to English education that that exposed the Kuki people to the modern era.

Phom
The Phom are a Naga group settled between the Konyak in the north-east, the Ao in the west and the Chang in the south. While Christianity has had an impact on Phom society, it has remained largely traditional due to limited contact with other outsiders. Agriculture is the traditional occupation of the Phoms, and the tribe practices jhum cultivation. The Phoms also have a tradition of pottery, bamboo work and spinning.

Zeliang
Zeliang Naga Tribes is one of the dominant tribe of Nagaland mainly found in Kohima district, with rich indigenous knowledge systems and have minimum impact of present day modernization. Their primary language is Zeme.

Yimchungru
Yimchunger is a Naga tribe whose traditional territory includes Tuensang and Kiphire districts in Nagaland state of India, and western areas of Burma. The Yimchunger Tribe, like any other Naga Tribe has no written record of its origin or history. Maybe wandering from place to place they settled in their present location. However, going by narrated accounts the origin is believed to be from Thailand.

Sangtam
The Sangtams are one of the major tribes in Nagaland living in the Tuensang and Kiphire districts of Nagaland. They have retained their traditional beliefs in spite of embracing Christianity; Sangtams celebrate twelve different festivals, all of which are affiliated with their traditional culture and religion. Like many other tribal groups in Northeast India, they practice jhum, or shifting cultivation.

Lotha
Lotha is the name of a major Naga tribe inhabiting the Wokha district of Nagaland. Lothas are known for their colorful dances and folk songs. The male members wear shawls indicating their social status. The prestigious social shawl for women is Opvuram and Longpensu for men. Like many Nagas, the Lothas practiced headhunting in the older days and later they they gave up this practice after the arrival of Christianity,

Sumi
The ‘Sumi Naga’ is one of the major Naga peoples in Nagaland who mainly inhabit Zunheboto district. However, many have spread and are now living in a few more districts within Nagaland. Like most other Naga tribe, they were also headhunters before the arrival of the Christian missionaries and their subsequent conversion to Christianity. The Sumis celebrate many festivals which have been carried down from generations.

Pochury
The Pochury identity is of relatively recent origin. It is a composite tribe formed by three Naga communities: Kupo, Kuchu and Khuri. Agriculture and animal husbandry continue to the main occupations, but many Pochurys have taken up other jobs. Many farming families are now above the Subsistence level due to scientific techniques, irrigation channels, government subsidies and new crops.

Rengma
Like other Naga tribes, there are few written historical records of Rengmas. Slavery used to be a practice among the Rengmas, but by the time the British arrived in the Naga region, the slavery was a declining practice. Gentle and humble people, in olden days they were known for their bravery and were the champion warrior. There is an interesting belief that marrying the Rengma girls would bring good fortune and prosperity in a family.

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