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Stay with the Last “Head-Hunters”

Meet the Konyak Tribe in the land of festivals, Nagaland – Better known as the Headhunters! Though North East India is home to many intriguing tribal people and cultures, perhaps the most fascinating is the fierce Konyak Tribe, better known as the headhunters.

Infamous due to their tradition of headhunting. Headhunters carry a distinctive look from other tribes with their colourful tribal beaded jewellery, exotic accessories and colourful intricately woven shawls and the most intriguing part of the head hunter’s appearance are the facial and hand tattoos that were earned for taking an enemy’s head. The heads were then proudly displayed on the walls and doorways of the warriors.

After beheading the heads of their enemies, they brought it back as trophies in a specially designed basket that they carried to the battles. Currently, there is very few a motley band of elderly former warriors are still visible in the Mon District of Nagaland. People from all over the world visit the place to see and capture the photos of Nagaland’ last Head hunting tribe. It is their tradition to honour the men with tattoos on their faces and chest as a mark of their heroic deeds. The elaborate process was done only by the chieftain’s wife.

“When an adolescent got his first chest or face tattoo, he laid stretched on his back on the floor,” writes Phejin Konyak in her book, Konyaks: The Last Of The Tattooed Headhunters, published in December by Roli Books—an exquisite anthropological offering on the lesser-known Konyak Naga tribe.

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