Once feared by their rivals for their ferocious ways of headhunting, the Konyak tribe are the most prominent tribes among all 16 in Nagaland. And, this farmhouse lets you live among the culture and learn more about this vanishing tribe. By Yagnoseni Das
North East India boasts of having one of the most diverse populations in India, which have attracted travellers from all around the world. The region comprises eight states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura — home to numerous tribes known for their distinct culture and lifestyle. And one of the prominent tribes who, due to their ferocious headhunting customs and elaborate tattoos, attract a lot of curiosity is the Konyak tribe in Nagaland.
The Konyak Tribe
Phejin Konyak, the great-granddaughter of Ahon, a tattooed head hunter, now hosts guests in Konyak Tea Retreat, a homestay established by her family. She has travelled around Mon, a region once occupied by the Konyak tribe, to meet the last remaining members and has compiled all the stories in the book, The Konyaks: Last of the tattooed Headhunters in an attempt to promote this forgotten tribe.
Stay at Konyak Tea Retreat
Konyak Tea Retreat in Shiyong village, Nagaland, was founded in 1988 and is about an hour and a half from the nearest town of Mon. Orchards, tea plantations, and cattle abound on the estate. The stone-walled cottage with tribal paintings adds to the ethnic charm of this culturally rich homestay.
Situated on the 250-acre Sayeang Tea Estate, a private tea plantation, the eco-chic rooms of the farmhouse overlooks a tea garden. The guests are provided two comfortable bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms (one double bed and one twin bed). Simple cane-and-wood interiors, antique furniture, and tribal paintings and artefacts adorning the walls add to the warm, welcoming atmosphere. The farmhouse also has an open living, dining and functional kitchen space.
Apart from relaxing in the cosiness of the farmhouse, the guests can also interact with the farmers and learn to pick tea leaves with them, walk around the estate meeting the farm animals, set up a bonfire accompanied by the other villagers, and harvest oranges during November. And if you happen to visit during the month of April, you will get to witness the people celebrating the Aoling Festival with decadent Konyak delicacies.
Since the resort is located about 30 kilometres from Shiyong, taking a jeep from the mon bus stand is the best way to reach there. The jeep service is active every day except Sundays. We recommend booking any means of commutation through a travel agency.
You can book your stay here at approximately INR 2,500 per person
Best time to visit
For an authentic and immersive experience of the culture that surrounds the tribe and the villagers, consider booking your stays in the month of April when the Aoling Festival takes place.
For more details, check out their website.