In the land of Konyaks:The Tattooed headhunters of Nagaland


New Member
The Konyak tribe, once notorious for their headhunting and famous for their facial tattoos,
lives in the remote North East India along the Indo-Myanmar international border in Nagaland.For centuries these lands were isolated because of fearsome headhunting practices.The tattooing art of the body was primarily associated with the Konyak culture and strongly related to headhunting.

The greatest honor for a Konyak man was to be a warrior and get the facial tattoo for which bringing back the decapitated head was necessary.For a man the tattooing was a passage from boyhood to manhood.

Headhunting was officially banned by the British long time back,the last headhunting was reported in 1970.
Out of the many Naga tribes the Konyaks were the most fearsome and outnumbered the rest.
The Mon district of Nagaland is mostly inhabited by the Konyaks and each village had an Angh(King),this legacy is still in practice.

There are many villages in Mon district where the Konyaks live.
I have visited Longwa village along the Indo-Myanmar border which is about 43 k.m from Mon town.
Will discuss the logistics and accommodation option later.

A Konyak kid in Longwa village


Early morning mood in Longwa village


An ex headhunter in longwa.



New Member
How the game plan to visit this place worked out :

There was never a plan.Period.

My actual plan was to visit the Roing-Anini circuit in Arunachal pradesh.
I had tickets booked in train till Tinsukia and return flight from Dibrugarh.
I kept a close eye on the rains in Arunachal pradesh and discussed with Partha da(will discuss about him later) based out of Tinsukia and and a friend in Roing..they suggested not to visit Anini since the possibility of getting stuck due to landslides are i quickly decided to visit the Nampong-Pangsau Pass circuit.

I boarded Kamrup express on 27th sept and was preparing to sleep,Partha da called me up and suggested to visit this part of Nagaland..I was a bit reluctant to visit nagaland again..since I did Dzukou valley trek just 2 months back...but then sitting idle in a train for an entire day has some adverse effects...plan changed...

To be honest I had no idea about how to reach Mon from Tinsukia...but somehow figured out with the help of Partha da and some fellow passengers that i have to get down at Simulguri Jn at midnight and in the early morning find out some way to reach a place called Sonari in Assam and then there are shared sumos till Mon town.....