A day in Asia’s first green village

Resistance and Resilience

Visiting the village of Khonoma in Nagaland was an immersive experience into the heart of the Angami tribe, a community rich in history and culture. Let me take you through my journey of discovering this remarkable place and its people.

A glimpse into HISTORY

Khonoma is famously known as Asia’s first green village, but its history is steeped in resistance and resilience. In the 19th century, the Angami warriors fiercely defended their territory against British colonisation. The historic Khonoma Fort stands as a testament to these battles, where local warriors displayed incredible valor. The village also commemorates Guybon Henry Damant, a British officer who was killed in Khonoma, with a memorial highlighting the intense conflict and the villagers’ determination to protect their land. This fierce independence is still evident in the village today​

The Importance of the Morung

One of the most fascinating aspects of my visit was exploring the Morung. Traditionally, the Morung serves as a communal space where young Angami learn from their elders, absorbing stories, folk songs, and essential life skills. Today, it remains a pivotal place for community gatherings and dispute resolutions, showcasing the deep-rooted traditions that define the Angami way of life​.

Witnessing Traditional Practices

I was incredibly lucky to witness the preparations for a traditional Angami wedding. The ceremony involved smoked pork and beef, cured and hung above the fire, imparting a unique flavor that is distinct to Naga cuisine. The use of ingredients like ginger, garlic, and various jungle herbs creates a culinary experience that is both familiar and exotically new. Henao, a local villager, graciously invited us into her home and shared the secrets of preparing these traditional dishes​

From Warriors to Green Warriors

Khonoma’s transformation from a village of warriors to a green village is remarkable. The village banned hunting and deforestation, creating the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary to protect their rich biodiversity. This shift has not only preserved their natural heritage but also set a model for sustainable living.

Sustainable Living Practices

Walking through Khonoma, I was struck by the terraced paddy fields, lush with greenery and irrigated by an intricate system of bamboo pipes. These fields are more than just a farming technique; they are a beautiful representation of the villagers’ respect for the land. The village’s commitment to sustainable practices, including organic farming and the use of solar energy, highlights their dedication to preserving the environment​.
Visiting Khonoma is an immersive experience into a community that beautifully balances its rich history with a forward-looking approach to conservation and sustainability. I invite you to join me in exploring this extraordinary place and its people, who continue to inspire with their dedication to preserving their culture and environment.