A local guide from Nagaland, India


Jesmina Zeliang is an award-winning serial entrepreneur from Nagaland, one of India’s most culturally diverse states. Through her interest in crafts and hospitality, Jesmina shines a light on some of the region’s most exciting textiles, crafts and experiences. She lives in Dimapur.

This interview is part of The world is local, a worldwide collaboration between the seven international editions of Condé Nast Traveler in which 100 people in 100 countries tell us why their territory should be your next destination.

Tell us about Nagaland.

Nagaland is a cultural paradise, one of the most ethnically diverse regions in the world, home to 16 major tribes, including the Konyaks, considered to be the last tattooed headhunters. It is the perfect place for those who love culture, crafts and nature.


When should we come and what should we do?

April to October is a good time to visit, in general. But the best experience you will have will be in December, when the Hornbill festival bring all the hill tribes for a 10 day celebration of food, music, dance, culture and crafts. Despite being a local, I have never missed a single edition in the past 20 years! It’s a cultural orgasm, to say the least.

Land in Dimapur, ideally on Tuesday. On Wednesdays, the town hosts a weekly bazaar where you get a first glimpse of Naga culture: flowers, fruits, vegetables and other foods, including local exotic produce: nutritious varieties of insects, snails, frogs, vintage and new clothing. , utensils, crafts et al. You can go completely crazy! Taste the stalls, then have lunch at Naga bowl, an unpretentious restaurant that serves local cuisine. Look for a few permanent shops in the market that may have interesting traditional artifacts and period jewelry. Sovima Design center [run by Zeliang’s design firm Heirloom Naga], watch artisans handcraft beautiful objects from cane, bamboo and other natural materials. The Center can also organize tours for you to textile and weaving communities just outside of town. In the evening, head to the clock tower and sample other local street food at the stalls that appear nightly. Naturally Nagaland on Hwy 39 could also be a good stop to pick up some of the best herbs, pickled peppers (you can’t go back without picking up a bottle of Raja chili sauce or paste from local entrepreneurs), legumes, millet , varieties of rice. In the evening you can relax in the stylish lounge Nichey Resto Where The black sheep. Will stay Niathu seaside resort for a little comfort, or at Iliah-Ki, a 5 room affair with a restaurant wrapped around a tree. For a clean and comfortable stay in town, try Oasis Guest House.

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