Special Places to Stay in Mon
'$' Signs against Hotels indicate its Category
Mon View Resort ($)
Perched on a ridge overlooking Mon town in the valley on one side and steep green hill range on the other, Mon View has a million dollar location. Despite this, the amenities here are very basic.
Things to see and do in Mon
The drive from Dibrugarh to Mon is not for the faint-hearted. The road changes from monotonous concrete to a tyer-marked trail. The road from Mon down to Wakching is excellent but the short-cut from here to Mokokchung is again only for those with a thirst for adventure.
The town of Mon is located in a broad valley of the northern Naga hills. Mon is a new town, having come into being just about 40 years ago to create a district headquarter. Since this is the biggest town in this part of Nagaland, traders and small producers congregate here selling river fish, vegetables and herbs.
Mon is a fairly un-remarkable town without a true centre. The one large open space here is the stadium which is also the venue for the annual festivals. Roads in dire need of repair wind around seemingly aimlessly. There are no buildings of particular interest apart from the few churches which stand out, taller than the rest.
Mon also has very few decent places to stay. The two government tourist bungalows can provide adequate if not too comfortable places to stay, when functional. The only `restaurant' we found, didn't seem to have a name, but did offer some simple fare including hot momos and plate of noodles. Beware in Mon, the trade comes to an end by about 5 pm. Yes, that includes the restaurant.
Despite the serious lack of accommodation options, Mon is the best base from which to see some of the most interesting tribes in Nagaland. Mon district is the land of the Konyak tribes and in remote villages you may still be able to admire the former head hunters with their tattooed faces ears pierced with horns. Konyaks are still ruled by heredetary chiefs known as Angh. As an outside visitor you normally need permission from the local Angh to visit a village and a fee may be charged for this.
If you visit Mon during the beginning of April, you'll be able to witness Konyaks all over Mon celebrating the Aoleong Monyu festival. Undertaken to welcome spring and pray for bountiful harvests, this happy week-long festival has plenty of feasting and sacrifices to appease the divine forces that watch over the farms.
Just a two-hour drive from Mon is the village of Lungwa, situated right on the Myanmar border. In fact, the chief's house is bisected longitudinally by the border. When you visit the chief's house you will therefore have the strange experience of sitting near the hearth with half your body in Myanmar and the other half still in India. It's not the only unusual thing -- the chief also has dozens of wives! The chief's house, filled with dubious trophies of various animal skulls, is also quite an interesting sight.
This is a prominent village in Mon district, ruled by the Chief Angh. There is a wonderful wooden monument measuring 8 feet in height and 12 feet in breadth- believed to have been constructed by heavenly angels. Human beings and other creatures are carved on this monument. Memorial stones are also found in front of the Angh's Palace. History records that good and friendly relationship existed between the Shangnyu and the Ahom Kings of Assam. Shangnyu Angh use to collect taxes from all the villages under his domain-extending from Sibsagar in Assam to the Wanchos in Arunachal.
Unfortunately, both Longwa and Shangnyu have been affected by the visit of travellers in recent years. Local headhunters have turned into sellers of tacky souvenirs in order to earn some extra money. The village of Cheanghah Chingyu is more off the beaten track and not visited as yet by many outsiders so the atmosphere is more relaxed. The Angh is young and modern and lives with his family in an impressive large house on top of the hill. Outside is a board which mentions that his father, who died in 2001, was married to 18 wives and had hunted 130 heads in his lifetime. Some of the skulls are still lying in a pit in the garden and will be proudly shown to you.