Mon is a town and a town area committee in Mon district in the Indian state of Nagaland. This district (Mon) is also known for Headhunting as it was practised in historic times. Now a denoted name is given as “Land of Anghs” (Which means land ruled by Kings)
Mon district is the northernmost district of Nagaland. It is bounded by the state of Arunachal Pradesh to its north, Assam to its west, Myanmar to its east, Longleng district to its south-west and Tuensang district to its south. The town of Mon is its district headquarters.
In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Mon one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640).It is one of the three districts in Nagaland currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).
This district is the home of the Konyak Nagas and it is interesting to see tattooed faces wearing feathers. Konyaks are adept artisans and skilled craftsmen. Here you can find excellent wood carvings, daos (machetes), guns, gunpowder, head brushes, headgear, necklaces, etc. made by these artisans and craftsmen. The most colourful festival of the Konyaks, “Aoling Monyu”, which is observed during the first week of April every year, is a spectacle worth watching. Konyaks are the largest tribe among nagas, and speak the local language, Nagamese. They have embraced Christianity and now, Christianity has become the cohesive bond between the Nagas, who, earlier were at constant fight with each other, one who had the maximum skulls of his enemies being considered the mightiest and most powerful. Konyaks still decorate their houses with skulls, hornbill beaks, elephant tusks, horns and wooden statues.
Konyaks are ruled by hereditary chiefs known as Anghs, and the institution of Anghship is only prevalent among the Konyaks. It is an exciting experience to pay a visit to the Angh’s house at Chui, Mon Tangnyu, Sheangha, Chingnyu, Wakching and Jaboka. The Angh’s house is the largest in the village, with a display of skulls in the front. The Konyaks have tattoos on their face and body. The older males wear large earrings made of boar horn and wear a loincloth only. Some carry a machete called dao or a gun. The older women wear a short piece of cloth wrapped around their waist only. They carry bamboo baskets on their backs or tie children to their backs with cloth. They weave wonderful designs on their handwoven shawls. During festivals, the males wear colorful shawls and headgear decorated with feathers, and dance with daos or spears chanting rhythmically. They also farm land in the hills by clearing the forests by controlled burning called “Jhum”. They also brew a home brewed liquor made out of rice. Konyaks used to be headhunters before Independence. Some younger Konyaks are giving up their traditional way of life and adopting modern customs.
Place of attraction
Ruled by the chief Angh, Shangnyu village is one of the prominent villages in Mon district. There is a wonderful wooden monument measuring 8 feet in height and 12 feet in breadth – believed to be constructed by heavenly angels. Carvings of human beings and other creatures are engraved on this monument. Memorial stones are also found in front of the Angh’s palace. History records that good and friendly relationships existed between Shangnyu and Ahom Kings.
Chui Village (basti)
This is a prominent village near Mon, the diastict Headquarters. It is ruled by the Angh of Chui Basti. The Angh’s house is the biggest in the village and has a display of skulls of enemies supposedly killed by him and his forebears in the times past. The Konyaks used to be headhunters in the 19th century.
One of the biggest villages in Mon district, it is an interesting sight to see. As the village straddles an international boundary line, one half of the Angh’s house falls within Indian territory, whereas the other half lies under Myanmarese control. However, the whole village is controlled by the Angh and the village Council Chairman. Another interesting feature of this village is that the Angh of the village has 60 wives and his jurisdiction extends up to Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh.
This highest peak of the district is approximately 70 km east of Mon. The peak offers a clear sight of both the rivers Brahmaputra and Chindwin on a clear day. There is a waterfall on the precincts of this peak and this area is also considered as one of the best locations in the whole of Konyak countryside.
For details, see Naganimora