Based in the eastern ranges of Mon district in Nagaland, Jeilei’s homestay is based in Longwa village. The homestay might look like a basic one but with the view, food and
extremely hospitable hosts. It is one of the two stay options, the other being run by the community. Jeilei’s is the kind which would give you a warm bed while you sip some local tea looking at the endless hills of Burma.
Apart from humans, you will be hosted by two adorable dogs and a lazy cat too!
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
About the village
Longwa nestles on the border of India and Myanmar. The main road of the village itself is the practical boundary line between the two nations. This village in the ‘Wild West’ is also known for the visible face tattooed head hunters of the past still living in the village. The village has a breathtaking view of the Eastern ranges of India merging into the Western ranges of Myanmar. Hike up to the Burmese hills or shop the Burmese cigars form the land itself, Longwa has a surreal experience to live for.
The native tribe, Konyak is known for its ruthless head hunting known for
is articulate work of craft. The village especially has brass makers and gunmakers
whose work talk heaps about their traditional art.
Apart from this, the village is also known for its opium dens.
Distance from Mon Town- 60 km.
How to reach
The nearest railhead for all practical purposes is Simalguri station. Board a bus to Sonari town. From Sonari town board a Sumo to Mon town. From Mon town board a Sumo to Longwa.
The timings and frequency of shared Sumos are quite low and hence it is advisable to drive with your own car or hire a car for this journey.
Breakfast isn’t a part of Naga culture. Yes, they only have 2 meals a day and that includes heaps of rice and meat. But for the guests, they serve omelettes with Roti Bhaji and some morning lal cha, to go by the side. Sticky Rice is also available on request. For lunch and dinner, the hosts prepare a traditional meal with a touch of mainland flavours -boiled vegetables, pork/chicken Naga curry (for the non-vegetarians), chutney out of local leaves and chillies, a dry sabji. All this along with rice and salad. The preparations are delicious and will be different for lunch and dinner.
Know your host
Your homestay will not just have Jeilei and his family as host, but also the two dogs and a cat who are very welcoming. He also has a lot of handicrafts made of brass and beads on display to shop in the kitchen. The rare items at a reasonable price are no less than a Big Sale!
Jeilei and Pongben with their two dogs Jack and Jimmy, sounds like an uber cool couple isn’t it? They are cool. Not in the way you would expect couples who flaunt their dogs on social media kind of a way, but a childless couple for whom the dogs actually mean a lot. There is no internet, no electricity. They aren’t connected to the world and yet they seem to welcome all your flaws, accept you the way you are, allow you to live in their home like it is yours. Their niece Athon, a very pretty girl with a smile that draws in the lens man’s attention, lives with them and helps in daily chores. Pongben is the quintessential hardworking Konyak lady busy making jewellery when she isn’t occupied with household chores. Jeilei is a harmless skinny fellow who you will get to know about when you see him.
It will be a challenge but fun to communicate with the hosts since they don’t speak any Hindi and Jeilei can understand a bit of English.
Apart from speaking their local Konyak dialect, the hosts are fluent in Nagamese as well.
- A short hike in Burma.
- Know the Konyaks and head hunters of the past by meeting them.
- A visit to the Angh (King’s) palace stands on the border of India-Myanmar. The house itself is divided between
the two nations from the centre.
- Visiting the Brass maker’s workshop and buying the rare Konyak antics.
- Learn more about the Naga dishes.
- Visit the gunmaker and observe him making his own guns.
P.S. You have to pay to the face tattooed head hunter for clicking pictures. Normally a sum of Rs 100 is acceptable but it might differ in different cases.
Points of interest
Myanmar, King’s house, Face tattooed Headhunters, Blacksmith, Gunmaker.
Things to keep in mind
Even though people can choose to stay as long as they please in the homestay, for sake of convenience and ease of planning this tour, we are sharing the ideal itinerary while staying at Jeilei’s homestay.
Start your day from Mon town
Start early morning from Mon town. Take sharing sumo leaving at 6 am which takes two and a half hours to reach Longwa, depending on the road conditions.
Reach your homestay and settle your eyes to the view your windows have to offer. After a cup
of tea or two, head for a short hike. Just cross the road and enter Myanmar, where you hike up to the hills to savour a breathtaking view of the uncountable folds of green.
Head back to your homestay for a traditional lunch and leave to visit the Angh’s (King) palace, which itself is divided between the two nations. Learn about the history of the family through the pictures demonstrated on the walls. You can shop some of the rare Konyak handicrafts by the local women sitting outside.
Come back when the sun sets, to have a cosy evening by the fire in the kitchen. Interact with the hosts and help them cook your dinner. You can also choose to take some opium hits in the kitchen.*
P.S. The state of Nagaland needs travellers to have an Inner Line Permit. This can be made available by us, as long as the bookings are made a week in advance
Learn about the gun-makers' history
Wake up at your ease and post breakfast head to the Gun maker’s workshop. Learn about his history of learning the art from his father and passing it to his coming generations. Know the unique way of Konyaks to make gunpowder. Fire a gun, maybe? Learn about the Naga Daos (Machetes), which can be bought as well.
Post this visit you head to the blacksmith’s den. The workshop of the talented Konyak craftsmen, which looks more of a museum hosting rare antiques. Watch them work putting their skills on brass while they smoke the British born addictions. Get a handful of cash as it’s a good spot to invest in some souvenirs.
Come back to the homestay for lunch and spend your living the Konyak life. Roam around the neighbourhood to admire the Wild West or just sit by the window admiring the view petting the dogs. It’s time to ease out and make the homestay your home.
Post breakfast takes the 10 am sumo back to Mon Town and bid goodbye to the land of Head Hunters.
- Five rooms with a mesmerizing view (2 triple sharing and 3 double sharing)
- Pillows and adequate quilts to not make you shiver at night.
- Bonfire on request.
- Common Bathroom with basic facilities.
Two squat toilets (Indian style)
- Traditional Kitchen which serves as your eating area too.
- Hot Water can be arranged on request.
- 24*7 running water.
- Charging Points in your room.
- Open space.
- There is no continuous supply of electricity and they mostly work on solar energy.
Rules and restrictions
- Smoking is allowed.
- Alcohol consumption is not prohibited but should not be consumed out in the open in the village. Your host can help you in case you are not carrying your own alcohol.
- There is no defined time for check-in. Check out by 12 pm.
- Considering that it is a quaint village on the border, blasting loud music late night is not advisable.