Nagaland’s Night Markets – Here’s What You Should Know!

Despite being situated outside the festival grounds, Nagaland’s night markets from an essential part of the Hornbill festival. They are full of food stalls, toy sellers and live music.  

Night markets are incomplete without live concerts

Night markets are incomplete without live concerts

One of India’s smallest states, with a population of just 2 million, Nagaland offers travellers a rich cultural experience. Each of the 16 Naga tribes has its own proud traditions, unique cuisine, local handicrafts and folk art. This diversity extends to the local markets and Naga shops, promising an exciting shopping experience for visitors.

As a rule, shops and markets in Nagaland generally close down once the sun sets, which means shopping is strictly a daytime activity. However, the two main cities of Kohima, the state capital, and Dimapur, the largest Naga city, have bucked tradition. It’s only here that natives and visitors can enjoy shopping at night, although only around December every year.

The Kohima Night Market

Associated with the world-famous Hornbill Festival, the Kohima Night Market is a celebration of Nagaland’s dynamic culture. Held in the first week of December, the annual Hornbill Festival was launched in 2000 to strengthen Naga cultural roots and showcase the state’s treasures. While the event is held in Kisama Heritage Village, 10km from the capital, the festivities extend to Kohima. Of all of Nagaland’s night markets, the Kohima night market is one such event. Organised by the Kohima Chamber of Commerce, the Kohima Night Carnival encourages local vendors, entrepreneurs, self-help groups, NGOs, churches and institutions to set up stalls to sell local handicrafts, toys, clothes, etc., at the night market.

Venue: Kohima City Centre
Timing: 6pm to 9pm
Dates: December 1st – 10th every year

The Dimapur Night Market

First unveiled in 2013, the Dimapur Night Market attracts a bigger crowd and more vendors since it’s bigger than Kohima. This event is also held in December, coinciding with the Hornbill Festival and Christmas holiday season, to take advantage of the large number of domestic shoppers and foreign visitors. Apart from the more than 200 stalls, the night market also has a live music festival, DJ and dance events that add to the festivities.

Venue: Naga Shopping Arcade, Dimapur
Timings: 5pm to 9pm
Dates: In the second/third week of December, every year

What To Buy From Nagaland’s Night Markets

As famous as they are for their shopping and commerce, the night markets are also social and cultural events. If you look beyond the mass-manufactured toys, shoes, fashion accessories, music and electronics, you’ll see that these markets are a treasure trove of unique products that make great travel souvenirs. So if you’re visiting Nagaland, don’t leave without buying these.

#1 Authentic Naga Foods

The Nagas love their food, which is apparent in the number of food stalls present at both night markets. The traditional cuisine favours non-vegetarians, with all kinds of meat — pork, chicken, eels, silkworms, frogs, crickets and even dog meat — on display and ready to eat. Nagas use very little masala, relying more on ginger, garlic, bamboo shoots and the hot ghost chillies to add spice and flavour to their meals. So take the fiery local flavour back home with a pouch of Naga chilli.

Do you fancy some Naga Chilli and Silkworms?

Do you fancy some Naga Chilli and Silkworms?

#2 Naga Handicrafts

Naga tribal craftsmen and women employ their unique expertise and designs to create eco-friendly trinkets and utensils. For instance, the Konyaks are expert blacksmiths and wood carvers, while the Chang have gained fame with their great bamboo work. On your next shopping trip here, pick up Naga handicrafts, including bamboo baskets and mats, wood carvings, handmade pottery items, metal trinkets and jewellery, and other objects.

Some pretty handicrafts at the market

Some pretty handicrafts at the market

#3 Naga Handlooms

Another famous souvenir from the state is the Naga shawl, whose distinctive colours reflect the tribes’ traditional designs and patterns. Usually a combination of vivid blacks, reds, whites and greens, these handloom shawls are an amazing keepsake. And if you don’t use shawls, don’t worry. The modern Naga handloom industry also produces modern garments, bags and accessories to appeal to the more discerning traveller.

When in Nagaland, shop for some traditional handlooms

When in Nagaland, shop for some traditional handlooms

If this doesn’t make you want to travel to Nagaland, we don’t know what will! Enjoy the Naga hospitality and the Hornbill festival in ultimate luxury at TUTC.

Published on: Mar 1, 2017 

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