Kohima: At a time when morungs, traditional Naga dormitory-like cottages, have become a thing of the past, Kedisanuo Keditsu, 54, and her 29-year-old nephew Vikeduolie Khruomo have conceptualized the idea of a Naga Morung in Kohima village with the aim to preserve and promote the culture and traditions, and also to showcase the age old lifestyle of the Angami Nagas.

Vikeduolie Khruomo (left) and Kedisanuo Keditsu (third from left) with others during the inauguration of ‘A taste of tradition’

Naming it ‘A Taste of Tradition’, the morung is built in typical Naga style with thatched roof, bamboo knitted walls and ceilings and mud plastered floors. The main cottage is adorned with bamboo woven baskets used for carrying paddy during harvest, a miniature grain silo, earthen pots, as well as the traditional attires of Angami Naga men and women.

Skulls of wild animals harvested through hunting, a huge cache of locally found garden produce, a decommissioned muzzle loading gun used for hunting, wooden plates and spoons and traditional shields are among other notable antique traditional items.

Glimpses of the morung.

Khruomo tells EastMojo how it all began. “My aunt, who I lovingly call mom, and I, have a common love for antiques. The idea of setting up a place to preserve and promote our cultural heritage started with a conversation. She shared about her dream of having a museum to showcase traditional collections,” he recounts.

A muzzle loading gun and skulls on display.

A mini museum in itself, the cottage has a host of traditional items on display. The 29-year-old says that the aunt-nephew duo travelled to many Angami Naga villages in the past year to collect various items. Beginning with the Angami Naga tribe, they hope to incorporate collections of all Naga tribes in the future.

traditional items on display.

“Though we have discontinued many of the traditional practices these days, they remain close to our hearts. Also, what fascinates me about the past is the honesty and trust of our ancestors on their fellow beings as our houses had no locks,” he said.

Following a short inaugural ceremony graced by Chairman of the Nagaland Khadi Village Industry Board (NVKIB) Dr Neiphrezo Keditsu, the Naga morung which is located at D Khel in Kohima village along the DBS-Seikhazou circular road, opened to visitors on Monday. The morung will be accessible throughout the Hornbill Festival.

Traditional baskets on display

While most private traditional cottages are off-limits to outsiders, the newly inaugurated ones would be available to anyone on a pre-booking basis after the festival. It also offers Naga cuisines and a homely feeling as could be found in a typical Naga home just a few decades ago.

While on the one hand the venture is ideal for foreign and domestic tourists who come to Nagaland with the sole desire to experience the Naga way of life in the most authentic manner possible, the resources generated through the venture, on the other hand, would be able to take care of a few families as a lot of people are involved in the smooth functioning of such a place.

a traditional shield

Earlier, while inaugurating the morung, Dr Keditsu lauded the duo and their families for the unique initiative. He said that Nagas were blessed with a rich culture and heritage. With the Hornbill festival getting bigger each year, he said that more tourists were expected this year as many visit the state to explore the tradition and hospitality of the Nagas.

At present, as children are losing touch with the traditions of the past, he urged the elders to teach the good practices of the past to the present generation so that the legacy may continue without being lost.

Traditional bamboo plates

“Our elders need to encourage the younger generation. If those who know about the traditions don’t teach, how will we learn and pass on,” he questioned, hoping that the new morung would be a small stepping stone to help people be more rooted with their culture.

Also read | Nagaland gets Plan A, B, C as seven Eastern Naga tribes snub Hornbill

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