Longwa: The Village with Two Countries

Longwa: The Village with Two Countries
A wooden house in Longwa, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The residents of Longwa hold dual citizenships and can roam freely in both countries

Labanya Maitra
October 24 , 2021
01 Min Read

There’s a Konyak village in the northern part of Nagaland with something very special: sometimes when you’re there, you’re actually in Myanmar. The village is shared by the two countries and the international border actually passes through the village chief’s house.

The Konyak tribe in Nagaland is considered the last of India’s headhunters, as the practice was abandoned in the 1960s with the rise of Christianity. The Konyaks also sported tattoos on their face and other body parts which signified their tribe, clan, and status in society. Tattoos and headhunting were an integral part of the culture as young Konyak boys had to decapitate members of rival tribes as a rite of passage. A person’s skull was supposed to contain their soul force, which was associated with prosperity and fertility.

A tattooed elder in Longwa

In Longwa today, many of the villagers wear brass skull necklaces, which symbolise this heritage. Interestingly, a lot of the locals are also enrolled in the Myanmar army as the residents of the village enjoy dual citizenship and can roam freely in both countries.

Longwa is a part of the Mon district and the ‘Angh’, or the hereditary ruler, is the chief. He has 60 wives and reigns over 70 villages across Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh.

As far as connectivity is concerned, the Border Roads Organisation has done considerable work in the region to make it easily reachable by road. Once in Longwa, you can stroll by the Doyang River, visit the Hong Kong Market and soak in the Shilloi Lake. There are the Indian Army’s Assam Rifles’ camp nearby and the Indo-Myanmar international border is denoted by a pillar on a hill.

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