Zunheboto, Nagaland: Zunheboto town located in the Zunheboto district is the sixth largest urban center in Nagaland. This beautiful hilly city is covered by evergreen forests and surrounded by small streams and rivers.
Zunheboto is a well-developed town with a number of good schools, colleges, modern methods of cultivation, industries, government development plans, structural planning etc.
Zunheboto town is located in the Zunheboto district of Nagaland. Its coordinates are 25.97°N 94.52°E and it is located at an elevation of 1,252 meters (4,108 feet) above sea level. Zunheboto is about 150 km from the state capital Kohima.
Zunheboto district is bordered on the east by Mokokchung District, Kohima District in the south and Wokha District on the west. The Tizu, Doyang and Tsutha rivers flow through the district. The district is made of alluvial soil, forest soil (organic), non-laterised soil and soils of high altitudes.
Zunheboto derives its name from the Sumi words 'Zunhebo', meaning Flowering Shrub, and 'To' or 'Ato', meaning Hill top. The 'Zunhebo' plant grows in abundance in this region and the town was built on the top of the rolling hills. Hence it was named as 'Zunhebo-to' or Zunheboto.
Zunheboto is inhabited by the very famous and ancient Sumi Nagas, a warrior tribe of Nagaland. The tribes speak the Sema language. The Sumi is one of the recognized scheduled tribes of India. Sumis have two clans - Swu (Sumi) and Tuku (Tukumi)
The typical feature of this tribe was head hunting that was widely practiced until the arrival of the Christian missionaries who converted the warriors to Christians. The ancestral religion of the Sumis was the worship of nature. After the arrival of Baptist missionaries in the 20th century, about 99.9% of them got converted into Christianity. Very few of them still practice animism.
The locals are peaceful and hardworking. Agriculture is their main occupation and they practice shifting cultivation and terrace cultivation. Paddy, Millet, Maize, Taro or Kuchhu, (colocasea) French bean, potato, Pumpkin, cucumber, chilly etc. are mainly grown.
Festivals of Zunheboto
Tuluni - This festival celebrated in July is of great significance for the Sumi. It is a festival of celebration after a good harvest. Rice beer served in a goblet made of bamboo or leaf of plantain is the main drink here, which should not be missed. This drink is called 'Tuluni' which gives the festival its name. Tuluni is also called "Anni" meaning the season of good crops. The festival is a time of communal harmony and merry-making. Slaughtering of pigs, cows and mithun is an important feature of this festival. Gifts and delicacies are exchanged, people sing and dance and celebrate.
Ahuna - This is a traditional post-harvest festival of the Sumis celebrated in November. Ahuna signifies the celebration of the season's harvest in Thanksgiving. It also calls for the spirit of good fortune in the New Year. During the festival, people cook and feast on the first crop harvested in the season.
The nearest big town is Mokochung which is about 70 km from Zunheboto. Mokochung is the district headquarters and a well-developed town.