July 01, 2017

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WELCOME TO NAGA — Naga festival attracts well-heeled tourists

Naga ethnic people are dancing at festival ground at traditional new year festival in Lahe.
Naga ethnic people are dancing at festival ground at traditional new year festival in Lahe.

WITH the presence of the head of State for the first time in decades, the annual new year festival of the Naga ethnic tribe kicked off on Friday, attracting around 50 well-heeled tourists.
The number of tourist arrivals has increased from more than 10 last year to 50 this year.
The festival is apparently attractive to photographers at home and abroad for photographing the hill tribe people, said U Tin Win, an art master who is famous for his hyper realistic paintings of the hill-tribe people, and has visited the festival for more than five consecutive years.
However, the cost to go there is very expensive for local photographers and the hilly area is not easily accessible, he added.
The number of tourists visiting the festival has reached around 120 since the festival was first held in 2007.
“I found around 50 foreign tourists there. Some had come from India,” said Thura Zaw, a photographer from the Myanmar News Agency, who visited there to cover the president’s trip.
The annual festival is held for two full days each January. The first day is set aside for rehearsing traditional dances, with the second day for the festival proper. Ethnic tribes people strut their stuff in the afternoon and evening in front of a clamoring throng of spectators.
Carrying dry rations on their backs, Naga men and women from far away villages
have to trek up and down the mountainous region to reach the festival. The event alternates between Leishe and Lahe towns each year, and some must spend four to five days reaching the hosting place.

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