It is the gateway to Nagaland, if you drive from Assam or fly into the state’s only airport located here. Around the 10th century, Dimapur was the capital of the Dimasa Kachari kingdom. Even today, one can see old relics – large dome-shaped pillars carved in stone. Legend has it that a king who was fond of a game similar to chess had built these to play.
Gracious hosts, talented designers, weavers and musicians make the visit special. The Wednesday market provides a lot of exotic “food” for thought.
In a society where people have grown up hunting, the boast – “We don’t hunt, we don’t cut trees here,” is admirable. Nagaland’s green village is a Rs 3 crore project sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, both at the state and central level. Since its inauguration on 25th October 2005, it has become a model village. However, this historical village first shot to fame after the local Angami tribe resisted the invading British army during the 1800s. Well-preserved morungs (youth dormitories) and monoliths make this village a must-see.
The land of the Angami tribe – Kohima – played a vital role during World War II. The Battle of Kohima (1944), fought at the same time as the Battle of Imphal, was a turning point for the Allied forces compelling the Japanese to retreat. The epitaph on the memorial of the 2nd British Division in the cemetery there is now known as the Kohima poem. “When you go home, tell them of us and say – For your tomorrow we gave our today.”
The week-long Hornbill Festival is held at Kisama Heritage Village which is about 12kms from Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival with the aim to revive and protect its rich culture and display its traditions.
The Dzukou Valley with its breathtaking scenery and lush carpets of flowers is an ideal destination for trekking. The flowers begin to bloom in the monsoons and are at their peak in the first two weeks of July. Accessible from Manipur or Khonoma village in Nagaland.
The village of Mon, bordered by Assam in the north and Myanmar on the east, is the land of the powerful Konyak Nagas who are ‘famed’ for headhunting. It is difficult to miss the ethereal quality of this place with its undulating hills and valleys and sparkling streams, creating a breathtaking landscape altogether.
The Konyak Nagas, with their signature tattooed faces and blackened teeth, are known for their hunting prowess. The villages are scattered; one interesting case is that of Longwa, the trans-boundary village, that falls on the Indo-Myanmar border. Its residents possess dual citizenship for both the countries. The village chief, referred to as Angh, continues to be the most powerful man of the village.