Nagaland

Nagaland, the narrow strip of mountain territory, has a long border with Myanmar (Burma) to the east. There are green valleys with meandering streams, high mountains with deep gorges and a rich variety of wildlife and flora.

Kohima

The British-built town of Kohima lies in the valley between higher hills, alongside the immaculately kept war cemetery. Kohima attracted world attention during the Second World War because it was here that the Japanese advance was halted by the British and Indian forces. The original Angami Kohima village is set on a hill above overlooking the Main Bazar. There may be a strong military presence in town.

The
Second World War Cemetery
is in a beautiful setting, with well-maintained lawns where rose bushes bloom. Two tall crosses stand out at the lowest and highest points. The stone markers each have a polished bronze plaque with epitaphs commemorating the men who fell here, to halt “the invasion of India by the forces of Japan in April 1944” by the British
14th Army under General William Slim. The cherry tree, which was used by Japanese soldiers
as a snipers' post, was destroyed; what grew from the old stump marks the limit of the enemy
advance. At the base of the Second Division lower cross, near the main entrance, are the lines: “When you go home/Tell them of us and say/For your tomorrow/We gave our today.”

Three kilometres away by road, the striking red-roofed
Cathedral of Reconciliation
(1995) overlooks the cemetery from a hill. Part funded by the Japanese government, representatives from both sides of the conflict attended the inauguration.

The
Main Bazar
attracts colourful tribal women who come to buy and sell their produce. The vast
Kohima Village
(Bara Basti) has a traditional Naga ceremonial gateway carved with motifs of guns, warriors and symbols of prosperity, though the 20th century has had its impact. The traditional Naga house here has crossed horns on the gables, carved heads to signify the status of the family, huge baskets to hold the grain in front of the house and a trough where rice beer is made for the community.

Nagaland State Museum
 has a collection of anthropological exhibits of the different Naga tribes. The basement has birds and animals of the Northeastern Hill states.

Around Kohima

Khonoma
is an authentic tribal village, 20 km southwest, with a proud past, and is surrounded by extensive terraces for rice cultivation. Another 20 km along the same road takes you to
Dzulekie
, at 2134 m, with attractive waterfalls and trout streams in a deep rocky gorge. There is a Tourist Rest House and Cottages. Trek to
Jopfu Peak
, at 3043 m, which is 15 km south, between November and March for clear mountain views.
Dzukou Valley
, at 2438 m, 15 km further south, is best from June to September for its colourful rhododendrons, lilies and meadow flowers. A new campsite should be ready on the Jakhama route.

Dimapur

Dimapur, on the edge of the plains northwest of Kohima, is the railhead and has Nagaland's only airport. Busy and crowded, it is the state's main commercial and trading centre.

This was the old capital of the Kacharis (13th-16th century) and the
Kachari relics
, including a huge brick-built arch, are 1 km from the NST Bus Station. Nearby are 30 huge mushroom-shaped carved megaliths believed to represent the fertility cult. Visit
Chumukedima
old village on a hill above town, or trek to the
Triple Falls
at Seithekima.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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