Must do things when in Kohima, Nagaland
Nagaland is a state of widespread green carpet of agricultural land and the flowers that light up the sky with their bright hues. It is one of the seven sister states of Northeast India. It gives you the taste of life far different from the one that you’ve experienced before.
If you haven’t already heard about this gem and its beauty yet, don’t be surprised not many people have and I was one of them too. Of course, I knew that Nagaland exists and where it exactly is but truthfully had no idea that it would have such an eye-opening impact on my mind and heart the way it did. And I was there just for 2 days, imagine the effect it would have if I had stayed there longer! How I wish I had.
Be warned and get ready to hear about Nagaland a lot now. Its an absolute must visit, bucket list places that has to be on your map of places to visit. If you still don’t trust me then just scroll down to all that I have in store for you to read.
Nagaland majorly became famous after the 21st-century creation of the Hornbill festival which takes place annually from 1st to 10th of December. For more context about
But there’s a lot more that Kohima has to offer ;
- Visit the Mary Help of Christian Cathedral: Its splendid, star design architecture makes it one of the important landmarks of Kohima. Its uniqueness is because of its 16 feet high carved wooden crucifix which is one of Asia’s largest crosses. The interiors wraps you in awe at the same time sends you through chain of thoughts about how did they manage to create this structure in those times. It was nothing like the churches I had seen before. A Huge Star shape from outside which gives you a dome-like feel from the inside with intricately painted glasses on the roof. It seems huge from the outer periphery of the benches inside but closes on you when you are at the center.
When you think you’ve seen all and step outside, is when you realize you can see the whole of Kohima from just this one spot right opposite the church in the garden in front of it. That’s where I met Jafet, this 10-year-old boy (Tallest one in the photo) who actually helped me find the door to go inside. If not for him I would have returned without seeing the interiors.
- Kohima war Cemetry: It is a memorial dedicated to soldiers of the 2nd British Division of the Allied Forces who died in the Second World War in the battle of Kohima, in April 1944. Which in 2013 was voted the ‘Britain’s greatest battle’.
A battle between the Allied forces mainly the British and the Japanese. As they say, If Britain wouldn’t have won, they would have lost Kolkata and the whole of East India to the Japanese forces as they would head to Dimapur – which had a massive supply dump which the Japanese would need to sustain further war effort this far from their supply lines – as the key to British India itself.
Capturing that dump would enable the Japanese to consolidate and replenish their starving troops and kick off a campaign into India’s interior, much like they had sliced through Burma. In reverse, when the Japanese were forced to retreat, it was seen as ‘the biggest defeat the Japanese had known in their entire history’ till then. Till that point, advancing Japanese ground forces were largely assumed to be invincible, carrying all before them. After this battle, that myth was shattered and the momentum swung the other way.
The war cemetery is managed and maintained by Commonwealth war grave commission. Till date, it keeps the records and pays the caretakers. Even today you’ll find white garlands placed on some of the gravestones. They are placed by the descendants of the soldiers who come visit this cemetery.
Now to the most exciting part which just cannot be missed;
- Hornbill Festival in Kisama Heritage Village: All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival. The aim of the festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland. Also to display its extravaganza and traditions. Its an annual event held from 1st to 10th of December. You probably would have heard about Hornbill Festival first and then about Nagaland. It’s on the top of the list of travelers heading towards the Northeast of India.
Festival highlights include the traditional Naga Morungs exhibition and the sale of arts and crafts, food stalls, flower shows, cultural medley – songs and dances, fashion shows, Naga wrestling, indigenous games, and musical concert. To have a better context of the Hornbill Festival you can read my post on
- Night Flea Market: This is one of the exciting things that only happens during the Hornbill Festival. This flea market is actually in the city of Kohima and spread along more than a kilometer. You can find the exact location on google maps by just typing ‘night flea market’, it’s really that easy! The stalls on both the side of the road starting
tillthe end of the road. These stalls are put up by young and college going students, and people with friends and family. There were such fun, cheerful and friendly vibes everywhere.
The Market starts at 6 pm every day.
This is the perfect place to buy a few extra layers of woolen if you have fallen short of them. It really gets cold in Kohima once the sun goes down, actually for the most part of the day as there is cloud cover for almost 15 hrs daily. There’s nothing that you won’t get here. From Masks, woolen, beanies, scarves, gloves. And if you are in the mood can even buy some handmade beaded jewelry.
It’s almost like a fashion parade happening out there, with girls in knee-high boots, long coats, scarves, beanies. It was as if Milan has come down to Kohima. Compared to them I felt so underdressed. I was in my sports shoes, Joggers and sweatshirt topped with a cardigan and a beanie (It was really cold there). It literally seemed like there was a dresscode, and I didn’t receive one.
A very common scene you could see was 3 girls walking with interlocked arms almost like a scene from the movies and what you see on TV or series. Don’t exactly know which one but the site was too familiar. Do let me know in the comments below if you know any such show.
And that’s not it, my favorite part was all the food that was available to make your taste-buds go on a roller coaster ride. I think I tried more food here than in the Heritage village itself. Pork and beef were the most common things on the list. Rarely could you find chicken and as for vegetarians, the choice was even less. But beware there was dog meat on the menu too. They do have that in Nagaland.
- Try Naga specialties: You can do that either in the Heritage village or even in the night flea market. Some of them have to be the
- Rice beer
- Sticky rice pudding
- Plain sticky rice
- Rice cakes
- Naga chili sauces and
- Fried Silkworm (if you are up for some adventure)
- Pork Momos too.
- Kohima State Museum: It holds exhibits of the evolution of Naga culture
.A showcase of the tribal habitats that are predominant in the eastern territories of India. A major attraction of this museum is the collection of rare artifacts of all the 16 tribes that inhabit the state. Some of the artifacts exhibited in this museum are clan motifs, precious stones, necklaces, traditional attires, and inscriptions.
- Try out the cutest cafes in town: Don’t judge the city on its looks and narrow road. It has a few really cute and cozy cafes where you can stop by when hungry or just to check out the decor. I could totally do that, order a coffee just to check out the place!
My favorite is ‘The Mix’, its run by the sweetest person I’ve met, her name is Vivian and she has the most adorable dog Oreo.
One thing I can say for sure just 2 days isn’t enough
Want to know more then checkout these posts
- Hornbill Festival: The only guide you’ll ever need
- 15 facts no one will tell you about Hornbill Festival, Nagaland
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