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Kohima

Kohima, situated in the south at an altitude of 1444 m above sea level, occupies pride of place as the capital city of Nagaland.  Kohima  has  the  advantage  of  being  centrally located - being bounded by the state of Assam on the west, Wokha district on the north, Zunheboto and Phek districts on the east and Manipur state on the south. The Angami, Rengma and Zeliangrong communities mainly inhabit Kohima District.

Places to visit :

KOHIMA WORLD WAR-II CEMETERY : Overlooking Kohima amidst scenic environs, the Kohima War Cemetery is a memorial in the honour of those officers and soldiers killed during the World War II. Formerly known as Garrison Hill it is designed as a series of terraces with magnificent stone steps, bearing testimony to one of the most stubborn, close and bloody fighting in the whole of the Second World War.

On the 18 plots of the cemetery, there are 1421 slabs erected in memory of soldiers who were killed in the battle of Kohima. The cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Before leaving Kohima the British erected a moving memorial in memory of their fallen comrades: "When you go home, tell them of us, and say: ‘For your tomorrow, we gave our today."

KOHIMA CATHEDRAL :  Located at Aradura Hill, the Cathedral dominates the landscape of Kohima. It has become an important tourist destination and is the largest cathedral in the Asia. As one enters the Cathedral, one can’t help but notice a slab on the right hand side- "when you enter in here, bring before the Lord, all those who gave their life and all those who will give their all for your better and safer Nagaland".

This was put up on the request of the Japanese who contributed towards the building of the church. In the spring of 1944, Japanese, British and Indian forces fought for the Garrison Hill during the Battle of Kohima. Thousands were killed. The Japanese survivors of the battle and bereaved families collected contributions towards the making of the Cathedral so that prayers could be offered in the memory of their loved ones. Spread over an area of 25,000 sq feet, it can accommodate 3000 seated and 20,000 if all areas are occupied. A permanent Olive wood crib from Bethlehem’s Olive wood has also been installed. For those wanting to experience an architectural treat of the modern and the indigenous, the Kohima Cathedral is the place to visit!!!

STATE MUSEUM :  Located at Bayavü Hill, about 1½ km from the main town, it houses a rare collection of artifacts of each Naga tribe. The State Museum also has authentic Naga precious stones on display. Here one can see the most valued and expensive necklaces used by the Nagas. They are an assortment of precious stones which include cornelian, tourmaline, coral, core of xancus, ivory and other beads, brass and silver bells. Another interesting display is the Naga Morung/hut models. One can make out that the villages were located on hilltops. Perhaps it was to survey/watch the valley below for approaching friends or foes. The variations in architecture among the different tribes are just amazing. Musical instruments are also displayed. The various instruments give an insight into how music formed an integral part of Naga life. Log drum, Tati, a single stringed instrument, and other instruments made of bamboo and buffalo horns are used during festivals and other social gatherings. For the art lovers the state museum has an art gallery which houses collections of paintings by different local artists. The themes vary from traditional to modern.

The State Emporium displays the finest collection of tribal shawls, handbags, wood carvings, mekhalas, cane and bamboo handicrafts and ready-made garments of traditional weaves, designed to modern taste.

Local Market : A visit to the market is recommended to savour the local flavour. It has stalls piled up with local fruit, vegetables, herbs, chillies (the hottest in the country), edible insects, fish and meat. Women sell local honey and bamboo shoot extract by the roadside

Others Places to Visit :

Khonoma Village : Located 20 kms west of Kohima is Khonoma village.The village referred to as “Khwunoria” by the residents is estimated to be around 700 years old and is surrounded by hills that are as high as 9000 ft. It was here that the Naga warriors made their last stand against the British in 1879. The Village is named after a plant locally known as “Khuno” that grows in the area. The alder tree (Alnus Nepalensis) is found in abundance in this region and Khonoma is famous for its management of jhum fields with alder trees, which fixes nitrogen in the soil and checks soil erosion. With its mission "Green Khonoma", it has become the Model Village for eco-tourism. The Village Council has made it mandatory for every household to have dustbins.  Once in a month, sanitation drive is carried out and the community’s garbage is burnt. The ashes and the residue are then used as manure. The combination of rich bio-diversity and stunning landscape makes Khonoma habitat an excellent candidate for eco-tourism.

Dzukou Valley : This valley of eternal charm with its emerald green rolling hills, interspersed by gentle flowing stream, is tucked away at an altitude of 2,438.4 metres. It is about 30 km south of Kohima. It is a trekker’s delight. Though Dzükou is known for its bio-diversity the predominant plant is the tough bamboo brush.

Zakhama & Kigwema Village : These two adjacent villages are situated on the southern Angami belt and are predominantly inhabited by the Angami tribes which are further divided into several clans. The villages are about 20 kms south to Kohima and are lay out on the top of the mountain with an astonishing natural view of the nearby villages and its surroundings. This entire village is encircled by terraced paddy fields giving it a pleasant look. Each village has got a traditional entrance gate. Within the village one can see the customary Angami houses some of which are elegant and shows the prosperity of the villagers in a traditional way. Here one can explore the village and interact with the local tribes and can be customized with the local life style. “SEKRENYI” is the main festival here, which is held in the month of February.

Kisema Heritage Village : The Hornbill Festival is a major event that take place  within the confines of this heritage village that is about 12 km from Kohima. It is a yearly feature held from 1 to 7 December, where a visitor gets an opportunity to get a ring side view of the richness and uniqueness of the Naga heritage, its people and culture. Hornbill and Kisama are gradually transcending to be a showcase of the rich culture of the entire north-eastern region of India and a cultural bridge with the rest of Southeast Asia.