Traveling to Northeast India is always a memorable one; it’s one of those experiences that you keep sharing with the folks around you. So this post comes from one of our readers – E Jey, who wanted to share his travel story to Dimapur, Nagaland with the Roots and Leisure community. E Jey is an avid traveller and runs his own travel blog called “Jaunt Monkey”, which he says is a lifestyle that developed over years of travelling across the globe. He has been to 19 countries -including Nepal, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia,Uganda and more.
How I landed in Dimapur Nagaland
It was on a bright sunny day that I started my trip to Nagaland. I had just one thing on my mind – which was to be a part of the Hornbill Festival, the cultural extravaganza that is held every December (usually 1st to 10th) in Nagaland. Starting from Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India, my friends and I travelled more than 3000 kilometers to reach Nagaland. Not only did the journey brought me closer to experiencing their culture first hand, but also led me to many pleasant surprises!
Dimapur, known to outsiders as ‘the gateway to Nagaland’, took my heart away the minute I landed there! I did not stay in a hotel, but was put up in an acquaintance home – a priest from Kerala who is settled there, and runs a school in Dimapur.
A Glimpse into the Famous Hornbill Festival
I enjoyed the Hornbill Festival thoroughly. It was very different form of festival where I got a true slice of the tribal life in one place. How? The festival venue had multiple huts – each representing a unique tribe (of the Nagas) so I went from hut to hut trying to take in as much as I can about the people and their traditions. Being one among those simple folks, laughing, eating and chatting with them, is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. But would I settle for just that? No. Hearing about the Kachari Kingdom Ruins in Dimapur, the explorer in me jumped with excitement. And the next day, we set off to explore Dimapur.
“Being one among those simple folks, laughing, eating and chatting with them, is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
A scene from the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland
My scheduled visit to the famous shopping area – Hong Kong Market in Dimapur
Dimapur is the largest city in Nagaland, though not its capital. It is the only city in the state which has a railway station and an airport. The two things that I planned to explore in Dimapur were the Kachari Ruins, and the Hong Kong Market. We decided to hit the market first. Here I made a mistake. Instead of asking locals for help, I decided to use Google Maps, which sadly took us to a different location (Rail Gate Market instead of Hong Kong market).
I roamed the whole Rail Gate Market thinking it was Hong Kong market! but I had my share of fun there too. It was a busy place, with lines of shops selling local wares. There were Naga tribal attires, beads and shells for making ornaments, blankets, etc.One thing I noticed was that, unlike most places where they charge exorbitant prices to the tourists, here everything was reasonably priced. Shopkeepers had such endearing warm smiles!
“A word of advice to all travelers : always take local help instead of relying on just Google Maps. Moreover, the locals out here are more than happy to assist you.”
Like I mentioned, I missed the Hong Kong market on this visit. But on the brighter side, I have one more reason to visit Dimapur again! And I am already planning my next visit – hopefully before the year ends.
Kachari Kingdom Ruins
For me, this was the best part of Dimapur. Hear the word ‘ruins’ and you expect a tumble down place with a musty smell. Here comes the unexpected surprise. What is called as ruins, is actually a green heaven in the midst of the city. A vast area, clean and green, and which reminds us of a golden past.
“Don’t be fooled by the name. “Kachari Ruins” is actually a vast area – neatly maintained with lots of greeneries and clean fresh air; and it beautifully reminds you of the golden past.”
Dimapur was the capital of Kachari rulers, in ancient times. It is a place with a rich past. An arched entrance took us inside, and I was literally spellbound. The entire area had a green carpeted look. In the midst of the green grass, there stood many stone pillars, remnants from the era of kings. They stood apart due to their unique dome shape. There were many of them, big and small, all with a mushroom top. And they are all monoliths, carved out of single rocks! Some had beautiful carvings on them. Sadly, some were badly in need of maintenance. As there was no guide present, I could not gather much information about its historical significance.
There were a few families enjoying some quiet moments. I also took my time, roamed around, and enjoyed the fresh mountain air. It was a fulfilling day for me. But I had to catch up with the next lap of my journey, which was Shillong.