What you should know before travelling to Nagaland

By: Staff Writer, 16 Oct, 2018

Stunning views overlooking tea gardens and the Naga hills from Konyak Tea Retreat | Photograph: Hoshner Reporter

India’s Northeast is home to rich culture, fantastic forests, and surreal experiences. But because it’s relatively off the beaten track, states like Nagaland can be hard to navigate. We spoke to Hoshner Reporter and Ambika Vishwanath of The reDiscovery Project, avid travellers who are well-versed with Naga culture, about what to expect before you go.

Here’s what you should know. You can also join Ambika and Hoshner on their trip this November. More on that here!

When should I go? 
Winter, between October and December, is generally a good time. In November, it isn’t too cold – you’re likely to need only a sweatshirt and a jacket to stay warm. Stay away in the monsoons; landslides occur frequently and can hamper your plans. 

Where should I go? 
Start off in Kohima, Nagaland’s capital city. It’s a good base from which to explore the surrounding areas. Explore the local market, where the produce includes everything from shrimp to silkworms. History buffs will want to visit the World War II cemetery while they’re here. Then, head north towards Wokha (a stop for Amur falcons during their migration), Mokokchung and Mon. Khonoma is also interesting for its Naga architecture, history and war relics. Alternatively, the trek to Dzukou Valley offers surreal views through the year, but around May-June, the valley lights up with vibrant flowers. Active travellers can also consider the trek to Japfu, one of the highest peaks in Nagaland. 

What can I eat?

The locals love their meat – there are numerous flavourful preparations of pork, beef and fish. That being said, there are also plenty of vegetarian options. Rice and squash are important components of the daily diet.

How do I get around? 
Remember that the infrastructure in these parts isn’t the best. Expect bumpy rides, and don’t forget to pack your motion-sickness meds. As for transport options, you could either hire a car or get around like the locals in share Sumos (These don’t run on Sundays, so plan accordingly). Make sure you budget more time than you think for travel though, and be ready to rough it out! 

Where can I stay? 
Basic accommodation is easily available; don’t expect five-star facilities. Because the locals are friendly and hospitable, it’s not unheard of to spend the night in a local home. Homestays are also an option, and provide a good introduction to local life. In bigger cities like Kohima, you’re likely to find a hotel. Make sure you book in advance; with accommodation in smaller towns and villages, make arrangements from Kohima (or elsewhere) before you turn up. 

What language do I speak?
In Nagaland, each tribe has their own dialect. You’ll be able to get by with Hindi and English. 

Hoshner and Ambika are leading an eight-day trip around Nagaland this November. Details here!

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