Nagaland Sojourn Khonoma

Nagaland Sojourn Khonoma

Though I love travelling it is very difficult to get the Holidays working in financial corporate house. Lies and excuses are the main tools to get permissions for a few days off the limits. Anyway, I got the opportunity to visit Khonoma which was in my bucket list for a few years. So with my wife and my son I set off for the ancient village up in the hills of Nagaland.


Khonoma village is located about 20 km from the state capital, Kohima. The village referred to as Khwunoria (named after the Angami term for a local plant, Glouthera fragrantisima), is estimated to be around 700 years old. Over a hundred years ago, advancing British troops found themselves facing a determined warrior tribe in the highlands of Nagaland. The Angami men of Khonoma, famed for their martial prowess and strategic skills, fought a resolute battle to safeguard their territory, inflicting heavy casualties on the foreign soldiers. The village is recorded to have resisted British rule in the region from the 1830s to 1880. Finally, a truce between the two stopped further bloodshed, but meanwhile, Khonoma village had etched its name into the history of Indian resistance to the colonial invasion. Christianity was introduced in the village in 1890, and today most of the villagers are of this faith. Over the last decade Khonoma, inhabited by the Angamis, one of Nagaland’s tribes, has made giant strides in establishing or strengthening systems of natural resource management, conflict resolution, village administration, and appropriate development, all coupled with a resolute will to conserve biodiversity and wildlife.

My Journey

What I found that Christianity had almost eroded their original faith and rituals and culture, somehow a couple of decades back the Angami community here has tried to preserve their culture. We started from Dimapur hiring an Alto and reached Khonoma after almost 6 Hrs due to very bad road condition. There is a couple of Homestay and only one Hotel named Dovipie Inn. I booked through booking.com and was mentally assured that our room was booked. But on arrival, the receptionist told us that they do not have any tie-up with the portal but on request, they allotted us a cosy room. Neizo the manager of the Hotel agreed to be our guide and after lunch, we moved out to stroll the village.

One of the most peculiar aspects of the village was that there was no road as such but being top in the mountain there are only stairs and stairs. You need to be physically fit to roam the village. Luckily I was preparing the visit with regular walk and jogging. I was spellbound by the beauty of the small village up in the mountain. Every house has flower pots in their veranda and the flowers are different from what I saw anywhere.

It was like a revelation to me what I saw in this beautiful village. Many of my previous negative notion of Nagaland has been positively rectified. Some of my observations. 1) Even at a height of 5000 ft water is in more than abundance due to their age-old water harvesting technique. 2)not a single plastic or paper is found anywhere littered, 3) No alcohol or any type of tobacco product is available due to strict local village law which visitors has also to follow, 4) youngsters greet their elders every time they come across which is well reciprocated, 5) if one is to roam around the village then he has to be fit as the village can also be called the village of stairs (luckily I again started going to gym from January), 6) every house and every corner in the village is ornamented by beautiful flowers, 7)almost every house has grave attached of their ancestors. What transpired is that the villagers have learned to live with nature in complete harmony which we from urban areas lack very much. The villager has managed to preserve many customs of their warrior past. They have resisted the Britishers for many years with their war skills and vantage point up in the hills. The brewing pot made from huge tree trunks and huge wooden pots for keeping the brew are preserved.

Huge wooden utensils made of wood used in ancient village celebration are also there. There was a custom of admitting young children under the tutelage of village Guru or a person expert in all skills of survival. The children live there and learn all the skills with great devotion and in the evening they gather outside the Hostel and sit in bamboo and wooden seats with a bonfire in the middle and listen to ancient stories of valour from their teacher. Still, this custom is prevalent in Khonoma.

You can spend hours sitting at the edge of a precipice watching the beautiful lush green and yellow zhoom cultivations down below. A must-see destination in northeast India.

-Debjyoti Chanda

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