Dzükou Valley – Landscape Heritage of NorthEast India
Dzukou Valley is situated on the border of Nagaland and Manipur at an altitude of 8000 feet. Here I am sharing the story of my journey.
Around 2:50 am, the sound of my alarm clock started to ring. My eyes were still closed, but slowly I got up from the bed. My bag was already packed, and I was ready for the most awaited trip. I left my house at 4:00 am and headed towards the station. I had booked a seat in Dibrugarh Express which left the Guwahati station at 4:55 am and reached Dimapur by 10:40 am. Stomach was almost empty, so I took some food at a food court just outside the Dimapur railway station. Then I hired a taxi from the railway station to Kohima city.
Due to ongoing national highway construction, the road from Dimapur to Kohima was very bad. Car was running only at a speed of 40 to 50 km per hour. After crossing the Dimapur city, police stopped the car, checked ILP (Inner Line Permit) and allowed to enter Kohima District. Only one hour passed and in the middle of the road, suddenly a sound from the front tyres could be heard. I stopped the car and found that one screw from the front left tyre was missing. Finally, the problem was solved after 30 minutes and I was good to go.
I entered the capital city of Nagaland by 4:30 pm and it was raining heavily. At the entrance of the city, every Taxi needs a gate pass which can be collected from a toll office situated on the left of the road. The city is at the hilltop and was looking so beautiful amidst the clouds. The homestay where I had to spend the night was just 20 km away from the city.
By 5:30 pm, I reached my destination of the day. Dawn Homestay is situated near to the main road, so I did not face any problem to find it. The owner of the homestay was a very kind-hearted lady, she showed me the room and offered a cup of tea with some biscuits. The room was beautiful and well decorated. The place was surrounded by green hills and the view from the balcony was mesmerizing. I took a shower and then sat in the balcony for some time. I took my dinner by 8:30 pm and fell asleep after a few minutes.
The Trekking Day
I woke up at 4:45 am and got ready for trekking. A couple from Mangalore also joined me. At 7:00 am I sat in a car along with three of my friends and the couple. We headed to the entry point of Dzukou Valley. There were two different routes, one was from Jakhama and another from Viswema, through which we could reach the valley. As the locals said, the Jakhama route is shorter but very steep and the Viswema route is long but little easy. We preferred the Viswema route.
At the entry point, Govt. charges 100 INR for each person and need to deposit another 100 INR for all plastic items as security money. One can claim this security money on the return by showing the same quantity of plastic items.
After completing all the procedures, we entered the road which would lead us to our destination. The road was muddy and full of pebbles which made it difficult for the car to move forward. After forty-five minutes we reached the main entry point from where we had to walk. The car left the spot after dropping us and the trekking began from there.
We were lucky, that day it was not raining. So the road was less slippery. We were gently ascending the steep forest path. The whole path was surrounded by dense forest. At some points, the path became too steep and made it difficult to walk. We were taking small halts during the climb to adjust our body at such a high altitude. It took almost two hours to complete the steep climb part. There I saw a signboard with “Way to Dzukou” written on it, so the destination was not far away.
We started to walk on the plain path now. The whole path was surrounded by small bamboo-like trees. There were beautiful green hills everywhere. The sound of flowing water was so pleasant which was coming from a river, flowing in between the hills. The clouds were coming and going. The cold wind was blowing at a constant speed.
After a continuous walk for three hours, we reached the place at 1:00 pm where we would stay the night. It was a house with two big halls where every visitor could sleep. Few local boys look after this place. They checked our entry pass and provided all required items (Blankets, foam sheets, pillows etc.) and showed us our place in a wooden hall. After keeping the bags in our place, we were ready for the final walk towards the valley. Suddenly heavy rainfall started, but we did not stop and in fifty minutes we reached the valley.
The view of the valley was like a dreamland. It was filled with beautiful Lilies and other flowers. Dzukou Lily is a rare species of Lily, found only in the Dzukou valley. It starts blooming from May and anyone can find it till July. Unfortunately, I could not take any pictures due to heavy rain.
We returned to the guest house at around 5:00 pm. After a few minutes, the darkness covered the land. I could hear only the wind whispering, could feel dewdrops coming with the clouds. The atmospheric temperature was dropping very fast. In the dark, I was sitting alone in a rock recollecting some of my beautiful memories of life. It was one of the best evenings of my life. I had some steamed rice and boiled potatoes in my dinner and as the night was long I sat nearby a bonfire and started a long conversation with friends.
The Eternal Connection
It was a cloudy day. After last night rain, the valley was looking more beautiful. Everywhere it was green. We packed our bags after having a cup of tea. Like every single person who visited Dzukou Valley, I had also made an emotional connection with the land. Even if I did not want to leave the place, a different life was waiting for me far from this silent place. It is always hard to leave someone we love the most, but always we carry memories and some memories never fade away.
We left the valley at 9:00 am. It was raining heavily. We were placing our steps carefully as the rainwater made the path more slippery. We reached the endpoint of the plain route in two hours and sat in the rocks for a few minutes. As the rain was not stopping, we decided to move through the toughest part of descend without wasting any time. We reached the starting point in one and a half hours. We were so happy that we completed the trek successfully. We shouted in joy. I dialled the hotel owner, and she sent a car to pick up.
We reached the homestay at around 2:00 pm, freshened up and took rest for some time. By evening I headed out to the Kohima city to spend some time. I took some very tasty food in dinner which were made by the owner in her traditional way.
The Final Day
The homestay owner had already booked a car to drop us at Dimapur. I left Kohima by 10:30 am with many beautiful memories. Train from Dimapur to Guwahati was at 4:45 pm and it arrived at the station on time. We reached Guwahati by 9:30 pm. And my amazing trip came to an end.
Some important things you should carry with you during Dzukou valley trek.
1. Trekking shoe
3. Drinking water
6. ILP (Inner Line Permit)
Below are the details of some expenses during the journey.
1. Dimapur to Kohima taxi fare – 2000 to 3000 INR (depends upon how one can bargain)
2. Dawn homestay – 800 INR per day per person (including dinner and breakfast)
3. Valley entry fees – 100 INR per person
4. Security money for plastic items – 100 INR
5. Restroom (in the valley) – 50 INR per person
6. Blanket (in the valley) – 50 INR per blanket
7. Foam sheets (in the valley)- 50 INR per sheet
8. Rice plate (in the valley) – 200 INR per plate