Nagaland | A Complete Travel Guide

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About Nagaland

Nagaland is one of the easternmost states of India and shares a border with Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Myanmar. Sitting on the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, Nagaland’s geography is dominated by the mountains of Naga Hills. These hills rise from the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam and rise to 6000 ft. Its highest point is at Mount Saramati at 12602 ft, where the Naga Hills merge the Patkai Range, forming the border with Myanmar. The geographical features of Nagaland boast rivers, waterfalls, valleys, forests, and hills. The state covers an area of 6401 sq. mi. and makes for one of the smallest states in the country.

What is Nagaland famous for?

Nagaland is famous for its scenic natural beauty and lush natural environment, which offers endless adventure opportunities like hiking, trekking, camping, jungle safaris, and water sports. However, it is the cultural heritage of Nagaland that attracts travellers to this northeastern state.

The Angami Naga Tribe of Nagaland

Nagaland culture is an amalgamation of the 16 major tribes and other ethnic groups who have been native to this region.

Nagaland History

The history and origin of Nagaland are very complex and unclear. There is no documentation of the ancient history of the Naga people or the region. The different native groups have migrated at different times, from parts of Mongolia, SE Asia or SW China. The present-day Nagas are said to have settled before the Ahom rulers of Assam ruled this region around the 13th century. The natives had no contact with the rest of the country or the outside world until the British colonization. In 1828, a non-aggression pact was signed with the Naga chiefs but did not last. It was only in 1960 that Nagaland was recognized as a full-fledged state within the Union of India, under a 16-point agreement. That is why most historical places of Nagaland date back to the last century.  

The origin of the name Nagaland is also unclear. There are controversies that the name could have originated in Burmese as Na-Ka meaning “people with earrings”.

Also Read: Now New Zealand is not too far from home

Places to Visit in Nagaland

Travel Guide- Nagaland

Most Nagaland points of interest are nature hot spots. However, there are also many historical monuments that you should include in your visiting places. The most famous monuments are in and around the capital city of Kohima.

Here are some of the best and most popular tourist destinations in Nagaland:

1. Nagaland State Museum

  • How to Reach – The museum is located in Kohima, about 18KM from the city railway station. You can book a local cab to reach.
  • Timings – 9.30 AM-4 PM, Closed on Sundays
  • Entry Fee – INR 20
  • Time Required – 1 -2 hours
  • Tips – Don’t forget to take a tour of the art gallery showcasing traditional instruments and tribal hut models.

2. Kachari Ruins, Dimapur

  • How to Reach – The ancient monolithic ruins are located in Dimapur, 70KM from Kohima. You can book a private car or rent a cab for the day.
  • Timings – NA
  • Entry Fee – NA
  • Time Required – 2-3 Hours
  • Tips – Spend a day at the 8th-century ruins, and don’t miss the giant mushroom-shaped dome.

3. Kisama Heritage Village

  • How to Reach – The popular Nagaland tourist spot is located at 12KM from Kohima city centre. You can book a local cab or rent a car to reach.
  • Timings – 8AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee – INR 20, INR 50 for camera
  • Time Required – 1 day
  • Tips – Visit during the annual Hornbill Festival to experience local art and cultural showcase.

4. Kohima War Cemetery

  • How to Reach – The cemetery is located at 15.7KM from the city railway station. You can book a cab to reach there.
  • Timings – 9 AM-4 PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – Less than 1 hour
  • Tips – Don’t miss the legendary cherry tree that the Japanese soldiers used for target practice during WWII.

5. Ntangki National Park

  • How to Reach – The wildlife park is located in Peren, 141KM from Kohima city centre. You have to book an outstation cab or a private car to travel.
  • Timings – 9AM-5PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1 day
  • Visit during winter months for birdwatching and spot migratory birds.
Video Credit: Larissa DSa

Places to Visit near Nagaland

Besides the famous places, there are many other nearby locales to visit and explore. Include these places in your sightseeing –

Kaziranga National Park, Assam

  • How to Reach – The famous wildlife forest is located at 233KM from Kohima. You can travel to Numaligarh via Dimapur, by taking a private or state bus or booking a cab.
  • Timings – Sunrise-sunset, Safaris – 7AM-10.30AM, 1PM-sunset
  • Entry Fee – INR 100; safari charges, parking, guide and rides – extra
  • Time Required – 1 day
  • Tips – Book a stay at the forest camps or jungle lodges for the best experience.

Loktak Lake, Manipur

  • How to Reach – The famous river-islands are located at 160KM from Imphal. You can travel to Imphal by bus or train. From there, you will have to take the local bus or a cab to Moirang. The best way to reach is to book a car and drive to the lake.
  • Timings – 8AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 2-3 hours
  • Tips – Join a local fisherman to try your hands at freshwater fishing or explore the lake wildlife.

Things to Do in Nagaland

Nagaland Travel Guide
Aradurah Hill, Kohima, Nagaland

Apart from visiting the popular tourist places, there are many adventures and activities you can take part in.

  • Join the local harvest celebration at the Aoleang Festival, held in April every year. This is a great platform to experience and explore the culture and tradition of Nagaland and be among the locals.
  • Attend the annual Hornbill National Rock Concert, which put Nagaland on the global map. The 10-day musical gala invites artists and musicians from all over the world to showcase their talent.
  • Do a trek to Mount Saramati, one of the most popular trek routes in the Eastern Himalayas, among professionals. The trek starts at Salumi and goes all the way to the India-Myanmar border.
  • Try mountain biking on the trails of the rainforest in the Naga Hills, home to Himalayan flora and fauna. 
  • Take a camping trip to Shilloi Lake. Surrounded by valleys and pine forests, the lake area offers great views and stargazing opportunities. You can also ride a kayak or go for birding tours to see exotic migratory birds.

Best time to Visit Nagaland

Nagaland weather is what you would expect in a mountainous region. However, unlike other Himalayan locales, Nagaland receives heavy rainfall and has high humidity. This makes Nagaland temperature cold almost all year round. Summers are better with slightly pleasant temperatures, while winters are chilly and very misty. The best time to visit is between October to December or March to May.

Places to Stay in Nagaland

Here are some of the best hotels you can find and experience a great stay –

  • Niathu Resort
  • The Heritage
  • Dzukou Valley Guest House
  • Southview Homestay
  • Niraamaya Retreats Aradura
  • Pilgrim’s Boutique Hotel
  • Alder Retreat
[Also Read: Dzukou Valley – A Complete Travel Guide | Valley of Flowers]

Places to Eat in Nagaland

Nagaland food is very different from other cuisines in North-Eastern states. The colourful community of different local tribes brings diversity to the cuisine of Nagaland. A variety of meat, vegetables and rice form the main food of Nagaland. Axone, Anishi, fermented fish and pork are some of the famous and traditional food of Nagaland.

Here are some of the best restaurants in Nagaland to try:

  • Ethnic Table
  • Herbs & Spices
  • The King Chilli
  • ILI-HA
  • The Black Sheep

How to Reach Nagaland

By Train

Cities like Kohima, Dhansiri, Rangapahar are connected by railways. But the major railway junction is in Dimapur, which is well-connected to Guwahati, Kolkata, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, and New Delhi.

By Road

There are many state-run and private buses to Nagaland from Guwahati, Shillong, Dibrugarh, etc. and all the district headquarters. Another way to travel Nagaland from any of the nearby cities is to rent a car or book an outstation cab and drive through the state.

By Flight

Nagaland is served by the Dimapur Airport, about 74KM from Kohima city. There are regular flights from major cities and towns of India like Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.

Witness the magic of Nagaland by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.  

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Nagaland - A Complete Travel Guide
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Nagaland - A Complete Travel Guide
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Nagaland is one of the easternmost states of India and shares a border with Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Myanmar. It is famous for its scenic natural beauty and lush natural environment, which offers endless adventure opportunities like hiking, trekking, camping, jungle safaris, and water sports.
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