The Dzukou Valley Temple, Kohima

26th February 2024

13 Best Things to Do in Kohima: Unleash Your Wanderlust (2023)

Planning to visit Kohima? In this blog, we’ve mentioned the 10 best things to do in Kohima that will definitely make the most of your trip.

From exploring cultural treasures to immersing in nature’s wonders, we’ve got you covered!

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we know that Kohima has something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, a food lover, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Kohima has it all.

So, get ready to embark on a journey filled with breathtaking landscapes, captivating traditions, mouthwatering cuisine, and much more. Let’s dive into the vibrant tapestry of things to do in Kohima and create memories that will last a lifetime!

5 Facts about Kohima

  • Kohima is the capital city of Nagaland, located in northeastern India.
  • It is situated at an elevation of approximately 1,444 meters (4,741 feet) above sea level.
  • Kohima is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to various Naga tribes, each with its unique traditions and customs.
  • The city gained historical significance for its role in the Battle of Kohima during World War II, considered one of the most crucial battles fought in the Asian theater.
  • Kohima is surrounded by scenic landscapes, including lush hills, picturesque valleys, and pristine lakes, offering ample opportunities for nature exploration and outdoor activities.

Best Things to Do in Kohima

1. Trek to Mt Japfu

Japfu Peak

Embark on an exhilarating trek to Mt Japfu, where nature’s grandeur unfolds before your eyes. As you ascend through the verdant trails, be prepared to be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring vistas of mist-shrouded peaks and lush valleys.

The trek leads you through dense forests teeming with diverse flora and fauna, immersing you in the untamed beauty of the region. The crowning jewel of this journey is the Japfu Rhododendron Sanctuary, home to a remarkable collection of over 50 species of rhododendrons.

During the blooming season, the landscape transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors, creating a surreal experience that will leave you breathless.

  • Location: Mt Japfu, approximately 15 kilometers south of Kohima
  • Best Time to Visit: October to February
  • Famous For: Majestic mountain peaks, dense forests, and the enchanting Japfu Rhododendron Sanctuary

2. Explore the captivating Dzukou Valley

Dzukou Valley

Indulge your senses in the ethereal beauty of the Dzukou Valley, a hidden gem that exudes tranquility and charm. As you venture into this enchanting valley, you’ll find yourself surrounded by rolling meadows that stretch as far as the eye can see.

The air is crisp and refreshing, offering a respite from the heat of the plains. The valley is particularly renowned for the Dzukou lily, a rare and delicate flower that blooms exclusively in this region.

During the monsoon season, the valley transforms into a paradise, with vibrant wildflowers carpeting the landscape. Whether you choose to hike, camp, or simply bask in the serenity of the surroundings, a visit to the Dzukou Valley is a pilgrimage to nature’s sanctuary.

  • Location: Dzukou Valley, approximately 30 kilometers south of Kohima
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September for the blooming of Dzukou lilies; October to March for pleasant weather
  • Famous For: Rolling meadows, picturesque landscapes, and the endemic Dzukou lily

3. Embark on a scenic boating experience at Shilloi Lake

Shilloi Lake

Discover the tranquil beauty of Shilloi Lake, a hidden gem nestled in the pristine hills of Nagaland. Surrounded by verdant forests and rolling meadows, this serene lake offers a mesmerizing backdrop for a scenic boating experience.

Glide across the crystal-clear waters, taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Shilloi Lake is not just a visual delight; it is also a haven for bird enthusiasts.

Keep your eyes peeled for various avian species that call this lake their home, adding to the ethereal charm of the place. Whether you choose to paddle through the tranquil waters or simply soak in the serenity of the surroundings, a visit to Shilloi Lake promises an unforgettable connection with nature.

  • Location: Shilloi Lake, approximately 85 kilometers from Kohima
  • Best Time to Visit: October to February
  • Famous For: Pristine lake, scenic surroundings, and bird-watching opportunities

4. Experience the vibrant Hornbill Festival

Hornbill Festival

Immerse yourself in the kaleidoscope of Naga culture at the iconic Hornbill Festival, a grand celebration of heritage and traditions. Held annually in the Naga Heritage Village, this vibrant extravaganza brings together tribes from across Nagaland to showcase their unique customs, music, dance, and craftsmanship.

Get ready to witness breathtaking performances, adorned in colorful traditional attire, as you delve into the rhythmic beats and pulsating energy of the Naga people. Indulge your taste buds in a culinary journey, savoring traditional delicacies that represent the rich flavors of Naga cuisine.

The Hornbill Festival is an unmissable opportunity to witness the cultural tapestry of the region and forge connections with the warm and welcoming Naga community.

  • Location: Naga Heritage Village, Kisama (approximately 12 kilometers from Kohima)
  • Best Time to Visit: 1st to 10th December
  • Famous For: Showcasing Naga culture, traditional dances, indigenous crafts, and culinary delights

5. Discover the traditional Naga way of life at the Naga Heritage Village

Naga Heritage Village

Step into a bygone era at the Naga Heritage Village, where the essence of Naga heritage and traditions is beautifully preserved. This living museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich tapestry of Naga culture, with its collection of traditional houses, artifacts, and age-old practices.

As you wander through the village, you’ll have the opportunity to witness indigenous crafts being skillfully crafted by local artisans, providing insights into the craftsmanship and creativity of the Naga people.

Engage with the locals, who warmly welcome you into their homes, and partake in traditional rituals and dances that have been passed down through generations.

The Naga Heritage Village is a treasure trove of cultural treasures, offering an immersive experience that transports you to the heart of Naga traditions.

  • Location: Kisama, approximately 12 kilometers from Kohima
  • Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
  • Famous For: Preserving Naga traditions, showcasing traditional houses, artifacts, and cultural practices

6. Uncover the past at the Kohima State Museum

Kohima State Museum

Delve into the fascinating history and cultural legacy of Nagaland at the Kohima State Museum. This museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, artworks, and historical relics that showcase the evolution of Naga civilization.

From ancient weapons and traditional costumes to intricate tribal jewelry and musical instruments, the exhibits offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Learn about the diverse Naga tribes, their social structures, religious practices, and folklore through informative displays and interactive exhibits. The Kohima State Museum serves as a window to the past, allowing visitors to deepen their understanding of Nagaland’s history and its people.

  • Location: Bayavü Hill, Kohima
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round (closed on Sundays and public holidays)
  • Famous For: Exhibits on Naga history, culture, art, and artifacts

7. Taste the fiery delights of the world’s hottest chili

Naga Keeda Bazaar

Brace yourself for a culinary adventure unlike any other at the vibrant Naga Keeda Bazaar. This bustling market is a paradise for spice enthusiasts, offering a plethora of fiery delights that will ignite your taste buds.

Indulge in the legendary Bhut Jolokia, also known as the Ghost Pepper, renowned for its scorching heat. Sample an array of local spices and condiments that add a distinct flavor to Naga cuisine.

From the spicy Naga King chili to the aromatic Zanthoxylum pepper, the Naga Keeda Bazaar promises an explosion of flavors that will challenge and delight your palate. It’s a gastronomic journey not for the faint of heart but one that will leave you with an unforgettable culinary experience.

  • Location: Naga Keeda Bazaar, Kohima
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For: Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper), local spices, and traditional Naga condiments

8. Indulge in authentic Naga cuisine, a fusion of flavors:

Naga cuisine

Embark on a gastronomic exploration of Naga cuisine, a delightful fusion of flavors that reflects the region’s cultural diversity. Naga cuisine is characterized by its inventive use of indigenous ingredients and traditional cooking techniques.

From succulent smoked meats to tangy fermented delicacies, each dish tells a story of Naga traditions and culinary heritage. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor bamboo shoot-infused delicacies, which add a unique earthy flavor to the cuisine.

The bold and aromatic spices, along with the use of exotic herbs and leaves, create a sensory symphony that will tantalize your taste buds. Whether you choose to dine at local eateries or renowned restaurants, indulging in authentic Naga cuisine is an essential part of your Kohima experience, offering a true taste of the region’s culinary legacy.

  • Location: Various restaurants and local eateries in Kohima
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For: Smoked meats, fermented delicacies, bamboo shoot-infused dishes, and exotic herbs

9. Pay homage at the Kohima War Cemetery

Kohima War Cemetery

Step into a place of solemn remembrance at the Kohima War Cemetery, a poignant tribute to the brave souls who lost their lives during the Battle of Kohima in World War II.

This beautifully maintained cemetery serves as a symbol of sacrifice and resilience. As you walk through the meticulously arranged gravestones, each bearing the name of a fallen soldier, you can’t help but feel a sense of reverence for their bravery.

The serene atmosphere and well-manicured gardens create a space for contemplation and reflection. The Kohima War Cemetery stands as a reminder of the indomitable spirit of those who fought, and it serves as a poignant testament to the price of freedom.

  • Location: Kohima, Nagaland
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For: Commemorating the Battle of Kohima, serene atmosphere, and poignant memorials

10. Marvel at the architectural grandeur of the Kohima Cathedral

Kohima Cathedral

Set amidst the scenic backdrop of Aradura Hill, the Kohima Cathedral is a true architectural marvel that captures the essence of faith and beauty.

This magnificent structure, also known as the Cathedral of Reconciliation, boasts stunning Gothic-style architecture adorned with intricate stained glass windows and ornate sculptures.

Step inside to witness the awe-inspiring interior, where soft light filters through the vibrant stained glass, creating a mesmerizing ambiance. The cathedral holds immense religious significance for the local Christian community and offers a serene sanctuary for prayer and contemplation.

Climb up to the viewpoint to enjoy the panoramic vistas of Kohima, providing a breathtaking backdrop to this sacred place. The Kohima Cathedral is a testament to human craftsmanship and spiritual devotion, making it a must-visit landmark in the city.

  • Location: Aradura Hill, Kohima
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For: Exquisite architecture, panoramic views of Kohima, and religious significance

11. Explore the enchanting Touphema Village

Touphema Village

Step into the tranquility of Touphema Village, a charming hamlet that offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the Naga people. Nestled amidst picturesque hills, this community-based tourism initiative provides an authentic experience of Naga culture.

Wander through the village, marveling at the intricately designed huts adorned with traditional motifs and carvings. Engage with the locals, who warmly welcome visitors, and learn about their customs, rituals, and daily routines.

Immerse yourself in the rhythm of village life, participating in traditional activities such as weaving, farming, and cooking. Touphema Village is a haven of cultural immersion, where you can forge connections with the locals and gain a deeper understanding of the Naga way of life.

  • Location: Touphema, approximately 41 kilometers from Kohima
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For: Traditional Naga village, cultural immersion, and community-based tourism

12. Witness the intensity of Naga wrestling matches

Naga wrestling matches

Brace yourself for an adrenaline-pumping experience as you witness the electrifying Naga wrestling matches that showcase the raw power and skill of the athletes. The sport of Naga wrestling holds deep cultural significance, serving as a display of strength, endurance, and traditional prowess.

As the wrestlers enter the ring, the atmosphere becomes charged with anticipation. Feel the ground tremble as they engage in intense bouts, showcasing their agility and technique with each strategic move.

The energetic cheers of the spectators create an electric ambiance that fuels the wrestlers’ determination. Attending a Naga wrestling match is not only a thrilling spectacle but also an opportunity to witness the resilience and spirit of the Naga people.

It’s a captivating experience that will leave you in awe of the physical prowess and rich sporting heritage of the region.

  • Location: Various venues in Kohima
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For: Traditional sport, displays of strength and skill, and energetic atmosphere

13. Enjoy coffee and music at the D Café

D Café

Indulge in a sensory delight at the D Café, where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, and the soothing melodies of live music serenade your soul. Nestled in the heart of Kohima, this charming café offers a cozy ambiance that invites you to relax and unwind.

Take a seat amidst the warm and inviting décor as you peruse the menu, which boasts an impressive selection of coffee sourced from local plantations. Savor each sip as the rich flavors envelop your taste buds, transporting you to a world of pure indulgence.

The D Café also hosts regular live music performances, featuring local artists and musicians, adding a touch of harmony to your coffee experience. Whether you seek a tranquil moment alone or wish to connect with friends over a cup of joe, the D Café promises an enchanting blend of music, coffee, and camaraderie.

  • Location: Kohima city center
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For: Cozy ambiance, live music performances, and a wide selection of coffee

Best Time to Visit Kohima

The best time to visit Kohima is during the months of October to March. This period offers pleasant weather with cool temperatures, making it ideal for exploring the city and engaging in outdoor activities.

The winter months of December and January can be chilly, so it’s recommended to carry warm clothing. This time of the year also coincides with the festive season, allowing visitors to witness vibrant celebrations and cultural events.

Another favorable time to visit is from June to September when the monsoon season brings lush greenery and a refreshing ambiance to the region. However, it’s important to note that heavy rainfall during this period may affect outdoor activities and trekking options.

How to Get to Kohima

  • By Air: The nearest airport to Kohima is Dimapur Airport, which is well-connected to major cities in India. From Dimapur, you can hire a taxi or take a shared cab to reach Kohima, which is approximately 74 kilometers away. The journey from Dimapur to Kohima takes around 3-4 hours, offering scenic views of the picturesque landscapes of Nagaland.
  • By Road: Kohima is well-connected by road to various cities in the region. The National Highway 2 (NH2) connects Kohima to Dimapur and other major cities in the neighboring states. You can opt for state-run buses, or private buses, or hire a taxi to travel to Kohima. The road journey to Kohima is an adventure in itself, with winding roads that offer breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys.
  • By Rail: The nearest railway station to Kohima is Dimapur Railway Station, which is well-linked to major cities across India. You can hire a taxi from Dimapur or take a shared cab to reach Kohima. The road journey from Dimapur to Kohima is an experience in itself, as you traverse through scenic landscapes and witness the natural beauty of Nagaland.

Where to Stay in Kohima

  1. Hotel Japfu: Nestled amidst the serene landscapes of Kohima, Hotel Japfu offers a comfortable and peaceful stay. The hotel boasts well-appointed rooms with modern amenities, ensuring a relaxing experience for guests. With its convenient location and warm hospitality, Hotel Japfu is an ideal choice for both leisure and business travelers visiting Kohima.
  2. The Heritage Kohima: Experience a blend of elegance and heritage at The Heritage Kohima. This boutique hotel showcases a charming fusion of traditional Naga architecture and contemporary comforts. The tastefully designed rooms exude warmth and offer panoramic views of the surrounding hills. With its impeccable service and attention to detail.
  3. Hotel Vivor: Located in the heart of Kohima, Hotel Vivor offers a delightful blend of modern amenities and Naga hospitality. The hotel features spacious rooms equipped with all the essential comforts, ensuring a pleasant stay for guests.

Where to Eat in Kohima

  1. Café 67: Located in the heart of Kohima, Café 67 is a popular dining destination that offers a delightful blend of Naga and continental cuisine. The cozy and vibrant ambiance sets the stage for a memorable dining experience, while the menu showcases an array of flavorful dishes. From traditional Naga delicacies like smoked pork to continental favorites like pastas and pizzas, Café 67 caters to diverse culinary preferences.
  2. Bamboo Shoots: As the name suggests, Bamboo Shoots is a culinary haven for those seeking authentic Naga flavors. Situated in a traditional Naga house, this restaurant creates a warm and inviting atmosphere where you can savor the rich and spicy Naga cuisine. From fiery meat dishes to aromatic vegetarian options, each dish at Bamboo Shoots is prepared with care and precision. The use of fresh ingredients and traditional cooking techniques ensures that every bite is a burst of flavors that tantalize your taste buds.
  3. Big Bite: Located in the bustling city center, Big Bite is a popular spot for casual dining and quick bites. This vibrant eatery offers a diverse menu that caters to a wide range of tastes. From burgers and sandwiches to Indian and Chinese dishes, Big Bite has something to satisfy every craving. The portions are generous, and the flavors are bold, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Travel Tips & Suggestions

  • Plan your visit during the Hornbill Festival for an immersive cultural experience.
  • Pack warm clothing as the weather in Kohima can get chilly, especially during the winter months.
  • Carry comfortable walking shoes for exploring the hilly terrain and trekking trails.
  • Try the local Naga cuisine and indulge in the spicy flavors unique to the region.
  • Respect the local customs and traditions of the Naga tribes while visiting villages and cultural sites.
  • Engage with the friendly locals to learn more about their traditions and way of life.
  • Stay hydrated and carry a water bottle during outdoor activities and treks.
  • Don’t forget to carry insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects.
  • Capture the breathtaking landscapes and vibrant cultural moments through your camera lens.
  • Plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your time in Kohima and explore its diverse attractions.

Conclusion -Best Things to Do in Kohima

In conclusion, Kohima is a captivating destination that offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and exciting adventures.

From exploring the picturesque Dzukou Valley and immersing in the vibrant festivities of the Hornbill Festival to savoring the flavors of Naga cuisine and trekking to the breathtaking Mount Japfu, there are endless possibilities for the best things to do in Kohima.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a food lover, this charming city has something to offer everyone. So pack your bags, embrace the warmth of the locals, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the enchanting landscapes and captivating traditions of Kohima.

FAQs – Best Things to Do in Kohima

What are the best things to do in Kohima?

Experience the Hornbill Festival, trek to Mount Japfu, explore the Dzukou Valley, visit the Kohima State Museum, indulge in Naga cuisine, witness Naga wrestling matches, and enjoy the serene ambiance of Kohima Cathedral.

When is the best time to visit Kohima?

Kohima can be visited throughout the year, but the Hornbill Festival in December is a highlight. The months of October to May offer pleasant weather for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

What makes the Hornbill Festival special?

The Hornbill Festival is a vibrant celebration of Naga culture, showcasing traditional dances, music, arts, crafts, and indigenous games. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the colorful traditions and customs of the Naga tribes.

How can I explore the Dzukou Valley?

To explore the Dzukou Valley, embark on a scenic trek through lush forests and rolling hills. The best time to visit is during the months of June to September when the valley is adorned with beautiful flowers.

Where can I try authentic Naga cuisine?

You can savor the flavors of Naga cuisine at local restaurants in Kohima. Don’t miss the chance to try dishes like smoked pork curry, bamboo shoot fry, and axone chutney, known for their unique and spicy flavors.

What can I expect at Naga wrestling matches?

Naga wrestling matches are intense and thrilling, showcasing the strength, skill, and traditional prowess of the wrestlers. The energetic atmosphere and enthusiastic cheers of the spectators add to the excitement of the event.

How can I reach Kohima?

Kohima can be reached by air via Dimapur Airport, which is well-connected to major cities. You can hire a taxi from Dimapur or take a shared cab to reach Kohima. Road and rail options are also available, with good connectivity from nearby cities.

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