Khonoma village, located in the Dimapur district of Nagaland can be a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s so clean with greenery everywhere that for all good reasons, I call it my perfect heaven on earth. I shall never regret the fact that I visited Khonoma Village two times in consecutive months.

The first time I visited it was during Hornbill Festival, in 2022 last year. I was then traveling solo. Back came I showed all the photos to my husband. I told him how much I loved this quaint village and that he immediately planned a trip for us together in the month of January 2023.

To begin with this complete guide to Khonoma Village in Nagaland I must mention that this village got the title of India’s “First Green Village” in the year 2005.

But the journey from a place where hunting was once considered sacred, a show of their valor and a way of life to India’s first green village were indeed a very difficult one. It was not a day’s work or two. But years of long effort and dedication.

It is not done by a single person but the whole community of the Angami tribes is also the dominant tribe of this village and various organizations came together with collective efforts that reaped this title for them.

So let’s read about the history of this village and the people of Khonoma who are known for their courage and bravery.

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How to reach Khonoma

Khonoma village is situated just a distance of 20 km from Kohima town. A day’s time is enough to explore Khonoma. We hired a local taxi to take us to Dzuleike and then to Khonoma for Rs3000, which I think was a nice bargain.

It is recommended to hire a taxi. On the way back you may not get proper communication. We started at morning 8 am and returned to Kohima at around 5 pm. 

After exploring Dzuleike we reached Kohima at around 1 pm. We already booked our guide who was there waiting for us to take around. The guide charge was Rs500. I shall mention the guide and his contact details at the end of this post. So keep reading.

I met him when I visited Khonoma for the first time during the Hornbill festival. Simply liked his way of narrating the details about this village and he showed me around in a very elaborate way. 

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Entry fee for Khonoma Village walk

Just near the Baptist Church, you will notice the Khonoma village map and also the entry office. The office is also used as a tourist information center. But it remains closed on Sunday.

A fee of Rs100 was charged when I visited during Hornbill Festival. There is also a cafe just near the office and some small shops from where you can buy gift items, wild apple chips, and other gift items and edibles. 

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Our guide and my husband walking up the stairs to the Baptist Church in Khonoma, Nagaland

A brief history of Khonoma Village in Nagaland

Nestled amid high mountains, Khonoma is a small village that has some 1600 households and which gains fame as an Angami Warrior Village. The British troops began encroaching on the borders of Khonoma in the 1800s.

In 1832, the first British expedition to the Naga Hills was led by Captain Jenkins and Captain Pemberton. But the British invasion received severe resistance from the brave Naga warriors.

The main reason behind the British invasion of Nagaland was to find a route from Manipur to Assam via Nagaland so that they can protect their subjects in Manipur and Assam from any kind of Burmese invasion.

But soon the British officers realized that it wasn’t that easy to rule these Naga Hills. The Angami people of Khonoma fought fiercely against the British soldiers. They attacked and destroyed many of the outposts.

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Animal horns displayed outside a house in Khonoma

Many of the memoirs written by various British officers posted in Nagaland have recorded that they received the fiercest resistance by these Naga warriors right from their entry till 1880.

 To punish the villagers or the rebel houses the British used to burn them down on their departure.

Even in Khonoma while I was village walking with our guide I noticed the existence of many forts which were meant to keep an eye on any intruders.

These forts got destroyed but were reconstructed multiple times by the valiant warriors of Khonoma. But in 1874 after Assam, many Naga territories also came under British Colonial rule.

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But the brave men of Khonoma were not meant to be stopped. Later, after “The Battle of Khonoma” a verbal treaty was made between the British government and the elders of Khonoma that resulted at the end of the war.

The American Baptist Mission started laying efforts to convert the people of Khonoma to Christianity. But it was not that easy as the people were deeply rooted in their Angami teachings and culture.

This also explains the presence of so many churches in Khonoma and a lot of them taking Christianity as their religion.


The Journey of Khonoma to India’s First Green Village

Angami Tribes who are the main residents of this village are known for their bravery and courage and great martial skills. Their main sport was hunting which was also a display of their bravery.

From quite a young age they were taught the tactics of warfare and headhunting which was also a favorite sport for the elders of the village.


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The Ultimate Dzukou Valley Trek in Nagaland, India


The Naga head hunters were considered one of the fiercest of people on these hills. Hunting was not just a game but also considered a sacred ritual and a means of livelihood for these people. 

Khonoma is home to many endangered species like the clouded leopard, Asiatic Black bear, and Hoolock Gibbon. It is also home to several avian species.  

When in 1993 Trapogan bird which is a large pheasant and also Nagaland’s state bird was killed at an alarming rate during Christmas village people pondered over their hunting activity seriously.

They decided to look at this matter seriously. Resolutions for the conservation and protection of wildlife were made by banning hunting and logging.

Khonoma is also the only place where its residents declared a part of their land as a conservation reserve- The Khonoma Nature Conservation and Trapogan Sanctuary. 

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Beautiful houses in Khonoma

In order to make Khonoma a village green and sustainable the first step taken was to ban hunting and logging. The “Khonoma Green Village Project” (KGVP) was launched on 25th Oct 2005 by the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The main goal was to promote eco-tourism and a sustainable environment in all the villages of Nagaland.

To keep the village clean the Khonoma Students Union (KSU) and Khonoma Youth Organization played a very important role. They organize weekly cleaning drives in the entire village. 

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Walking through narrow lanes as we did the village walk

Now the residents have become so aware that even while walking around the village if they see trash on the streets they make sure to pick it up and throw them in the dustbins. There are dustbins placed everywhere around the village.

Once a month sanitation drive is also carried out in the village. In schools and also homes children are taught to maintain cleanliness. 

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An Angami woman busy weaving inside her house

The villagers have also adopted terraced cultivation where rice and other vegetables are grown without using any kind of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It is said that some 60 different varieties of rice are cultivated in Khonoma.

When the rice cultivation season is over they grow garlic, potatoes are other such vegetables in these terrace lands. Jhoom cultivation is also widely practiced in Khonoma. 

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Khonoma Village tour with our Guide

After informing us about the history our guide Martin took us for the village walk. We started from the Baptist Church and took the stairs exactly opposite the Church. We entered through a huge concrete gate. Our guide told us that this gate is centuries old and the original gate got demolished. There were sun and moon painted on the gate which is considered sacred among the Angamis.

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As we entered to the Village through this gate. Even this was reconstructed many times.

The Angamis are basically nature worshippers. There is a mountain nearby Khonoma which resembled a deity for the Angamis. When it’s cloudy the people believe that God is displeased with them and when it’s sunny and bright they consider it a blessing from Him. 

Next, we visited a huge raised platform which is a place dedicated to renowned figures of the villages. These people made great contributions to the betterment of the people and sometimes conduct mass feasting in the villages and the place is named after that person.

We also visited two forts that were constructed during the Colonial era. The initial constructions got destroyed and over time have been built many times.

The forts are also used as watch towers to keep an eye on the enemies entering the village. If you go up you shall see that these towers provide a view of all the entry points in the village.

Morungs at Khonoma

There were a few Morungs inside the village which I noticed while doing the village walk. I saw Morungs for the first time at Hornhill Festival, in 2022.

Morungs are dormitories or learning places used for young boys during the old days. They used to learn all kinds of life skills, warfare techniques, etc. Morungs are an integral part of Naga tribes.

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Angami Mooring in Khonoma

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Each tribe has its own Morung. Here young men are also imparted various traditional, moral, cultural teachings, art, dance, etc by elder men which helps them in leading a better life.

I noticed huge wooden plates and spoons that the people used for community feasting in these Morungs. Women were strictly forbidden in these Morungs in the older days. 

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They are also taught various traditional methods of farming, cultivation, crafting, warfare skills, and a lot more.

In the Morungs, you can see rifles, elephant skin used as shields, and Buffalo and Mithun’s horns displayed as trophies. They will give you a glimpse of the valourous life of the Naga warriors.

There were also different kinds of bamboo baskets hung which were used in farming, collection of seeds and crops, handicraft items, photo frames, etc. 

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The Angamis in Khonoma Village are also skilled in the bamboo craft and weaving industry. I visited a house where a woman was busy weaving a male garment. We also purchased some homegrown garlic that was organic and had a lovely aroma. 

We also came across a center point where a huge circled space is dedicated to various community gatherings. During various festivals and sacred occasions of the Angamis, men, and women dressed in their traditional attire gather here for celebrations.

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A place dedicated for Community Gathering

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We saw another such place where many senior ladies had gathered. I asked my guide what were they discussing. He told me they often gather here to discuss women’s issues or other random day-to-day matters. 

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In the end, we walked all the way to a house where resided the family of a head hunter. It was indeed spectacular to see the interior which was decorated with skulls of all the animals that were hunted down by the men of that house for generations. Skulls of buffaloes, monkeys, Mithun, etc.

I shall write a separate post on this visit. It does demand an exclusive post. 

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Elephant Skin which was used as a shield displayed outside a Mooring
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Different kinds of handmade bamboo baskets hung inside a Morung in Khonoma

The highly recommended Paddy Field walk 

Yet another exciting activity to do in Khonoma is the paddy field walk. During Hornbill Festival it is highly recommended. The walk takes you through the terraced paddy fields that you can see from Khonoma Village.

It starts from the base of the paddy lands. It takes around an hour to complete the walk. The trek is easy to moderate. You can take a rest in between and click some awesome photographs. 

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Breathtaking view of the Terraced Cultivation in Khonoma

During Hornbill Festival you can also enjoy locally cooked food and fermented juices, wine, etc while sitting in the middle of the paddy fields. But this arrangement is exclusive to Hornbill Festival. You can also try on their traditional costumes and try your hand at the gun-firing activity. 

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Resting huts made on the middle of the paddy fields where farmers can rest after completing their harvesting or other farming work

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My guide Martin conducted this tour for me when I visited during the Hornbill Festival, in 2022. He charged Rs500 for the walk. We drove down an inclined path in my car and once we reached the base the walk started from there. You can also contact my Guide Martin at this phone number-  9362157499

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A woman busy in the fields, clicked while doing the paddy field trek
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You can spot lots of Monolith stones while doing the paddy field walk

The best time to visit Khonoma

The best time to visit is during the dry seasons, winter days are warm but nights are very cold. You will see greenery everywhere from March to August. During the time of rice cultivation, the paddy fields look amazing. The weather is very pleasant all throughout the year. Though it’s best to avoid the rainy season like any other place in Northeast India. 

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Beautiful view of the Khonoma Village

There are lots of homestays that have come up recently in Khonoma. It would be a mindblowing experience to stay for some time in Khonoma which we are planning to do soon on our next trip. 

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Khonoma as seen from the viewpoint just before you enter the village via the main gate.

That was quite an exhaustive post. Hope it helps you to plan your trip to Khonoma Village in Nagaland.  Khonoma is indeed a place worth visiting. The journey from headhunting to making it a model conservation reserve Khonoma and its inhabitants have done a commendable job. 

Thanks for reading and do share this post with your loved ones. 



About Author

Ishani Nath, is a full time teacher and a passionate Blogger. She loves to write. With a classic taste in Fashion, a foodie and a bookworm she is happy in her own way. She loves travelling, gain knowledge and spread it to the world. A die hard handloom lover she also loves to adorn anything and everything handmade or handwoven.


  1. avatar

    Every time i see about Hilly areas it reminds of my home town Darjeeling.
    beautifully covered article. wish to visit someday

    1. avatar

      Thanks for reading. I too like Darjeeling I have visited three times there. Its really beautiful.

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