Miles and miles of rolling hills covered with dwarf bamboo plants that looks like covered with green carpets all over, Dzukou Valley in Nagaland is nothing but a small piece of heaven on earth. Northeast India is always a storehouse of such exotic and delightful places like Dzukou Valley are sure enough to take your breath away. I am not a seasonal trekking, you can say I have just started and what a start! Northeast India has never failed to amaze me. Each and every place is just like a well kept place full of mystery and the one who visits it engulfs with its mysterious charm.
Located at an altitude of 2452, above sea level, Dzukou Valley lies in between the borders of Nagaland and Manipur. The place attracts hikers from India and worldwide. It has been in my bucket list since ages. Its a trek for two days but you can extend as once you are there it’s hard to leave in two days.
Away from the crowd and busy life this trek will lead you through rough patch of thick forest with only huge boulders and roots of trees which you are required to climb. Then the main valley starts after trekking for about an hour.Monotonous forests gives way to lush green dwarf bamboo plants cover miles and miles of the valley.
The valleys shows it’s beautiful self each season. Just like the monsoons the summers are equally breathtaking. Monsoons in July fills the valley with wild lillies which is enough to blow off your mind. It’s a visual treat for the eyes and all of your senses.
The internet is full of information about Dzukou Valley trek. But here I want to tell you all about my personal experience- how did I plan my journey, what problems I faced, how was my experience, how did I spend my time there, each and everything.
Our memorable journey to Kohima from Dimapur
It was a sudden decision, none of our trips are planned, most of them we do depending on our current schedule. I and my husband decided to utilise the three days of Diwali holidays we got last year to do the Dzukou Valley trek. We had our tickets done on 26th Saturday, 2019.
But a few days ahead of our journey it started raining continuously in the whole of Northeast. But nevertheless we were determined to commence our journey on the fixed date. We took a train to reach Dimapur, next day at morning 5am. Generally it takes 3 and half an hour to reach Kohima and we wanted to start the trek on that day itself if possible.
But all our plans went in vain since the main highway was blocked and all the shared sumos took an alternative route which was the worst possible road I ever travelled through in Northeast. It took 8 hours to reach Kohima. There were landslides, road blockades, muddy roads and what not!
By the time we reached Kohima we had lost all hope as it was continuously raining and quite obvious it would be raining in Dzukou Valley too. We checked in a hotel near the main market in Kohima and enjoyed the street foods in the evening. Hot momos and sweaters made a perfect combo.
But we were lucky the next day the sun showed bright over us. My friend and co-blogger Upasana Kakati who was at that time teaching at Nagaland University helped me to arrange a tour guide and made things very easy for us with all her proper guidance. Next morning we got ready and our tour manager arrived in his Sumo car to receive us. He asked us to skip lunch in the hotel and to have it on way.
It was a bright and beautiful morning and we were very excited just like reaching the winning point after a long battle with the bad weather and rough roads. He left us with his driver who drove us further and mid-way our main tour guide who would accompany us to the valley joined us.
Permit for Nagaland
The first thing that you need to do is get your permits for Nagaland. This you can collect from Nagaland House. All you need is to take a form from there , fill it and submit two passport size photos and one valid id proof. You can get the permit done the same day in the evening from the gatekeeper who keeps all the permits. Nagaland house is located in Chachal Path, Guwahati, six-mile, Assam.
How to reach Dzukou Valley
Dimapur to Kohima is 75 kms and you can reach there by shared Sumos or taxis at Rs400 per person. But depending on road condition they may charge more. Dimapur is also connected by flights . The road condition from Dimapur to Kohima is unpredictable and you must be ready for the most memorable journey of your life. From the hotel in Kohima the sumo drove us till Vishvema village where we had to make an entry and pay Rs 50 for the passes.
You can trek from two sides either via Vishvewa Village or via Zakhama Village. The former one being much easier in comparison. From Kohima to Vishwema it was around 25 kms. If you are not hiring an agent you can reach both the towns via shared taxis from the AOC bus stand.
You can reach Vishwema via shared taxis or hired ones. From the entry point our car took us towards a road that leads straight upwards, it took around 45min, a drive of 8 Kms untill we reached the main trekking point. In case you intend to trek that 8 kms on foot I would suggest you to start your journey earlist possible.
But when I was there with my husband I could not spot a single local vehicle on road, everything was deserted. Maybe because it was offseason. Not much tourists were there, actually no one. Up in the guest house along with us there were a group of three guys from Mumbai. It was quite peaceful infact. We began the trek at around 10.30 am with full energy and vigour.
Trek To Dzukou Valley
Our guide for Dzukou Valley took all the necessary things like tent, sheets, etc for the camp up there. Hardly we had walked for half an hour when we faced our first hurdle- a landslide. A big chunk of earth has falled off along with trees, so our guide took out a big chopper and cut the branches of the fallen trees and made a way for us.
Had he not been with us we would have to return from that point itself. There was not a single soul whom we could have asked for some help.
After the path got cleared we started moving ahead. We reached a point from where the main trek starts and there are signboards everywhere which make the trail clear ahead. Glad we had our guide who was a great companion at that time. I have heard from those who did the trek earlier that there were snakes all around but luckily we did not encounter any.
Since it had been raining since the past few days so the steps had become quite slippery. Those can’t be called as steps, they were huge uneven bolders, roots and branches of trees interwined to take steps so that we could climb. From that point, you can start seeing the actually Dzukou Valley. A good pair of trekking shoes is highly recommended for the trek. You can see in my Youtube Video more about the trail.
The Valley is maintained by SAYO- Southern Angami Youth Organisation who are giving exceptional effort to keep the valley clean and save the ecosystem. The forest was clean and there were dustbins everywhere to make sure that no plastics are thrown and littered the place. After a trek of one hour, we reached the main point and also that was the last point for all mobile connectivity.
The trail amidst the dwarf bamboo plants was comparatively easy, it was even and all you need to do is just walk on flat lay land.
At times the trail was muddy, in some places the streams or small rivulets were overflowing all because of the heavy rain the previous days. But nevertheless, most of the soil has dried up making it easier to walk. And our guide was there to help us with whatever problem we faced.
He had lost count of how many trips he has made to Dzukou. He has seen it in all it’s seasonal avatars. Just imagine how lucky he is!
Through the whole trek, we saw burnt trees which were due to the forest fire which now gives a gothic effect to the entire Dzukou valley. I saw similar burnt trees in Shangatser Lake or Madhuri lake in Tawang. Solo trekking could be really monotonous and scarry, we were three people but still, we felt like everything was so silent.
The view kept us engaged, as we were completely engrossed in its charm. But for experienced trekkers, the trek to Dzukou Valley wouldn’t be that much hazarduous. I carried Volini spray with me and kept spraying on my shoulders and legs that helped me keep going.As I have mentioned earlier I am not a traveller who goes for trekking or hiking frequently.
Reaching the main Guest House/ Camping point
Almost after a trek of three and a half an hour, we reached the main campsite. It was a breathtaking view from there. It was almost 3:00 pm and we had no time for lunch. In the meantime, our guide set up the tent and we had hot cups of tea and biscuits. After that, we relaxed in this blissful place. In the guest house dormitories are available but we wanted to camp inside a tent.
Blankets and other basic things are available. The guesthouse provides very basic things, don’t expect for hotel room like service. Food is also very simple, they do serve chicken or pork but dried ones cooked in curry and you must taste them.
Carry your own power banks as the power source in the guest house are batteries which most of the time remains uncharged. Also highly recommended tent lights or torch in case you are camping outside.
At night we had a very simple dinner, we were just five guests at that time so we had the food sitting inside the kitchen. They also made a bonfire and we spent a splendid time sitting there. There is something very magical and mysterious about the valley which I cannot express unless you see it with your own eyes.
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Trekking Down the Valley
Next day we woke up every early almost around 5:00 am, the entire valley in front of us was covered by clouds, amidst green lush mountains. We got ready and had a warm cup of tea and started our trek down in the lower part of the valley. The difficulty level was moderate, and it took us one hour to trek down.
The bamboo bushes were covered with water, it was the plants covered in dew that made everything drenched. I suggest you must wear waterproof clothes. I was wearing jeans which almost got wet. The more we trekked down the more the view became exceptionally beautiful in very simple terms.
We spent a splendid time down in the valley. After an hour we started the trek up towards our camp. Back in the guest house, we had cup noodles as breakfast and we took some rest. After an hour at around 10:00 am we started our trek back to the starting point.
The journey downwards was equally thrilling but we were sad as we had to say goodbye. The valley gives pleasureful delights every season so we have planned to make a visit in the monsoon too to see the valley full of lilies.
We reached the starting point where our sumo was waiting to receive us and later dropped us to the main Sumo point. We took shared sumo to reach Dimapur.
Again bad luck strikes while returning as a tyre got punctured and we missed our train to Guwahati. We took another train and reached Guwahati next morning. Our bodies were aching but the memories of the valley made us forget all pain. we were still in astonishment we can’t imagine that such a beautiful place exists on this earth.
Also Read More about Dzukou Valley in Nagaland here –
Few Important Points to keep in Mind
- First, you need to get your permits to enter Nagaland.
- You need to either trek yourself/backpack which will be not that difficult to hire a guide.
- Trekking shoes and waterproof clothes/ raincoats are highly recommended as the weather is unpredictable.
- Carry power banks, although you cannot use your phone but clicking pictures may exhaust the battery.
- Do not litter the clean forest.
- The Trek can be done either from Zakhama Village or Vishwema Village.
- The organisers may restrict the entry of tourists to save the ecosystem.
- When you plan a trip to Dzukou, keep a day extra in hand due to unpredictability of the weather.
- The difficulty level of the trek is moderate to difficult so this is not a place for first-timers. But I suggest you can give a try as it will be really worth it.
- Two days are enough to complete the trek.
- Very basic facilities are available in the guest house.
- Carry your own medicines or other necessities as nothing is available up there.
- People are very co-operative so you must be co-operative too.
- The tent accommodation is allowed only in designated areas only and I suggest to stay near the guest house.
- Carry enough warm clothes because the weather drops at night and it can be really chilly.
Hope you have liked reading the post, also you can watch a Youtube Video on my trek to Dzukou Valley in Nagaland. And don’t forget to like and share.
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