A lively town located 160km north of Kohima, Mokokchung is the base for visiting the
A lively town located 160km north of Kohima, Mokokchung is the base for visiting thenearby Ao villages. According to local lore, the Aos sprung from ‘Longtrok’, meaning ‘six stones’. After founding and staying in ‘Chungliyimti’ village – in present-day Tuensang District – they crossed the River Dikhu via a sturdy cane bridge, leaving some people behind.
The people who that did go ahead came to be known as ‘Aor’ or ‘Ao’, meaning ‘going’ or ‘gone’.
The main festivals amongst the Ao are the Moatsu and the Tsungremong. The former, Moatsu, is celebrated in the beginning of May in honour of Lijaba – the creator of the world – to ask him for blessings after the busy sowing season. The Tsungremong festival is a harvest festival held during the first week of August. Of course, in contemporary times, Christmas and other Christian festivals have become important amongst the Aos.
One of the most fascinating Ao villages in Mokokchung’s vicinity is Longkhum, which is 17km away. It has a small guesthouse as well as a quaint museum. Also visit the villages of Ungma, Impur, Moponchuket, Chungtia, and Aliba. These trips are best organised by tour operators; try Greener Pastures (Cell: 09435747471; W thegreenerpastures.com).
WHERE TO STAY AND EAT
Hotel Metsuben (Tel: 0369-2226373; Tariff: ₹700–3,500) and Whispering Winds (Tel: 2229743, 2226935, Cell: 09615166202; Tariff: ₹1,200–1,800) are good options in Mokokchung.
Tuensang, 115km southeast of Mokokchung, is the centre of a region inhabited by six different tribes – the Khiamniunhan, Chang, Yimchunger, Phom and Sangtam.
From Tuensang, it’s a two-day drive to Thanamir, from where one can trek another two days past small villages to Mount Saramati, which is Nagaland’s highest peak at 12,500ft and located close to the border with Myanmar. ■
When to go November to March
Tourist and Permit offices
Nagaland Tourism Office, Kohima, Tel: 0370-2243124, 2223680
Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, 29, APJ Abdul Kalam RoadNew Delhi, Tel: 011- 23013751, 23794680, W tourismnagaland.com
Inner Line Permits
These have to be be obtained (carry valid ID) from either address above
STD code 0370
Location In the Mokokchung District of northern Nagaland
Distance 152km N of Kohima
Route from Kohima Take NH61 to Mokokchung
Air Nearest airport: Dimapur (225km/ 6–6.5hrs), is served by Air India. Independent taxi costs ₹6,000–7,000; shared Sumo taxi charges are ₹450 per head. Check if flights are operational at Jorhat airport (Assam) which is closer
Rail Nearest railhead: Dimapur (212km) is connected to Guwahati
Road From Dimapur head down NH39 to Kohima from where you get on to NH61 to Mokochung via Wokha. You can also access it from Mariani (Assam) as its just 85km away Bus There are a number of direct services by private and state buses (7hrs) which ply this route daily. Shared Sumos are also available from Mariani