Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chandragiri abode of Chandragupta Maurya

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The inspiration of Aristotle ( 384 – 322 BC ) combined with the valour of Alexander the great ( 356 – 323 BC ) firmly entrenched the Macedonian empire. In the sub-continent under the tutelage of Chanakya ( 350 – 283 BC ) the Mauryan empire was born with Chandragupta Maurya ( 340 – 298 BC ) as the emperor by vanquishing the Nanda empire. In 325 BC it is speculated that Chandragupta Maurya closely observed the Macedonian Army of Alexander in Taxila. The young Chandragupta was ambitious and with fire in his belly to overthrow the Nanda tyrant. After reasonably mastering the technique of Macedonian warfare which had superior edge over the Indian rulers. He approached Alexander the great to invade Magadh and defeat the tyrant king. But Alexander refused to trudge another 1000 km to reach Magadh. Alexander smelt the rebellion in his ranks and had to return because of mutiny in his forces which was feeling homesick.

After the demise of Alexander in 323 BC Chandragupta overturned the garrison stationed at Taxila. He influenced some greek soldiers to join the ranks of his army on promise of huge rewards. The army trained on the lines of Macedonian warfare with field cavalry lead by elephant and horses. The cavalry was fortified with long spears. Chankya joined the ranks as the chief advisor to Chandragupta Maurya. He revealed the Achilles heel of Nanda army. Thus the deadly combination of valour and wisdom defeated the Nanda king and vanquished him in the battle.

Chandragupta Maurya consolidated his empire by overthrowing and subjugating lessor known kings and his empire spread far and wide upto Bangladesh in the East and Taxila in the west. The successor of Alexander in 305 BC Seleucus Nicator wanted to re-capture Taxila. Chandragupta was now well versed with Macedonian strategy of warfare, he unleashed terror into the enemy camp with a superior technique.

The influence of Chankya’s of political diplomacy came in handy to sign treaty with the Seleucus Nicator. He gifted him 500 elephants which would be useful in fighting his own battle in the West. In return Chandragupta Maurya extracted a heavy price of huge territory upto Afghanistan including Pakistan and Balochistan. He was additionally rewarded with marriage alliance. Seleucus Nicator married his daughter with Chandragupta to firmly entrench his alliance. In addition to the treaty he dispatched his ambassador Magasthenese to Chandragupta’s court. Chandragupta gained further friendship milege with Seleucus by dispatching aphrodisiacs to please his consorts.

Chankya laid a firm foundation for the rulers of the Mauryan empire with his treatise Arthasasthra, which was created for Kings to follow for successful reign. This classic political treatise was largely secretive and documentation was restricted. The Arthasashtra was later refined into 150 chapters classified into 15 books. The broadbased sections relate to National security and foreign policy, administration of justice and crime prevention, policies regarding revenue generation, accounting and economic development.

Megasthanes describes the routine of Chandragupta. The king woke up before the sunrise and worshipped. His routine after bathing and breakfast was to attend to his durbar and court to dispense justice to his subjects. He received reports from his spies and sent dictates and directions to his subjects. In the noon he inspected his troops and examined battle fitness of his men. Than in the evening he went for hunting to keep himself battle ready. He maintained a diary of his activities and decision for posterity. One of the greatest legacy of Chandragupta was to ensure that his army was well fed and taken care. The treasury looked after all the needs of his army. Soldiers were not burdened with any thought and they were battle ready with short notice.

Chandragupta was guarded in his approach. He never slept in the same bed twice, and partook food or drinks which was tested for poison by his aide. Maybe this was prompted with untimely demise of Alexander the great at young age of 32. Chankya ensured that Chandragupta devised new techniques to overpower his enemies and avoid traps laid to vanquish him. He impressed his subjects with grandeur and opulence. He used to travel in procession during occasion. He used to ride elephant decked with gold and silver mantaps. He was decked with fine silk robe with gold embroidery. Such was the grandeur of Chandragupta’s reign that his subject felt, here was an emperor who mastered the fine art of aristocracy and feudalism.

One day he happened to meet his future guru Bhadrabahu ( 433 – 357 BC ) who became a spiritual guru. Chandragupta Maurya was inspired by Bhadrabahu to convert himself to Jainism and relinquish the worldly commitments. The guru through his nimitt gyan could forsee the advent of a decade filled with famine in the near future in Magadh empire. He alongwith his followers decided to relocate to Chandragiri which was surrounded by multiple lakes. In 298 BC Chandragupta abdicated his throne in favour of his son Bindusra and relocated to Shravanbelgola.

Chandragupta lived a life of a hermit and worshipped his guru Bhadrabahu. His routine was to recite the slokas, and lead a spiritual life day in day out for a period of 7 years. He followed a routine of climbing the hillock daily and praying and attending discourse of his guru. Bhadrabahu is considered to last expert of 14 Purvas of Jainism. Under his tutlege Chandragupta Maurya attained salvation though Sallekhana. Sallekhana is a jain religious ritual of voluntary death by fasting.

Location : Chandragiri Hillock was natural hideout for people seeking spiritual deliverance. The small hillock was easily surmountable with steps carved on the granite sloped hillock. The steps are so designed that even during rain it provides a superb foothold while ascending and with railings laid out it is more safe. One has to deviate after chennarayapatna towards Sravanabelagola from NH 47 highway proceeding towards Mangalore from Bangalore.


Chandragiri is branded as Chikkabetta by the villagers from ancient times. It has also been variously known as Katavapra( black hill ), Tirthagiri ( signifying teerthankaras ) or Rishigiri ( hillock of saints ). Chikkabetta terminology stuck because of the bigger Vindyagiri hillock on which the mammoth statue of Gommateswara is located. This hillock has been subject to patronage from various dynasties starting with Gangas, Hoysalas, Vijaynagar, and Wodeyars. The hillock is situated 3052 feet above the sea level with a tomb of the jain muni Bhadrabahu.

Rain harvesting with Ponds on the hillock, roughly chiseled steps to ascend with railings provided, many inscriptions on the rock surface, trekking routes to the top for viewing the sunrise and landscape around. This point is also known as the Chandragupta gyaanstal.

There are 14 basadis in Chandragiri and surroundings :

Shantinata Basadi : This Basadi houses the image of Shantinatha which 4 meters in height. The basadi is embedded with four pillars in Vijaynagar style. The identity of the builder is unknown but it can be reasonably assumed some jain patrons during the Vijaynagar empire could have constructed the same.

Suprashwanatha :

Parsavanatha Basadi : The basadi houses 14 feet 6 inches statue of the Teertankara Parsavanatha, which is erected on the Lotus pedestal. The main image with a serpent hood is hewn from a single block of schist. The statues sculpted are of mythological importance. The hall is constructed in honour of the saint Mallisena in 1129 AD, and the chief architect is the Hoysala famed Gangachari. The basadi also elougises the achievement of the poet Mallinatha. This kamata parsavanatha temple is probably associated with Dhanakirtideva according to inscriptions available on the premises.

Manasthamba : An impressive 65 feet tall Manasthamba is installed in the verandah of Parsavanath Basadi. This imposing pillar is the tallest in Karnataka with sculptures of Lakshmi, and other goddesses embedded on it. The pedestal is three layered platform acting as foundation for the huge structure. The pillar was erected by Jain traders in 17th century during the reign Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar.

Kattale Basadi : The name is derieved because of the darkness prevalent in the complex. There seems to be a deliberate attempt to keep the Basti dark in lieu of the harsh sun rays. The ventilation is kept to the barest minimum. This has an internal circambulation unlike other basadis An image of the first thirtankara Adinatha is found in the sanctum. In lieu of the linkage to other basadi such as Parsvanatha and Chandragupta the hall is darkened. .

Chandragupta Basadi : This basadi is dedicated to the emperor Chandragupta Maurya, with a south facing enterance. This basadi is one of the smallest and almost innocuous looking which is attached to Kattale Basadi. Around 12th century a doorway along with sculptures of Chandragupta and his guru Bhadrabahu was added in recognition of their contribution to the huge complex.

Chavundraya Basadi : The architect and patron of Lord Gommateswara statue on the Vindyagiri began the construction of this interesting Basadi. It is acknowledged that his son completed the basadi. This magnificent structure represents the Ganga style of architecture combined with Dravidian architectural features. The out walls of the basadi is plain but inner walls have been sculpted. We find the finest creation of artistic excellence with dexterity. Rows of swans, lions, fishes etc adorn the façade. A large section of the walls are embedded with Thirtankaras, Yakas, Gandharvas, Elephants, and other relief. The architectural style is repeated on the tower. The sanctum contains the statue of Neminatha sculpted by the famous Hoysala artist Gangachari. A narrow stair case is located at the south east corner, which needs to be skillfully tackled to ascend to upper storey, which is not for the weak hearted. A statue of thirtanakara is installed in the upper sanctum. It is here the secret is uncovered that this basadi is constructed by the son of Chavundraya, in dedication of the effort of his father.

Shasana Basadi This Basadi was constructed in 1118 AD by Gangaraja, who has dedicated the same to his wife Lakshmimati. The Kattale Basadi was dedicated to his mother Pokiabbe. The image of teerthanakar Adinatha is seated in the sanctum, in a typical yogic posture. The king Vishnuvardhan granted revenues from Parama for its maintainence.

Chandraprabha Basadi :

Savathi Gandhavarna Basadi : This basadi was commissioned by Shantala, queen of Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. The term is derieved from the epitaph of queen Shantala,who was one of the most charming and elegant one amongst the many co-wives. This basadi was constructed in 1123 AD. It contains the statue of Shantinatha who is considered to be 16th thirtankara. The tower of this basadi has been renovated to prevent crumbling of the structure. There seems to be some amount of vandalism considering Hoysalas heritage of adorning the temples with elaborate sculpture.

Mahanavami Mantapa : This 15 feet long Mahanavami Mantapa is located in front of the Bharat statue and beside Shantinatha Basadi. It was probably constructed for the royalty to be seated to witness the celeberations during Mahanavami.

Majjigana Basadi : It is strange name to adopt. Maybe it represents the common man concept of simple living. Majjigana literally means yoghurt rice. The exterior façade is embedded with flowery designs.

Eradukatte Basadi : The basadi has double staircase to enterence. Probably the name is derived from peculiar format.

Bharatha’s unfinished Statue ; This unfinished statue of Bharat is embedded into the ground. His phallus is covered by an ordinary stone. The statue is preserved instead of being discarded maybe in lieu of the damage or crack caused to the thigh portion.

Iruve Bramha temple : This small temple or mantap is located opposite the Bharat statue.  The name signifies Ant hill.

Bhadrabahu Cave : The last guru of undivided Jainism is honoured with a dedicated cave. It is located outside the Basadi complex. There is a footprint of the saint which is worshipped by one and all. An inscription is visible and is covered by glass panel just outside the cave.

Chandragupta Meditation spot : This spot is located on the hillock which can be trekked easily. It forms the highest point in the chandragiri hillock. The view of the shravanabelagola hillock is beautiful. The magnificient viewpoint of the entire Basadi complex can be viewed in a bird eye fashion. A good view point for heritage lovers to click.

The number of basadis constructed at Chandragiri and its surrounding indicates the patronage of all the rulers of ancient time. It also indicates the eagerness of the kings to contribute to fame of the place. Maybe it served as pilgrimage centre for the high and mighty. The availability of water with huge ponds may be an added attraction for ensuring the construction activity.

In and around Shravanbelagola :

Jinanathpura Basadi : This Basadi is built in Hoysala style by king Vishnuvardhana’s commander Gangaraja. It houses a fine white marbled statue of Parsavanatha. This statue was installed in replacement by Bhujabalayya in 1889 AD. There are number of bronze metal statues of the 24th Teertanakaras.

Mangayi Basadi : In 1335 AD, this basadi was built by Mangavi who was a disciple of Panditadeva. In the entrance there are two beautiful elephants carved with elegance. The temple is built on the Hoysala format. In all 3 images are present inside the complex Lord Mahaveer, Shantinatha and Parsavanath.

Akkana Basadi : This basadi was constructed in 1181 by Acchiakka who was the wife of minister Chandramouli of Hoysala king Ballal II. The sculpture on the tower is beautifully preserved. One can see the teethanakara meditating surrounded by dwarpalikas and elephant one side and cow on the other side.

Siddantha Basadi : This basadi was once a library filled with texts of Siddantha. It appears to have been constructed during the 10th century of the Ganga reign. An inscription in Marwadi language points out to the patronage of businessmen. All the literary texts moved to Moodabidri.

Overall a trip to this heritage destination is an eye opener. The local Jain mutt has accommodation for the devotees, but one can be refused accommodation by the caretakers for reasons best known to them. There one small private lodging Raghu which is just suffice for emergency purpose, otherwise one can drive towards Hassan for a range of lodging options.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NAGALAND - Where English is OFFICIAL language


Nagaland is the only state where the Official language is ENGLISH. This itself for motivation enough for me to plan a visit to Nagaland. The entry point by road, air or rail happens to be Dimapur, which located on the border of Assam. Innerline permits have to be obtained to visit Nagaland. They can be obtained from Delhi, Kolkatta, Gauhati, Shillong, &  Dimapur for 10 days. Dogs are delicacies of the Naga tribe. Some dogs are bred specially for their meat like their Chinese counterparts.

Liquor is subsidized due to excise and state tax rebates. This to an extent helped to quell rebellion among the tribes against Visitors. One can find some locals do seek money from visitors for WATER ( meaning Liquor ) Just keep a 50 or 100 bucks handly, one does not get any poorer after spending 1000s to visit this exotic land. I was taken by surprise by local snatching my Metal electronic pen at Dimapur commissioners office. He returned to find out how the electronic display works, I showed him how to manipulate and make it work. He was extremely happy to learn the technique, one last look at his possession and he returned it with Thanks.
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Battle of KOHIMA

When you go home, Tell them of us and Say,

For their Tomorrow, We gave our Today “

The above Epitaph is credited to John Maxwell Edmond ( 1875-1958 ) which has become world famous as Kohima Epitaph, which was inspired by Greek philosopher Simonides.

It was almost the final offensive by the Japs to invade India from April 4th to 22 nd June 1944 around Kohima. This invasion was code named U-GO and the British would Gone from India if they had met their Waterloo in Kohima. One can witness a well maintained Graves at Kohima which was originally the Tennis court.


DIMAPUR : Ruins of the Medeival kachari Kingdom, Diezephe Craft Village, Rangapahar Reserve Forest, Handloom & Handicrafts Emporium, North East Zone Cultural Centre.

Ruins of Kachar Kingdom :

Dimapur is the ancient capital of the Kachari tribe, whose rule existed before the 13th century AD. Reminiscences of the glory of this kingdom can be found on the ruins that are scattered in and around the town. These ruins give evidence of a culture that probably had a touch of Hinduism, but were predominantly Non-Aryan. besides monoliths, Dimapur contains other ruins of temples, embankments and baths.

DIEZEPHE Craft village :

Located 13 km from Dimapur, Diezephe Craft Village houses expert weavers and craftsmen, deft in the arts of woodcarving, bamboo and cane works. Under the guidance of the Nagaland handloom and handicrafts Development Corporation Limited, this village has taken significant strides in these crafts, in the recent times.


Dimapur houses the Rangapahar Reserve forest (20.20 hectares) in its vicinity. It is home to many animals and birds which make this reserve a nature lover's haven.

KOHIMA : World War II Cemetery, State Museum, Catholic Cathedral, Sales Emporium for souvenirs and ethnic crafts, Gurtel shop, Belho Weavers, Naga heritage Complex at Kisama – Kohima, Heritage Museum and Crafts Centre at Khonoma, Trekking and Camping in Dzukou Valley, The Heritage DC’s Bungalow.

Kohima CEMETRY :

Overlooking Kohima amidst scenic environs, the Kohima War Cemetery is a memorial in honor of those officers and soldiers killed during the World War II. Formerly known as Garrison Hill it is designed as a series of terraces with magnificent stone steps, bearing testimony to one of the most stubborn, close and bloody fighting in the whole of the Second World War.

On the 18 plots of the cemetery, there are 1421 slabs erected in memory of soldiers who were killed in the battle of Kohima. Of these, 1070 were from the United Kingdom, 5 from Canada, 3 from Australia, 33 from undivided India, 2 from East Africa, 1 from West Africa, 9 from Burma and 1 non-war grave. Each grave is supported by a bronze plaque with an apt epitaph. The cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Historians have called Battle of Kohima “one of the bitterly fought battles of the Second World War” and a “battle of Attrition” involving “fierce hand-to-hand combat”. The reasons are many. The most bitter battle ever fought lasted for three months. Only 20,000 of the 85,000 Japanese who had come to invade India were left standing. The cost of the allies has been 17,857 British and Indian troops killed, wounded and missing. Before leaving Kohima the British erected a moving memorial in memory of their fallen comrades:

“When you go home, tell them of us, and say: ‘For your tomorrow, we gave our today.’
The Battle of Kohima may have ended, the cemetery erected, but the scars still remained. Kohima since then has become a place for pilgrimage and reconciliations in the center of the cemetery had paid a special pilgrimage to the Kohima War Cemetery to remember fallen comrades.



Nagaland has had a very turbulent and extremely violent past, so many shots fired here and too many lives lost which is why this Cathedral in Kohima stands out. She is like a falcon spreading out her wings standing guard over the city. She is also a beacon of hope and peace, providing a lot of faith to the people of Nagaland and her visitors.

Located at Aradura Hill, the Cathedral dominates the landscape of Kohima. It has become an important tourist destination and is the largest cathedral in the Asia. As one enters the Cathedral, one can’t help but notice a slab on the right hand side-

“when you enter in here, bring before the Lord, all those who gave their life and all those who will give their all for your better and safer Nagaland”.

This was put up on the request of the Japanese who contributed towards the building of the church. In the spring of 1944, Japanese, British and Indian forces fought for the Garrison Hill during the Battle of Kohima. Thousands were killed. The Japanese survivors of the battle and bereaved families collected contributions towards the making of the Cathedral so that prayers could be offered in the memory of their loved ones. Spread over an area of 25,000 sq feet, it can accommodate 3000 seated and 20,000 if all areas are occupied. A permanent Olive wood crib from Bethlehem’s Olive wood has also been installed. For those wanting to experience an architectural treat of the modern and the indigenous, the Kohima Cathedral is the place to visit!!!


Though the Nagas cannot boast of any written documentation of how they came about, a look at the Nagaland Museum in the state capital can give the visitor an idea about the legacy of the Nagas. Located at Bayavü Hill, about 1½ km from the main town, it houses a rare collection of artifacts of each Naga tribe. The State Museum also has authentic Naga precious stones on display. Here one can see the most valued and expensive necklaces used by the Nagas. They are an assortment of precious stones which include cornelian, tourmaline, coral, core of xancus, ivory and other beads, brass and silver bells. Another interesting display is the Naga Morung/hut models. One can make out that the villages were located on hilltops. Perhaps it was to survey/watch the valley below for approaching friends or foes. The variations in architecture among the different tribes are just amazing. Musical instruments are also displayed. The various instruments give an insight into how music formed an integral part of

Naga life. Log drum, Tati, a single stringed instrument, and other instruments made of bamboo and buffalo horns are used during festivals and other social gatherings. For the art lovers the state museum has an art gallery which houses collections of paintings by different local artists. The themes vary from traditional to modern.

Visiting Hours : Timings: 10 A.M. - 4 P.M. (Closed on all Holidays except Sundays.)


The Government sales Emporium is in the heart of the town. It has a collection of Naga handloom and handicraft items. Some of the more prominent outlets where mementoes can be purchased are GURTEL near the war Cemetery and Belho Weavers near Assam Oil Company (AOC). There are many shops dealing with Naga cultural items in the Super Market area as well.


The Naga Heritage Complex was inaugurated by the Government of Nagaland on 1st December 2003, where the HORNBILL FESTIVAL is celebrated annually. It is a permanent site at KISAMA situated 12 kms away from Kohima on NH-39. The Naga Heritage Complex serves as “Window to Nagaland” (WTN), aims to showcase the state in a single platform, through which one can have a peep into the Naga Heritage. The complex will also house the “World War II Museum”.

The WTN houses the traditional houses or “Morungs”, representing the 16 recognized tribes of Nagaland. Each of these units display the distinctive aspects of each tribe, in terms of crafts, cuisine, cultural activities, etc., as well as provide the market outlets for the many unique local products of all the tribes in the state. It also have a commercial complex for leasing out to local entrepreneurs for handloom and handicraft products, souvenir outlets, amphitheatre, PCOs, internet cafes, restaurants and other entertainment outlets. An added attraction are the “Flower Garden”, for display, sale and exhibition of flowers and plants, Trekking Route to the peak for the birds eye-view of the Heritage complex and her vicinities, Rope-Ways and the Amusement Park are off the offing. The Complex on completion will be opened through out the year, with various activities, shows, exhibitions, displays, cultural events, competitions, eateries etc., which can be enjoyed by all. The facilities at the WTN can also be hired out to interested parties/persons.


Considered as the point of origin of Kohima, it is believed to be one of the largest and populous villages in Asia. According to legends, Kohima village was established by a man called Whinuo hence Kewhira, the original name. Legend has it that after his selection of a place to settle down, Whinuo had a strange dream. He dreamt of an empty habitation but heard sounds of children laughing, playing and of mourning. He was greatly disturbed by the dream. He knew mourning implied death and sorrow but at the same time sounds of children were good omen. The villagers believed that he chose to believe in the good omen and decided to settle down in what is presently called Kohima Village. With a population of 13,705 people, 3965 households (2001 census) Kohima village is divided into four khels – Dapfütsuma [D Khel], Lhisema [L Khel], Pfuchatsuma [P Khel], and Tsütsonuoma [T Khel].

Khel is a distinct Naga institution that brings together several clans within the village community. Membership of a khel is either decided by birth or heredity. This is the most important and effective institution in village governance. No village decision can be taken without a consensus from all Khels in the village.
Kohima Village is an admixture of the past and present. In the olden days it was believed that Kohima Village had seven lakes and seven gateways. Till today a huge gate still stands at the entrance of the village, which is engraved with traditional Naga art and adorned with buffalo horns at the top. Stones of varying sizes and shapes implanted within the compound or skulls of buffaloes and Mithuns adorning the portico reminds the glorious status of the great ancestors who had performed grand feasts of merit.


Situated 30 kms south from Kohima, Dzükou Valley beckons the intrepid trekkers. At an elevation of 2483m, it provides a panoramic view of the mountains, wild flowers, mountain streams and the surrounding landscapes are second to none. There are two facets to Dzükou - During spring, Dzükou comes alive with wild herbs, flowers of varied hues and species dominates the landscape. Adorned with lilies of varied colors, aconitum, enphobias, wild flower, white, red, yellow and pink rhododendrons, yellow Caltha Palustris and white anemones!!!! Since all these various species of flowers bloom at different times every colour enjoys monopoly during different seasons. It is believed that 360 varieties of orchids grow on the hillsides. Dzükou reveals her other face during winter. With brown dominating the landscape Dzükou seems like a featureless desert.

The serpentine stream that provides nourishment to everyone who treads here also becomes frozen in time. One gets the feeling that nature itself is seeking illumination. This is also the valley which has been immortalized by Vikram Seth, an eminent Indian writer of A Suitable Boy fame in the poem entitled “The Elephant and the Tragopan”. Here Dzükou has been described by a different name- Bingle valley- for rhyming and from the conservationist point of view. There are also interesting caves in the low hillocks that cluster inside the valley and are a trekkers’ paradise. Though half of the route has to be approached through trekking of difficult terrain, it is one of the most frequented trekking spots in the whole of North East. A few tourist rest houses are constructed for trekkers.


Japfü Peak, at 3048 meters above sea level, is the second highest peak in Nagaland. Located about 15 km south of Kohima, it makes for an exhilarating scaling and trekking experience. Watch the sun- paint fascinating pictures over the entire sky, as it travels slowly beyond the horizon. Marvel at the ocean of mist at the crack of dawn. October- March is the right time to try this out. The Blythe Tragopan and other hill birds can also be found here. The vegetation type is sub-tropical, broad leaf on the slopes and temperate broad leaf on higher altitudes. Interestingly, the tallest rhododendron tree featured in the Guinness Book of World Records is found in the Japfü ranges. This tree is over One Hundred and Nine feet tall and at the girth of the base measures more than Eleven feet.

Enroute to Japfü and Dzükou, for a true off the beaten track experience one can take a sneak into some Southern Angami villages such as Jakhama, Kigwema, Viswema, and Phesama to get a taste of Naga culture. Also, the terrace fields carved out of the hills while passing through the National Highway 39 will make every trip worth the visit.


Located 20 kms west of Kohima is Khonoma village. Reputed for their courage and valor, it is the village of A. Z Phizo, Father of Naga Nationalist Movement. It has its own share of brushes with history. It was here that the Naga warriors made their last stand against the British in 1879. A simple white pillar commemorates G H Damant, major C R Crook, lieutenant H H Forbes and Sub-major Nurbir Sai, who died fighting the Nagas in Khonoma. The Khonoma gate tells the story of the British infiltration into Naga Hills. The village referred to as “Khwünoria” by the residents is estimated to be around 700 years old and is surrounded by hills that are as high as 9000 ft. It runs along a ridge which is a characteristic of Angami Villages and its domain extends from the terrace rice fields in the valley immediately beneath the ridge into the uplands of the Barail range all the way southwards till the border with Manipur, Senapati district. One of the outstanding features of Khonoma village is the presence of the fort called Kuda which literally means “a place of defense”. There is one fort in each of the three khels (Locality). It is believed that in ancient times the strength of the Khel is measured by the condition of the kuda and the presence of young warriors. Even today each khel takes responsibility for the maintenance of their khel fort. The terrain is hilly - from gentle slopes to steeply rugged crags and the hills are covered with lush forests, with numerous perennial trees. The Village is named after a plant locally known as “Khüno” that grows in the area. The alder tree (Alnus Nepalensis) is found in abundance in this region and Khonoma is famous for its management of jhum fields with alder trees, which fixes nitrogen in the soil and checks soil erosion.

Missionaries have done wonderfully well by keeping the Naga tribes under check with conversion to their faith.

ACK : Info on tourist destinations courtsey Nagaland Nic


cannons ready to fire

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Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Basically i am down to earth, take friendship to its logical end. It is my endeavour to create a wealth of co-operative ventures. Basically being a marketing man i have the acumen to spot winners. I am privileged to travel the length and breadth of the country, courtsey my father, who was with Indianoil, my employers such as Nutrine, Kurl-on, Hindustan Pencils, Prestige, Crystal, Bell Ceramics, Pentel, Sezal, Commander. Currently i am involved in Tourism, Booking Air Tickets, Agent for Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited and Taj Group of Hotels and a numerous hotels across India. Depending on the needs of a traveller i would recommend the destination and accommodation best suited to their budget. Humour takes me on. Let us have a win win situation for all. I love travelling for sake of adventure, photography and discovering the heritage. Life is a journey and let us enjoy our drive. Come share your travel experience on indiabackpacker.