Kohima definitely stood out by the markets, where the exotic and diverse food supply reflects the originality of Nagaland cuisine that includes a lot of meat, eggs, dried fish, eels, snails, worms, mice, frogs… and wasp larvae, still sold in the hive. Always present is the Naga Chilies, consider the spiciest chili in the world,
Regarding vegetables, these markets show a mix of tropical and mountain products. From the warm plains of Assam come the papaya, and the banana, that here, despite the fruit, is also used the trunk and the flower that are used for cooking. From the cool mountain air arrive the mushrooms and bamboo, eaten in sprouts. There’s also a wide variety of veggies, many of which are totally unknown to the European taste.
Kohima is the capital of Nagaland, and as it’s usual in this state of Northeast India, all cities are located in mountain areas, preferably on the top of the hills, stretching by the slopes, along the winding and steep roads, that doesn’t encourage long walks.
Sporadic rain and a constant gray sky paint with dark colours this city of concrete and metal roofs with few attractive features. However, this city can be a good starting point to know the culture of Nagaland tribes and becomes quite popular in terms of tourism during the Hornbill festival, a show of local culture.
Like any trip in Nagaland implies a high level of stress, mental and physical, due to the discomfort and duration of the trip, Kohima showed up as an almost compulsory stop on the route between Mon-Mokokchung-Guwahati.
With a few interesting to see, where I effortlessly avoided the popular War Cemetery and the State Museum of Kohima, what stood out were the food markets, especially the Mao Market… apparently, there is no relationship between this place and the leader of the Communist Chinese Party. In this market, situated in a small concrete building, are sold food products used in Nagaland cuisine, and that are not so easily found at city shops, such as worms and frogs, that here are sold alive… and in a strong activity to get out from the containers where they are sold.
But near this small market extends to another market… or better to many other markets, a sequence of buildings, wood constructions covered with metal roof, where along narrow and labyrinthine corridors and stairs, we go from clothes sales to the food area, losing easily the orientation, requiring some persistence to find a way out… and nothing guarantee that it is the same point of entry!
But in this market, going down to darker and less crowded areas we are surprised by a heavy and disgusting smell, a mixture of blood and shit. It is the area where animals are sold and slaughter, and where chickens and ducks waiting for their turn under the yellowish light of the dim lights that illuminate the place, where is notorious the heavy smell of death.
How to go to Mao Market:
Near the intersection of Midland Colony, there is a bus stand, where stops the buses that pass close to Mao Market, near the Sokhriezie Junction, in Kohima–Imphal Road. There’s no visible sign on the bus neither a number, but just ask the tickets collector that everyone knows the place; the trip costs 10 rupees and takes about 15 minutes.
Onde dormir em Kohima:
Where to stay in Kohima:
Running away from the anonymous environment and from the desert and creepy hotels, Kohima surprised with the Morung Lodge, found by chance when I was looking for Pine Hotel in Midland Colony. Morung Lodge is a real guest house where you feel the family atmosphere and the comfort provided by an environment with personality.
Address: Midland Colony (just after the Hotel Pine).
Contacts: 985 634 3037 (Nino) or 841 481 4214 (Amen)
Email: [email protected]
Wi-fi: 100 rupees/day
Veg dinner: 200 rupies
Where to eat in Kohima:
Being the Nagaland gastronomy heavily dominated by meat, vegetarian meals resume to a monotonous rice, dal and veg curry (locally just called rice) or a Chow Mein, reminding us how close we are from Asia.
Kohima is a good opportunity to try the Naga food with some dedicated restaurants, but where it is impossible to find vegetarian food.
Despite the strong influence of Asian food culture, you can find everywhere Indian snacks such as samosas and puris. At Midland Colony in Kohima, in Mokokchung Road, very close to the Morung Lodge, the small Hotel Taste (no rooms, just food) serves from 6 a.m. delicious samosas, which may be completed with a chai (tea with milk)… too sweet for my taste, but that is a popular choice among the local population as the first meal of the day.
Also in the same area, near the main intersection of Midland Colony (near the Baptist Church), are some restaurants that serve an reasonable rice (rice with vegetable curry and dal) for 80 rupees.
Transport in Kohima:
The city of Kohima doesn’t show friendly for walks, as the city extends over a large area, along busy and noisy roads without proper infrastructure for pedestrians.
For longer distances, there are small buses that run through the city, the “City Bus“. A trip costs about 10 rupees.
How to go from Kohima to Dimapur:
From the bus terminal of the NST run a bus to Dimapur around 7 a.m, but the departure time is not fixed, and the bus starts only when is full, according to the ticket information. However, my trip began with just 2/3 of the passengers, around 7:20 a.m.
Buses from NST (Nagaland State Transport) are in very poor condition, dirty and with some broken seats, especially those that make the shorter routes, as is the case Kohima-Dimapur.
- Bus from Kohima to Dimapur: 120 rupees (3 hours)
Right next to the bus station, there’s a taxis stand, easily identifiable by the concentration of yellow vehicles. The trip costs 220 rupees, in shared-taxi, and takes 2.5 hours. Taxis have no fixed schedule and leave as soon as they are full (which in the morning does not take long), running from 6 a.m. until evening. This service doesn’t work during the night
The road between Kohima and Dimapur is mainly on a mountain road, with the last third of the route already being done in the plains of Assam. The road pavement is in good conditions but with sections under construction and others full of bumps that make this 70 km a tiring journey.