Picture by Johny Shil (@johnyshil)

You know how we sometimes plan trips for over months and it doesn’t work out? But then there are some where you just trust your instincts and decide to give it a go. The Dzukou trip was something me and my girls decided just in time, at the railway station while we were waiting to board the train to Dimapur in the opposite direction. And boy! That was some heck of a trip.

It all began when me and my teammates were supposed to go to Dimapur for some official work. The opportunity to visit Nagaland felt like a blessing and I couldn’t resist the idea of Dzukou Valley. The busy schedule and daily hustle bustle of the city life had already knocked me out of my mental peace. The idea to escape, even if it was for some days, felt exactly like something my soul was searching for. But unsurety loomed over us. We almost gave up on the plan for Dzukou and was about to settle for something less exciting, until me and my friends saw each other’s enthusiastic faces at the railway station. Geared up with each other’ spirit and my bag pack and best travel companion, HOBO40 we were mentally prepared for Dzukou. Amused and overly excited, we rolled our eyes at our other less exciting plan and said yes to Dzukou.

Boarding an overnight train to Dimapur, while bearing a treacherous mosquito biting hour, we finally arrived at Dimapur early the next morning. After a two-day work stay in Dimapur, full of amazing Naga food and people, we finally stomped out for our much awaited Dzukou trip.

Over pumped up and excited, me and my super girls (yes, absolutely no men) decided to book a private cab to Kohima. Well Kohima, as most of you know is the capital of Nagaland. A mere 74.8km road took us 4 hours to reach our destination, you can imagine the condition! And also, it is very important to keep in mind that Nagaland shuts down quite early. So, if you are travelling to Kohima later in the evening, you better book your stay beforehand.  We were aware of it, hence pre-booked for the night a cute cosy stay in the heart of Kohima town. (we aren’t just spontaneous; we are smart too!)

Once we reached our stay at Kohima, we immediately laid dead on our beds. We slept through the battle of excitement for our upcoming trip. Before submitting ourselves to our beds, the four of us had already sorted our plan for the next big day. From Kohima, there are many points from which Dzukou valley could be approached. The Zakhama and Viswema trek trails are the two most known and are easily accessible from Kohima. The Zakhama trail is shorter but is steeper and more adventurous as compared to the Viswema trail, which is longer but relatively easier. To work up the smartness in us, we decided to take the longer but easier trail- Viswema the next morning. The Viswema village is about 22 km from Kohima and cabs are the easiest way to reach there. Sorted and ready for the next day, we snored our way into sleep.

Waking up early is no matter a task for many of us, but not when you are in Dzukou. After having a good breakfast, we left for Viswema at around 7:30 in the morning. Once we reached village, our driver showed us the que to Dzukou. Little did we know that us smarty pants got tricked by the cunning driver, who dropped us midway. The Viswema village is where the trail starts, but there is another 12 km of motorable uphill road which leads to the starting point of the trek. Turns out, we were not that smart after all. But luckily, whilst huffing and puffing on our toes climbing, unaware of the trickster, we met two kind drivers with two empty SUVs. Before they could ask, we hopped on their car and thanked the gods for saving our day.

The trek uphill was a daunting task. Me and my friends decided to ditch our rucksacks and carry only our most trustworthy HOBO40. We had put all our jargons in single backpack and decided to share the load. The trek uphill was around 1400-meter-high and took us 2 hours to reach to the top. Sweaty and out of breath, the moment we reached the top and turned around, our eyes almost cried out to what we saw. There it was, the lush green valley of Dzukou, the one we always heard of. The air, the wind rustling full speed through the valley and hitting our face was a moment to behold. You could just keep running like there’s no end to this magnificent valley. Awestruck and excited we continued walking between the valley for another 2 hours until we reached the guest house, perched atop a hill. Greeted by sweet smiling faces, we decided to spend the night there. The guest house had all the facilities possible. Since we didn’t carry tents, which you could pitch outside the guest house area, we took shelter in one of the two huge dorms. Nights in Dzukou are really cold and the weather is unpredictable. Don’t forget to carry wise warm clothes if you’re planning to visit the valley.

It was the next morning that we decided to take a stroll down the valley. Walking by the stream of water, into the valley, we were engulfed by the beauty of nature. Lush thick green carpeted hills, we felt like rolling down just like in the movies. The valley of flowers amidst nowhere had us in its arms and we heaved in content. That was Dzukou, RIGHT THERE!!

After our exhilarating encounter of the valley and playing on its lap, we were to return back to our mundane lives. Relishing a heck of the trip and bidding our farewell to the cutest hosts, we went back our way down the Viswema trail. We still had time in our hands but were exhausted so we decided to call a cab and head straight back to Dimapur. We caught a train back to Guwahati that very night, with our soul fully fed with valley air, reminiscing.

The Dzukou Valley trek is unarguably one of the natural wonders in the world. It’s a world within a world- filled with nature’s splendour. With the best travel companions and my amazing HOBO40, the trip was one to remember for a lifetime.

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