An Insightful Mokokchung Travel Guide by a Homesick Author
A perfect destination may hook your thoughts to affluence resting-places like the Maldives or Switzerland, but a picture perfect destination appeals me to come into existence, a seat of affection voicing “this is where I want to exist”. Mokokchung Town as wearisome the name may sound it takes a while exacting the bona fide tag. It took me a little while getting it right, it would be a shame not to as “I got thy roots from the”. With this blog I call out to you all to come explore my homeland and I doubt you will sing the blues. Oh how I feel mushy writing about it already but let me be your host and help you build castles in air.
So the journey begins…Vroom Vroom*
Home is – as soon as you enter the gate to Nagaland, its winding roads and daring slopes host some exquisite landscape, beautiful terrains, and lush green forest and gurgling streams. The town I call home, Mokokchung is primarily populated by the Ao tribe and is considered to be a cultural and intellectual state. Every season you visit, this hub is always radiant and on cloud nine, it will tickle pink you see happy faces every day. “Little to have but much to give” is what Mokokcung is all about, away from the chaos and mess this destination will leave you speechless, trust me I have heard confessions from many to settle in heavenly kingdom.
Coming to it’s name that often people find hard to pronounce,its not difficult as the construction of the words can be broken into two parts, Mokok and Chung where Mokok means unwillingly whereas the word Chung means a group of people. Thus, the name Mokokchung refers to a group of people who unwillingly departed from their settlement.
…the charm is in the morning sun
If you are an early riser, walk the streets listening cock-a-doodle-do that, pass from one house to another, a chain of alarm, I mean a cha-chain of unity. The local village women come from near and far northeastern villages to market unique spices and insects to help you get all the protein needed, as they believe digesting some insects are good for your body. A common sight to see if you visit the local market in Mokokchung which is a one stop destination to get all the magic ingredients you need. Not for the weak stomach the entire market is filled with tubs of frogs, snails, bees and most popularly silk worms and larvae, this should leave an interesting sight to Mokokchung market to behold. Have you ever tried to eat a bee hive? The soft crunch will leave you speechless and crave more to try out some organic honey. Nagaland believes in organic farming and every meal is freshly served with fish from nearby river or daily market and in this small town of wonder, pork is famously served on every occasion and most of the household has one or two pigpens where they domesticate pigs.
Night time is almost ours…
Calm in morning, fiesta by day and brilliant at night. Mokokchung glitters like a million starts in the night stars sparkling and alluring star gazers. When shops close by 5, night begins to bring out a soft spot for lovers. Some cafes remain open for sweethearts and fiestas going on in families. Mokokchung is filled with short getaways for family and friends. Winters are freezing cold in Mokokchung but if you drop by in late spring or autumn some resorts in Mokokchung offer pool parties and hangouts “Just A Venue” and other resorts like “Metsuben” offer such fun affairs.
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Here comes the season to feast…
If you have not experience wild- feasts like I have what are you waiting for? Eating in groups on a banana leaf placed on a stretched table trying to feast on that pork – Yea that’s how we like to do things. The main annual festivals of Mokokchung district that are popularly celebrated with zest and hard work are the Moatsu and the Tsungremong festivals. The Moatsu festival is celebrated from the 1st to 3rd of May in honor of Lijaba who is the creator of the earth – to appeal for his divine sanction in the cultivation that straight away follows after the sowing season. The Tsungremong festival is another mirthful celebration for harvesting which is held during the 1st week of August every year. However, today Christmas has become the paramount festival and you will find no one who doesn’t celebrate this Christian festival. Christmas is celebrated with great joy and traditionally. It is an occasion where cakes and donuts are popularly prepared and given to loved ones. The Ao’s in Mokokchung leave no stone unturned to celebrate whole heartily. Winter adds a whole new filter in the town, with its biting cold mornings to starlit streets, the best months to visit the state is Christmas and New Year.
Some local delicacies to keep your belly tight…
Mokokchung has a handful of eateries which mainly serves local Naga food; it is a state where non vegetarian items like beef, fats, fish and pork is popularly served although they have many herbs and plants to consume like varieties of beans including Soya and other items like Pumpkins, bamboo shoot and dried yam leaves. Squash is popularly found in Mokokchung; in fact it is so famous that it is found in every household in abundance. Those who don’t believe boiled food to be tasty come and try some of Naga boiled cuisines, Nagaland is a state of rice eaters and they offer you with a rice bowl in every meal. The majority of the Nagas are fond of chilies and are generously fused in every food item, one famous chilli found in the states is Lethal or locally known as Raja Mircha.
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To the budget traveler this is a good news…we walk everywhere
Mokokchung is a small place where everything is at walking distance, consisting of only of one central point seated at the heart of the town, Ao Baptist Church. As a Christian state it is obvious to seek peace and unite as one with God in a Church, Ao Baptist Church locally known as Mother Church or Mokokchung Church is one of the biggest Baptist Churches in Nagaland and hundreds of devotees gather every Sunday for a mass prayer. The church body runs a school, college, youth department, English service and many social service programs. Hence, it can be expected to have a grandeur celebration of any feast or festivals in its premises.
Fashion is calling…walk in style with your head held high…
This town of Mokukchung, once a promise land for peace and tranquility is quickly developing when it comes to fashion and lifestyle. There are many vibrant fashion stores with the latest trend; the young generations are highly attached to the pop culture of Korea and Japan, it can be seen from their fashion statement. Most of the clothing and eateries are directly brought from Myanmar (Burma) being the neighboring country it has access from Manipur’s Moreh district where all the customs posts are held.
…home is where food is…Burrrp!
Mokokchung has its own share of restaurants; the district offers a colorful variety of cuisines with options of Indian, Chinese, and Continental to of course local delights. Some crowd-pleasing restaurants and café popular in Mokokchung are ‘Hungers Heaven’ located in Dilong colony few steps down the church, and ‘Café Lil’ Star’ which is reputed to be one of the best hangout places located in Kitchuzar Complex. Some best-liked restaurants are ‘The Restaurant’, ‘Black & White’, ‘Eat and Fit’, ‘Marigold Restaurant’ to name a few. Also, since Nagaland is a dry state, it is not easy to find alcoholic beverages displayed in shops of Mokokchung, however a local specialty, Zutho known as Rice beer is available and can be enjoyed at some joints.
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Feel the warmth and hospitality of the people….
Mokokchung has lovely people who welcome visitors with warm black tea as a gesture, a cozy environment where the entire family get together in the kitchen. If you visit the North East Indian states you will notice most of them have large kitchens and small rooms. This is believed to bring unity for better communication as kitchen is the only lifeline a bond that unites the family. There are few well maintained Hotels in Mokokchung, the oldest dwelling den is the Circuit House run by the government it is situated on top of the DC Hill. You can get scenic view overlooking the entire town and misty mountains of North East. Another popular accommodation located in DC Hill is ‘Whispering Winds’, with its modern touch it gives a cozy and homely environment. Longkumer Kilem is another Guest House in Mokokchung located near the Old Town Hall, warm hospitality and excellent services are offered to the guests.
…..hills are even more pleasant when it rains…tik tik tikking the tinned roof
The district receives heavy rains and the temperature zone is mostly pleasant. It may not be awesome and precipitous as the Himalayas but the mountains of the Nagaland has a forthright, inviting and lovely appeal covered in green sheet of blanket which produces some of rich flora. Botanically it is one of the richest spots in the world for its alpine and tropical vegetation. The states of Nagaland are blessed with bamboo plants, they are found almost everywhere, some bamboo (D. Gigantium) are gigantic that even a group of strong men required great strength to lift a single piece, including banana tree thriving at an altitude higher than a lofty tropical tree scattered around the lustful deep dense forest.
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Solitude and Peace: A day to hide under covers………
Mokokchung the way I know looks different from every angle but still it is recognizable because of the landscape and its vibrancy. And it is beautiful even on a gloomy day. To kick off your boredom it has many parks around the town but one specifically known and the oldest park in Mokokchung, a park where I grew looking from my home is The Town Park a popular tourist spot. It is an ideal place to relax and enjoy basking in the sun. It serves as a view-point and offers a bird’s eye view of the beautiful town and nearby villages. Spring is noted to be the best time of the year to be in this mesmerized district.
Mokokchung is a land to rejuvenate your soul and energize to tour around and sightsee local villages but how do you tour if you don’t have a car? You take the bus – Mokokchung has all day service of taxis and buses to hop in and out villages to villages. The local buses are stationed in the main town or in Arkong colony IM road.
However getting to Mokokchung is another route to explore:
By Air: The nearest airport to Mokokchung is Dimapur which is about 212 km and Jorhat about 105 km. There are daily flights to these airports from Guwahati and Kolkata from other major cities.
By Train: The closest railway station to Mokokchung is Mariani, Assam about 85 km away although it is convenient to get an overnight bus from Guwahati, Assam that drops you in Mokokchung the next morning.
By Road: Mokokchung is well-connected by road through the National Highway number – 61 that runs from Kohima to Amguri crossing Wokha, Mokokchung, Changtongya and Tuli. Nagaland State Transport (NST) and shared taxis are also common on this route that runs regular from Mokokchung to Kohima at a distance of 162 km.
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