Tourist attractions you want to explore in Kohima

A carpet of lush emerald green, dotted with colourful blooms, Kohima, the capital of Nagaland looks like an artist's canvas. Kohima is called the land of the Angami Naga tribe and derives its name from 'Kewhira' or 'Kewhima', meaning the land where the Kewhi flower grows. The city serpentines along the mountain ranges to the top and offers a pristine and seamless blend of nature and tribal traditions and culture. Set against the backdrop of the Japfu mountain range, the city boasts a rocky terrain and many scenic trails that are ideal for adventure-lovers and thrill-seekers. The Japfu Peak, the second highest in the state (3,048 m), is a trekking paradise as it offers one of the most challenging treks in the region that takes you through picturesque routes. Tourists can also indulge in mountain climbing and jungle camping.

The best time to enjoy the city is during the internationally renowned Hornbill Festival that is a mosaic of culture, festivities, dance, art, crafts, food and music. The annual jamboree, held in December, sees thousands of footfalls and the city truly comes alive during it.

Home to a sizeable tribal population, the most dominant of which are the Angami Nagas, Kohima retains its traditional charm, which can be experienced in its various heritage villages or homestay experiences.

Dzukou Valley

Just behind the Japfu Peak is the serene and scenic Dzuko Valley or the valley of flowers. Offering one of the most spectacular landscapes in the country, the valley is more popular with trekkers for its interesting and challenging trekking circuits. It prides itself for being one of the most-visited tourist sites in not only Nagaland but the entire Northeast India. Perched at a height of 2,450 m, it attracts adventure and nature lovers for its scenic beauty and rich flora. The valley is best visited in the full bloom season when beautiful lilies, aconitums, euphorbias and other species of flowery plants carpet the landscape, making it look like an artist's canvas. To reach this exotic valley, travellers need to take a 4 km steep climb, which holds great appeal for thrill seekers. From Dzukou, travellers can also take a 17 km trek to Viswema Village or a 15 km trek to Zakhama. The valley is located at a distance of 30 km from Kohima and the way is lined with handicraft stores from where tourists can collect local souvenirs as reminders of their trip to Nagaland.


A quaint hill town village boasting ethereal natural beauty, Dzuleke is a beautiful spot to admire natural beauty. This off-beat travel destination lies about 40 km from the city centre and is most famous as the home of the bison. Sheltering some of the unique flora and fauna, the village also invites tourists for its rare species of rainbow trout. A native to the village, it can be found in the stream that flows through the terrain. To sample some local delicacies, make friends with the locals and you might be served a scrumptious meal of fresh crabs and aromatic Binni rice. The hospitable nature of the locals will make your visit to Dzuleke an experience that will stay with you forever. Tourists can also challenge each other to try Bhoot Jalokia, one of the hottest chillies in the world that are found here in abundance.

The village is mainly inhabited by 200 families of the Angami tribe of Nagaland and provides an excellent setting for experiencing undisturbed nature and village life. As you enter the Dzuleke valley, you will come across a few cottages where you can choose to stay.

Hornbill Festival

An annual jamboree that sweeps the whole of Nagaland every December for 10 days is the Hornbill Festival. Hosted at the Kisama Heritage Village, on the outskirts of Kohima, it brings together the culture variety of the tribes of Nagaland. The festival hosts almost 16 tribes of Nagaland along with thousands of visitors, who come to watch the grand tribal spectacle unfold in a mesmeric array of activities.

One of the largest gatherings in the state, the festival sees a sea of tribal community members dressed in red and black hues, coronets, beads, cowries and kilts. Though from a distance they all look the same, at a closer look, one can distinguish the distinct features of each tribal ensemble. While the Sema Nagas don a necklet, called aminihu, that consists of pairs of boar tusks strung together with strings of cane, the Angami wear a precious necklace, called tsubo, which is made of multi-hued glass pieces and bone spacers and pearls engraved with geometrical patterns. In fact, patterns, motifs and colours on shawls and skirts, which differ from tribe to tribe, also tell stories of their history, valour and traditions. They can also be indicators of accomplishments or marital status. Some of the most fascinating performances are the stunning show of the headhunting rituals of Konyaks of Mon, the elegant dance moves of Ao women of Mokokchung, the longest daos (swords with wooden hilts) of Changs from Tuensang, the single-stringed musical instrument (tati) of Chakhesang Nagas of Phek and Angami Nagas of Kohima - made of dried bottle gourd - and the artistic dance of Zeliangs.

A perfect balance between art, history and culture, the extravaganza features extraordinarily beautiful objects displaying the tribes’ history. The performances that complement these are works of art in motion. While what might have been wars in ancient times, are recreated as mock-fight dramas and are huge crowd pullers. With war log drums, blazing shotguns, backswords with bevels (dha), dao and spears, performers stage full-blown mock fights, dressed in warrior costumes. The shape, pattern and carvings on traditional Naga weapons differ from tribe to tribe. Most of the performances are accompanied by live music and rhythmic war cries.

Organised by the Government of Nagaland to promote cultural heritage and encourage inter-tribal interactions, the Hornbill Festival is the best way to experience the rich culture of the state. Some of the highlights of the festival are the traditional Naga Morung exhibitions, flower shows, herbal medicine stalls, fashion shows, Naga wrestling, indigenous games and musical concerts, among others.

Japfu Peak

One of the most difficult treks in Nagaland is the climb to the Japfu Peak, about 15 km from Kohima. Standing at an altitude of 3,048 m, the peak is Nagaland's second-highest and draws trekkers and adventure lovers for its scenic beauty and thrilling trails. To reach the peak, tourists first need to reach the quaint village of Kigwema and start the hike from a point near the Japfu Christian College. The trail is a demanding one and requires you to walk through dense shrubs. It takes around 5 hours to reach the peak and around 4 hours to get back to Kigwema. The Japfu peak is also famous for being home to the tallest rhododendron tree in the world. Standing 109 ft high, approximately as tall as a 9-storey building, the tree holds the Guinness record for being the tallest rhododendron. The peak also offers splendid panoramic views of Kohima and its neighbouring areas.

Khonoma Village

Famed as Asia's first green village, the centuries-old Khonoma Village is a great place to introduce yourself to the Naga lifestyle and unwind in the lap of nature. A visit to the village offers tourists an opportunity to interact with the people of the local Angami tribe and learn about how they have succeeded in creating a more conserved and sustainable ecosystem for themselves. Tourists can also choose to spend a night at the village and experience traditional homestays managed by locals. The village is also known for being one of the cleanest villages of Nagaland, thanks to the availability of dustbins and public toilets.Tourists can also enjoy birdwatching and trekking during their visit to Khonoma. Lying on the outskirts of the city, the village is known for successfully conserving rare and endangered species of animals and plants as well as terrace cultivation on the slopes of hills.

Kohima Museum

The Kohima Museum takes visitors closer to the lives of the tribals living in Nagaland. Built with an aim to introduce tourists to the rich culture and tradition of the 16 tribal groups of Nagaland, the Kohima Museum takes visitors on an enriching tribal experience. The museum is located in Upper Bayavu Hills and displays gateposts, endemic regional animals and birds, statues, jewellery items and pillars. What makes the museum worth a visit is the fact that its exhibits beautifully depict the everyday life of the Naga people. The museum also houses life-size models that depict the costumes, weapons and jewellery worn by the people of Nagaland. If you are travelling with your kids, make sure to visit the museum as it will enhance their knowledge about the rich diversity of India

The State Museum

Given the rich heritage and culture of Nagaland, tourists should definitely visit the Kohima State Museum to get a deeper insight into the history and culture of the tribes residing in the state. Established in 1970, the museum houses rare artefacts belonging to all 16 tribes of Nagaland. From tribal attires and weapons to jewellery and sculptures, the exhibits of the museum leave visitors fascinated. Art-lovers must stop at the art gallery, which displays amazing paintings made by local artists. Lying in Bayavu Hill, around one and a half kilometres from Kohima's centre, the museum also showcases musical instruments used by the Naga tribes. One of the best attractions of the museum is the models of traditional Naga huts known as Naga Morung. The museum also houses a rare collection of precious stones like cornelian and tourmaline along with brass artefacts and silver bells.


Located at a distance of 50 km from Kohima, Tseminyu is one of the most attractive heritage destinations in Nagaland and welcomes visitors with its old-world charm. The quaint little town was once the ancient migration route of many Naga tribes, who headed to the north, looking for new settlements and cultivation grounds. Today, it is home to the Rengmas, a tribe predominantly found in Nagaland and Assam. The town boasts a rich past that is evident in ancient sites of abandoned villages. like remains of graveyards, gravestones and shattered pottery. This town is a mine of archaeological sites and invites tourists from across the country. The native language of Tseminyu is English and most of the village people speak English.

Tuophema Village

One of the most unique and endearing travel experiences you could have in the city is a visit to the tiny Tuophema Village, nestled 40 km away from Kohima. The beautiful village introduces travellers to the rich culture and tradition of Nagaland while they get acquainted with the unconventional ways of living followed by the locals. The pathways of this quaint village are dotted with a variety of wild flowers and cherry blossoms. Tourists can enjoy a comfortable stay in attractive huts and experience the incredible hospitality of the villagers. From relaxing over a cup of tea amidst breathtaking views to trying local cuisines or just interacting with the warm-hearted locals, Tuophema provides a one-of-its-kind experience to tourists. Don't miss the surreal sunsets from the hill top while you are out for a stroll in the woods. One can also head to the village museum to know about the history of the region and admire some beautifully made craft items.

War Cemetery

“When you go home, tell them of us and say for your tomorrow we gave our today,” reads an epitaph written by English classicist, John Maxwell Edmonds, as you walk through the gardens of Kohima's War Cemetery. Set amidst picturesque surroundings, the war cemetery was built in April, 1944, to honour the brave soldiers of the 2nd British Division of the Allied Forces, who lost their lives during the Second World War. The war cemetery houses as many as 1,420 graves and is well-maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The cemetery was built in the tennis court of the then deputy commissioner's residence. This is the exact place where one of the fiercest battles against the Japanese was fought. Popularly remembered as the 'Stalingrad of the East', the battle of Kohima was fought from April 4 to June 22 in 1944. The cemetery is nestled on the Garrison Hill and offers a gorgeous panoramic view of Kohima. The cemetery's top also houses a dome-like memorial which was raised to honour the 917 Hindu and Sikh soldiers who lost their lives in the battle and were cremated according to their faith. A visit to the cemetery leaves visitors absolutely fascinated by the courageous tales of the martyrs who rest here.


Land of the Lotha Nagas, the town of Wokha is a spectacular blend of rolling mountains, rivers, lakes and pristine forests. Perched on the Wokha mountain, the highest peak in the range, the town is surrounded by popular natural landmarks like Mount Tiyi, Doyang river and Totsu cliff. Located around 70 km from Kohima, Wokha offers great trekking experiences and no matter which hill you climb or which forested path you take, vibrant landscapes carpeted with colourful flowers will accompany you!

The history of this town dates back to 1876 when the British came here and made it the headquarters of the Naga Hills District under Assam. You can also experience a mix of cultures in Wokha, including local dance and music. The main festivals celebrated are Tokhu, Pikhuchak and Emong. It’s also famous for shawls, which are handmade using techniques that have been passed through generations.

Biju John
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