Travelogue: A Weekend in Mokochung, A Hill Station in Nagaland
We decided to celebrate our 1st marriage Anniversary by going for a retreat to a quiet little hill station in Nagaland called Mokokchung. It’s quiet ‘cos its not a regular tourist hub. The weekend turned out to be quite peaceful amidst the hills, the clouds n friendly, smiling locals. There’s not much to see by way of ‘seeing’. There is a church n a watch tower on a hillock from where one can get a view of the entire town. Nothing more. One can indulge in a bit of shopping. Shops are full of imported goods from Thailand. There are several little stores in the market selling shoes, dresses n bags for the ladies (Incidentally all Naga ladies carry very stylish bags n wear stylish shoes n a smart similar haircut). N then there’s the mall (a small one, not the jumbo one which we see normally) which has some more of these shops. There are also a few shops which sell local handicrafts, costumes n jewelery. I tried one such store but the prices were far too steep n shop lady didn’t look like she would be up for a little bargaining. There’s a good restaurant which serves a wide variety of North Indian, South Indian (surprisingly) & Naga dishes. This is called ‘The Restaurant’ n serves amazingly yummy food.
So if you are fond of activity n adventure then this place is not for you. But if you are fond of nature at its best n lazy days with no agenda in particular then this place is your paradise.
I found this place to be very green n very cloudy ( In fact to me it looked more full of clouds than Meghalaya which literally means ‘The Land of Clouds)…clouds + verdant greenery + mountains = Beauty beyond comparison.
On Day II of our visit to Mokokchung, Nagaland we decided to check out a few villages nearby…actually the plan was to see a museum in one of these villages…as it happened the museum was closed (the museum caretaker went to tend his fields n forgot to leave the keys behind!! Such is the life in Nagaland…laid back attitude…in fact after seeing the Nagas my hubby declared Assamese folks to be very hardworking…which is a joke ‘cos they hardly work…but in comparison!!!…anyways I digress)…so the museum was closed but we ran into a few friendly villagers who not only showed us around but also gave us an insight into the life n times of the Nagas…we checked out 2 villages ..”Sungratsu’ n ‘Mopungchuket’…villages in Nagaland are extremely clean n well maintained, each having it’s uniquely styled, well decorated Entrance Gate, church or two, a well maintained cemetry, a log drum (used during festivals n also to gather villagers in an emergency), small but neat houses…all these set amidst the clouds!!! On the way we stopped by a Resort (Actually more like a Dhaba but the owner called it a Resort…so Resort it must be!!!) for a cup of chai n as the owner informed us ‘special bread’ which turned out to be puris!! Anyways the owner was very friendly n showed us a colorful book on Naga Festivals…this turned out to be one of the best travel experiences ‘cos it was more Hands on rather than touristy!!! we noticed certain behaviors of Nagas that looked bizzarrre from our city bred point of view but perhaps make sense for their kinda lifestyle: Restaurants n shops are closed on Sundays!! Even on working days restaurants are closed by 7 p.m. n shops by 5 p.m. The chief occupation of people (ladies, gentlemen n children included) is chewing a kinda supari known as Tamul which they do non stop while sitting, working, talking, ewwwwwww & I suspect they get up few times in night to get their fill.
Finally I would like to share that what makes traveling in Northeast (be it Nagaland, Meghalaya, Assam) unique n a wonderful experience (when compared to other places of similar Natural Beauty) is:
~No Beggars pestering you for food/money
~No sellers trying to hardsell the souvenirs
~No Traffic–No Traffic Jams
~Absolute cleanliness ( no piles of polythene, open drains etc)