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Published: September 28th 2011
After procrastinating the plan for six years a bunch of schools friends and I finally decided to go visit our beloved friend at Nagaland and also use this opportunity to explore the unexplored North East India. Luck had favored us this time as we all had either taken a break from our work lives to switch jobs or to study further. We planned a trip for a week, spending four days in Nagaland and three in Kolkata.
I was flying from Bangalore and three others from Mumbai. As there were very limited flights to Dimapur we decided to meet in Kolkata and fly together from there. After a two and a half hour journey to Kolkata, I couldn’t wait to see my friends after so long. It was rather dramatic when they spotted me at the baggage claim section. First a loud scream of joy followed by running toward each other and hugging with intense emotions in the air. We sure made a lot of heads turn as most people found us very amusing. But that dint change a thing.
Our connecting flight to Dimapur was in another hour and a half. The Kolkata Airport by itself is not
very state-of-the-art nor is it clean. After grabbing a bite to eat we sat outside our gate and caught up on all the gossip. The Air India flight was to take off at 11:00 a.m. and reach Dimapur at 1:30 p.m. Surprisingly enough we took off on time but we dint land at dimpaur instead we found ourselves back at Kolkata at 3:00 p.m.!!! It was a one stop flight with the stop at Dibrugarh and a half hour flight from there to Dimpaur. Once we reached the airspace of Dimapur, there was a sudden cloudburst and thus we could not land there. It was horrible news because it meant one day less at Nagaland. After circling the Dimapur airspace for half hour we returned back to Kolkata very disappointed.
To our surprise as we disembarked the flight at Kolkata the Air India ground staff was very quick in reacting for they had arranged another flight taking off immediately to Dimpaur. So we were out of one plane and on to another in matter of minutes. In total we had already spent about 8 hours on the flight since morning. Tired and dirty we just wanted to reach home.
Finally after another two hours of flying we landed at Dimapur with our poor friend waiting for us since morning.
It was a very tiny airport and the weather was very sultry but one could get carried away by the immense greenery all around. We got off the plane and walked to the baggage claim only to realize that one of our luggage was left behind at Kolkata. Spent another good hour at the airport tracing the bag with the airport authorities assuring that the luggage will be delivered tomorrow. It was late evening by the time we left for Kohima.
From Dimapur it was a two and half hour drive through vivid mountains engulfed in fog, water falls all over and beautiful flora and fauna all around. Climbing up the meandering roads, we could spot plenty of pineapple plantations mainly at “Mezepema”. Small wooden stalls stacked with pineapples at every turn. It is said that Mezepema has the best tasting and juicy Pineapples in India. So we stopped, bought a dozen pineapples and continued our journey toward Kohima. Reached Kohima at 9:30 p.m. exhausted from the flight and the drive up hill. Our host family welcomed us
with open arms and they had prepared the most delicious food. Had dinner and with no energy to make it a lively night we all jumped into bed.
The next morning was rather slow and relaxing. Woke up late, had heavy breakfast and took a walk into the countryside of Kohima. Visited the well-known war memorial church. Spoke to some locals who had brought their kids there to play and returned home for lunch. Post lunch we had to drive back to Dimapur to collect my friend’s luggage. It had arrived as promised. Another two hour journey through curving roads left us all dizzy, nonetheless after collecting the bag we were all pepped up for some shopping. Dimapur is known for its clothing stores that were very reasonably priced. Being a bunch of six girls we went crazy shopping there for a good three hours, followed by the dreadful drive back home.
I must mention that all our meals had one constant dish – Pineapple. We just couldn’t get enough of it. The most juicy, sweet and organic pineapples ever. Our host had prepared some traditional Naga food for us. There was Pork with bamboo shoots, Purple rice,
Chilli pork, Boiled chicked, Chutney with the Naga king chilly, dal and variety of desserts. After one heavy and fulfilling meal followed by a big glass of green tea, we started our girly gossip. Six years was a long time to catch up on.
The next morning we did local sightseeing. Visited the War Memorial, followed by Kisanma where the yearly “Hornbill Festivals “is held. The best time to visit Nagaland would be during the Hornbill Festival during the first week of December. Organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments, Hornbill Festival showcases a mélange of cultural displays under one roof.
The Kisanma Village has model tribal huts of every tribe in the Naga region. During the Hornbill Festival the tribes get together in their traditional attire and stay in these model huts for the period during the festival .During our visit there it was un-inhabited and it made it easier for us to move around and see all the huts. We could only imagine how different thing would be if we were there during the festival.
Once we got back home, we wanted to dress up in the tradition attire of Nagaland - The
Mekala and the beads. The Mekala is a two piece outfit. One that you wrap around ur waist. Depending on one's age it could be knee length or anke length. The other piece is worn like a shawl. Each tribe has a unique design on the shawls. The adorn themselve with plenty of coral beads and ivory beads. It sure was fun being dressed like the local tribes. After a fun filled evening of role playing and dancing we retired for the day.
The next day went by lazing around and spending time with family. By noon we had to leave to Dimapur to catch our flight to Kolkata. SO it was Goodbye Nagaland and Hello Kolkata!!!
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