Today we were set to explore the second largest village of Asia. Kohima is a destination about 40 minutes from Dimapur in Nagaland. After a 3 day hectic schedule at the 2nd peace convention in Dimapur, this was our first day out. An opportunity to get a real feel of Nagaland. All 15 of us are enthusiastic to visit Kohima. One could breathe pollution less pure air so to say, while the cool breeze between Dimapur to Kohima, will keep your spirits high. Thereafter, we stopped for a quick tea break, mere an excuse to be able to enjoy the landscape and try their local fruits. En route was a journey through lush plantations of Pineapple and Bananas farms; believe you me – they taste sweeter than any I have taster before. Natural sweet, perfectly balanced.
Kohima, The Second Largest Village in Asia
We reached the village, where an elderly local guided us to the Birds eye view of Bara Basti – a focal point, that lets you observe the entire village from one single spot. Clearly, the administrators of the village had designed this with an intention to keep an eye on village’s daily activities. Also, it served as a protection aid in the earlier times. The miniature view of the Village allowed us to notice all the hut like houses, and the varied pipe lines spread around with no strategic structure, almost every part of the village screaming out silently for some serious maintenance and preservation techniques.
All of us traveled through the village, and then later toured the market to understand the cultural influence and locals source of living on a day to day basis. Our next stop was the Kohima Museum; a feast to one’s eyes, if history interests you. If history doesn’t interest you, then this place can change your outlook in no time. The artefacts preserved here represent Nagaland in its best form. The less I write about it, the more I want you to experience it yourself.
Catholic Cathedral Church
01:00 PM We entered Catholic Cathedral church located at Arudara Hill, an architectural landmark with a population of over 1500 parishioners, belonging to various tribes, cultural background, linguistic groups, etc. Catholic Cathedral of Kohima is unique in many ways. It’s modern architectural complexity is a surprise. The semicircular building covers one side of the hill, with every bit of construction planned in details. This was to make sure that no space was wasted. While, the façade is shaped in line with the traditional Naga House, the rest of the structure, includes official and residential rooms. The actual work began in 1986 and the dedication and consecration of the church was done in 1991. This is a place of prayer for the Japanese war victims who fought in Kohima in the Second World war battle.
Well and that lead us to our last stop – The Kohima War Cemetery! One of the graves read “When you go home, tell them of us and say for your tomorrow, we gave our today”. The Battle of Kohima, close to its border with Burma, took place between 4th April and 22nd June 1944 and marked the limit of the Japanese Army’s advance into India. Thereafter, they managed to stop the enemy, defeat them and force them into retreat. Visiting this place will give you goose bumps!
The Japanese Invasion of Kohima
Did you know that the Japanese invasion of India was halted at Kohima? Another Grave read; Sleep on beloved your task is done, we will meet again in our eternal home. It brought back a sense of unspoken pride! That moment when we noticed today’s generation reading those quotes with utmost sincerely and concern. The battle of Kohima (during World War II), has been voted the greatest battle fought in the history of the British Army. What more can I say about this magnificent place?! The land blessed by souls that sacrificed more than we can ever be thankful for.