The commercial capital: Dimapur, Nagaland
Situated on the banks of the Dhansiri is the bustling city of Dimapur which is also the largest city in Nagaland and is also the commercial capital. The city of Dimapur also houses the state’s only airport and railway station thus making it the main gateway to travel around Nagaland. Dimapur derives its name from the Dimasa Kachari dialect. Literally, Dimapur − dima means great river, and pur means city. Altogether it means ‘City of Great River’ in Dimasa Kachari dialect.
Travellers have multiple options of getting to Dimapur, the first option is to take a flight or plane to Dimapur from either Guwahati, Kolkota, Imphal or New Delhi. The flight option is the fastest way of getting in to Nagaland but is also the costliest. The next option is to take a bus or a train from Guwahati in Assam. The train is a more preferred option by most travellers as it makes the journey a lot more comfortable. There are plenty of trains that ply between Guwahati and Dimapur throughout the day. There travel time between Guwahati and Dimapur is around 6 to 7 hours.
The city of Dimapur is inhabited by the Kachari Naga tribe and the official language like the rest of the sate is English and Nagamese. Since it is the commercial capital; Hindi is spoken and understood by nearly everyone in the city.
Bushy is the main festival celebrated in Dimapur and is a post harvest festival which usually falls in the month of January every year. The festival is celebrated generally, after all the hard earned grains of paddy are harvested, threshed and stored in the granaries. There is never a fixed date and place for the celebration of the festival but the Kachari Nagas prefer celebrating it when there is moonlight as it is believed to be auspicious.
Dimapur was also the ancient capital of the Kachari tribe, who ruled over the city before the 13th century AD. Reminiscences of the glory of this kingdom can be found in the ruins that are scattered in and around the town. These ruins give evidence of a culture that probably had a touch of Hinduism, but were predominantly Non-Aryans.
There are various tourist attractions in Dimapur, such as the Chumukedima village which is an ancient village famous for its various scenic beauty and waterfalls. The town of Medziphema, Kuhuboto, surrounded by villages like Sakipheto, Alato, Aoyimkum, Darogarjan, and Nihoto are visited by many tourists. The Kachari ruins are popular for various temples, reservoirs and tanks that belonged to the Dimasa Kachari kingdom.
The best way of getting around Dimapur is by hiring an auto rickshaw. Travellers have an option of hiring a private rickshaw or taking a shared rickshaw to their desired destination. Auto rickshaws ply to every nook and corner of the city.
Dimapur has plenty of accommodation and eateries to meet the needs of all kinds of travellers. The hotels and guest houses are a lot more economical as compared to the ones in Kohima and the rest of Nagaland. The restaurants also serve a variety of tasty Indian and Chinese cuisine.
For those interested in shopping, the city of Dimapur has plenty of traditional Naga handicraft and hand-loom shops scattered all around the city. These shops sell wooden mugs, spoons, birds and animals crafted out of wood and also local tribal attire. A must buy are the various tribal ties for men and the earrings for women.
On the other side of the railway station is a bustling flea market known as the Hong Kong market which is well known for its imported clothes and shoes. Bargaining is a skill that will come very handy while shopping here.
The best time to visit Dimapur is during the winter and summer months i.e. from October to May. It is advisable to avoid visiting Nagaland during the monsoon since it rains very heavily. This makes travel around the state very hard.
Dimapur is the entry point into Nagaland and is considered less beautiful and culturally deprived compared to other places in the state. A night halt in the city is an ideal way to bit adieu to the land of Nagas.