The green village: Khonoma, Nagaland
Khonoma the green village of Nagaland has never ending shades of lush greenery all around the village. Situated at an altitude of around 5,320 feet above sea-level; Khonoma is located in Dzukou Valley.
The village of Khonoma is located 20 km west of Kohima and there are multiple ways of getting here. The first option is to hire a taxi from Kohima which is the fastest way of getting to Khonoma and also the costliest way. The other option travellers have is to take the local government bus to the village. The bus frequency is not very good and it is advisable to check the timing of the bus at the bus station which is located in the main town center. The check is better done a day before you plan your trip.
The road leading to Khonoma is mostly uphill and unpaved but the terrain will simply blow your mind away. The first thing travellers will notice is the never ending terraces of paddy fields which have been carved out of the hilly slopes surrounding the village of Khonoma and are a sight to behold. These never ending terraces grow around 40 different kinds of paddy at various elevations. Hiking down to the paddy fields is a must do for every one who visits Khonoma. Flowing right through the paddy fields is a small stream which is also used as the main source of irrigation by the farmers, here.
Khonoma village is inhabited by people from the Angami tribe and in the year 1879 the tribals surrendered to the British army after years of battle and made peace. At the far end of the village is a memorial which was the place where many Nagas were brutally killed. Some were even made to dig their own grave and shot at point blank range.
The village houses in Khonoma are still made out of mud flooring and bamboo walls. All the houses have a small fencing made of stones that surrounds them. In the veranda of each house are benches made of bamboo which are used to sit and to dry clothes. Fire wood is still the chief source of fuel in Khonoma and each house has tones of dried wooden logs kept for the same purpose. A very unique thing in Khonoma is that the tribals bury the dead relatives just outside their house; this is something that they have been doing for years because they believe that the dead should be buried close to home.
Lower down in the village, one will see small stones making a circle which are a radius of roughly 10 meters. In the center of the circle is a bigger square stone slab. This place is called Dahu and it is here where any announcement or village meetings are held. Adjacent to the Dahu is the community kitchen which is used to cook food for the whole village during festivals and events. The vessels used are massive around two meters in diameter and the spoons used are around five feet long.
The villagers of Khonoma are well known all over Nagaland for their stone carvings and just adjacent to the community kitchen are a couple of houses which have craftsmen working on various stone structures. All the stone steps in the village are hand made by the villagers. The village is also well known for their long rifle guns which are around seven foot long and are a sight to see if you manage to spot one in the village. These guns are over 200 years old and were used in many battles by the tribals of Khonoma.
A very interesting structure in the village is an owl carved out of stone which is called and translates to “statue erected by the spirits”. The village of Khonoma does not have any eateries or restaurants of any kind but there are a couple of home stays which provide accommodation and food. These home stays provide very good staying provisions but are not reasonable. The tourism department in Khohima which is located near Raj Bhavan is the best way to book a room in one of these home stays.
Khonoma is a must visit village for everyone who travels to Kohima as this village truly justifies the green village tag given to it. Khonoma is the ideal village from where one can kick start their exploration of Nagaland.