The highest and coldest town in the state: Pfutsero, Nagaland
Located at a distance of 70 kms from the state capital of Kohima is the town of Pfutsero which is situated at an altitude of around 6,998 feet above sea level. This makes it the highest and also the coldest inhabited place in the state of Nagaland. Here, temperatures drop to below zero during the winter nights.
The best way to reach the town of Pfutsero is by hopping into one of the many shared jeeps from either Kohima or Phek. The journey to Pfutsero from Phek and Kohima takes around two to three hours based on the condition of the road. Landslides are a common cause of road blocks during the monsoon and post-monsoon season. The landscape during the drive is simply breathtaking with endless stretches of lush greenery all over the place and the bumpy roads add to the thrill factor of the road trip to Pfutsero.
Hiring a private taxi is not a very good option since the taxi fare is over priced and the shared jeeps which depart from outside Martyrs Park in Kohima make a much more comfortable ride. It is advisable to book your jeep seat a day in advance and always opt for the middle row in the jeep since it’s a lot more comfortable. There is also a daily bus to Pfutsero from the bus stand in Kohima, but the bus is over crowded and leaves very early in the morning.
The first thing travellers will notice when they reach Pfutsero is the drastic drop in the mercury level and that the town is surprisingly very well developed, extremely clean and most of all has very good phone reception.
The town of Pfutsero is inhabited by the Chakhesang tribe. The spoken language is ‘Khezha’ and ‘Chokri’ but English is spoken and understood by nearly everyone in the village. Pfutsero has two main festivals which are ‘Sukrunyi’ celebrated by the Chokri community on January 15 and ‘Tsukhenyie’ celebrated by the Khezha community on May 6.
Glory Peak at an altitude of 8530 feet above sea level is the main attraction in Pfutsero. The peak is just a kilometre from the town and there are steps leading to the top of the peak. The apex of Glory Peak is a flat plateau land which has one side used by locals to celebrate weddings and other grand functions, while the other side has a tree house and view point from where one can see Mt. Himalaya and the Saramati Range. Many villages and parts of Zunheboto, Tuensang and Kohima district can be seen from Glory Peak.
Three kilometres from the town of Pfutsero is a Japanese World War II cave which is worth a visit. Being a Christian town, Pfutsero has quite a few churches and everyone who comes to this town must visit the huge Baptist Church which is located in the heart of the town and imposes its towering presence from any corner of the town. Baptist Church looks splendid from Glory Peak.
Accommodation options in the town of Pfutsero are limited to just a single government circuit house which has a very good location over looking the whole town. But the room rent is not very economical for a budget backpacker. Since, it is the only guests’ house in the town it is advisable to book a room from the tourism department in Kohima to be assured a place for the night.
A local home stay is another option available to travellers but for this to work out it’s important to befriend a local. The Nagas from the town of Pfursero are extremely warm and like making conversation. They get very excited when they see a traveller with a camera. Be prepared to have them pose for pictures. This is the best way to strike a conversation.
The eating options in Pfutsero are limited to only rice hotels which are more like local Naga dhabas which serve very basic food. The meal options include rice with fish, pork, mutton or chicken. The only meal option for vegetarians is dal, rice with lettuce and cabbage.
Like the rest of Nagaland the best time to visit Pfutsero is during the dry months from the end of September to mid-May. The climate is cold through most parts of the year with the mercury dropping to below freezing point during the winter months of December and January.
The town of Pfutsero is a good stop over while driving to the district head quarters of Phek. Pfutsero is a place more for a traveller and less for a tourist.
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