Dzukou valley, Nagaland
Dzukou valley is a famous valley south of Kohima and close to the Nagaland-Manipur border. The Jepfu peak, the second-highest peak in Nagaland forms the background of the valley which is itself located at an altitude of 2438 meters. Dzukou valley is a lesser-known heavenly kingdom for trekkers and travellers in search of solitude among nature. The name 'Dzu-Kou' means cold water. The valley is bordered by two rivers - one is Dzukou and another is Japhu. On the occasion of World Environment Day, 2019 Dzukou Valley has been officially declared ‘A plastic-free Zone’. The area is also well known for rare and beautiful flowers. The rare Dzukou Lily is found only in this valley.
The only way to reach Dzukou Valley is on foot. From Kohima, you have to take a 30-minute drive to Viswema village. The trek starts near the village and can be covered in about 4 hours one way.
The trek from the main road to Dzukou valley is relatively easy and can be undertaken by anyone with reasonable fitness. The first phase of the trek is an uphill journey through the forested path until you reach the Dzukou valley top. Here suddenly the forest gives way to open grassland and small bamboo shrubs spread over as far as eyes can see. A relatively downhill trek from this point will take you to the Dzukou valley guest house. It is a basic accommodation for trekkers to spend the night. A short trek from here will take you down to the beautiful river Dzukou and to the valley of the same name.
The trek to Japfu Peak
Nagaland's second-highest peak, located 25 kilometres South of Kohima town stands at an altitude of 3048 meters. Japfu Peak is also a day trek that can be undertaken from Kohima. From Kohima town, one has to drive to Kigwema village about 17 km away and 45 minutes drive. The trek starts from Kigwema village. It takes close to 4 hours to reach the peak on foot and you must have the good physical fitness to reach there as the trek is entirely uphill. Returning from the top takes much less time as you will be trekking entirely downhill. There is no accommodation in the area so it has to be a day trek and visitors must return by the evening. There is a hut not far from the top with a small water source nearby however it is a highly forested area and there is no accommodation provision here. An overnight stay is not recommended.
Though the trek is difficult, you will be rewarded fully with mesmerizing views from the top. From the peak, you can get a 360-degree view including a view of the Dzukou valley on one side and the village of Kigwema on the other side which was your point of starting the trek. A large part of the Nagaland hills can be seen from this hilltop.