Through The Land of Ao’s – Mokokchung
After a complete tour of Mon district, I left for The Land of Ao’s “Mokokchung “. Travelling in the time of dawn is always a pleasant idea. However, very few Regional Taxis are available for Mokokchung so pre-booking is a better idea. During the time of my journey, I met a police officer and as a stranger, he helped me to find accommodation in few places of Nagaland at a cheaper rate. The beautiful scenic valleys lead to small halts for marketing and refreshments where you may make new friends.
The local companion will never let you feel the stress of the journey. It took around 6 hours to reach Mokochung town. The people greet tourists most warm-heartedly, which makes the place wonderful. People who wish to explore North-Easts should plan for Mokokchung, the cultural and intellectual district of Nagaland.
Mokokchung, a small but beautiful town is out of chaos, which will leave you spellbound. It is surrounded by the lush green forest with serpentine roads and dangerous slopes with a few dotted houses in the landscape. It is stated that Mokokchung has some of the oldest villages in Nagaland. This district is known as the Land of Ao’s “Mokokchung” where you will find their descendants and culture.
The land has witnessed atrocities on Naga people by Assam rifles which later forced the whole community to revolt. The panoramic view of small villages from Town-Park makes a perfect picturesque that can be hung on the walls of your room as a canvas. You will feel as if you are travelling to the heavenly kingdom filled with fresh mountain air.
How to Reach?
Travelling to The Land of Ao’s “Mokokchung ” is well connected with other towns through National Highway. Most of the route goes via Assam. Nagaland State Transport buses run regularly from the main town. Regional Taxis are also available to reach other towns of Nagaland and Assam.
Where to stay?
There are many options for lodging in Mokochung town. You may contact them for booking or go for spot booking. Almost every lodge and hotel have dormitories. Circuit house may also be available for tourists only when it is not booked by government officials.
You may hire a local cab from Mokokchung to reach Longkhum village. The village is surprisingly clean and dust-free, beautiful small houses decorated by flower pots and an altitude where you see yourself above the clouds. The mesmerizing 360-degree view from Jubliee Tower of the entire village with backdrops of the mountain range. This is an offbeat trip to the land of Nagas with vivid landscapes.
You may trek through the natural rock-formations and search for the footprints of Jina and Etiben, the famous love birds of Ao tribe. The stone trail is surrounded by trees on both sides leading to a small jungle trek where you may also witness nest of eagles inside the caves. The trek is simple and easy with an idyllic view of surroundings far from the monotonous and boring urban life. The trails of the hidden village with blue hills were very fascinating.
A 30 minutes’ walk from Mokochung will take you to the oldest and biggest Ao village of Nagaland, Called to be yet another historic basti “Ungma village”. Ungma is one of the most frequently visited popular places having tradition mixed with modernity. The village excites more about Ao tribe’s tradition, customs and their myths.
One of the main attractions of the village is a traditional drum which was used to inform and alert the villagers about meetings, deaths, warning of impending dangers. Enjoy the breathtaking and outstanding landscape from the top of the watchtower. You will also find a sacred pillar in the middle of the village where people used to worship. Communicate with extremely warm and kind-hearted local natives of the village, it will give you a clear perception of their tradition.
After a satisfying meal at Mokokchung town, I hired a cab and left for Mopungchuket. It is one of the cleanest villages of Nagaland with beautifully decorated houses and well-maintained dustbins around the corner, which shows the way how to lead a clean environment. The clean landscape area with colourful seasonal flowers in almost every household, the sacred pillar, the cultural museum and the park are some of the main attractions.
Enjoy boating at Sungkotenem park if you are lucky, you may get a glimpse of deer suddenly appearing from the jungle nearby. The park is decorated with giant artefacts created by the local artist. The cultural museum holds the historic importance of the village showing the barbaric sufferings of the locals by outsiders. While you are in the village, don’t forget to learn about the great love story of Jina and Etiben!