Capital of the state of Nagaland, Kohima is located in the North Eastern corner of India bordering Myanmar (Burma) at an altitude of 4900ft (1494m). The town is situated in the eastern parts of the Himalayas and enjoys a temperate climate.
Home to people from various tribes of Nagaland, the region is vibrantly colourful, lush and fertile. Nagaland is a world apart with an unhurried pace of life, with calm, serene surroundings and unpolluted air. Kohima is a picturesque hillside town enjoying many panoramic views of the neighbouring hills.
A house in Kohima
Once an obscure mountain village, Kohima today is a jostling, jumbled city of 70,000 souls. Its narrow, twisting, ill-paved streets are crammed with vehicles of all kinds, and its buildings – from hundreds of flimsy shacks to the grandiose new Police Headquarters on Jail Hill – cling precariously to the steep hillside.
The state consists of seven districts with up to twenty tribes and sub-tribes. The Nagas, inhabitants of Nagaland, are said to belong to the Indo-Mongoloids, a race first noted ten centuries BC, at the time of the compilation of the Indian Vedas.
Languages spoken are Nagamese, Hindi, English, Angami, and tribal dialects belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family.
Kohima was founded alongside the large Angami village known as Kohima Village. The town has earned a prominent place in the pages of history as the place where the Japanese were halted during World War II. Kohima was the point of the farthest Japanese advance into India – held briefly by Japanese troops in 1944 until it was retaken by the British – successfully assisted by the people of Kohima.
Despite the urbanization of Kohima, tracing the events of 1944 is still possible, although many areas of what were then jungle covered hillsides have been built over. Problems encountered by fully-equipped soldiers moving up and down seemingly near vertical ridges under conditions of almost incessant rain and mud to battle it out at close quarters with the Japanese could easily be imagined, and their performance in hand-to-hand fighting was only to be marvelled at. Read about Kohima in Wartime.
Gordon and Betty Graham, along with Robert and Sylvia May visited Kohima sixty years after the battle... Read the full story with pictures.
The military cemetery at Kohima is beautifully maintained under the stewardship of Mr Atuo Mezhur on behalf of the War Graves Commission. The cemetery is a haven of peace and tranquillity, despite being situated in the midst of a bustling township. It was, and remains, a most fitting resting place for those thousands of Allied servicemen and women who died at Kohima more than sixtytwo years ago.
The town of Phek is located east of Kohima. A rural town where weaving is an important cottage industry. The people of the region belong to a various ethnic groups of Mongolian descent – referred to as Kirats in the Mahabharata. Read more plus pictures.