A Travel Guide to Dzukou Valley Trek – A World of Wildflowers and Picture Perfect Landscapes
Northeast India is undoubtedly a box of treasure containing gems and valuable stones of various form and colour. Each of the seven sister states in the North East pocket offers unique experiences for travellers. Unimaginable landscapes, hidden waterfalls and high altitude lakes overlooking vast valleys, what is it that you do not find in the North East Region? Well, I’m sure it is much more than what you can think of.
Discerning travellers, who are always on a lookout for raw experiences, must have surely come across photographs of Dzukou Valley an idyllic destination in Nagaland. Dzukou Valley is truly a nature’s wonder and a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered by the kinds whose souls wander in search of beauty amidst the wild!
In this blog, I have penned down every detail you might need to know before you commence your journey to Dzukou Valley. As the valley is untouched, it is wiser to read well about the place before you start planning. A thorough reading about the valley would help you prepare yourself for the trek to this green wonderland.
- About Dzukou Valley
- Permits for Nagaland
- Get started with your Journey
- 7 Day Travel Itinerary for Dzukou Valley Trek
- Subscribe via Email
About Dzukou Valley
The mesmerising Dzukou Valley lies at the border between Nagaland and Manipur. The valley, layered with a stunning green carpet of grass, dotted with wildflowers, criss-crossed with streams flowing from the mountains is perhaps what paradise looks like. The famous Dzukou Lily blooms during monsoon and makes the valley more colourful and gorgeous. The 2438 metre high valley is said to be located at the bottom of a large crater of an extinct volcano. The valley is located behind Japfu peak, the second highest peak in Nagaland.
There are two routes to reach the valley, one starting from Zakhama and the other from Viswema, both of these villages located not too far from Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. The trail that starts from Zakhama is steep and more difficult to ascend which is why the Viswema route is a more ideal choice. The options of stays, number of days required and route is talked about in detail, below.
Permits for Nagaland
- Indian citizens need to obtain an Inner Line Permit to enter Nagaland.
- The easiest and most convenient option is to apply for the Inner Line Permit online. You need to upload scanned copies of an identity proof and your photograph. A minimum fee is charged.
- You could also obtain the permit by making a physical application from the Nagaland House in the following cities: Delhi, Kolkata, Shillong or Guwahati.
- The permit can also be obtained from the DC Court in Dimapur. But it is advisable to not wait till the last moment when you have the option to apply in prior through online means. You would surely not want to get stranded in Dimapur for a couple of extra days.
- The permit is valid for a span of 30 days.
- Foreign Nationals except from citizens belonging to China, Pakistan and Afghanistan do not need any permit to visit Nagaland.
- However, they need to report to their nearest police station and get themselves registered within 24 hours of their arrival.
- Citizens of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan need to obtain a Protected Area Permit.
Get started with your Journey
Kohima would be the base where you need to start your final journey from. To reach Kohima, your travel would most ideally be divided into three segments:
- Fly to Guwahati.
- Take a train from Guwahati to Dimapur, the nearest railhead to Kohima. You can alternatively fly from Guwahati to Dimapur to save time.
- From Dimapur, you can either take the shared Tata Sumos to Kohima or buses. This segment of the road journey through the hills is really a fascinating one.
Kohima is a lively and vibrant town with chic cafes, pretty guest houses and churches. If you are short on time you may leave for the trek the next day but I’d advise you to spend an extra day in Kohima and explore the town. A leisurely walk through the quiet neighbourhoods, visit to the churches and war cemeteries and treating yourself with sumptuous meals at cosy cafes is what you could indulge in, if you end up spending an extra day in Kohima.
Where to Stay in Kohima
Towards Dzukou Valley – Start your trek
Start early on the day you intend to ascend to Dzukou Valley. As said earlier, there are two routes to make it to Dzukou Valley. But the Viswema route is preferred more as it is considered easier to ascend through this route. Hence, this blog will put out the details of starting the trek from Viswema.
In Kohima, you would find Tata Sumos heading to Viswema, calling out for passengers. A seat in these shares sumos would cost somewhere around 50 Indian Rupees, which is a convenient option for solo travelers or small groups. For larger groups, it is advisable to hire an entire vehicle and ask them to drive a few extra kilometers to drop you all the way till the starting point of the trek in Viswema. If you do not manage to do this, it might be a little difficult to find a vehicle in Viswema if you do not bump into other trekkers who agree to give you a lift. If you find a vehicle from the motorable road in Viswema, this 8 km stretch till the starting point of the trek would cost you about INR 1500. It is better to arrange for a vehicle till the trailhead; else you lose a lot of time.
The first 45 minute to an hour long walk will be steep, taking you through mountains to reach a resting point from where you will walk through the valley. You will encounter mist, sometimes drizzles as you proceed higher. As you reach the resting point in an hour or so, you could take a break to soak in the stunning landscapes and the fresh breeze. An exhilarating journey awaits you from here.
As you start walking forward from this point, the trail will start to get covered with wildflowers, Dzukou Lilies and tall grasses making you feel as if you have landed on a slice of the Garden of Eden. The rest house or camping sites are somewhere around 2 hours from here. As you reach the top, you will be mesmerised to have a look at the verdant valley with a blanket of grass and wildflowers. Do not miss the sunset from the valley. If the skies are clear, you will witness the sun drop down behind the uneven slopes of the valley, creating an atmosphere of mystery and excitement.
Where to stay in Dzukou Valley?
Dzukou Valley has a rest house with two dormitories and a couple of private rooms. These options will only provide you with a roof over your head, in a bare minimum cost (INR 50 for the dormitory and INR 300 for the private rooms). They do provide foams for the floor and blankets at extra cost. The charges are flat 50 rupees per item you rent. Even if you rent a couple of things from them, it is best to carry your own sleeping bag even if you have decided to stay in these facilities. They have basic common washrooms. And there are options for vegetarian meals.
The alternative option is to carry your own tents and camp near the rest house. I am personally more inclined towards this idea as it makes your experience more complete as you stay closer to nature. Cooking your own meal with the backdrop of sun setting against an emerald green valley is not something you experience every day. So you should consider on this idea without a second thought.
What to do in Dzukou Valley?
Explore the valley, the sparkling streams and the natural caves. You should always take the help of a local to approach these caves as the trails are not demarcated. Watch the clouds float and create patterns which seems like an artist stroking his brush on a huge canvas.
Wake up early on the next day to witness the first light of the day. It is a surreal sight you wouldn’t want to miss at any cost.
Bid farewell to the valley
You can start to descend at mid-day. The descend can be made both towards Viswema or Zakhama. If you are comfortable, descending to Zakhama is a better option as it makes you experience both the trails.
To set out from the usual itinerary followed by travelers, put up at one of the guest houses in Zakhama/Viswema. While few of these homestays in Zakhama are listed on airbnb, the options in Viswema are lesser. Midel Homestay in Viswema is listed online. However, this is the best part of traveling to North East. The uncertainty keeps the journey exciting. Just ask around and you would be surely guided by the locals to one of the homestays.
7 Day Travel Itinerary for Dzukou Valley Trek
Day 1 – Arrive in Guwahati
Day 2 – Fly/train it to Dimapur; Transfer from Dimapur to Kohima
Day 3 – Explore Kohima
Day 4 – Start your trek to Dzukou Valley; spend the day at Dzukou Valley
Day 5 – Descend down and stay at Zakhama/Viswema
Day 6 – Zakhama/Viswema to Kohima; Kohima to Dimapur; Dimapur to Guwahati
Day 7 – Fly out from Guwahati
Best time to visit Dzukou Valley
It is mostly the period after the Hornbill festival that most travelers trek to Dzukou Valley after having attended the festival. If you have plans to attend the Hornbill festival then add this trek with your trip.
To talk about best views, it is the early monsoon and post monsoon phase when the valley is most beautiful. The green becomes more prominent with beautiful wildflowers covering the valley and you can also sight the Dzukou Lilies during this time.
In winters, the valley turns white in snow making it a winter wonderland. It is a whole different experience to trek to Dzukou Valley in winter. The temperatures fall drastically so you need to be prepared enough if you are planning to head here in winters.
List of things to carry on the trek
- Sleeping Bag
- Head Torch
- Thermal layers
- Dry food
- Emergency medicines, band aids
- A raincoat or poncho
- Powerbank, backup batteries for camera
- Your identity proofs and photocopies of the same
Things to remember
- The trek is actually of just two days. Most of your days are spent on the road to make it to Kohima. If you have lesser days in hand, cancel out the extra day to explore Kohima.
- It is advisable to hire a local guide to accompany you on this trek if you are going by your own. Else, there are lots of travel companies who organize these experiential trips.
- Jan Shatabdi Express from Guwahati is a train that runs on a convenient time to reach Dimapur. You can easily find Vehicles to head to Kohima on the same day.
- While you are in the valley and also in general, please keep it in mind to use dustbins and not to litter any place.
- On your entire journey, be prepared to adjust with basic amenities. You are traveling to a remote destination. The thrill lies in nature, enjoy that.
- You need to pay a one-time entry fee at the rest house; INR 50 for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners.
- Refrain from carrying food wrapped in plastic packets.
- Carrying a water bottle is a must.
- In Kohima, there are lesser number of vehicles running on Sundays so plan your trip accordingly.
- Do check the Official Website of Nagaland Tourism to know the latest SOPs related to Covid19.
Dzukou Valley will surely be the best retreat for you, to take a break from your regular life. Now that you have the details about the trek, all you need to do is hope for the world to heal.
To know about other destinations in the North East, head to these articles:
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Hailing from the foothill town of Siliguri, Michelle takes keen interest in storytelling, through words and photographs. Having a home so close to the mountains is what she considers a gift. A law student and freelance content writer at present, she often takes time out to travel to the mountains and pen down her experiences. She believes in giving back to the community through volunteering in local projects and strongly supports community tourism.