ChaloHoppo from a Monastic River Island to an Alien Valley
Crossing the Brahmaputra to reach a river island that is under the siege of erosion. Observing its fragile beauty and melding with the vaishnavite monks and their traditions. Crossing the mighty river again to delve into the contrasting life of the Nagas and step into their fabled valley.
Reviews 0 Reviews0/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
Seen through the ‘pop- culture’ lens and through the lenses of those who travel, the imagery of monks and their whereabouts has been formed. The monks in this popular representation are surrounded by colourful prayer flags at high altitudes and most of them are draped in red robes.
A contrasting life of monks awaits across the mighty Brahmaputra. One that has no representation in popular media. No fanfare. These monks live in beautiful flood plains surrounded by water on all sides, dotted with mustard fields and wetlands inhabited by a myriad of birds. Mostly embattling the wrath of the raging only ‘male’ river in India. They are clad in white dhotis and kurtas. Some are under the oath of never cutting their hair, some have taken a vow of celibacy while others are married and pass on the skill of traditional mask making through generations.
These are the vaishnavite monks of Majuli, once the largest river island in the world, now eroding at a rapid rate.
The other end of this journey takes you to the Naga hills where hill slopes have been cut to cultivate paddy, resembling images of the terraced farms that now have been associated with Bali (Indonesia). The Angami Nagas of Jakhama village usually rewrite the rules of generous hosting, upholding the flag of the discreetly famous Naga hospitality.
Under the shadow of the recently famed unexplainable landscape of Dzukou valley, Jakhama’s beauty and its people’s warmth have been hidden, but you will experience the best of both these worlds.
- Breakfast and dinner on day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5, day 6
- Lunch on day 2, day 4, day 5, day 6
- Accommodation on twin sharing basis in village stays, homestays and farm stays
- ChaloHoppo Guy as the tour leader
- Transport from Ziro campsite to Dzukou valley and back to Guwahati in a train
- Parking, tolls, driver allowance, driver accommodation and driver food
- All necessary permits to enter Nagaland
- Airfare charges
- All food & beverages cost apart from the ones mentioned above
- Trekking shoes and clothing (Any personal equipment)
- Any camera fees
- Hotel & driver tips if any, since the locals earn low wages, your tips can show your appreciation)
- Any personal expenditure (Toiletries, medicines, etc.)
- Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary/ stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, roadblocks and/or any factors beyond control.
- Anything not specifically mentioned under the head “Inclusions”.
Beginning the journey to Majuli
A long road journey awaits. Good old Potin junction will be back (refer to the Ziro itinerary to know this) till we finally reach Dhunaguri ghat where we board the ferry to Majuli.
The ferry ride is fascinating. Cars, motorbikes, cycles, people, everyone on board one vessel. This one hour ride will give you an idea of the vastness of the Brahmaputra and if you are observant you will see the erosion, the infamous erosion of Majuli in action, slowly and gradually, bits of sandy banks drowning in the river.
Upon reaching the Kamlabari ghat in Majuli, patiently, let people get off and rush to their rides since your transport is waiting for you. The drive from the ghat to your stay for the night will take about 30 minutes. Tonight is about meeting and greeting your host and enjoying some lovely “Porro apong” or “chai mod” as it is locally known. Conversations in the kitchen with fellow travellers as the host’s family prepares your meal is the quintessential Majuli experience.
Head to your room which is also set up for conversations. If you aren’t a gregarious person then get a novel and read yourself to sleep. If you feel energetic then go for a stroll around the village, of course, it is night time so you won’t see anything but you need to give the environs some time to sink in and this might help.
Overnight in a boutique stay in Majuli
Explore Majuli on two wheelers
Today is quite a packed day and we can only give a rough idea of what you can expect. The actual experiences and places to visit can be altered based on how you and your fellow travellers feel on that day.
Your guide, a monk will arrive by 9 am. You are expected to have had your breakfast and taken a shower. Yes, the shower is important because you will be visiting Vaishnavite monasteries. Your two-wheelers will be waiting for you as you begin the journey. The wind in your hair and the avenues of Majuli makes the ride a great part of the experience. Every now and then the guide will give you insights about Majuli that he will also quiz you about it. If you get all the answers right, then a special prize awaits you!
On your ride, you will cover the Uttar Kamalabari Satra where the monks aren’t allowed to touch anyone and keep their hair long. You will be having a ‘satvik’ meal prepared by the monks at Aouniati Satra. Next you will visit the Samuguri village where you meet the mask makers and see a brief demonstration of the kshatriya drama, the pottery village where bare hands are used to create pots (you can try your hand as well) and eventually stop at one of the riversides where you can ask the local fisherman to give you a ride in his canoe, into the sunset.
In between all this, the beautiful wetlands of Majuli make the place favourable for birds to thrive and for you to act like an ornithologist for a day.
Once you are back home (your stay), it’s time to line up the stomach with some freshly brewed “Porro apong” (again, yes!) as a precursor to your lavish Mising thali!
Overnight in a boutique stay in Majuli
Crossing over the Brahmaputra and chugging into Nagaland
This day is dedicated to travel in three modes. Waterway, roadway, and the Indian railway.
In the morning you can take the cycles out for a spin.
Our target is to leave the premises after breakfast by 9: 30 am to catch the ferry that crosses over to Jorhat town. After the 2-hour ferry ride and filling lunch in Jorhat town, we board the train to Dimapur at 2:30 pm. The journey should last about 2.5 hours and you should be in Dimapur by 5 pm.
Don’t be disappointed in Dimapur, we haven’t entered the fabled Nagaland yet. But you are absolutely going to love the stay we have arranged for you and tonight is about enjoying this comfort and rejuvenating for the drive, to be explained in detail later. However, Dimapur as a city always throws some or the other kind of surprise. So, let’s see what’s in store for you guys!
Overnight in a boutique homestay in Dimapur.
To the Naga hills- entering Angami Naga territory
This is one hectic road journey from Dimapur to Kohima.
It would be surprising if you feel like you have been on roads worse than this. No, we aren’t referring mind-numbing hairpin bends. Just infrastructural negligence. This will last for 3 to 4 hours.
But it will be rejuvenating time at Camp Yedikha
At our campsite in Jakhama village, you will feel relaxed and realise the journey was worth the pain. Settle in your tents, enjoy the view on offer from the campsite, sipping hot ‘laal cha’ (red tea). Oh, what a feeling it is!
Post lunch, a village walk through Jakhama village awaits. The village will immediately make you realise how different it is from the Majuli experience or any other village you may have come across. Local youth acting as guides will be narrating the history of the village. Walk around, capture Jakhama, meet the locals and if you are lucky, you may get invited for meals as well.
Get together and have fun sitting beside the stream. At the end of the walk, you would have learnt a great deal about the Naga culture and society. Now it’s your time to breathe and see the sun setting over Jakhama.
Sip on some rice beer let the food settle in and stargaze lying down in your tent. A night to remember, to share with your grandkids!
Overnight in a campsite overlooking paddy fields in Jakhama village.
From the Palace Ridge Road via the Cottage Industries School where one can view traditional wood carving, carpet, and textile weaving and even find items of interest to take away as souvenirs. Moving onto the Flower Exhibit Centre renowned for its cymbidium orchids after this visit Tsuklakhang Royal Chapel on the Palace Compound now home to over 70 younger monks preparing for their higher education in Nyingma Buddhist studies. The Tsuklakhang Trust which was created by Chogyal Wangchuk Namgyal sponsors all of these boys, many of whom come from poor families, giving them not only a place to live and a traditional monastic education but even sends them for “Sheda” studies and on to other monasteries as monks and teachers upon their graduation.
Proceed for a Tour of the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and Dro-DrulChorten via the Gangtok Ropeway. The Ropeway isn’t the best but definitely worth a ride especially if you haven’t experienced one before.
In the evening, we can walk down the Development area road and while away time at the Rachna bookstore and then visit the Backpackers travel cafe.
Phew! Long day huh.
Overnight in Gangtok
Finally the trek to the alien landscape of Dzukou valley
Wake up call!
You will need to begin the day early. Wake up call at 6 am. Post Breakfast, rush to the sumos waiting for you.
Drive to the starting point of the trek
It will take a 45 minute to 1-hour journey from the camp to reach the starting point of the trek through Viswema village.
Trek to Dzukou – steep climb followed by even path
The trek to Dzukou will take a maximum of 4 hours considering there will be the first time and slow trekkers. It starts with a 20-minute walk to the point where the climb starts. It’s a bit steep, slippery climb up the stairs, but only for about an hour. The initial walk is through a thick forest with giant rhododendrons trees.
The path flattens out thereafter making your walk easy unless rains have inundated the path.
6 km of walking on along a plain surface lined with small bamboo plants in a circular path gives passing views of the narrow Dzukou stream and glimpses of what the valley promises.
Reach the Dormitory.
Our abode for the night will be the only dormitory (nothing but a big concrete room with a roof) available at Dzukou. Relax your calves, stretch out and energize yourself with hot cuppa Noodles and Naga style Fried Rice. You can also buy Maggie, egg, and meals available in the kitchen near the dormitory. There are washrooms, feel free to ease out.
Sunset with Laal Chaa.
Admire the beauty Dzukou is while you sip on some ‘laal cha’. Watch one of the most serene sunsets one can come across.
Sit through the cold winds to count the uncountable stars in the sky. Gift yourself the sight of trails of Milky Way (based on Dzukou’s temperamental weather of course).
Sleep tight, it will be COLD.
Drive time: Jakhama to Viswema: 45 minutes largely on steep kaccha road
Trek time: 5 hours on an average, including fast and slow trekkers
Trek grade: easy to medium
Altitude: 8,045 ft
Trek gradient: Moderate. Mostly ascending trails with some steep stretches.
Water sources: 1 tap around 3 km after starting the trek
Breakfast- Bread-Butter/Jam, Boiled egg, Banana, Chai, Biscuits, and Namkeen.
Lunch- Cuppa Noodles and Bread-Butter.
Dinner- Veg: Dal, Rice, Beans and Potato Bhaji.
Overnight in a barebone dormitory in Dzukou valley.
Exploring the valley and heading out of Nagaland
Wake up and Head to the Valley
Wake up by 5 am to catch the sunrise in the valley. So far you have been admiring the valley from the hills; it’s time to head into the valley. The trail down takes about 1 hour. Walk through the mist, look around the dead trees in the middle of the green bamboo sea. Live!
Hike back for breakfast and start the trek back to base
Reach the dormitory, have Wai Wai and ‘Lal Cha’ for breakfast and start the trek back by 10 am. Walk back but don’t forget to look back, these are the last moments you share with the valley. Bid farewell and reach the starting point of Viswema trek where our Sumos will be waiting for your rescue.
Reach Campsite and dip in a natural riverside pool
An hour ride back and some hot food awaits you at this small riverside pool. It’s a short walk/ drive to this stream which is the perfect therapy for your tired body. Take a dip, gulp the food and then head back to the camp as it is pack up time.
Pack. Hug. Bid goodbye.
Drive Time- Viswema starting point to Campsite will take 1 hour.
Trek Time- 2 hours from the valley and Maximum 5 hours to the endpoint. (considering first-time trekkers and slow trekkers)
Distance Covered on wheels – 12km + 15 km
Breakfast- WaiWai and Laal Chaa.
Lunch- Puri Bhaji
Overnight on the train.
Post breakfast at Dzongu, we depart for the airport. Driving time approx. 5 hrs.
Munlom Nature resort
Mazong hotel/ Traditional homestay
30 Days prior to arrival: 50% refund
15 Days prior to arrival: 25% refund
Less than 15 Days prior to arrival : 0% refund
Rainwear, as we are going to visit Dzukou in Monsoons. Dzukou has unpredictable weather but during monsoons, rain is definitely predictable.
Extra-Breathable top and bottom wear, especially for treks.
Extra pair of socks and Waterproof trekking shoes.
Plastic bag/ziplock to carry your phones and wallet.
Trekking shoes that have a good grip as the whole trail will be squishy and muddy. (basic ones will with good grip, but not usual running shoes or sports shoes)
Basic toiletries and tissue rolls (if you need)
Headlamps/Torches with batteries (not compulsory)
Personal medication for allergies etc.
Non-disposable water bottle (compulsory)
Inner Line Permit (ILP).
Quick dry towels.
Please note that the weather is unpredictable it might be sunny and pouring the next minute. Nights will be COLD!
We will have pick up and drop facility to and from the Guwahati airport once you share the arrival time of your flight.
Campsite: Please avoid carrying plastic bottles or even buying sealed bottles while at the venue as want to have a litter-free zone as much as possible.
Food: All the meals from lunch on Day 1 till lunch on Day 3 are covered in the cost.
Service: Though we will try our best to give you great service, please understand we won’t be able to give you hot towels, bed tea and the like.
Roads: The road from Dimapur to Kohima are winding and full of potholes, please be equipped with appropriate medication in case you have motion sickness.
Connectivity: JIO is your best option! But networks like Airtel and BSNL also fare well. Vodafone isn’t the best option.
Please note that Dzukou won’t have any reception.
Littering: Please ensure that you aren’t any trash behind, starting from the smallest things like the wrapper of a ‘Pulse’ candy to bigger and more calorie filled packets like ‘Lays’ etc.
- Height from mean sea level: 7998 feet
- There are two starting points to reach Dzukou valley from Kohima – Viswema and Jakhama
- The valley is shared between the two states Manipur and Nagaland
- The valley is famous for its wide range of flower in every season. But the most famous one is the Dzükou lily.
- The majority of Dzükou valley lies in Manipur.
- This is also called the valley of flowers of Northeast India
- Temperatures in the valley in July can go down to 7 degrees Celsius
A most definite yes, as long as you are okay travelling in a mixed group of other solo travellers or small group of friends.
Yes, Dzukou has all the reasons to be talked about. The valley is shared by Nagaland and Manipur, though the majority of the valley lies in Manipur. The known treks are initiated through Nagaland.
Yes, you will definitely need to have an Inner Line Permit(ILP) to enter Nagaland unless your stay is limited to Dimapur.
Relax! We got your back for that. We can get your Inner Line Permit made at an additional cost of Rs.500 on prior notice at least 7 days before the trip.
Yes, 16 tribes in Nagaland but while on the trip you will get to interact with, Angami tribe, the most dominant one in the state.
The cultural diversity of northeast India is so vast that we can’t blame outsiders for not being aware of communities in the region who are purely vegetarians, so much so that they avoid eating onions( they are indigenous to the region, in case you are thinking about communities from mainland India who have settled here). Having said that, we must admit that the region’s food habits especially in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya are predominantly non vegetarian with a whole lot of red meat based preparations. But the states have warmed up to tourists recently and almost every place you visit will provide the Indian staple diet of rice, dal and sabji, even chapatis if you are lucky. As far as Tripura, Assam, Manipur and Sikkim are concerned vegetarians have decent number of options. Your craving for butter paneer may not be satisfied, but you will do just fine as far as maintaining your health and strength is concerned.
No sign language guys, although the language used is Angami but you can converse with the locals in English. Almost everyone knows English and a few might also surprise with Hindi in an Angami accent.
For starters ‘Keneka Ase?’ means How are you? in Nagamese and ‘NMeza!’ is Thank You!
But we are sure you will have a few more words in your dictionary after the trip.
Your drop back to Kohima or Dimapur gives you options to catch one of the following trains: Train no. 1566, departs at 21:45 and reaches 3: 30 am.
Train no. 15604 departs at 23:04 and reaches 04:45 am.
Train no. 15606 departs at 23:14 and reaches 4:45 am.
Train no. 12068 departs at 16:56 and reaches 21:20 pm.
We have a beautiful Campsite in Jakhama village, with a view of never-ending terraced paddy fields from your tents. The ChaloHoppo Camp Yedikha will be your base camp for the trip.
Congratulations if you are a foodie like us! The package will include meals mentioned in the itinerary. We will make sure to get you a taste of the local Naga cuisine throughout the trip. Get ready for a Raw Naga Experience!
The notes describe the meals included in the package.
Dzukou is the ideal place to make people jealous but sorry to disappoint you. The place is valley is hidden away from the evils of civilizations and has no network. The last point of network available is mid-trek at the View Point.
JIO is your best option! Thanks, Mr Ambani!! But networks like Airtel, Vodafone, BSNL also work but best for calling.
Ahh! The valley has exotic flowers and tempting enough to have in your garden. But NO, you can’t pluck the flowers. There is a strict fine of Rs. 5000 for plucking flowers or carrying them back.
Dzukou is beautiful but sadly you can’t capture the beauty from the bird view. The new rules have a restriction on flying drones in the valley. If caught your drone will be seized and you will have to pay a fine of Rs. 5000.