The complete guide to Dimapur
Dimapur is Nagaland’s largest city with a history that goes back to the Middle Ages. Formerly the ancient capital of the Dimasa Kachari kings during the 10th–13th centuries, today it is a bustling trade and commercial centre that still displays several vestiges of its glorious past. From ancient fort ruins to unusual totemic memorials, temples, trenches, embankments and baths, Dimapur is a window to a rich heritage and culture. Being the only flat tract of land in an otherwise hilly region it also has the only airport and railhead to the remote North Eastern state, making it a gateway to Nagaland.
What to See and Do in Dimapur
Named after the great River Dhansiri running through it, Dimapur translates to ‘Great city by the river’, (di-river, ma-great or big, pur –city). The remains of the ancient fort’s brick gateway at Kachari Rajbari Park, offers testimony to the architectural legacy of the Kachari Dynasty. Particularly noteworthy are the phallus-like carved stone megaliths, some 20ft tall, commonly called Chessman Figures that hint at elaborate rituals of the fertility cult besides excavated trenches and the royal tanks like Rajpukhuri, Padampukhuri, Bamunpukhuri and Jorpukhuri. The scenic Green Park run by the State Horticulture Department is a local haunt for boating and leisure. For a hands-on scientific experience that may fascinate children, visit the Nagaland Science Centre.
Dimapur weather is similar to what it is like in other parts of India, hot during summers and pleasant to cold during winters. When on your holiday here, take a short drive to popular attractions around Dimapur like Sumi Town Baptist Church (1km), venue of The Children Music Festival, scenic Triple Waterfalls in Chumukedima Village (24km) and the nearby Rangapahar Reserve Forest or the Nagaland Zoological Park (6km) showcasing the local flora and fauna.
Where to Eat
With sixteen main tribes in the state, the Naga table packs a variety of traditional indigenous dishes and a share of common staples. However, many restaurants offer familiar north Indian items, Chinese and Tibetan cuisines since visitors assume that Nagaland is notorious for its unconventional non-vegetarian fare. Few know about the many vegetarian dishes to be relished here. Although authentic local food is best sampled in homes, a few restaurants have it on their menu.
Bambusa, 6th Mile NBDAIf you want to try traditional Naga cuisine or pork and beef, this is your place. Great for a quick bite, momos or snacks, its semi-open gazebo-like ambience with bamboo décor and adjacent bamboo craft shop make it a big draw.
Ethnic Table, Zeliangrong ColonySafeguarding its reputation as the winner of the first Naga Chef contest in 2013, this place serves authentic cuisine to die for. A changing menu spotlights seasonal dishes and exotic foods like snails, silkworms, wood worms and more. Try the smoked pork samathu, smoked fish in axone (fermented soya bean), pork with anishi (fermented yam leaves), akibiye (yam and mustard leaves), chicken and bamboo shoot, pork ribs, purple black rice with Naga dal.
Modern Apron, Duncan BastiA decent restaurant and café best known for its pork and chicken sizzlers and satays, there’s also a range of good appetizers.
US Pizza and Tandy’s Fried Chicken, 4th MileIf you’re not up to local food, there’s familiar pizzas, burgers and chicken wings to be had at this highway pit stop.
Zephyr Lounge, Namos ComplexFor a pleasant pan-Asian dining experience, try this sophisticated lounge. Get the hibachi (fried rice with dry beef cooked with bamboo shoot), mint and basil chicken or wild beef in brandy sauce.
Beijing Restaurant, Forest ColonyOne of the oldest institutions in the city, the place is famous for dishes like hakka pork and prawn wafers.
Where to Party
With Nagaland’s Music Task Force (MTF), the State-initiative to promote and encourage music as a profession, you can catch regular gigs organized by the immensely talented local folk. To really get under the skin of Dimapur’s music scene, peek into Upstairs, a small but lively performance space and club for great music, a cool crowd and good food. Everyone knows about it but nobody wants to share this little secret! It’s easy to miss this hidden gem located unobtrusively in an apartment on Walford Road. Keep up with them on Facebook to keep abreast of the calendar of events as various music shows are held through the year that showcase incredible talent.
Where to Stay in Dimapur
Aiers Enclave, Vikiye ColonyA boutique guest house in the heart of Dimapur. It is run by Ms Aier with 12 spacious rooms offering impeccable hospitality, luxurious comfort and service—a rarity in India’s remote corners.
Niathu Resort, ChumukedimaNiathu, meaning ‘sunrise’ in the local Angami language, is a tranquil oasis, barely five minutes from the Dimapur airport. Set in a great location near the Chathe River away from the town centre, it offers all the trappings of luxe life. There are deluxe or premium rooms and exclusive alpine chalet-style suites to choose from. A spa, salon, gym, children’s park and pool, round out the offerings.
Noune Resort, SeithekemaPart of the Niathu chain of hotels, the beautiful lake resort 10km from Dimapur sprawls over 500 acres against the backdrop of the Patkai mountain range. Settle down for a break with creature comforts and blissful views.
Hotel Tragopan, NST ColonyFor a no-frills budget stay with clean beds, washrooms and basic conveniences in the heart of town this is ideal. With good access to shopping and sightseeing, a cosy in-house restaurant offers local dishes on request.
What to Buy in Dimapur
Dimapur’s sprawling Hong Kong Market is the local favourite for imported goods and branded apparel and accessories from Thailand, Korea and Myanmar at reasonable prices. If you like something more tribal and ethnic, visit Diezephe Craft Village, 13km from Dimapur to witness artisans working on bamboo, cane crafts and handloom weaving that have endured for centuries. This is the best place to pick traditional yet, atypical souvenirs. Several shops in the city and market areas have vibrant handicrafts, shawls and stoles, exquisite beadwork trinkets, decorative Naga spears, handwoven jackets and bags, besides eco-souvenirs made of wood, bamboo and cane.
6E & Cheeky
Top tourist attraction and one of the biggest annual bashes, The Hornbill Festival in the first week of December is a fantastic annual seven-day cultural extravaganza of feasting, dancing, music and games that also features The Hornbill Rock Contest. It takes place near the outskirts of Kohima at the Naga Heritage Village of Kisama, 86km from Dimapur.
|3rd Mile, Dimapur, Nagaland 797115||DMU|