Have you ever wondered what it would be like to trek through lush greenery but without any trees – to get to the peak to watch the sunset behind a cloudy mist? Well, if you have desired this, then Dzukou Valley is the place for you! Let’s get to know more about it.
Dzukou Valley: Hidden Gem of Nagaland
The Dzukou Valley, situated on the Nagaland-Manipur border, is a beautiful park full of breathtaking flowers and amazing vistas. The Valley is seated at a height of 2452 metres. Dzukou, which translates as “cold water” in the native tongue, refers to the cool stream that flows through this quaint park. This region of undulating hills, renowned for its natural beauty, is unlike any other you have ever seen. Imagine this: there are hardly any trees in this heavily covered Valley! Despite this, the park’s route, which crosses the Manipur and Nagaland borders, is incredibly lush and colourful due to the numerous wildflowers that cover the park’s meandering terrain. Several uncommon and threatened flora and fauna can be found in the Valley. The Dzukou Lily is one of them. Nagaland’s state bird, the Blyth Tragopan, can also be found here.
The route, designated as a plastic-free zone to conserve the region’s abundant biodiversity, also takes you to some of the region’s smaller settlements. This “Valley of Flowers of the East” is home to many flora and fauna and is devoted to saving them from being endangered. In 2019, the state government turned this beautiful region into a plastic-free zone – no plastic is allowed beyond the Valley’s beginning point. If you have plastic items on you, you can deposit a security fee that can be recollected later at the starting point of the peak.
The Dzukou Valley is a popular trekking and camping point among tourists and locals. We will also explore the trek and the two routes of the same.
The Unique Flora at Dzukou Valley
The Dzukou lily is a prominent flower you will never find anywhere else! In the summer of 1991, Hijam Bikramjit from the Life Sciences Department at Manipur University made the initial identification of the Dzükou lily in the park and gave the bloom his mother’s name – Lilium chitrangadae.
The monsoon season brings out the flowers, and the first two weeks of July are when they are at their best. But even if you miss the flower season, it remains stunning throughout the year and provides more than just vibrant flowers for Instagram-worthy shots. Whether or not there are flowers in the park, it’s a lovely location to take a stroll and offers many possibilities for rock climbing enthusiasts to work up a sweat. Local visitors from Nagaland and Manipur know and adore it, but foreigners and domestic travellers from further out have yet to discover it. Visit now while you can since there will undoubtedly be a surge in tourism to northeastern India in the upcoming years.
Dzukou Valley Trek: Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood
The Dzukou Valley trek is the most sought-after activity by those who trod the untrodden path of Nagaland. Two paths take you through the beautiful vegetation in Nagaland – one through Viswema and another through Jhakhama.
The Jhakhama path is a difficult climb but cuts off on your time. The Viswema path takes more time but is easy to walk. You can choose any of these two paths to begin your journey into the beautiful wild – you can also choose to walk up one path and descend the Dzukou Valley via another.
The Viswema path is the most recommended path due to its ease and the opportunity for capturing natural beauty throughout the long trail.
The Viswema Path
- You can reach the path’s base by travelling on an 8-kilometre motorable road. For this, you can either hire a cab or hitchhike. You can choose to walk this trail as well, but it is time-consuming.
- After you reach the base, the climb to the park takes roughly 45 minutes to an hour. It is a steep climb up the stairs and can be slippery depending upon the weather you’re travelling in, so be wary.
- You can explore the opulent greenery of the place as you walk towards the rest house for a stay or food. The walk to the rest house will take about 2 hours, and you will witness the fair of flowers. We will give more information about the rest house and camping; keep reading!
- You can stay overnight here in camps or in the rest house to be one with nature on this journey that will heal you through the beauty of nature.
The Jhakhama Path
- You can walk this path into the Dzukou Valley or descend back from the park via this path to have a complete experience of this hidden gem of India.
- The motorable road here that takes you to the trek base is 3-4 kilometres long and takes 4-5 hours if you walk it. From then on, you will ascend the stone steps towards the Valley.
- The path is lined completely with stones and stone steps, and it will take about 3 hours to reach the flower-ridden park. If you love adventure and are fit for a demanding trek, this path is for you! Although it is a short path, it takes longer if you slowly and safely trod through the rocks.
- This path will take you directly to the rest house first, and you can check in and have food here before exploring the natural grounds of the Dzukou Valley.
Dzukou Valley Entrance Fee
The entry fee to the Valley is INR 20 for locals, INR 50 for Indians, and INR 100 for foreigners, which you must pay when you reach the rest house.
Staying at the Dzukou Valley
You can stay at the rest house allotted by the local government or bring your camping materials to set up a tent for the night here.
The Rest House
The rest of the house has dorm and private rooms that will be allotted to you based on your preferences. You can also opt for food here with both food and stay or just food or stay. For those who wish to camp,
The dorms here cost 50 per person, while the private rooms cost 300. The food charges are excluded, and if you wish to have food here, you will be charged according to the prices on the menu.
You can opt for blankets, mattresses, kitchen utensils and more on extra charges here.
It is advised to bring your mattress (inflatable) here.
Camping Under the Stars
You can easily set up camp here in the middle of the park. Camping here is a local favourite, and you will find many locals gathered around in camps and bonfires during your visit. You can be bold and join them, or bring your camping gear to pitch your tents and have fun!
The main campsite is right in the middle of the park, while others are small and hidden away by caves. To camp here, all you have to do is pay the entry fee for the park! For food, you can arrange it from the rest house or bring your own – until and unless it’s plastic-free!
Although the stay options here are limited, a night must be spent in this gorgeous Dzukou Valley to relish the beauty and culture of Nagaland fully.
Things to Do in Dzukou Valley
The park offers numerous opportunities to enjoy your stay here as you walk through the lush lilies among the best wildlife.
1. Photograph Every Petal
The Dzukou Valley provides one with the most unique photographic opportunity. The flowers here are not found anywhere else in the world, which makes this journey a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you to photograph every petal and leaf you come across in their natural haven.
The park has no trees and is surrounded by greenery throughout the year, with a mild layer of snow covering each leaf and dwarf bamboo during the winter months. The wildlife found here is also rare – with Asiatic black bears, leopards, Blyth Tragopan and more to satiate the cravings of your inner photographer!
2. Visit the Frozen Waterfall
Just an hour away from the main park, Sanctuary Falls is a lesser-known attraction, and it’s beautiful in winter. The waterfall completely freezes during the colder months, and you can marvel at the icy, cold beauty if you travel to the Dzukou Valley in December.
3. Take a Dip in the Dzukou River
The Dzukou River flows through the park, winding down the park in beautiful and thrilling curves. You can either sit by the banks of the river or take a dip in it. Fun fact: Locals believe the river has healing properties and can aid physical ailments!
4. Pray at the Shiva Temple
In the heart of Dzukou Valley sits the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. You can worship here or take the spiritual vibes to heal your soul. Relax in meditation for a full experience of the park’s natural ambience.
5. Meditate at the Caves
There are several caves inside the park that you can explore here. You can choose to mediate or even pitch a tent nearby. However, it is advised not to pitch camps in extremely remote locations or inside the caves due to safety issues.
How to Reach Dzukou Valley
There are two ways to reach this beautiful park – by trekking through one of the paths of Jhakhama and Viswema.
To reach both paths, you must hire a cab or choose hitchhiking from Kohima. Cabs are easily available at bus stops here. The yellow cabs are generally shared zonal taxis here that will take you to the base points for this beautiful trek. Private cabs are costlier and can take around 1,500 to reach the trail. If you want a more affordable option, choose shared cabs that move only when they are full of passengers going through the route, which will drop you at the entrances of the villages.
The public cabs will drop you at either of the villages – Jhakhama and Viswema, from where you will have to walk or hitchhike to the trails.
Best Time to Visit Dzukou Valley
The Dzukou Valley is best visited throughout the year. You can come here anytime you like to behold the changing colours of nature in the different months. Most tourists travel here in June and July to witness the blooming of the Dzukou Lily. The weather during this time is also extremely pleasant, and you will feel floating above clouds.
Monsoon is also a great time to visit Dzukou Valley if you wish to relish the comfy weather full of clouds and mist. It is advised that you do not camp during monsoon – staying at the rest house will be more comfortable.
When winter comes, the greenery in the park gets draped in a light blanket of snow and makes for an amazing visual treat. You can also visit during the winter for an amazing winter snow trek.
The Dzukou Valley is a beautiful spot to visit with friends and family. It is heaven for those who love trekking and nature photography. The unique flora and fauna found here are worthwhile. In Nagaland, you must stay at the rest house or pitch a tent in the middle of the park to experience it to the fullest. This place is never regrettable, and you will forever cherish the memories you make here in any season you visit.
Please don’t wait for anything and head to this amazing place to explore nature in its truest form!