Have you wanted to experience the beauty of Narnia? We all have at some point in our life! Well, India has its own Narnia in Nagaland! It’s the Japfu Peak Kohima in winter that gives you the alluring illusion of being at this amazing snow-ridden fantasy place.
The Alluring Beauty of Japfu Peak Kohima
One of Nagaland’s most popular tourist destinations is the Japfu Peak, a feature of the region’s scenery that has earned it the moniker “Switzerland of the East.” It is one of the most significant locations to visit, close to Kohima. This summit, which rises to a height of 3084 metres, is 25 km from Kohima.
As the second-highest mountain in Nagaland, it gives a stunning perspective of the Dzukou Valley, rich in dense foliage and lush greenery. The valley is the setting for one of the most captivating hikes against the background of the snow-capped Himalayas. Known as the “Valley of Flowers” in the Northeast, it is mostly frequented in full bloom and is said to be the foot of an ancient volcano’s crater. The entire Japfu Peak resembles an emerald canvas interwoven with the surrounding cities and villages; everybody who enjoys the outdoors should take the view from a considerable height. Surrounded by subtropical flora, the sounds of the chirping Himalayan birds feel like a bonus. Nestled inside the verdant forest of 130-foot-tall and 1-foot-girth rhododendron trees lies the rare Blythe Tragopan bird.
Fun Fact: The Guinness World Record for the world’s tallest rhododendron tree is now held by Mount Japfü. It was found in 1993 and measured 20 metres (65 feet) in height!
Dzukou Valley, the “Valley of Flowers” of Nagaland, is in full bloom from June forward, with exquisite blooms covering every square inch of the surrounding area. During that time, it’s also strongly advised to hike up Japfu Peak for an unobstructed view of the blossoms. Not only that, but you can view about half of Nagaland’s worth of valleys, hills, and villages from here; surprisingly, you can also see villages in Arunachal Pradesh and Dibrugarh, Assam.
The Japfu Peak Kohima Trek
This trek is one of the most beautiful winter treks in India. You can climb up this summit for a 360-degree view of the Dzukou Valley.
The trek is a moderate-to-difficult climb where you’ll also have to climb over a rock wall. Get your safety gear prepared for this amazing 8-hour trek!
- Reach Kigwema village in the South Angami region from Kohima. From here, you start the trek up to the summit of Jafpu Peak Kohima.
- From the village, reach the parking lot for Japfu Peak Kohima. There is a small bamboo bridge over a stream that you need to cross first. You will also notice a potato farm on this route.
- From here on, the route gets steep and quite upright. Ensure you have sturdy trekking shoes, enough water bottles, and food for this tiring trek.
- Walk through the dense Kigwema forests. The forests are beautiful, with tall trees surrounding you up a winding path. The fishnet-like sun rays falling on you will mesmerize you.
- The path has rich flora like rhododendrons, bamboo, and cherry trees. Their sweet aromas fill the air, and you feel at home here.
- Through this forest, you will reach the base for the trek. The basecamp is a junction diverging towards Kigwema and Jotsoma villages. Here, you can stop for some food. From here, you will start noticing the actual trek trail. If you visit in winter, you’ll also notice frost covering this beautiful trail like Narnia.
- It is a slippery trail, so bring a walking stick with you. The trees and plants here are covered with frost and look amazing up close.
- You will reach a point where you’ll need to brush up on your rock climbing gear. It is a great place to take in the vistas of the valley surrounding the mountain and the nearby towns. You will find many people here. You can also end your trek here and walk back to Kigwema if you’re not fit enough for rock climbing.
- Here starts the difficult climb. You will come across a wall with ropes hanging over it that you need to climb to reach the Japfu Peak Kohima. This rock is a straight wall that you climb with ropes and your rock climbing gear. Be careful and safe while doing this, as the wall has nothing beneath – only a deep moor!
- When you reach the top of the wall, you’ll come across more snow tracks. Proceed to the peak from here by walking through the snow and frosted bushes. If you’re lucky, you might even witness some snowfall!
- When you reach the peak, take in the beautiful vistas of the Himalayan range. The nearby towns are also visible from here. You can see the complete Dzukou Valley from here, Dibrugarh of Assam and some Arunachal villages.
- Enjoy yourself by creating snowmen, taking pictures, sledging and more!
- You can choose to camp here for the night or head back down. Reaching the top takes about 4 hours.
- The walk back to the Kigwema village is not as difficult because of the slanting slopes. You can easily walk down the same route. Head back to the parking lot you initially started the trek from. From here, you can head back to your hotel or anywhere else you like.
Things to Do at Japfu Peak Kohima
Birdwatching: Look out for the Blyth Tragopan!
Birdwatching is a great activity to do here. The Blyth Tragopan is the state bird of Nagaland and can be found at the Japfu Peak Kohima and the Dzukou Valley adjacent to the mountain. It is a beautiful and huge orange bird that will come to your notice at once! Other Himalayan birds also frequent this place, which you can watch out for as you trek this hilly region.
Photography: Capture Every Moment
Ready your camera to capture the most beautiful flora and fauna. The plant life and animal life here are one of a kind. The flora here, as well as the fauna, are something you won’t find anywhere else. The Dzukou Lily is a flower found here that does grow in any other place in the world. The Blyth Tragopan is also a native of this Naga beauty.
Camping: Under the Stars
Camping here is a sought-after activity among tourists. You can pitch a tent here to sleep under the stars and have the time of your life. You will find many campers around here. You can also camp at the adjacent Dzukou Valley. They also have a rest house where you can book a room.
Have Fun with Snow
The snow here is marvellous. The way it covers the petals and leaves with its frost is magical. You can have fun with this enchanting snow by making snowmen, playing with snowballs, sledging along the snow and making snow angels!
Permits for Japfu Peak Kohima
This mountain is in Nagaland, a protected area due to its closeness to the Indo-China border. You will require certain permits to enter the state. They can be found with a travel agent or online and with hotel agents.
Inner Line Permit (ILP):
The ILP is a must to enter Nagaland and the states surrounding it, like Sikkim and Meghalaya, that are close to the Indo-China border. ILP is the most basic permit you require to enter as a tourist. The Nagaland House of the state government distributes these permits for a minimal price and after identity verification. The ILP is valid for 30 days post-successful registration.
Best Time to Visit Japfu Peak Kohima
The perfect time to visit the Japfu Peak Kohima is during winter – from October to February. You will find snow covering the mountain’s tracks, and trekking during winter here is a heavenly experience. You can also visit during summer from June onwards when the Dzukou Valley fully blooms. The rhododendrons and cherry shrubs add to the beauty of the lilies here.
Japfu Peak Kohima Trek Tips
· Ensure you’re physically fit to do this trek.
· Keep your gear ready and checked. You will need a walking stick and rock climbing gear here.
· Bring enough cash, water, and food with you. Also, bring flashlights, a first-aid kit, and a GPS.
· If you get altitude sickness, get down the trek. Drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
· Be aware of the weather. Please do not go here in the monsoons, as the rainy season makes the climb even more slippery than it already is, and there is a high risk of falling.
· Pay attention to marked trails. Stick to that route and do not wander in unmarked areas.
· Travel sustainably. Leave no trace of your trekking experience. Bring back the plastic bottles and any waste materials.
· Set up the camp earlier in the day, as setting it up at night in darkness will be time-consuming and create a hassle.
· Respect the local culture and ask for their consent before taking their photographs. You may also dress modestly.
The Japfu Peak Kohima is a hidden gem of Nagaland that must be visited at least once. It is a beautiful mountain with a moderately difficult trek. All should witness the unique flora and fauna found here. We hope Nagaland is your next destination for an amazing winter vacation!