I spent two and a half days in Kohima but could have seen everything in one.
The Main attractions are the Culture and Heritage Museum (also known as The State Museum) – which was amazing. As having seen pictures of the headhunter tribes was the reason I was there after all. The museum (entry fee 10rps plus 10rps camera charge) hosts model sets and characters of traditionally dressed men and women performing typical tasks such as spinning cotton, weaving garments, making clay pots without spinning wheels, maintaining their crops, fighting and dancing.
The curation of headwear, carved walking sticks, spears, jewellery etc is wonderful and I loved the simplicity of the mannequins modelling the clothes. The collection could have come straight from the graduation show at LCF, it was art meets fashion meets tradition.
The cemetery is set in the exact location where the battle was fought. Raised above the daily traffic jams, it is peaceful, serene and boasts a panoramic view across the whole city. The plaques are immaculate and the grass neater than B&Qs premium AstroTurf.
It is common to see uniformed and armed military parading the grounds. There is a Battle of Kohima Museum not too far from the cemetery also if you’d like to brush up on your history.
Although not strictly as ‘attraction’, the markets are interesting to see. With the selection of delicacies on offer ranging from live chickens, Peking ducks and frogs all tied together by their feet to stop them running/jumping to their freedom, to bugs that resemble I’m a Celebrity’s witchety grubs more than any other critter I could name. A variety of in season fruits and vegetables are available alongside a huge selection of fresh fish and sea creatures such as live eels (indoor markets only). Failing to visit a food market, don’t fear, you are likely to see the majority of this livestock on the side of the road too.
Besides the obvious attractions, I found walking down the narrow stairways, round winding roads, through gates and uphills to be the most enjoyable way to pass time. School children will giggle, greet and wave to you, men and women will pass on their way home – some may ask ‘where are you going’ which isn’t, as initially thought, a polite way of saying you can’t go there, but instead a kind of Naga greeting.
Waiting for the bus to Khonoma one day I followed the crowds and found myself in the pews of a football stadium – the atmosphere is warm, the music homely l and the background setting stunning. What’s more is that entry fee is a mere 30rps.
By sunset (which is early – 5pm) everything closes down, shops, restaurants and bus stations alike. The city seems pretty safe but there isn’t much to do bar retreat to the comfort/uncomfort of your hotel room, reflect on the day and make onward plans.