Nature therapy is essential every once in a while, so let go of every electronic item and forest bathe in the mountains of Nagaland.
Nagaland roughly occupies around 95% of the mountains; this ultimately draws trekkers and hikers to this part of Northeast India. The state not only has the highest scalable mountain Saramati at a staggering height of 3,826 m but also the second-highest summit in Nagaland along the vast Barail mountain range—Mount Japfu. The mountain sits at an elevation of 3048 m and is rich in wild flora and fauna.
The world’s tallest rhododendron tree is found here, measuring around 109 feet. It was first discovered in 1993. It's no surprise then that the rhododendron flower is the state flower of Nagaland. The famous nature trek of Nagaland, “Dzukou Valley,” is also in Mount Japfu. Getting to the peak is a moderate climb, and the path, which goes through a rhododendron forest, is well maintained.
Trek to Mount Japfu
Here’s a day-wise route breakup on how to trek to the peak and the best time to visit Mount Japfu.
Day 1: Dimapur to Kohima
Time: 2.30 hours, 70 km
Dimapur is the only city in Nagaland that serves as a major railhead and airbase. From here, private and state-run vehicles are widely available. Arrive at Nagaland’s capital Kohima, which is situated around 80 km from Dimapur. Kohima is the base to begin both the Dzukou valley trek and the Japfu trek. All kinds of accommodation are available here, from hotels and resorts to homestays and hostels.
Day 2: Kohima to Viswema Village
Time: 1 hour, 20 km
Ideally, many first-time trekkers opt for a trek to Dzukou Valley then return to a nearby village and head for Japfu peak the next day. But if you solely wish to visit Mount Japfu then I suggest you hire a taxi straight to Viswema village from Kohima. Most of the taxis making rounds to the villages around Kohima are parked near the Mato Complex. You can spend a night at the guesthouses near the village.
Note: For Dzukou Valley trekkers, stop at Zakhama Check Post then walk for few minutes till you reach a small tea stall. Here, you need to pay INR 80 and get your name and number registered.
Day 3: Viswema Village to Japfu Base Camp
Time: 5-6 hours, 10 km
The next day, begin your trek early morning to get to the base to set up your tent. Make sure to carry enough water bottles because throughout the climb, you will not find any water source till the base of Japfu peak. From Viswema village, you can head north-west on the main road for around 3 km. This road leads towards the Nagaland and Manipur border. It is quiet with only a few cars on the road. Soon, you will come across the trail road that is well defined and relatively steep that slowly shifts to a gradual ascent. The beaten path is surrounded by lush green and tall trees; you’ll get a certain sense of joy.
Make sure to keep an eye out for birds. Being close to the state border with fewer local settlements, you will see a variety of birds around these parts. In fact, it is often called a bird watchers’ paradise. Pretty soon you will find yourself surrounded by thick rhododendron forests, giving the perfect place to take pictures and rest. You will notice signboards hammered on trees and ground with “Japfu Peak” written on it. This means you are near the campsite. You can set up your tent and admire the golden sunset that creates a silhouette of the mountains.
Day 4: Japfu Base Camp to Japfu Peak
Time: 6 hours, 6 km – both ways
The view from the peak is best during sunrise, so it is advised to set out before dawn from the camp. It is a single well-defined trail that leads to the top through the dense forest. As you ascend, you can peek at the view of the hills. The narrow tree line trail roads open up to a breathtaking vista of valleys, rivers, and villages. Interestingly enough, you can almost see half of Nagaland from this point. On a clear day, even parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are visible. Retrace your way back to Viswema Village and then get a taxi to Kohima.
*Point to remember: Arrange a taxi for your return beforehand as you may not find a taxi from the village.
Nagaland Tour Packages