Dzukou Valley is probably one of the most unique trekking terrains that one can undertake in India. When we mention the word trek, the mind usually paints a picture of snowy mighty mountains. And, while that is quite beautiful, the beauty of nature also lies in how it can package and present itself to us in a plethora of ways. Thus, in a sea full of sharp-edged tall mountain peaks, Mother Nature decided to carve out a gem of a unique style. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the rolling hills of Nagaland!
When you start off your trek, you’ll walk on a loose trail made of mud and rocks with trees keeping you company throughout. And, as you’re planting one foot after the other and progressing, you are suddenly blessed with the sight of rolling hills. Unlike mighty peaks which look tall and sturdy, the hills of Dzukou have a touch of softness to them. Curved in the form of tufts of clouds on Earth, they are lined one after the other for as far as your eyes can see. Dzukou is one of my all time favourite places and I highly recommend this trek to each and everyone. It isn’t a very challenging trek either, so, one needn’t fret about exploring this one. Just go!
Altitude: 2,438 m, i.e. approximately 8,000 ft
Difficulty level: Easy
Duration: 1 – 3 days. While the trek can be completed within the same day, we recommend you spread it over 3 days in order to explore the valley well, catch its stunning sunrises and above all get the true essence of Dzukou.
How to reach: Land in Dimapur and then travel by road to Jakhama in order to start the trek. Since the drive from Dimapur is a long one and you would have taken hopping flights to reach Dimapur, we recommend you halt in Kohima one night and then the next day you can head off for the trek.
Best time to visit: Between the months of May to June, August to September.
Now if you’re planning on taking this trek, your experience can be made that much more enjoyable if you’re comfortable. The way to do this is a good solid packing list, so, here we have one for you!
Before we dive into the things one should keep for Dzukou, it’s important that we introduce you to what the valley is like. The name Dzukou in the local language essentially means “Cold Waters”. Legend has it that a young tribal was sent to scout for land where his tribe may settle but when he reached Dzukou he found it so cold that they would say that the waters of Dzukou would chill one’s bones! Thus, even now if you venture into Dzukou in the winter months it hits unexpectedly low temperatures for a tropical region and even gets shrouded with snow. However, due to its remoteness this trek isn’t recommended in the winter months. Plus its beauty lies in the summer and post monsoon season when the valley is lush green.
Another thing that you ought to know is that Dzukou is as remote as a trek can be. There is only one light bulb in the kitchen room and other than that there is no electricity at all in Dzukou. They have one room at the top which they call a guesthouse but is essentially just a concrete room and yes, that too has no electricity. It is just a place with a roof where you can throw a mattress and sleep. While some of this many sound daunting, remember that you have stepped out to spend time with nature. And, what better way to do so than by cutting off from the whole world? No noises of phones and notifications to take your attention. It is only you, your companions and your thoughts for those three days!
What to keep for Dzukou Valley:
Clothing & Attire
- For the trek your good old track pants will see you through and keep you comfortable while walking up. Normal tees and tops will suffice in the daytime for the recommended months.
- Do keep one jacket as Dzukou can unexpectedly get cold at night. For the most part though a sweatshirt will keep you comfortable if you’re visiting in May to June or August to September months.
- A raincoat is very handy in this region as it is prone to unexpected rainfall.
- A sturdy pair of shoes is essential to trek.
- Dry fit trekking pants or clothing that dries up easily is also a good idea as when you set out to explore the valley on Day 2 there are streams of water that you must splash about and play in! So, clothing that dries easily will let you enjoy without worrying.
- Power banks are key here as we mentioned there isn’t electricity. We do recommend cutting off and not using gadgets at all though! 😉
- Torches play an important role in your moving about in the evenings over here.
Nagaland is a heavily non-vegetarian state, so vegetarians need to prepare well for visiting this region.
- MTR packets or packets of instant food are a must for vegetarians and even non-vegetarians can carry them because they serve mostly pork and the meal options are repeated, so, if you’d like to eat something else the instant packets do help.
- You can keep a few light snacks, however, they do have a small shop that sells biscuits, chips and cup noodles (non-vegetarian) at the top.
Health & Hygiene
- Since the roads in Nagaland are not in the best condition, motion sickness medicines are a good idea for those who get nauseous frequently.
- A small personal first aid kit is handy for any trek.
- Since the washrooms at the top are in a very basic state, a sanitizing spray such as Pee Safe is a good idea too.
- Sanitizers and soaps.
- Also, do use sunscreen frequently to avoid burning your skin.
- Odomos cream or mosquito repellents will also help in the evenings.
Optional Stay-Friendly Options
- If you are opting to stay in the guesthouse/room at the top, an air-mattress or a sleeping bag will do you well.
Though we do recommend camping out as it’s more fun and even more comfortable. In case you’re camping out, you’ll get a foam mattress.
- And, of course, make your trip more memorable by keeping your playing cards such as uno, monopoly, etc. and some speakers!
It’s also a good idea to carry a disposable bag to store all your trash. Though Dzukou Valley is quite clean, if you can, then even collect some of the trash strewn as we visit places for their beauty, so, why not help keep it beautiful? 🙂
The packing list is a comprehensive one to keep you comfortable but make sure to pack a light bag as the heavier your bag the more it’ll weigh on you while you trek. Packing light always helps!
Hope you visit Dzukou soon and love it as much as we do! We’re organizing a trip here in May, get in touch if you’d like to join us! 🙂