“Illegal speeding kills. It is better to be late than never, my friends!”

5 06 2011

-title from a signpost on the way to Kohima

By Joy Ogunmuyiwa

July 2, 2011

10:44 pm

Kohima, Nagaland

The view of Kohima from about 4 km away. (The time stamp is way off.)

They say Atlantis was a city that was lost to the ocean by an earthquake from Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. According to this myth, Atlantis was doomed to be hidden from the vision of the human race forever. Now, I’m not saying I found Atlantis, but I am saying I came really darn close…

We had planned to go to the three caregivers in Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, rather than make them come all the way to us in Dimapur. However, one of the caregivers could not make it because she had to work during all our available times. The trip was about five hours by car, which is the only way you can get there, because buses can’t fit on the road and the only airport in Nagaland is in Dimapur. We rented a hotel room to stay for two days, rather than rush and make it a day trip.

For some reason, the words that kept coming into my mind to describe Kohima was “hidden city“. For those that don’t know (like me until yesterday), Kohima is a city that is literally ON the mountains. It sits atop a mountain range surrounded by a dense tropical forest. Clouds literally obscure it from vision until you are actually in the city, making it truly feel like dry land  lost city of Atlantis.

A view of Kohima from the WWII cemetery at the center of the city.

The drive up there.

The entire city is covered by these long, thick clouds when you drive up. However, the drive alone practically deserves its own blog entry. The drive there is full of twists and turns that should only exist in thriller novels. Our driver, with a questionable concern for the speed limit, made the trip in about three hours (Remember, I said it was a five hour trip). The tires screeched and the rubber burned as we sped our way over speed bumps and through small villages. The whole way there  is a one lane road in each direction, so if the person in front of you is driving slowly, you have to take a chance and drive into the other lane to pass them. And boy, did the driver take his chances!

Yet, the view was absolutely breathtaking. Nagaland gets a lot of rain, especially from June to September, so the trees seemed to stretch forever and the mountain tops claimed the skies. There were so many trees! I wanted to ask the driver to stop the car and just wait so I could take it all in, but it was a 2000 rupee trip, so I wasn’t about to stop anyone.

Imagine this being your your view for breakfast every morning!

When we passed the cliff range, my host started talking about the problems that they have with mudslides and the villages along the way. We even saw where a mudslide had happened just the other day. She said that the Naga people who live near these parts spend a huge amount of money on foundation for their houses, because mudslides are a frequent occurrence. During one of the interviews, one of the caregivers pointed out that the group of houses that lives with her were about to tear down a home that had been there for hundreds of years because they were afraid that it would fall apart and hurt one of the children during the rainy season. It had apparently been there since WWII!

Here are some more pictures. Please ignore the time stamps!

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