Thick green forests, clean and beautiful nature, serene villages, spectacular emerald green hills, crystal clear water, undisturbed lush-green valleys… – that’s what you experience in the trek to Dzukou valley. If you get a chance to visit this place in June or July, you will see the gorgeous face of Dzukou valley with multi-colored flowers, which has given it the name “Valley of flowers of North-East”. Imagine trekking in such a magnificent location..!Dzukou valley is situated at the border of Nagaland and Manipur in the North East of India and is behind the famous Japfu peak. It is the second highest peak in Nagaland. The valley can be accessed through 2 trekking trails – one trail starting from Jakhama village and the other from Viswema Village. The trekking path starting from Viswema to is more gradual but takes longer time. Whereas the trek from Jakhama to Dzukou Valley is more tough but the route is shorter and hence can be covered in less time. Dzukou is located at an altitude of 2438 m above sea level.We, the Yathramour team, visited Dzukuo valley with a small group of people from different walks of life, who are relatively new to trekking and hiking. We went by the Viswema Village route, stayed at the valley that night and returned via Jakhama route. The trek was done 2 days before the Hornbill festival and the weather was chilling, and it even went below zero at night in the valley.Our stay was in a campsite in Kigwema village which was built on a paddy field and from here, we took a Jeep to reach Viswema village, the starting point of our trek. This village is about 25km from Kohima, and from the main road, it goes through an 8km motorable road through the mountains to reach the starting point of the trek.We hired a local guy as guide, and hence Aatho, the guide joined us. He has done the dzukou valley trek 36 times prior to this. The initial part of the trek is through a forest, and is a proper hike. The beauty and calmness of the jungle is the major attraction here. It can be a little tedious to people who are not much active. The team except for me was visiting Dzukou for the first time, and hence we did the trek in a slow pace. This part of the trek was a steep winding climb via stone slabs cut in a whimsical manner. There were around 1200 steps to climb before we reach the Watchtower. It took around an hour to two to reach there. Before the watchtower, we took a lot of time to rest, hydrate ourselves, shared a lot of stories, clicked photos together and helped each other to take the next step.
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it.” – I don’t know who said this, but it’s true.
From here on, the trek is through the mountain slopes, and we walked amidst a dwarf bamboo forest, which resembles tall grass from afar. The shades of green we saw in the valley shows the creativity of our Mother Nature. It was a real visual treat to the eyes. We, Sarin, Deepthi, Sarath and I clicked numerous photos on the way and we were well behind Atho, Sukesh and Sreejith. We made friends with a lot of trekkers on the way. This was my second time in the same route, but with a different gang, and I really enjoyed it both times.There are 2 dorms and 2 cottages with private rooms in the Dzukou campsite – but all with very minimal facilities – which means only a cot and a lot of blankets. Not even a bed. And there is a kitchen too, with limited items. Simple breakfast and simple dinner are available here. Sitting on one of the benches looking at the valley will make you forget the tired legs. From Dzukou campsite, we can trek down to the valley which is another feast for the eyes. The valley is a very popular camping spot for the local tourists, and they come with proper gear. We stayed in the cottages. In December, it is chilling cold and the temperature goes down to 0 degrees in the night. The layers of clothing we had on us were not enough and hence, we all remained in one room till we slept.In the next morning, many who camped there went to the helipad area to capture the photo of the sunrise. And later, some of us went down to the valley. The stream was almost frozen and the plants were covered with snow. No wonder why this valley is called Valley of Celestial Charm. There is a small bridge to cross, and a cave (called as Bhoot Gufha) and waterfall to explore here. The cave supposedly extends for 1 km and hence a headlamp is required to explore it properly. There are 2 rivers flowing through the valley – River Japfu and River Dzukou.After exploring the valley, it was time for breakfast, and the walk back.We returned through the Jakhama route, which was initially through the dwarf bamboo forest, and uphill walk and then a downhill walk through a dense forest. The trail here is steep and in many places it was slippery as there was rain the previous night.It felt like a never ending stone steps among tall trees, and we crossed some streams and a small waterfall. There were jumbled piles of rocks, logs, uprooted trees and massive boulders for us to cross. And then, we came across a small rest house, and the trail continued. After sometime, there was a stream to cross which would have been a difficult thing the rainy season. And finally, we reached the village and farming area and that was again a 2 km walk. When we finally met the motorable road, our guide Atho was running for mobile signal to call the driver.Jakhama trail is better to be taken for the return journey from the valley, as it is much easier to descend than ascend, and will bring you back to the main road much quicker than the Viswema trail.Overall, the Dzukou trek was a good experience and we, the Yathramour team enjoyed every bit of it.- Varsha ViswanathImage Courtesy : Sarin Soman, Sarath C