We all wanted to explore the Dzukou valley for quite a long time. Fortunately, everything became right for Dzukou and we all met at Vishwema in Nagaland. We were greeted with great hospitality at the Greenwood villa Homestay, owned and run by a beautiful couple. Next day after breakfast we took a taxi to the starting point (via Vishwema route). It was a bumpy ride of 8km through the dense jungle. This trek created a strong bond amongst us who were previously strangers. The humour of Anirban Paul, the zest of Meriyo, the managing capabilities of Nangsan and the adaye of Pema with the beauty of Dzukou Valley was a perfect cocktail.
After being dropped by the taxi at the starting point, we started our journey by crossing a levelled initial walk. Soon after that, we were greeted by a pretty steep hike for about 60-90 minutes. The hard work is all worth it. With the perfect “Cocktail Combo” it wasn’t very difficult. We were elated on reaching the first viewpoint. The feeling is difficult to describe except that it was addictive. We took some photos and rested for a while there and continued our mission to explore the valley. After this point, the view took our breath away. Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. After the first viewpoint, our minds were blown. It was a 2-3 hour leisure walk to the guest house. The Beauty is what I cannot describe.
One has to be there to see and feel that. There was a magnificent split on the path and we had to take a short detour. It was a steep down first and then equally upwards on the other side of the split. The weather was amazing with on and off rains and the winds were blowing heavily. All the hardships were least important because of the amazing view. Don’t worry about the destination, just enjoy the route. we will eventually be there sooner or later without any regrets. We continued our journey towards the guest house visualizing things never imagined by anyone of us. Dzukou valley left us in amaze, shock and wonder how beautiful the world is and how small we are and our problems even smaller. The trek taught us a lot, made us more patient, made us believe in ourselves more than any other figures. We pushed ourselves beyond we thought we could do. Faced all hardships, got out of our comfort zone and nothing stopped us to get lost in the right way.
After some time we saw our guest house and we had a lot of time before the sunset. We moved through the thick grasses leisurely and reached our destination by lunchtime. The view which was waiting for us from the guest house left us in astonishment. We were awed by the vastness of the forest. The lodge is pretty awesome. The dorm entry costs Rs. 100/- per head with blankets and mattress in rent for Rs. 50/-, utensils and wood can be taken for some price to self cook. On day 1 we carried some rice from Vishwema and cooked for ourselves there. After having lunch we left to explore the valley. It started raining heavily and we planned to return back to the lodge and relax for the day. We met some amazing people at the lodge. The interaction with the people taking care of the lodge was really good. It was really chilly and raining all through the night (advice: carry warm clothes/rain cover/ sleeping bag). We cooked our dinner and it tasted really nice (thanks to - Pema and Meriyo). Post dinner we retired after the long tiring but amazing day. After leaving our bag packs at the guest house, we left to explore the valley. The walk was downhill after the helipad. It takes around 70-90 mins to reach the cave taking into consideration the ample number of obvious photo breaks.
This day we couldn't reach the cave as it was raining heavily and getting dark. We decided to chill at the helipad and later move to the lodge. Pema and Meriyo took over the kitchen part while our comic Anirban continued to make us laugh and I and Nangsan prepared some “Environment” for meditation. After dinner, we called the day off and went to the dorm to doze off. It was a cloudy, rainy and cold night. Hence couldn't try astrophotography. After the departure of some members of “the Cocktail”, me and Anirban decided to stay another night at Dzukou lodge. We met two awesome guys Rahul Sonowal and Mayur Deori from Tinsukia, Assam. We left the Dzukou lodge for the cave and the cross. The weather was amazing with rains, winds and the sunlight on and off. The walk was downhill till the cave and it took us around 90 mins to reach with numerous photo breaks. Everything we looked up, the reaction of each one of us was the same, amazed, excited yet calm, unbelievable surroundings. Just before the cave was a small wooden bridge. It is possible to stay overnight at the cave if prepared and cook meals (carry all necessities from the lodge ).
On top of the cave, there was a table and stools made of rocks with a 360degree view of the valley. It’s impossible for me to describe the feeling here. Don’t think, just go and experience it for yourself. When we returned to the lodge, the sky was totally covered with clouds. The winds started blowing very fast and within 30 mins the sky became clear and we witnessed one of the finest sunsets. Everything felt in the right place. After which we had our dinner which was prepared by the guest house caretakers. It was lovely and costed us 200INR which is decent considering the remoteness of the place. The surprises of Dzukou wasn’t over yet. We came out of the kitchen cum dining room and the clear starry night was waiting for us. I tried to capture some long exposure shots during which a strong wind made my phone fell down and the screen and display got cracked ( my stupidity actually ). I knew it could be fixed and I 'll have all my data safe. After 4 am in the morning it started raining heavily and continued till 10 am. After having our breakfast we headed back to Vishwema. By the time we reached the 1st viewpoint, the sun came out and we decided to spend some more time in the region. The downhill walk post 1st viewpoint looked more difficult now than while climbing up. We made it to the starting point by 2 pm and departed to our locations after having a cup of tea together. It took me 4 hours to cover 125 km to Imphal. We couldn't go to the tower which was above the lodge, also couldn't see the beautiful Dzukou lily. Hence I 'll be heading back to the valley in June/July. You can join NorthEast Guide for trekking in next available dates. Find more details here. Thank you Meriyo Langbang Nangsan Shylla, Pema D Bhutia, Anirban, Rahul Sonowal, Mayur Deori and Dzukou valley lodge caretakers for making this trek wonderful.
About Rahul: Born in Imphal, Manipur, Rahul did his schooling from Mayo college Ajmer and Delhi public school, R.K.Puram Delhi. After which he got admitted in UCMS & GTB hospital new Delhi and completed my MBBS in the year 2015. He is a passionate hiker/ trekker soon to be a certified Mountaineer. He has experienced few treks such as Everest base with Ama Dablam base camp, Sandakphu phalut trek, Goecha-la trek, Dzukou valley trek and many others in the Himalayan belt and the Northeast.
For his awesome photographs and Travel stories, please follow wander_boot on Instagram. ( www.instagram.com/wander_boot ).