Firstly, What is Dzokou Valley.....?
Popularly known as the "The Valley Of Flowers", Dzokou Valley is a virgin low land secret kingdom of the north east, India. One of mother nature's finest work that feels like a fairytale book with breathtaking beautiful landscapes. Its alluring beauty and lavish nature is covered with countless seasonal flowers that blooms every summer among which the Dzokou Lilly is a major attraction. It is surrounded by two chilly rivers i.e the dzokou and the japhu river that flows in the valley and beautiful waterfalls are a marvel to witness and its charm can seduce any travellers.
Location and Best time to visit...?
The Dzokou Valley lies in the Nagaland-Manipur border although most of the part of the valley lies on the Manipur border, at an altitude of more than 2000m and it is surrounded by the mighty Japhu hilly ranges making it an ideal holiday place for trekking. The best time to visit this place is from November-February as the valley is covered with thin layer of snow making it look like heaven on earth, not the best time to witness flowers though but be prepared to witness some breathtaking icy crystal landscapes but the catch is you will have to get up early from your cozy warm bed as the ice melts as soon as the sun comes up.
Another time to visit this place is during June-September as the monsoons do make the valley look even more colourful and fresh with its lust greenery, flora and crystal clear waters. The valley is its most beautiful during these three months, with all its flowers in bloom, dotting the landscapes with countless hues. I would personally recommend Winter as during summer the trails become muddier and slippery and full of non friendly bloodsucking leeches. Irrespective of the time one's surely to fall in love with the valley.
(Some more snaps of the Valley.)
How to Reach...?
To my knowledge there are two different routes, one from Nagaland and the other from Manipur. As i am Nagaland based so i accompanied by my friends, a group of 8 hired a Car and directly went to kohima i.e the State's capital. From Kohima there are two different trails to reach dzokou.
(Note - We were a group of 8 People and it costed us around Rs 2000/Person including everything. Journey starting from Dimapur)
From The Viswema Village. (nearly 23kms from kohima)
The Viswema route is the easiest and shortest trail with only one and an half hour of steep climbing after which the route is flat and the trek is easy, it is also the shortest route provided if the trek is started from the "Trek Point" showed in the above image, located at the end of the driveable road which is approximately 8-9 kms from viswema village. But if you start your trek from the viswema village all through the drivable road it will take more time than the other route. so you will have to get to the trek point by a vehicle. For this you will have to reserve a car as shared taxi's will drop you at viswema village resulting you to walk all through the trek point.
Depending upon fitness, after an hour of steep climbing we got to the point from where flat route and the main trek to the valley starts. We took a break for 20min had food, gained some energy and started to begin the remaining journey.
The Zakhama route.
Direct route to the valley's rest house but it requires almost 4hrs of steep climbing. This route is mainly opted for return journeys as it brings you directly to the main road if one does not hire a car service. Personally we have taken the viswema route as we had hired a car service which was parked at the viswema route.
Staying in Dzokou Valley.
Basically there are lot of options to stay in the valley. One can sleep under a cave or go for the dorms or in the tent, provided if you bring it by yourself.
The rest house has both the 'Dormitory' and Private 'VIP' rooms. If you are travelling light without the camps then rest house is a good option. However there is no electricity so you should bring power back ups. Although there are few solar powered lights.
* Entry fee Rs 100/person. * Utensils Rs 50/item. * Blankets Rs 50 each. * Dorms Rs 50/night * Wood Rs 10/piece *Tent is also available not sure of the price.
The floors of the dorms are wooden and will require around 2 matts to sleep comfortably. The blankets they offer are really thin, you will require more then 3 to keep you warm during winters. We personally advice you to bring plenty of your own foods. You can hire utensils and cook your own food however the kitchen offers you with this...
Menu. * Meal (Rice,dal and Potato fry) Rs 200/plate * Black tea Rs 20 * Coffee Rs 50 * Maggie Rs 50 *Boiled drinking water for free.
Staying in a tent.
We decided to stay in tents near caves down the valley to experience the starry nights. With nothing to conceal me from being at nature, feeling the warmth of the fire amidst the chilly breeze,lying down in my tent under the sky full of stars, being with the best people, living the moment was one of the best experiences i had in my whole life. Remember to bring sleeping bags or enough blankets to keep you warm as the nights gets really cold during winters dropping the temperature to negative.
My thoughts about this place...
An ideal gateway for nature lovers and adventure seekers, exotic and breathtaking, and is one of the best kept secret place in northeast. The view, the air, nature, all the labour was worth it. The hills never failed to surprise us. I was literally stupefied by the picturesque. The withered flowers left me wondering how will it look during monsoon and we all promised ourselves we would come back for a much greener valley.