Nagaland Part 2: Dimapur

October 17, 2011 India 6 Comments 24,695 Views

Travelling Nagaland Part 2: Impressions Of Dimapur.

We finally arrived in Dimapur. The main commercial hub of Nagaland welcomed us with a big argument between the tuk-tuk drivers who were going to carry us from the train station to wherever. They didn’t know what we wanted, but chattering with and about tourists is a must I guess. We were tired of discussions and asked loud and clearly: “Who speaks English?” This silenced them a bit and an old bicycle Rickshaw driver got our attention. His English was better than average and he cycled his soul out to the main road where all of the better hotels were situated. He knew what we were looking for but the first hotel only had windowless rooms left, so that was no good. The next one called “Sarawati”, looked quiet impressive. We were positively surprised about the good standard that awaited us. We seemed to be the only guest, though…­­­­

Settling In.

I always have the feeling that if we can afford the most expensive hotel in a place, we’re really far away from home (though it was not really expensive, maybe 30 € a night – but I know, that’s a lot in India). We simply wanted to treat ourselves since we saved on our 3rd class train ride; the trip from Siliguri to Dimapur cost us something like 5 € per person on the overnight train, so we could spoil ourselves a bit.

So the hotel even had internet connection in the lobby, interrupted a few times by a power blackout, but still… Inquiring when the last western tourist passed through, the receptionist said: “Maybe a year ago.” and probably wondered what the hell we were going to do here.

Exploring Dimapur – Jesus Is The Solution.

When going out for our first check of the city, we immediately spotted the first church. Later on we came to know that the people of Nagaland are mainly Christians. In the evening, there was a gathering close to the hotel of people who were campaigning for the Christian religion. The announcer (he looked like a young western theology student) proclaimed things like: “Do you have financial problems? – Jesus is the solution!”  He didn’t seem too happy to spot a white traveller (who btw is able to look through his sneaky recruitment). We just thought to ourselves if there was really anyone in the crowd who believed that there would be a bank transfer from heaven at the end of the month… We shook our head and walked on.

Dimapur is a dusty, noisy, vibrant and very busy city. Lots of shops, especially religious shops in which you can buy Christian symbols – statues of Mother Mary and so on. Lots of internet cafes, many of them full with online gamers, can be found here as well. We passed a lot of curious shops as well, like many second hand clothes stalls, where they sell clothes from Europe and the US. We read “Abercombie & Fitch”, ” H&M” and so on… Maybe someone ships these giveaway-clothes to India. Anyway, I found use of a wonderful long sleeve “Yves Saint Laurent” shirt which was going to protect me from the sun (the temperature was about 38° Celsius). For only 3 €, I now own a designer shirt, not too bad.

There were not a lot of restaurants in Dimapur but we found one in a side street which was full with diners – that was the right one for us. It was a gritty hotel as well, which we found out when asking for the toilet. The toilet was on the rooftop with no door and a great view over Dimapur, also something I’ve never done before. Anyway, back to the food. We’re both not vegetarians, but India and vegetarian food go hand in hand. I can’t remember what we got, but it was delicious! The thing with all these travel related diseases can be tricky, but this time we managed not to get sick even for a single day. I think it was partly because we only drank tea (made by ourselves with our water kettle and plain bottled water) and no meat for 6 weeks. It was “veggies only” throughout our trip.

Food Tip.
  • I have to say, food is necessary but not on our priority list. We’re always on the lookout for a restaurant or food stall that has a high turnover. Our experience shows us, that the main thing to avoid trouble (diarrhoea, etc.) is to eat in places with a high turnover because then you can be pretty sure that the food is fresh.

We decide to continue to Kohima the next day. And this is where Part 2 of our story ends…

More Nagaland Stories.

Travelling Nagaland: Part 1 – Getting There.

Travelling Nagaland: Part 2 – Impressions Of Dimapur.

Travelling Nagaland: Part 3″ – Kohima & Surroundings.

Northeast frontier Railway welcomes you to Dimapur.
Northeast frontier Railway welcomes you to Dimapur.
The Rickshaw driver in Dimapur knew what we were looking for.
The Rickshaw driver in Dimapur knew what we were looking for.
Definitely an interesting shop sign – but it made us laugh really hard while strolling the streets of Dimapur.
A market woman in the streets of Dimapur.
Fresh vegetables can be found at any market in Nagaland.
Dead frogs awaiting the next customer at the market in Dimapur.
Dead frogs awaiting the next customer at the market in Dimapur.
Typical looking trucks in east & north-eastern India.
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“Travelling Nagaland Part 2: Impressions Of Dimapur.”

  1. I have been reading your blog for quite sometime, but this is my first comment here.
    Treat me as a silent reader. :)
    Being a solo female backpacker myself, I am impressed with your way of travel, especially in countries like India. Sometimes I feel it is not that safe here for women. I also travel the way you do.
    Nagaland is on my list, looking forward to 3rd part ow. :)

  2. Nisa

    Hi Nisha (wow, this is the first time I met someone with almost the same name lol),
    Thanks for your lovely words. Travelling solo is great if you want to do whatever you want to do because it’s hard to find a travel-buddy who’s on the same level…cause if this is not the case the vacation can turn into a disaster (I had to experience this myself once).
    Btw: Part three just went online and I hope you enjoy it ;)

  3. Hey Nisa!

    Great story and lovely photo of the Coffin Shop. Am traveling with my family to Nagaland in a day or 10. Am trying to online book a trainticket but am confronting with almost all the seats already taken. Will travel night train (can’t see any daytrain available) in 3-Tier AC sleeper. Would love to go during day light to see the landscape changing from Siliguri to the North-East. What day-train did you travel? Or didn’t you? And how did you get your tickets? How long in advance did you book and did you book online or did you boldly go to Siliguri Station to ask and book?

    Thanks for your help,
    Camille (in Kalimpong at present).

  4. Nisa

    Hi Camille,

    We arrived in New Jalpaiguri from Gangtok and did not have a ticket for a train. We arrived about 2 pm and we asked at the reservation office (if you stand in front of New Jalpaiguri train station it’s a separate building to the right side) about our options. They were very friendly and said that they’d check what they can do. We whined a bit, that we really wanted to continue….bla bla bla, and that we wanted a second class ticket… After a few hours and after few times of asking they said, that they only got a 3rd class hard sleeper to Guwahati and from there ( with 5 hours waiting time) we could take the morning train (a seater) to Dimapur. So after a few gulps (lol) we took the 3rd class bench bed.
    And in fact it was a interesting experience…first of all the people were very nice (but there were many in the wagon), so we sat outside on the platform and waited until the conductor came. He managed to free the upper berth (bench) and we could go to “sleep” immediately.
    Bring an eye cover and ear blockers, cause there are bright neon lights and it’s really noisy. Also some blanket or soft pad to put on the bench. The upper bench is the best because the other ones are occupied for hours with people who chat and don’t go to sleep :)
    The trains in India are generally often full for month, but enquire in New Jalpaiguri about the foreign people quota, there should always be one or two seats reserved for foreigners and we did not see a single foreigner all the way east of New Jalpaiguri.

    This ist he website to chck the next 7 days availability of major trains in India:
    WL means waiting list.

    Any more questions, just ask :)
    All the best! Nisa & Ulli

  5. Shantam Basu

    This is by far the most beautiful blog I’ve ever come across. I live in a town called Siliguri, which is within the boundaries of the Darjeeling district. I have been to the North-east only once although I visit the hills every single weekend :) If you find yourself traveling through Siliguri next time, do drop a line and I’ll show you around the outskirts of town where no tour-guide will ever take you :)

  6. Hi Shantam!
    Thanks so much for your lovely words – we really appreciate it!
    We’ve been to Siliguri twice now. We really love the north-eastern part of India and we could spend a lifetime travelling the area. Next time we’re here, we’ll definitely let you know.
    Take care & all the best from Vienna!

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