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Old 7th October 2016, 23:14   #1
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Default The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley

Hello Readers & TBHPians.

This is my first Travelogue in TBHP (infact anywhere) and although having been travelling as a way of life and considering “Life as a journey and not a destination” I had never had the mind or thought to pen down my travel experiences , which although may not be far and wide but has touched a important part of my life.


Reading at the various wonderfully written travelogues here by well eminent BHPians I may not do any justice or provide food for soul hence my sincere apologies at the start.


Out of school from a remote corner of India (Sikkim) my graduation further took me away to a faraway land Manipur which remains unexplored for the vast majority of us Indians and the world in general.

A total of 9 years in Imphal provided me an ample time and understanding of the various north eastern regions which I could travel during this time and during my commutes from home to college and back.

Two years since I left Manipur and back home, I am now slowly recapitulating those days and thinking of putting in here.

I choose to write this as my first Travelogue because of the following reasons

1. This was one of the most unexpectedly beautiful place I have visited in my lifetime.
2. This was probably one of the most unplanned short notice trip I have done
3. This was the trip in which I saw what staying away from civilization with no connection and unpreparedness could result or probably result.
4. Very few details about this place is available on online resources.


This picturesque valley is located at the border of the Indian states of Nagaland and Manipur two of the most eastern north east state of India. (There is a general controversy as to which state it belongs to but let us not go into that)

A glimpse of the valley.
The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-1.jpg


and a brief video narration taken on 1st January 2014

Before going further let me put up data about a few places with a brief description for the majority of the readers which I know by experience will have no knowhow.

a. DzŁkou is the place we were going. It derives its meaning from the Angami/Mao word which translates to "Cold Water" referring to the ice cold stream that flows through the valley.



b. Imphal- is capital of Manipur. Airport is there. To reach 1 hour daily flights from either Kolkata or Guwahati (and from Silchar / Agartala , 2.5 hours flight from Delhi) By Road from Guwahati is 20 hours 500 + kms - Buses available – route is via Dimapur & Kohima) I have travelled this a couple of times by my motorcycle also so more details on other travelogues when I pen them down.

c. Dimapur- is the commercial capital of Nagaland right at Assam Nagaland Border. Has an airport. 3-4 hours from Kohima and 8-9 hours from Imphal.

d. Kohima is the capital of Nagaland- A hilly town, no airport. 5 hours from Imphal, 3 hours from Dimapur.

e. Mao is major road border of Manipur and Nagaland (It falls in Senapati District). 4.5 hours from Imphal 30-45 minutes to Kohima.

f. Senapati is first district in Manipur after Mao. Hill district.

g. Vishwema is a small village in Nagaland around 20-25 minutes from Kohima towards Mao.


Route Options:

No vehiclular traffic goes to DzŁkou Valley. It’s a trekkers paradise. Many Trekking routes are there .
From Manipur one can go to Senapati and trek a 5 hours route from Mt Isii in Senapati.
From Nagaland side there are two ways , one from Vishwema village and one from Jakhma Village.
The way from Jakhma Village is steeper but relatively shorter. (3-4 hours)



The route we choose was from the Vishwema Village. This is a moderate trekking gradient with a total distance of 17 kilometers which takes approximately 5 hours to walk after an hour of offroading from the Imphal Kohima Highway from Vishwema.

Travel Dates : 31st December 2013- 1st January 2014

No of people : 5 (Dr Bikram , Dr Kishore , Dr Vignesh , Dr Prasad, Me) all in a mood for an adventure just 3 months before our MD Final Examinations.

Route- Imphal-Mao-Viswema-Wilderness-Trek-Halt-[happy new year 2014]- Trek- Kohima- Imphal

Conveyance: Two 350cc RE Classic with pillion, mine 2007 RE TB with luggage.

Planning:
A couple of guys after a hectic post emergency duty suddenly come up with a plan to go to DzŁkou on New Year ’s Eve.
That was on 29th December 2013 evening .
So with duties lined up we were not prepared but after the recent trip to Hornbill festival with camping on venue and my motorcycle issues our spirits were nevertheless high.

We packed two Quecha Tents , coupled with a couple of blankets and a sleeping bag for each one of us, basic survival ration for 2 days, around 5-6 kilograms of coal and thought we were prepared.

We had carried around 25 packets of Maggi, around 3 kilograms of marinated chicken to cook and other essentials.

Having suffered badly in our previous interstate night trip to Nagaland to attend Hornbill Festival we focused more on carrying spares for our motorcycles than stuffs for us.

How was me and Bikram both born and brought up in Sikkim , spend our childhood in snow fields know what DzŁkou had in store for us – in terms of the weather it was to bestow us that night.


First Day 31st December 2013

Having had an early breakfast in the college canteen we moved early by 6 am.

The pre start click
The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-start-trip.jpg


Those mundane roads through the valley of Imphal slowly took us through the highway towards Senapati the hill border district with Nagaland and at the Border town of Mao.

Now Mao is a place in itself. The border town of Manipur and Nagaland (on the Manipur Side) and basically a stop for food. Multiple small eateries with choicest Naga Manipuri and Standard Dishes (Read Rice) are available. You could even get some not so hifi lodges. (I have stayed once in a room costing 200rs for 2)

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-2.jpg

So immediately after crossing Mao we have to pass through the Nagaland Check post which those days are not much of a problem (Nowadays ILP has caused some travelling issues I guess)

From Mao to Kohima is like 1 hour if we ride moderately and somewhere in the not so exact middle is a quaint village known as Vishwema.

From here we had to take a detour left and travel off road some 10 km which took us almost 2 hours. Dr Kishore had already travelled once so when in the morning he had said that rocks shall be the size of footballs on the roads I thought he was kidding.

Later on when I had to take the motorcycle and see for myself I realized that he was infact under rating the sizes. Both my co riders had pillions so it was easier for them as they alighted and gave extra human power.

I had luggage on me so I had to alight and push alongside my engine. When I reached almost the top I had pretty much fried up my clutch.



I was infact thinking of leaving my motorcycle there when Dr Kishore nudged me forward saying we are almost there.

So we reach the end of that road from where our treeking is to start, leave our motorcycles in the Jungle ( with prayers that it be there intact with fuel when we return back in 2 days)

Removed the luggages, arranged our backpacks and then the trek starts.

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-unpacking-leaving-bikes.jpg

An hour and half of steep stone cut staircase leads to the top of the cliff where routes for Mt Tempu and DzŁkou bifurcates.

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-steep-staircase.jpg

The view from here is breathtaking.

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-view-top.jpg

Hills green with the dense forests on all sides and paths marked on small tin plates, we spend a good half an hour here resting from the arduous climb up the cliff.

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-resting-top.jpg



The rest of the trek was supposed to be of a milder grade. The next stop was the Forest Guest House (abandoned) near the Valley.

A two hour leisure trek across tall grasslands with beautiful hills and hillocks in view and small clear streams on the path took us there. As we drew closer and closer vegetation and trees and shrubs became less and less and it paved way for smaller vegetations. The trekkers forest guest house bore no signs of recent human activity but it did provide us a place to rest for a while, freshen up and take a good view of the valley we were heading to.

It was already 3-30 by then and we were impatient, hungry and so we lunged forward. The last 1 hour from the guest house is mostly downhill towards the Valley and although it appeared to be in right in front of us it was actually quite far. Tedious steps weary legs dehydrated body we reached the valley by 5 pm and it was already quite dark by then.
The river across the valley looked too surreal to be real with parts of it frozen and we were wondering about it then.
The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-we-reached.jpg


The Nights Ordeal 31st December 2013

The real ordeal started when we reached there.. (to be continued)
Attached Thumbnails
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The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-steep-staircase-2.jpg  


Last edited by Dr_MNC_SK : 10th October 2016 at 00:11. Reason: i havent finished this
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Old 8th October 2016, 01:03   #2
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Default re: The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley

The Nights Ordeal and The Beautiful Morning

So by 5 o clock in the evening we are pretty much there after being on the move for last 10 hours and a weird feeling kind of crept in as we lay down our bags.


I was feeling thirsty and opened the bottle of water in my back pack only to find that it was almost totally frozen and had crystals of ice in it. Within no time the Sun went down and it started to become cold like we hadnít imagined.

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-frozen-bottle.jpg

Between 5 of us and the cold night that lay in front of us, we had with us around 6 kgs of charcoal, 3 kg of uncooked meat, some energy bars, 25 packets of magi, A bottle of Rum, 2 kgs of apple, water in abundance, and our life savior Ėa big piece of Log almost 30 kilogram in weight which Bikram had managed to somehow drag, carry, roll, pull along the way from the place where vegetation was good and it struck to him its necessity.



By the time we could scourge the area and find a camping site near the big rock caves where people have stayed during visit, it was already dark and freezing cold.

Then we realized our biggest blunder, the two tents we carried were brand new ones and we hadnít opened to check the sizes. They were supposed to be a 3 men A tents like the ones we had carried on our preceeding Hornbill Trip.

It turned out to be a Single person tent.

So that left three of us with no shelter. We decided to call it a day under the rock caves where it was presumably more warmer. Set up fires, set up the two tents and started to cook food.

The extreme temperature froze up all our water supplies, conked up all our electronic batteries including the camera, leaving us in wilderness to fend for ourselv with not much photographic memories but lots of wonderful times.

The night seemed to draw on and on.

Dinner consisted of the food we managed to half cook in the dark gulped with generous amount of Rum and futile attempts to keep ourselves warm in the cave with underrated sleeping bags .

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-caves-where-we-slept.jpg

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-trying-beat-cold-morning.jpg


Two of our friend almost went beserk and we feared acute psychosis.


The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-cooking-food-night.jpg

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-tent-icing-up.jpg

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-trying-cook-food.jpg

Been to many snow laden places, myself being raised up above the snow line, we feared for our toes and fingers that night, earnestly praying that morning and the new year ahead brings us rays of warm Sunshine and a beautiful experience.

And Behold the Morning was one of the Beautiful Mornings I have seen in my lifetime.

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-frozen-river-morning.jpg

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise and the whole region flooded up in the light - the frozen river with ice flakes, the hillocks with the greeneries and us having survived the night grinning in happiness abundance.
Attached Thumbnails
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The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-20140101_070145.jpg  

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-20140101_073734.jpg  

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-20140101_075403.jpg  

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-20140101_112030001.jpg  

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-dsc_0650.jpg  

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The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-dsc_0721.jpg  

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-dsc_0724.jpg  


Last edited by Dr_MNC_SK : 10th October 2016 at 00:05.
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Old 10th October 2016, 00:03   #3
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Default re: The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley

The Premature Return

Having had a gala of a time the whole night and a wonderful morning we decided to return that day itself (1st Jan 2014) because we had no food and no fuel to survive another night in those sub zero temperatures.

The day began with 2 of us going to forage water from the stream which was totally frozen and we could literally walk on in.

Standing in the river (we knew this was risky)
The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-frozen-river-standing-1.jpg
The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-frozen-river-standing-2.jpg

Breaking the sheet ice we managed to bring water and the ordeal of heating it began. Maggi took more than 2 hours to get cooked (from that subzero water ) partially contributed by our depleted coal and firewood supply



The apples we carried had become rock solid, my friend attempted to roast it in layers to consume



In the meanwhile we explored the place, an adjacent hillock with a prayer cross looked near but was quite far, the serene wind in the morning devoid of any man made interference, splendid green lush fields over small dolloping hillocks all around, few signs of human intrusion.

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-cross.jpg

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-valley.jpg

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-two-tents.jpg

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-beautiful-flake.jpg

After a breakfast we trudged back our path to the place where we had left our motorcycle and it took us somewhere about 4 hours.

The rest house en route
The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-rest-house-forest-guest-house.jpg

Another hour and half ride of gruesome downhill offroading motorcycling and we were in Vishwema by late afternoon.

Decided against returning to Imphal ( 100+ kms) and instead went to Kohima (15 Km) and checked in to Hotel Zaphu the old heritage Government Backed Hotel of Kohima. Had a heart filling meal and called it a day.

Hotel Zaphu in the morning
The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-japfu-hotel.jpg

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-outside-japhu-hotel.jpg

Woke up leisurely the next day, packed and went to visit Kohima War Cemetery
(It never fails to enchant you even after umpteenth visit)

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-kohima-war-cemetary.jpg
The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-kohima-war-cemetery-2.jpg
The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-kohima-war-cemetery.jpg

and then had an uneventful ride back to Imphal stopping at places where it looked good on the way.

The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley-river.jpg


This journey of 2 days taught me many a things the important one being always be prepared for the worst.

Last edited by ampere : 10th October 2016 at 18:36.
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Old 10th October 2016, 18:34   #4
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Default re: The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th October 2016, 13:06   #5
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Default Re: The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley

Hello Doc, what an adventure! It is short, but the content is fresh and full of adventure and 5 spirited friends. You guys had a tough night, in spite of that having fun the next morning laughing at two of your friends! Even if the story is very short, but it surely is fresh and exciting and the best part is the destination is so unique. The narration is also befittingly interesting. Rated it well deserved 5*
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Old 14th October 2016, 15:40   #6
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Default Re: The ride, trek and premature return from DzŁkou Valley

Nice TL Mohonish. What an adventure. Although, it would have been very tough at that time but I am sure you guys would never regret doing this trip. North East is such a treasure. We are glad to have you on board with such varied experience of the North East. Your insights would help many.

Keep Traveling & Keep Writing !!

Regards,

Pawan
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