Nagaland independently
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Nagaland independently

Cross posted this on the Lonely Planet forum but might get more answers here.

With the permit requirement for Nagaland seemingly lifted (or at least so was impression but reading more threads on the topic this is still subject to verification...), we are planning a short visit at the end of December and would like to do this independently. We are a married couple (we will bring a marriage certificate just in case) with one of us fluent in Hindi, but we don't speak Assamese or any other potentially useful local language. Non-Indian citizens.

Tentative plan was to fly in to Dimapur and immediately make our way to Kohima where we'd spend a couple of days. Would like to visit nearby villages, is that doable without a guide or alternativly by picking up a guide locally in Kohima? Or do we need to plan more in advance here?

Would then like to jump on the bus to Mon, with a stopover in Mokokchung. Is it worth staying a bit in Mokokschung? LP seem to be providing conflicting messages on that point between different edtions of their books.

In Mon we would also like to visit the nearby tribal villages. Again, is this doable without having arranged a guide in advance or being on a guided tour? We'd be happy to pay someone locally to show us around, if that can be arranged on the spot, but could also make prior arrangement if needed.

From Mon, we would then make our way to Assam and proably down all the way to Guwahati, possibly with a stop at the Kaziranga NP. What would be our transport options from Mon into Assam and on to Guwahati? We were hoping that this would be a shorter ride on bad roads (shortcutting down to Sibsagar/Sonari in Assam) and that we would not need to backtrack to Kohima.

Any valuable first hand information we could receive on this route, transport, availability of guides and potential issues with the current permit situation would be highly appreciated. Also any update on the security situation, although from our research that seems to be fine at the moment and for this region. Does it sound like a sensible itinerary or are there more interesting areas to focus on?

30 Replies

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In my opinion the permits are not required , but to be absolutely sure , you should plan your trip through Guwahati and then Dimapur so that you will have a good idea about the bureaucratic hurdles, for Kohima you won't need a guide , but for the villages you should try contacting the DC or some government official beforehand so that your trip will be comfortable and he could arrange a local guide as well, arent you planning to visit Japfu peak ? it would be uncomfortable for you to just end up in the villages without knowing somebody there (thats why the DC or someone like him can be of help). I guess you could hire jeeps to get out of Mon and find yourself on the highway to guwahati. December should be ok even with the bad roads , I guess the key is getting in touch with a government official there or someone who knows the offical as well as the villages well enough.I guess somebody else on the forum can help you on that.
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Thanks for the info! We really wanted to make use of a cheap direct flight we found for Kolkata-Dimapur and avoid Guwahati on the way in. Will try to get first hand info on permit situation.

Will ask around once there for guides or someone who can help us accessing the villages.

This is the first I hear of Japfu peak. I only find very little information about it on the internet, but it sounds interesting. Have you done the trek? Any more information you could share about that?
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do update after you do this trip. I always wanted to visit there. so your experience will be useful
For more of my travelogues off-the-beaten-trail check
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Japfu peak is a must if you are visiting Nagaland , some information is available here : , however I do not subscribe to the travel company. I have been there as a child , so not much of a memory except for the heavenly charm .... I would repeat that ending up in the place with no contacts there could be risky , but of course its upto you , happy traveling :)
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Permit is very easy to get.
Get it here online...
| Account Closed
Here's the usual arguably pretty meagre stuff on formalities by the Nagaland Tourism Department (well, I guess such stipulations wouldn't be so meagre if one could confidently rely on them, which always remains to be seen): I'd indeed still want to verify this, preferably see if you can get them on the phone, or those numbers given below.* They still provide the Restricted/Protected Area Permit (RAP/PAP) application form for foreign tourists there for good measure (under their "downloads" section, some other links there don't work).

Again, I would advise against taking this at face value, and rather seek to verify it (note also btw where it says the rules have been provisionally altered for one year, starting from January 1 2011, i.e., running out soon and it remaining to be seen what happens then), but it currently states:

Entry Formalities

Before embarking on a journey to Nagaland, acquiring the entry permit is a must. Domestic tourists should obtain the Inner Line permit issued by the authorities mentioned below. Permit fee is INR 6 per applicant.

Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, New Delhi
Phone No. : +91-11-23012296 / 23793673

Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, Kolkata
Phone No. : +91-33-22823247 / 22821967

Assistant Resident Commissioner In Guwahati and Shillong
Phone No. : +91-361-2332158 / 2333859 [Guwahati]
+91-364-252083 / 2520670 [Shillong]

Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung
Phone No. : +91-3862-226530 / 230613 [Dimapur]
+91-370-2290666 / 229055 [Kohima]
+91-369-2226231 / 220333 [Mokokchung]

Foreign tourists as of January 1, 2011 no longer require a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) / Protected Area Permit (PAP) to enter Nagaland. Previously, tourists were required to travel in a minimum group of four people. They were allowed to visit all 11 district headquarters and specified places with this permit, valid for 10 days, with an option to extend for up to a month.

The new rules only require foreigners to register themselves at the local Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) of the district they visit within 24 hours of their arrival. However, the the citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh and China still need to apply for PAP/ RAP from Home Ministry to visit Nagaland. This is a temporary change in effect for one year. The RAP/PAP application process is included below for those tourists who may still be affected by the previous rules.

For best results, apply for the permit at:

Nagaland House in Delhi, Aurangzeb Road, New Delhi. Ph: +91 11 23012296

* Tour operators can also be contacted for more information and obtaining permits for your visit.

* You'd think just enquire with your embassy or so btw, but I've had it in a somewhat more distant past that I wanted to visit Assam which rumor had it was just about or not-quite yet fully opening up again, and enquiring about it at home with the Indian Embassy and Tourism Bureau even any assertions that it would be "no problem" never struck me as all that convincing, and with such answers often shifty. Get a permit at home, yes, no? Do it over there? Not at all needed? I never felt I got a clear picture about it occasionally asking around on the ground even, until finally I just ran out of time and never made it there to begin with.

But so this stuff seems to be notoriously hard to get any clear and definitive answers on. As you may know, in India a simple "yes" or "no" is rarely just a simple yes or no, certainly not when it comes to somewhat more involved issues such as this one.
Reading tips, all picked up at IndiaMike :bunny: : INDAX's A Comprehensive Guide To India / ITHVC on Culture Shock & Travel Health / JetLag Travel Guides For the Undiscerning Traveller / India Travel Links
| It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Basically, to sum up for the Original Poster in this thread, until the end of this year - 2011 - NO PERMIT is required for foreign nationals visiting Nagaland. :)

Mach, ASSAM does not require any permit for anyone.
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Originally posted by: theyyamdancer View Post

Mach, ASSAM does not require any permit for anyone.

This was 1993 :) (if I don't eternally have my dates mixed up). It had for long before it, with perhaps Guwahati and the national parks there more accessible, or not, and with or without a permit, I forget, and like I said I never felt I got all that clear a picture on it in my queries. Further inland it was indeed said to be just about opening up again then, or perhaps not yet. I think restrictions were only fully lifted in the years after.
Reading tips, all picked up at IndiaMike :bunny: : INDAX's A Comprehensive Guide To India / ITHVC on Culture Shock & Travel Health / JetLag Travel Guides For the Undiscerning Traveller / India Travel Links
| It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
@ Mach,
OK, sure, I understand what you wrote! But just so that we are clear that now in the present circumstances Assam is one of the permit-free areas! :)

For plupp4ever
. When are you thinking of travelling to Nagaland? If it is this year for the Hornbill Festival, then you won't need a permit.

. If it is next year, it remains to be seen whether the "relaxation" of permits will continue or not. (Personally I hope it does, since Nagaland has been on my personal wish list for a long time; actually it is at the very top of my list!)

. If you are thinking of travelling in 2012, there are various festivals happening which you might want to consider. One that will take place in Feburary is the SEKRENYI Festival, 25th-26th February 2012. (I would also be very grateful for more information on it.)
| It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
For those who are interested in planning a trip to coincide with one of the numerous tribal festivals in Nagaland, here is a calendar:

Calendar of Tribal Festivals in Nagaland

January 3rd week - Kuki tribe - Mimkut Festival - at Kohima

February 25th-27th - Angami tribe - Sekrenyi Festival - at Kohima

March/ April - Chakasang tribe - Tsukhenyi Festival - at Phek

April 1st week - Konayak tribe - Aoling Festival - at Mon

April 1 - 6 - Phom tribe - Monyu Festival - at Tuensang

May 1- 3 - Ao tribe - Moatsu Festival - at Mokukchung

May 2nd week - Khaimggan tribe - Miu Festival - at Tuensang

July - Sema tribe - Tulini Festival - at Zonheboto

July 2nd week - Chang tribe - Nyanyulum Festival - at Tuensang

July / Aug - Pochury tribe - Nazu Festival - at Phek

August 2nd week - Yimchunger tribe - Metemneo Festival - at Tuensang

September 1st week - Sangtam tribe - Amongmong Festival - at Tuensang

November 1st week - Lotha tribe - Tokhuemong Festival - at Wokha

November last week - Rengma tribe - Ngada Festival - at Kohima

December 1st week - All Naga tribes - Hornbill Festival - at Kohima

December last week - Zeliang tribe - Nga-Ngai Festival - at Kohima

Source of my information:
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has anyone heard about trip to Mt Saramati in nagaland? i could see on google earth it even snows there...the indo-burma border runs through it
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Thanks all!

Fantastic source of information this. Pretty confident now that permit not required at least until the end of 2011 (which is sufficent for us). Also got this confirmed from a tour company in Kohima.

We're going last week of December, so will miss the Hornbill festival unfortunately. Wasn't aware of this other festival listed above for that week, so might check that out.

Flight into Dimapur booked. Return most likely overland via Guwahati. Fingers crossed it will work out and I will post here upon our return.
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wow excellent information !!!!! I have bookmarked the thread ....
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@arun , at 3841 meters above msl it would definitely snow in winters ... more like an expedition I think