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Mokokchung
About Mokokchung

Mokokchung is a town and a municipality in Mokokchung district in the Indian state of Nagaland. It is the district headquarters as well as the main urban center of Mokokchung district. Mokokchung is the cultural center of the Ao people and is economically and politically the most significant urban centre in northern Nagaland. In fact it is the most significant urban hub in all of Nagaland after Dimapur and Kohima. The town is made up of 16 wards of which Sangtemla, Alempang, Yimyu and Kumlong are the largest. Mokokchung is particularly noted for its extravagant New Year, Moatsu, Christmas, and Tsungremong celebrations. Its tradition of celebrating Christmas and New Year midnight celebrations in the main town square is considered as one of the distinctive features of Mokokchung. Historically, Mokokchung was one of the first Naga Hills sites where the Assam Rifles, led by Britishers, established their outposts (then called stockades) in the later part of 19th century. Much of the town initially grew around this post situated in the DC Hill. The British administration was then slowly extended eastwards towards the remoter parts of the Naga Hills. Mokochung town, the district headquarters of Mokochung district is the intellectual and cultural capital of Nagaland. It is the third biggest town in Nagaland. Ungma, the oldest Ao village situated at a distance of 10 km from Mokokchung town is the ancestral home of the Ao tribe.

Today Mokochung is a well-developed urban town with all modern facilities. The town has a number of educational institutions, good schools, NGOs, Health care centers, offices, government offices etc.

Historically, Mokokchung was one of the first Naga Hills spot where the Assam Rifles set up their garrisons in the 19th century. This battalion was led by the British. Slowly the town began to establish and then expand around this post.

 
Location of Mokokchung

Mokokchung is situated in the Mokochung district of Nagaland. Mokochung is at a distance of about 145 km from the state capital.

Mokochung district is surrounded by the state of Assam to its North, Wokha to its West, Tuensang to its East, and Zunheboto to its South.There are 6 parallel hilly ranges in the district. The main valleys are Changki ,Tsurang and Milak Valleys. Major mountain ranges in the district are Changkikong, Asetkong, Ongpangkong, Tsurangkong, Japukong and Langpangkong. There are only two small valleys called Changki and Tuli.

 
Geography of Mokokchung

Mokokchung is situated at 26.33N 94.53E. It is located at an altitude of 1325 metres above sea level.Mokokchung has a mild climate throughout the year. For ten months of the year, maximum temperature hovers in the mid twenties.

Dimapur and Mokokchung are the only towns in Nagaland with an important sub urban population. Mokokchung is the center of Mokokchung Metropolitan Area, a term which refers to the continuous settlements from Alichen in the south, through Mokokchung town up to Amenyong and Khensa in the North West; and from Mokokchung town through Fazl Ali College up to DEF colony in the North East.

The trend of sub urbanization in Mokokchung started in the eighties with the growing of satellite towns like Marepkong and Yimyu. Today, the urban settlement has spilled outside the historical boundary of Mokokchung town. This trend has speeded up (since the late nineties) so much so that the previous satellite town of Yimyu boomed and extend towards Mokokchung and became adjoined with it. Today it has become a ward of Mokokchung. As a result of this flight to the suburbs, population growth in Mokokchung town has slowed down while the satellite towns are booming.

Besides, the following villages have been overwhelmed by the spiralling urban spread of Mokokchung and have attained urban characteristics. In fact, though not part of the municipality, they have become very much a part of Mokokchung and are confused by many tourists as being localities of the town.
Chuchuyimpang
Mokokchung Village
Khensa
Ungma

People are now living miles away from the main town in smaller communities as well as villages, who drive to work daily to the main town. This phenomenon is in sharp contrast to other towns in Nagaland like Wokha , Zunhebo and Kohima to where a vast majority of the population tend to be concentrated in the main town.

Religion of Mokokchung

Christianity is the main religion of Mokokchung, with more than 95% of the population being Baptist. The Aos were the first of the Nagaland peoples to embrace Christianity in the 19th century, and the area is the center of India's Baptist belt. The revivalist movement that swept the whole state of Nagaland in the 1970s initiated in Mokokchung District and Mokokchung was a major centre. Impur, 15 kilometres away, is the centre of the Ao Baptist Arogo Mungdang (Ao Baptist Churches Convention). The main town Baptist church, situated at the heart of the town, is one of the largest churches in Asia.

The other religions and faiths practiced in Mokokchung - mainly by immigrant business community from mainland India - are Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam.

Art and Culture

Mokokchung is the intellectual and cultural capital of Nagaland. From the late 19th century, through the 20th century and continuing in the present times, the sons and daughters of Mokokchung have surpassed and led the state in every field. Mokokchung is the home and venue of "Naga Idol", a talent search contest on the lines of "American Idol". Naga Idol show holds the distinction of having garnered the highest TV viewership and record sales in Nagaland.

Major Churches of Mokokchung
Mokokchung Town Ao Baptist Arogo (Mokokchung town Ao Baptist Church)
Kumlong Baptist Arogo
Sungkomen Baptist Arogo
Alempang Baptist Arogo
Ongpangkong Baptist Arogo
Phom Baptist Church
Christian Evangelical Church
Nepali Baptist Church
Queen Mary's Cathedral
Mokokchung Pentecostal Church
Sema Baptist Church
Sema Revival Church
Tenyidie Baptist Church
Chang Baptist Church
Police Church

Tourist Attractions in Mokokchung

Mokokchung has handful of attractions. One of the most famous attractions includes the Mokokchung District museum in the Arts and Cultural Complex. The museum display exhibits of various artifacts of Ao Naga tribe such as shield, shawl, swords, clothing, accessories, traditional jewelry, and more. Another popular attraction of the town is the Town main park, which is situated just above the Town Center. The park features a soccer ground and a watch tower.

Springs - Legendary and Extanct
Longritzu Lenden, or the river valley of the departed soul, is believed to contain an underground river; when the ancient Aos died, their spirits would pass through this valley and take a bath in the river; then they would see the fleshless bones on their bodies, and realise that they were actually dead, a flat stone and a hammer still exist there, which was believed to have been used for breaking the Shizung (giant bean) that was used as soap.Tangkum Marok is a spring that is supposed to possess fabulous remedial powers for the development of life. The water from this spring appears right through the rock and has a clear and refreshing taste.

Chuchuyimlang
Chuchuyimlang is the village of festivals for the Ao Nagas. The Moatsu festival, based on community bonding, takes place here from the first of May till the third. During this period, the villagers expressed their friendship towards villagers by exchanging gifts making new associations, renewing old ties etc. The tourist village established there is a showcase of this spirit of the villagers in the most natural and uncontaminated manner.

Longkhum
As an old Naga saying goes, "a single visit to Longkhum is not enough, for your soul stays behind the first time and you have to return there once for more to get it back". This saying springs from the fact that Rhododendrons decorate the hillocks and the precipices surrounding it, providing an amazing sight during full bloom.
Wonderful ethnic handicrafts & handlooms by the expert craftsmen are also found in plenty there. An animist religion called Limapur still exists in this village, where a few families worship a God called Longlanpa Tsungrem.

Caves
Mongzu Ki and Fusen kei are two caves that yet remain unexplored by and large Local legends suggest that Fusen kei is about 25 km long.

Ungma
This is the oldest and the largest of all the Ao villages and the second largest village on Nagaland, next only to Bara Basti of Kohima. Ungma village is situated about 3 km from Mokokchung Town. It occupies a distinctive position in the history of the Ao Nagas, as it is said that the entire Ao tribe founded this village when they first entered the land from their ancestral Home at Chungliyimti (now within the Sangtam Naga Territory). The rich Ao culture and tradition is jealously protected and practiced bu the villagers even today and the place is considered to be a living museum of the traditions of the tribe.

Festivals of Mokochung

New Year
The New Year is celebrated with great splendor and enthusiasm by all the people.

Harvest festival
This is the biggest festival for the community that is celebrated immediately after the harvest of the crop. Offering prayers to God, dancing, feasting mark the festival.

Tsungremong
This is a festival of dancing, singing, celebration, and frolicking.

Moatsu
This is a festival of community bonding celebrated in May for 3 days. As a celebration the villagers express their friendship for each other by exchanging gifts, making new friends, feasting, bon fire etc.

Christmas
This is celebrated by all the converted tribes who follow Christianity.

People of Mokochung

Mokochung is mainly inhabited by the Ao Naga tribe. It is supposed that they have wandered from Mongolia through south-east Asia to Nagaland. In the 19th century, after the arrival of Christian missionaries in India, the Aos were one of the earliest who converted to Christianity compared to the other Naga tribes. They became Christians in the 1870s. As on date, almost 100 percent of them are Christians, the majority being Baptists. A lot of them have also undertaken missionary work in other areas. 95% of the population follows Christianity and they were baptized by the missionaries.

Horticulture, Agriculture and forestry, are the main occupation of the residents. Most of them still continue to follow the Jhum method of cultivation.

 

 


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