“Your soul stays back on your first visit. You have to come back to retrieve your soul” – that is the bequest of the village of Longkhum which is an Ao Village located South West of Mokokchung at an altitude of 1846 meters. It is the highest altitude Village of the Ao Region popularly called as the ‘Ao- Funemro’ during the Head Hunting Era, meaning the Van-Guard Village of the Ao Country and strategically commands a view of the surrounding hills and valleys. Area-wise it is the largest village and shares boundaries with the Lotha Villages in the West and Sumi Villages on its South.The Ao’s believed that Longkhum is the resting place for the spirit of dead on their onward journey to paradise.
In modern times, Longkhum is also called as the ‘Vegetable Capital’ of Nagaland(as declared by the Department of Horticulture, Government of Nagaland in 2004). It was recorded that during the harvest season farmers produce a total of approximately 230 MT of Tomato, 32 MT of Small Potatoes, 33 MT of Chilly and 71 MT of Cabbage.
The village leads in the production of Tomatoes which is a major commercial crop for the area and exports to neighboring districts like Kohima and Dimapur and even to the state of Assam.
Longkhum is one of the favorite Tourist Destination Villages of Nagaland with so much to offer to the Nature & Adventure Lover with beautiful Trekking Trails leading to places of tourist interests.
- Mata Kimong: One of the most popular places to visit while you’re in Longkhum Village, is Mata Yimkong. It is a beautiful hilltop where once a fortress stood guard. There is also the AKM Student Jubilee Tower which is the highest point at Longkhum. You can catch glimpses of fertile farms and undulating ranch lands with a backdrop of the mountain ranges.
- Imkongmeren Memorial Site: You can pay a visit to the ‘Memorial Site of Imkongmeren’ – one of the earliest Naga freedom fighters and the first Vice President of Naga Nationalist Group – NNC; Naga National Council. It is one of the favorite photography sites in the village where one can have a panoramic view of the Doyang River.
- Longlangba: Perhaps the most unique feature in the interest of tourists is the Longlangba or Stone Bridge which is a ridge of stones that passes through the Rhododendron woods. The forest has small holes in the rocks that were carved into the stones so that spears could be placed in them. These were like warning signs to attackers that they would be killed and their head taken off. You can also see the footprints ofEdiben and Jina, the adored love birds of the Ao tribe hailing from Mopungchuket Village popularly known as the Romeo & Juliet of the Aos. Below the stone bridge lies the huge ‘Tekulem Long’ or Worship Stones, where in the ancient days, people worshipped and gave sacrifices to the Stone God.
- Mongzu Ki – Eagle‘s Eyrie– Situated at a high precipice where eagles have nested for centuries. According to Ao Mythology, eagles are the manifestations of the spirits of the dead.
- Retu Long: Unexplored and unknown to many is the ‘Retu-Long’ which for many years, have been considered by our forefathers as the “Living Stone”.
- Fosen Ki: Lower down the ridges another popular site is the Fosen Ki or Rock Caves which is a delight to the adventurous few.
- Observatory Majang: A little further down below the Longlangba is the man-made majang or observatory point where one can have a beautiful view over the lofty hills with a backdrop of the Doyang River. It is from this site that one can view the Mongzu-Ki or Eagle’s Cave.
- Tsumeya Tsuin/ Waterfall: A few kilometers away from the village center, there lies a beautiful waterfall called Tsumeya Tsuin. It is very high that it does not fit in a camera frame. One needs to take a local tourist guide to reach to this place.
- Tenem Temba Kong:It is the place where the Hornbill Birds used to nest. One needs to climb up a series of vertical rocks to reach to the top.
- Tangyim Marok: Legend has it that the water from this Natural Spring oozing from the rocks has the power to heal sickness. Some even call it the Takum Marok meaning the Living Mug. Through it dries up during the winter; many tourists come to collect water from this place during the monsoon season.
- Longkhum Cherry Blossoms: It is in the month of September and early October that the Cherry Blossoms bloom to its full glory which are planted alongside the route to Longkhum.During this time of the year local tourists and photographers flock into the village to capture nature’s overwhelmingly beauty which is also short lived.
- Pine Grooves: Planted during the British Era in 1945, the Pine Grooves add to the many scenic sites of Longkhum Village. Running parallel on both sides of the stairway, it is one of the favorite sites for photography.
- Achen Dang: This is a place of historical importance in the Socio-Cultural context of Longkhum Village. It is here that the wedding ceremonies were conducted. A system opposite to that of dowry system was practiced by the villagers when the husband must give his potential father-in-law some property or money to take the daughter to wife, this amount or material things called the ‘Bride Price’ was given to the new Father-in-law at a place called Achen Dang.
- Longkhum Food Culture:A trip to Longkhum is incomplete without having to taste the local food cuisines. Longkhum villagers prepare the finest of Rice Beers called as Mejemtsu which gets exported even to Kohima during the Hornbill Festival. Mokok-Rangdang (Meaning Unable to cut through) which are basically Sticky-Rice Balls, Mersu-Un (Chilly Curry) are some of the hot favorites of Longkhum Food Cuisines.
Visitors those who have written about LONGKHUM
The credit goes to Atoba Longkumer a native of the village for providing all the details about Longkhum