Rather than just touring around the world, these bikers are opting to explore the Nagaland countryside -- braving the monsoon weather and unpaved roads
Kohima: As part of the annual trip, the Nagaland Motorcycle Club (NMC)‘s Kohima Chapter rode 72 km to Zhavame village from Kohima on Saturday and Sunday. In all, 19 Naga chiefs and three pre-inductees camped overnight at the scenic village located near the Manipur state border in a thatched traditional house built for accommodating tourists.
Speaking with EastMojo, founding member of NMC, Peter Rutsa, said, "Our state is blessed with rich diverse culture, hospitable villagers and a beautiful landscape. Citizens often choose to travel out of the state rather than explore our own scenic land. Besides bringing us closer socially and creating better understanding among tribes and communities, it in turn gives a much needed boost to our local economy. And NMC always grabs opportunities to travel beyond the urban settlements of Nagaland -- keeping this in mind."
Zhavame village is popularly known for its rich varieties of organic fruits and vegetables, particularly seasonal apples and cabbages, which are produced on a commercial scale. The village is nestled below Mt Kapamodzü which stands at 2,620 m and is the fourth highest peak in Nagaland.
Touring rural areas could be challenging and for the NMC, the main challenge is the natural elements -- the monsoon rain and the poor roads -- "which are regular features and is part of rural tourism but can take its toll on man and machine", said Rutsa.
In winter, the frozen roads become a challenge for vehicles and Rutsa's advice is "for visitors to engage SUVs, preferably 4x4s or motorcycles that perform well off-tarmac roads for mobility, satisfaction and safety".
"But the worst moment was when some bikers could not ride to the top of Kapamodzü peak due to the tough terrain, slippery monsoon road and lack of experience," Rutsa said recalling the trip.
Zhavame village is ideal for trekking, rock climbing, para gliding, downhill cycling, extreme motor sports and other rural tourism activities. Although with no road signs, it is reachable via Tadubi town in Senapati district of Manipur at a shorter distance.
Rutsa excitedly recounted the trip saying, "Zhavame village is a perfect destination for people looking for a getaway from urban activities -- without much hassle for short durations... Weekend visits and overnight halts at the village during spring and winter when Kapamodzü is in full bloom with wild flowers or when its summit turns white with snow and frost is captivating."
Rutsa continued, "The rice beer of the village is second to none, partly because it is not commercially produced... For the more adventurous, camping on top of mount Kapamodzü which dips below minus 15°C in winter for the purpose of star gazing, watching a spectacular clear celestial sky well into the night and to view the sun rising over the mighty Saramati mountain are mesmerising, unforgettable experiences!"
"Nagaland has tremendous potential for rural, adventure, cultural, eco, agri and culinary tourism besides others which NMC has experienced through various tours and travels. With required level of support from the government and active participation of village communities, rural tourism in Nagaland will not fail to uplift the life of villagers and the villages,” he added.
"The best part was when an elderly villager prayed for NMC before our departure from the village,” Rutsa added.
As part of the annual trip, the NMC first toured Lungwa village in Mon district bordering Myanmar and the second trip to Mopungchuket village under Mokokchung district.