Terraced Rice Fields of Zapami Village & Pfutsero – Hidden Gems of Nagaland
The terraced paddy fields turn golden as it is harvest time in Phek district, the sleepy town of Pfutsero shines at night on the faraway hill like a scattered diamond, flowers in all shades rimmed by the road sway with the breeze and the stars, did I not tell about stuff dreams are made of.
My uncanny interest in places not flagged by hounds of tourist led me to an impromptu trip to Zapami village in Phek district of Nagaland. And how about I confess, it was beyond just the glory of terrace rice fields. It was an experience that would make anyone believe in gratitude, honesty, selflessness and simplicity – Yes, all of this exists in the middle of all the meanness and choice of materialistic proliferation.
About Zapami Village
It is a simple sleepy village in Phek district dominated by Chakesang tribe of Nagaland. Located roughly at a distance of 70km from state capital Kohima, time stops by as you clumsily walk through the village. Phek district looks distant cousin of Bali with gorgeous terrace fields everywhere. This charming little village had everything serenity is made of – the paddy fields, verdant hills, flowers like the arrival of spring, quaint kitchen gardens and most importantly, smiling faces with so much innocence in eyes. The village also houses a museum displaying artefacts from World War II and a watchtower overlooking the luscious paddy fields. At every corner of the village, you find wildflowers tuning to the balmy air. Farming is their livelihood and the richness is measured in terms of how much grains a household owns. Nevertheless, it was so much of greetings and warm welcome, I barely find people with so much warmth.
How to reach Zapami?
Zapami does not fall under tourist radar and in fact, there is hardly anyone who knows about the place except the natives. The transportation is extremely limited and the roads – better buckle up properly before you start. There are direct cab services from Dimapur to Pfutsero every day except Sunday. Pfutsero is the coldest inhabitable place in Nagaland. Zapami lies 12kms before reaching Pfutsero. The cheapest way to reach Zapami is to take a direct cab from Dimapur to Pfutsero and ask the driver to stop at Zapami. The entrance of the village is marked with a Morung gate and the name clearly mentioned.
Dimapur to Pfutsero daily shared cabs are available near Hill Star Cinema Hall in Dimapur every morning at 5.30 am. However, make sure that you making your seat booking a day prior because seats are limited. The price is Rs 400/-.
Call Vitso at 09612457803 for booking a cab seat
Alternatively, you can leave for Kohima and stay overnight. Every morning there are shared cabs that leave from Kohima (you can ask locals about the place where you can get the cab). If you personally hire a car, the charges will be around Rs 600 to 800/-.
In Zapami there is no guesthouse, homestay or other accommodation options. The only place you can stay here is with the local families and enjoy the best of the village. My trip to Zapami was a lot of planning and initially, I did not know anyone in the village. Later, I got in touch with Rhiwei who stays in the village through a friend. I stayed with her and her family. The local families from the village are friendly and you can find your host upon talking to the villagers. However, there is better accommodation option in Pfutsero. Instead of staying at Zapami you can opt to stay at Pfutsero. There is a tourist guest house and you can instead make a day trip to Zapami.
What to Do In and Around?
Walk around the Paddy Fields in Zapami
The terraced rice fields change its colour every season and never fail to astound the onlooker with its serenity. Phek district of Nagaland is popular for its terrace cultivation and resembles the paddy fields of Bali to an extent. The nuance terrace fields are beautifully outlined with prominent borders. In the month of November, it is harvest time and the fields look absolutely gorgeous in golden. During cultivation time, it is all green that spreads an air of freshness around. Right behind the village, take a stroll along the paddy fields.
Visit Glory Peak in Pfutsero
Pfutsero is the coldest inhabitable town in Nagaland that makes it a paradise for all those who love the idea of snowmen and cold chills. Oh! Cherry blossom all over and you know it is November in this beautiful quaint town. The beauty of this town is a blissful dream with flowers of all colours sprinkled like stars throughout. The church lies in heart of the city awakening the beauty of learning. If that’s not enough, of course, which isn’t, take an early morning hike to Glory peak. Soak in the beauty of the city, far away hills, pine forest, purple blooms and carry your wild heart embracing the glorious nip in the air.
Take a ride to Chida Post
Chida Post is located somewhere 8kms from Zapami Village and is a gorgeous valley surrounded by the pristine hills. The lake welcomes you to Chida Post that lies within the border of Nagaland and Manipur. As you walk up the lake, the rolling hills of the valley embrace you in its wilderness. Prance around soaking into the beauty of the blue hills that snoop amidst the cottony clouds. If you are in for some solitary time, this is the place you need to walk up to in absolute admiration.
Hike up to Pine Hill
Pine Hill is a beautiful spot surrounded by pine trees. The hill can be hiked a few km ahead of Zapami village. It is an incredible place to slowly take a walk, enjoy the calmness and you can also play lost in the wood all by yourself. It is an easy and serene hike as the clouds change its colour every while. The sound of the crackling birds adds to the scenic sight.
- There is no ATM in Zapami Village and only ATM in Pfutsero. Make sure you carry enough cash with you because you cannot make any sort of payment by swiping card.
- Conveyance option is very limited and the only mode of transport is by hired cabs. Whether you are putting up at Zapami or Pfutsero, you have to hire vehicle for going to different places.
- Use sunscreen on your face if you don’t want to get tanned. The mix of sun rays and cold during the winter months becomes harsh on the skin.
- On the way, you will find local village selling fruits and vegetables. Do help them by making the purchase.
PS: This trip has been very special for me. I am so thankful to my kind hosts in Zapami Village who helped me tour the place in and around. I found about Zapami Village through an Instagram Post by Suduvo Chizo, a student of NIT, Nagaland who helped me arrange my stay in the village. It was so amazing meeting Rhiwei Kreo and her family who hosted me. Thanks Atekhro for bearing my photography sessions.
Picture Stories from Zapami and Pfutsero