Dimapur Knowledge Guide
According to popular belief, the city's formation in Nagaland is separate from that of Assam. In the Middle Ages, it was the capital of the Kachari Kingdom. In the heart of the town there is an old relic of the Kachari Kingdom which speaks about the once prosperous era. The seat of capital of Dimapur Kingdom was originally enclosed by a brick wall four feet wide and sixteen feet high, surrounded by an outer ditch sixteen feet in width and twelve feet in depth, except on the southern side where the River Dhansiri formed a natural moat. On the eastern side, there was a fine solid gateway with brick masonry of pointed double arches. The gate was secured by heavy double doors, the hinges of which were seated in holes pierced in solid stone blocks. At both ends of the battlement there were turrets of half quadrant shape and in between the archway and the turrets were niches resembling ornamental windows. High up, on either side of the arch, were carvings of sunflowers, which were originally faced with brass so as to present a dazzling spectacle when seen sparkling in the sun from afar. Edward Albert Gait said of the brick structures of Dimapur that they showed the Kacharis' civilization to be further advanced than that shown by the timber and mud plaster constructions of the Ahoms. Dimapur marked a progressive point in the history of the lineage of the Mech/Mechha Dynasty (un-sanskritised heritage of the Kacharis). Inside the fortified city, there were seventeen ornamental stone pillars. These funerary monuments were decorated with carvings of foliage, flowers, familiar animals and birds. These monoliths are believed to be lineal monuments of the ruling kings of Dimapur. The largest of them was seventeen feet high and twenty-four feet in circumference and was said to be the memorial of Makardhwaj, greatest of the rulers of Dimapur (to be equated probably with Khungkradoa Raja, in whose time the Dimasa Kachari Kingdom reached its apogee. It was during this golden age that the conquests of Manipur and Burma took place under the leadership of Sengyah (Veer) Demalu Kemprai, the greatest warlord of the Kacharis. Also during this period, heroes like Rangadao (after whom Ranga Pathar, the southern part of Dimapur, was named), Degadao and mystic heroines like Wairingma and Waibangma won renown in war and the pursuit of mystical attainment. Other V-shaped stone monuments, seventeen in number, symbolised the seventeen royal clans of the 'Dimasa Kachari Aristocracy’ a term coined by Dr. Francis Hamilton, a renowned scholar of the Dimasa Kachari Royal Clan. Shri SK. Barpujari in his book ‘History of the Dimasa’ and some writers opined that the Dimasa Kachari Kings to commemorate their Victory over other tribesmen, erected monoliths of different shapes indicating the different traditions of the vanquished tribes. This tradition of carving victory memorials is part of the culture of the hill tribes and may have been adopted by the Dimasa Kachari Kings in order to demonstrate the legitimacy of their rule. Dr H. Bareh in the ‘Gazetteer of India’ writes that the oblong V-Shaped stone pillars closely correspond to the similarly V-Shaped post protruding from the roof of the house of wealthy Angamis, who are said to have adopted the practice. The tallest and largest megalith, which lies isolated from others and has a unique Sultanate style, is believed to have been erected by the founder king of Dimapur, who after vanquishing the tribes all around made his triumphal tower to commemorate his victory and this became a tradition setter. In and around this old city, large number of tanks over fifty in number existed, although most of them have since either dried up or have been destroyed by reckless human encroachment without an iota of respect for the history. These tanks are believed to be dug by the kings for providing water supply to their people. Most of large tanks are rectangular and have a hardwood seasoned poles planted deep at the centre of the tanks, which have lasted for hundreds of years. Others are of irregular shapes without any such wooden poles. Inference in that, the former ones might have been dug by the kings for water supply and the later were habitation as 'Digjo Dijua' meaning 'cut off from main river or stream’ and this tradition is still in vogue, and this area covers Dimapur and Dimasa Kachari inhabited areas of Karbi Anglong District of Assam in the Dhansiri Valley. The present Dimapur is the commercial capital of Nagaland and is one of the fastest growing townships in the entire North-east region. But irony is, in the name of the modernity and development, this ancient city of Dimapur, whose historical relics finds a place in the World.
During World War II, Dimapur was the centre of action between British India and Imperial Japan. It was the staging post for the Allied offensive. The Japanese could reach Kohima where a siege was laid. Allied reinforcement came through Dimapur by rail and road for the push against the Japanese. An airport at Dimapur was also in use for supplies to the allied forces in Burma. The battle for Kohima about 77 km from Dimapur is considered the turning point for the Japanese retreat from South East Asia. The Jains were amongst the earliest non-Naga settlers of Nagaland. A few Jain families came to Kohima in the 1880s and settled there. They later moved to Dimapur in 1944 due to Japanese invasion during World War II. Prominent among them were Phulchand Sethi, Udayram Chabra, Mangilal Chabra, Phulchand Binaykia, Jethmal Sethi, Ramchandra Sethi, Bhajanlal Sethi, Kanhaiyal Sethi, Nathmal Sethi etc. Phulchand Sethi, Bhajanlal Sethi and other Sethi and Chabra brethren set up the SD Jain Temple, SD Jain School, SD Jain Charitable Hospital. Kanhaiyalal Sethi, Phulchand Sethi, and his brothers also built the Durga Mandir in Old Daily Market. Present-day Dimapur has far outgrown its old town area (up to the old Dhansiri bridge, under reconstruction in 2017). It is one contiguous urban sprawl from the Assam border at Dilai gate and newfield checkgate up to the foothills of Chumukedima, the designated district headquarters of Dimapur district.
Political status of the Kacharis
After the statehood was given a new interim body was set up whereby the Kacharis were given representation in the form of membership in the government body. The Kacharis were asked to nominate their member a qualified person could be found and hence they brought in a person from the Bodo (Mech), sub-tribe of the Great Kachari Family, Late Shri Deblal Mech (a Bodo Kachari), to represent the people.. The Kacharis are mostly in the Dimapur III constituency of the state, where total voters would be around 20,000; these consist of Dimasa Kachari, Bodo/Mech Kachari, Garo , Kuki and others, including Naga tribes like Angamis, Kyong (Lotha), Chakhesangs, Sumis, etc. Dimasas Kacharis or Kacharis honestly enrolled in the electoral roll the exact eligible voters whereas many other communities inflated their numbers very largely. At present, Dimasa Kacharis' live alongside other Kachari sub-tribes and the Naga community in Dimapur, and the Kachari community as a whole is considered as one of the indigenous community of Nagaland. The Kacharis are mostly found in the Dhansiripar Subdivision, Kachari Gaon, Diphupar, Ranga Pathar, etc.
Dimapur Jain Temple was built in 1947. The temple is architecturally very well built and has an impressive structure. The temple has some intricate glass work. The temple is considered very auspicious by the people of Dimapur. The principal deity is of Lord Mahaveer. The temple was built by the tireless effort of Shri Subhkaran Sethi, Shri Phulchand Sethi, Shri Jethmal Sethi, Shri Udayram Chabra, Shri Chunnilal Kishanlal Sethi, Shri Kanhaiyal Sethi, and other Jain families present in Dimapur at that time. Kachari Rajbari, which although is left in ruins after centuries of abandonment, after facing conflict with the Ahom King in 18th century and with the settlement of township occupying almost half of its former glorious fortress, is still a national heritage site. It signifies great historical importance for the region of North-East. It also gives great value to the state of Nagaland. There are various tourist attractions in Dimapur, such as ancient villages, waterfalls, ruins of the Dimasa Kachari Kingdom, and the Kali Temple.It has several places where tourist can visit such as Green Park, Aqua Mellow park, Zoological Garden, Science Center, Stone park, Hazi park, Agri Expo site, Rangapahar forest, Triple Falls, Shiv Mandir, etc. Niuland Subdivision and Chumukedima Village is an ancient area with several waterfalls. The town of Medziphema, Kuhuboto, surrounded by villages like Sakipheto, Alato, Aoyimkum, Darogarjan, and Nihoto are visited by tourists. The Kachari Ruins are visited for various temples, reservoirs, and tanks that belonged to the Dimasa Kachari Kingdom. There are some resort in the outskirts of Dimapur which one can visit. Apart from these, Diphupar, Nichuguard, Sukhajan, Kuki Dolong, Thilixu, and Seithekima Village are visited. Chekiye and Ruzaphema have bazaars, where tourists can purchase handicrafts.
The National Highway 39 that connects Kohima, Imphal and the Myanmar border at Moreh runs through Dimapur. NH 36 starts from Dimapur connecting Doboka and later Guwahati via NH 37.
Dimapur is the only city in Nagaland that is connected by both rail and air. There are direct train services to cities like Guwahati, Kolkata, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Dibrugarh and Chennai from the Dimapur railway station. The station is categorised as an A category railway station which lies on the Lumding-Dibrugarh section under the Lumding railway division of Northeast Frontier Railway.
Dimapur Airport is located at 3rd mile (NH 39). It is the only civil airport in the state and has flights to Kolkata and Delhi. There are plans for expansion of the airport to meet international norms by buying land at Aoyimti village. Maintained by the Airports Authority of India, it is an important trade and commercial centre on National Highway No. 39, and wears a rather cosmopolitan look.