City of Kohima
From top (left to right):
Kohima skyline with Kohima Village on top;
Kohima street; PHQ Junction;
Aradurah Hill
"Work is Pride"
Kohima is located in Nagaland
Location of Kohima in Nagaland
Kohima is located in India
Kohima (India)
Coordinates: 25°40′N 94°06′E / 25.67°N 94.10°E / 25.67; 94.10
Country India
RegionNortheast India
DistrictKohima District
Divisions19 municipal wards
 • TypeMunicipality
 • BodyKohima Municipal Council
 • ChairpersonNeikhozo Suokhrie (Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party)
 • Deputy ChairpersonKhrielievi Chüsi (Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party)
 • AdministratorLanusenla Longkümer
 • Total20 km2 (8 sq mi)
1,444 m (4,738 ft)
 • Total115,283[1]
 • OfficialEnglish
 • Major languagesAngamiAoChakhesangLothaSümi
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Telephone code91 (0)370
Vehicle registrationNL-01
Sex ratio927 /
ClimateTemperate (Köppen)

Kohima (/kˈhmə/ ; Angami Naga: Kewhira (IPA: [ˈkɛʍɪɻə])) is the capital of the Indian state of Nagaland. With a resident population of almost 100,000, it is the second largest city in the state.[1] Kohima constitutes both a district and a municipality. The municipality covers 20 km2 (7.7 sq mi). The city lies on the foothills of Japfü section of the Barail Range located south of the District (25°40′N 94°07′E / 25.67°N 94.12°E / 25.67; 94.12)[2] and has an average elevation of 1,261 m (4,137 ft).[3]

Originally known as Kewhira,[4] Kohima's history goes back to a time when it was a village of the Angami Nagas. It became an urban centre in 1878 when the British Empire established its headquarters of the then Naga Hills District of Assam Province. It officially became the capital after the state of Nagaland was inaugurated in 1963. Kohima was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. The battle is often referred to as the Stalingrad of the East.[5][6] In 2013, the British National Army Museum voted the Battle of Kohima to be Britain's Greatest Battle.[7]


Kohima was originally known as Kewhi–ra. People from different places and directions came in search of a place to settle down and formed a homogenous group that necessitated the establishment of a village. They named it Kewhira which is derived from the Tenyidie word "kephfükewhi" which means to meet and assemble together and ra means village with its area jurisdiction. The people of Kewhira are called Kewhimia (mia means people) who are the indigenous inhabitants and hereditarily owned the land of Kewhira. Kohima village is said to be more than 700 years old and is believed to be the second largest village in Asia.[8]


Medieval era

According to oral history, the historical founder of Kewhira Village was Tsiera (stone defender). The village is divided into four large clans (thinuo): Tsütuonuomia, Lhisemia, Dapfhütsumia and Pfüchatsumia (T, L, D, and P Khel respectively).[9]

Colonial era

The East India Company Administration started to expand into Kohima beginning the 1840s.[10]

Battle of Kohima

Main articles: Battle of Kohima and Battle of the Tennis Court

The mined tennis court and terraces of the District Commissioner's bungalow in Kohima

In 1944 during the Second World War the Battle of Kohima along with the simultaneous Battle of Imphal was the turning point in the Burma Campaign.[11] For the first time in South-East Asia, the Japanese lost the initiative to the Allies, which the Allies then retained until the end of the war. This hand-to-hand battle and slaughter prevented the Japanese Army from gaining a base from which they might have easily gone into the plains of India.[12]

Kohima War Cemetery

Kohima has a large cemetery known as the Kohima War Cemetery for the Allied war dead; it is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The cemetery lies on the slopes of Garrison Hill, in what was once the Deputy Commissioner's tennis court, which was the scene of intense fighting known as the Battle of the Tennis Court. The epitaph carved on the memorial of the 2nd British Division in the cemetery has become world-famous as the Kohima poem.

When You Go Home, Tell Them of Us and Say,

For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today.

The verse is attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds (1875–1958), and is thought to have been inspired by the epitaph written by Simonides to honour the Greek who fell at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.[13]


When Nagaland became a full-fledged state on 1 December 1963, Kohima was named as the state capital.[14]

Killings of Kekuojalie Sachü and Vikhozo Yhoshü

Main article: 1986 Killings of Kekuojalie Sachü and Vikhozo Yhoshü

On 20 March 1986, two students Kekuojalie Sachü and Vikhozo Yhoshü were killed in indiscriminate firing by Nagaland Police when they participated in a peaceful protest called by the Naga Students' Federation (NSF) to rally against the state government's decision on the introduction of Indian Police Service (IPS) cadres and the extension of the Disturbed Area Belt from 5 to 20 km along the Indo-Myanmar (Indo-Burma) border. The event was so tumultuous that it led three Cabinet ministers and five State Ministers of Nagaland to resign.[15]

1995 Kohima Massacre

Main article: 1995 Kohima Massacre

On 5 March 1995, when a convoy of the 16th Rashtriya Rifles of the Indian Army was traversing through Kohima, a tyre burst from one of the convoy's own vehicle led the armed troops to mistake the sound of the tyre bursting for a bomb attack. The troops reacted immediately and started firing at civilian populace. A total of 7 were killed and 36 were left injured. The incident is widely referred to as the 1995 Kohima Massacre.[16][17]

2017 Nagaland protests

Main article: 2017 Nagaland protests

On 2 February 2017, the office building of the Kohima Municipal Council was burned down by a mob as part of the boycott of the Civic Elections. The fire significantly damaged adjoining government and private buildings.[18][19] On 19 February, in response against the backdrop of widespread protests and civil unrest in the state, T. R. Zeliang announced his resignation as the Chief Minister of Nagaland.[20][21]

2023 Kohima fire

Main article: 2023 Kohima fire

On 27 February 2023, a massive fire broke in Mao Market and NN Market, one of the biggest commercial areas in Kohima, causing complete damage to the markets.[22]



Kohima is located at 25°67' North, 94°10' East, in the southern part of Nagaland. It lies north of the JapfüBarail intersection with Pulie Badze to the southwest overlooking the city.[23]


The city experiences a subtropical highland climate (Köppen: Cwb), with greater contrast between summer and winter than in other continents due to the monsoons but mild temperatures even for latitude and altitude. The months of June to September concentrate much of the precipitation.[24]

Climate data for Kohima (1961–1990, extremes 1952–2012)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 24.5
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 15.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 11.6
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 8.0
Record low °C (°F) 0.6
Average rainfall mm (inches) 9.6
Average rainy days 1.2 2.5 4.5 8.3 12.2 19.0 22.1 19.3 16.4 9.1 2.3 0.6 117.5
Average relative humidity (%) 74 67 65 70 77 85 88 88 86 83 76 71 78
Source: India Meteorological Department[25][26]


Water supply and availability

Most Wards in Kohima experiences severe water shortages during the dry seasons.[27] The current water resources from the reservoirs of Zarü River and the streams from the slopes of Pulie Badze do not fulfill the needs of the rapidly growing population of Kohima. With the augmentation of the Zarü River project and several other upcoming water projects to be supplied from Dzüko Valley and others. The water supply is expected to cover more wards.[28]


The Kohima Municipal Council (KMC) was established in 2005 under India's Constitution (Seventy-Fourth Amendment) Act, 1992. It has waste management, drainage and trade licensing and other responsibilities.[29][30]

Other departments of the state government, which sit in Kohima, also have a role in the administration of Kohima.[30] The "City Development Plan" for the town, for example, was written by state Urban Development Department.[31]


See also: Municipal Wards of Kohima

Kohima is divided into nineteen sectors with a total of thirty-three administrative wards under the authority of the Kohima Municipal Council, covering an area of about 35 km2 (14 sq mi). Each ward has its own council government and handles many of the functions that are handled by city governments in other jurisdictions.[32]

Public safety

Police and law enforcement

The Kohima Police of the Nagaland Police is the police force responsible for maintaining security, law and order in the Kohima Metropolitan Area. It is headed by a Superintendent of Police (SP). Kevithuto Sophie is the current SP of Kohima.[33]

In 2020, the Kohima North Police Station became the first police station and a government facility in the entire North Eastern Region of India to receive the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 Certification for quality management system.[34][35]


Census data

Historical population
Kohima Decadal Growth:[36]

As of 2011, Kohima had a population of 99,039 of which males and females were 51,626 and 47,413 respectively. Kohima has an average literacy rate of 90.76%, higher than the national average of 76.55%.[1]


Religion in Kohima City (2011)[37]

  Christianity (80.22%)
  Hinduism (16.09%)
  Islam (3.06%)
  Buddhism (0.45%)
  Jainism (0.01%)
  Sikhism (0.08%)
  Others (0.05%)
  Not stated (0.04%)

The major religion in Kohima is Christianity which is practised by 80.22% of the population. Other religions includes Hinduism (16.09%), Islam (3.06%) and Buddhism (0.45%).[37]


Kohima Central


Tourism plays an important role in the city's economy. The number of tourists visiting Kohima has been increasing significantly each year.[38]


Historical sites

Kohima War Cemetery

Main article: Kohima War Cemetery

Kohima War Cemetery is a memorial dedicated to soldiers of the 2nd British Division of the Allied Forces who died in the Second World War at Kohima in April 1944. There are 1,420 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War at this cemetery.[39]


Main article: Sakhrie Park

Sakhrie Park is a recreational park located at Middle Tsiepfü Tsiepfhe Ward (Middle AG) located between the Asian Highway 1 and the Tsiepfü Tsiepfhe Road (AG).[40]

Main article: Sokhriezie Park

Sokhriezie Park is a centrally located lake that sits below the PHQ Junction.[41]

Main article: Kohima Botanical Garden

Kohima Botanical Garden is located at New Ministers' Hill Ward and is looked after by the Nagaland Forest Department.[42]


Cultural centers

The Kohima Capital Cultural Center is a cultural center which has a multipurpose hall that provides various facilities for its citizens.[43] The Regional Centre of Excellence for Music & Performing Arts (RCEMPA) is a contemporary arts and music centre located in Jotsoma, about 6 km (3.7 mi) west of the city centre.[44]

Events and Festivals

A live worship event at The Heritage

Main article: NAJ Cosfest

The NAJ Cosfest is an Otaku-based cosplay festival held every year in the month of July. The annual event was started in 2013 and is organized by the Nagaland Anime Junkies. The cosfest is one of the biggest cosplay festivals in North East India.[45][46]

Main article: Hornbill Festival

The Hornbill Festival is the biggest annual festival in North East India. The festival is held every year from 1 to 10 December with the purpose to promote the richness of the Naga heritage and traditions. The main venue is located at the Kisama Heritage Village, located 12 km (7.5 mi) south of the city centre.[47]


The inhabitants of Kohima have been historically characterized as "fashion-conscious". Numerous fashion stores are located across the city and a number of fashion related events are held annually. The southern wards starting from Main Town and beyond are the most fashionable areas of Kohima.[48][49][50]


The Nagaland State Museum is located in Bayavü Hill and displays a comprehensive collection of artefacts including ancient sculptures, traditional dresses, inscriptions of the Naga people.[51][52]

Religious sites

Kohima Ao Baptist Church

The Kohima Jain Temple, the oldest Jain temple in North East India was established in 1920.[53]


The most widely circulated newspapers in Kohima are The Morung Express, Nagaland Post, Eastern Mirror, Nagaland Page and the local newspaper Capi. The city was also home to the now defunct Kewhira Dielie, the first modern newspaper published from Nagaland.[54][55]

State-owned All India Radio has a local station in Kohima, which transmits various programs of mass interest like AIR FM Tragopan, etc.[56]


The major public transportation in Kohima are buses and taxis.


Main article: Kohima Zubza Railway Station

Kohima is not connected with the rail network. The nearest railway stations are the Chümoukedima Shokhüvi Railway Station and the Dimapur Railway Station. An extension of the railway line from Dimapur to Kohima was proposed and surveyed in 2009.[57] Due to a dispute over land acquisition the track was resurveyed and an alternative alignment was proposed in 2013 and is expected to be completed by 2026.[58][59]


Regardless of its hilly terrain, cycling has become an increasingly popular way to get in and around Kohima. A bicycle-sharing system was launched in September 2020.[60][61]


See also: List of higher education and academic institutions in Kohima



The Naga wrestling enjoys widespread popularity in Kohima with people from all over Nagaland coming to witness the Naga Wrestling Championship held every two years at the Khuochiezhie Local Ground located in the heart of Kohima. The first Naga Wrestling Tournament was held in Kohima in 1971.[62]

Notable people

Main article: List of people from Kohima

See also


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  2. ^ "Maps, Weather, and Airports for Kohima, India". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Kohima Home NIC". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  4. ^ "History | District Kohima, Government of Nagaland | India". Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  5. ^ Dougherty 2008, p. 159.
  6. ^ Ritter 2017, p. 123
  7. ^ "Britain's Greatest Battles". National Army Museum. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  8. ^ The original name of Kohima is Kewhira,’ clarifies KVC Morung Express. 14 October 2023. Retrieved 20 April 2024.
  9. ^ "Clarification on the founder of Kewhira (Kohima) village". The Morung Express. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2023.
  10. ^ Col Ved Prakash, Encyclopaedia of North-East India, Volume 5, Atlantic Publishers & Dist, India, 2007, p. 2158
  11. ^ Anbarasan Ethirajan, Kohima: Britain's 'forgotten' battle that changed the course of WWII, bbc.com, India, February 13, 2021
  12. ^ Bert Sim, Mosstodloch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland: Pipe Major of the Gordon Highlanders at Kohima: his home is named "Kohima." -- RJWilliams, Slingerlands, NY/USA
  13. ^ "Epitaph". Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  14. ^ District Kohima, Demography, kohima.nic.in, India, retrieved February 12, 2021
  15. ^ "Rememembering Kekuojalie Sachü & Vikhozo Yhoshü". Morung Express. Archived from the original on 25 September 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  16. ^ Naleo, Villo (23 August 2016). "Nagaland:Remembering Truthfully and Forgiving Generously". Eastern Mirror. Retrieved 5 December 2021.
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  18. ^ Rutsa, Xavier (3 February 2017). "Violence in Nagaland: Protesters attack government offices in Kohima". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 September 2022.
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Further reading

Official sites