Mokokchung is a town and a municipality in Mokokchung district in the Indian state of Nagaland. It is the district headquarter as well as the main urban hub of Mokokchung district. Mokokchung is the cultural center of the Ao people and is economically and politically the most important urban centre in Northern Nagaland. In fact it is the most important urban hub in all of Nagaland after Dimapur and Kohima.
The town is made up of 16 wards of which Kumlong, Sangtemla, Alempang and Yimyu are the largest. Mokokchung is particularly noted for its extravagant Christmas, New Year, Moatsu and Tsungremong celebrations. Its tradition of celebrating Christmas and New Year midnight celebrations in the main town square is regarded as one of the unique features of Mokokchung. Historically, Mokokchung was one of the first Naga Hills sites where the Assam Rifles, led by Britishers, established their outposts (then called stockades) in the later part of 19th century. Much of the town initially grew around this post located in the DC Hill. The British administration was then gradually extended eastwards towards the remoter parts of the Naga Hills.
The Ao land is a pleasant one with long ranges sloping gently down to number of moderate streams. Bordering in the East by Sangtam, Chang, and Phom tribes, in the west the Lotha or Kyong tribe and part of Assam plains. To the North are the Konyak tribe and a portion of the Amguri plains of Assam; to the south the Semas or Sumi tribe bound the Ao land. The territory is made up of ranges, running in a northeasterly direction with an island plateau in the heart of it.
Satellite towns (sub urban areas) of Mokokchung:
Dimapur and Mokokchung are the only towns in Nagaland with a significant sub urban population. Mokokchung is the hub of Mokokchung Metropolitan Area, a term which refers to the continuous settlements from Alichen in the south, through Mokokchung town up to Amenyong and Khensa in the North West; and from Mokokchung town through Fazl Ali College up to DEF colony in the North East.
The trend of sub urbanization in Mokokchung ( which had started in Western countries in the sixties) started in the eighties with the mushrooming of satellite towns like Yimyu and Marepkong. Today, the urban settlement has spilled outside the historical boundary of Mokokchung town. This trend has speeded up (since the late nineties) so much so that the erstwhile satellite town of Yimyu boomed and spread towards Mokokchung and became conjoined with it. Today it has become a ward of Mokokchung. As a result of this flight to the suburbs, population growth in Mokokchung town (the area under the municipality comprising the fifteen wards) has slowed down while the satellite towns are booming.
Art and Culture:
Mokokchung is the intellectual and cultural capital of Nagaland. From the late 19th century, through the 20th century and continuing in the present times, the sons and daughters of Mokokchung have excelled and led the state in every field. Mokokchung is the home and venue of "Naga Idol", a talent search contest on the lines of "American Idol". Naga Idol show holds the distinction of having garnered the highest TV viewership and record sales in Nagaland.
Mokokchung has handful of attractions. One of the most popular attractions includes the Mokokchung District museum in the Arts and Cultural Complex. The museum display exhibits various artifacts of Ao Naga tribe such as swords, shield, shawl, clothing, traditional jewelry, accessories and more. Another popular attraction of the town is the Town main park, which is located just above the Town Center. The park features a soccer ground and a watch tower.
Mokokchung's central location has helped it to be the converging point of maximum number of highways and hence it is better connected to most areas of Nagaland when compared to Kohima and Dimapur. Besides,every village and settlement of the district is well linked to the town by district and community roads.
Major Highways passing through Mokokchung are:
- NH 61 (Kohima-Wokha-Mokokchung-Changtongya-Tuli-Amguri)
- NH 155 (Pfutsero-Kiphire-Tuensang-Mokokchung)
- Mokokchung-Mariani Highway
- Mokokchung-Lumami-Zunheboto-Kohima Highway