John Gill

John is a much travelled man and it was about time that he had his own page--his photographic skills are excellent and some of his wry comments fit the bill in an amusing manner  Thank you John for allowing us to share your memories

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Kohima Visit

It's better to travel painfully then to arrive

The Elephants have their day

The Stillwell Road Today

Hot Chillis

Poaching Rhinos in Kazaringa

January 28 2015

Thanks to John for sending this article telling of the defense against poachers killing Rhinos in Kazaringa

Please click below to read story

October 31 2011

John visited Kohima in October 2011 with his son Dan and below are his experience which he has kindly shared with us

Kohima October 2011

Ever since I worked on a garden in the shadow of the Naga Hills I had long wanted to visit places like Mokokchung and Kohima, but had been prevented from doing so by a variety of Indian Government travel restrictions. Earlier this year however with the lifting of restrictions the opportunity arose to go to Nagaland.

     So it was with my son and I armed with our Indian tourist visas set off for Dimapur arriving there by Air India from Guwahati. It is now so easy to organize flights and hotels using the internet without recourse to travel agents. A useful aid in all this is to refer to the TripAdvisor' website which pointed us in the direction of the Orchid Hotel in Kohima. The hotel had arranged for a taxi to meet us at Dimapur airport for the 45 miles or so up to Kohima.  This is an essential part of planning as there is no friendly taxi rank at Dimapur airport.

     The medium sized Hotel Orchid is Naga owned and run. The general manager and part owner is Vizo Dimasha who has wide experience of the hotel industry in India having worked for the Oberoi and Taj Hotel groups amongst others. Both he and his Naga staff are courteous, efficient, and welcoming. For us this was to be Naga hospitality at its best.

Our rooms provided a panoramic view over the town, and the everyday sounds of life below drifted up. The hotel is but a couple of minutes walk from the military cemetery with its powerful and e motional reminder of the siege in April 1944.                   We carried a copy of the excellent Fergal Keane book - ‘Road of Bones' which describes in graphic detail the events and personalities leading to the savage battle, much of it at close quarters, between the British, our allies and the Japanese. The book is essential reading for those intent on visiting Kohima as it helps greatly to identify the key events and places.

     The cemetery is immaculately maintained. The graves marked with a simple inscription are set out on a terraced area which include the clearly marked out tennis court over which men threw hand grenades in hand to hand combat.

At one end of the cemetery stands the Memorial to those who died and on it the legendary inscription - "When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today"

     Throughout our three day stay the hotel had arranged for an excellent guide and driver  -- Anguli Meyase - who took us to his birthplace Khonoama and to the Naga Village Heritage site and museum.. Also the Roman Catholic Cathedral. We could see seven churches from our hotel balcony. We were also taken to a market in Kohima and introduced to hornets ‘ larvae which when cooked could be regarded  as something of a delicacy. If that's your thing ! Needless to say the markets were very colourful . Hand made Naga shawls, skirts and jackets in vivid colours made wonderful mementos.

     Kohima has a fair number of Automatic Teller Machines which form part of banks. The Orchid did not accept payment by credit card. You would be hard pressed to find a shop selling postcards although we were told that the gift shop next to Kohima's largest hotel, the Japfu had some.

     Views of the jungle clad hills and paddy fields in the valley are breathtaking but Kohima's infrastructure does not seem to be geared up for a large number of tourists. There are only a few hotels and traffic congestion can be of the highest order with associated air pollution.

     The annual Hornbill Festival held in Kohima held in December attracts Nagas from all over the country. Understandably accommodation is at a premium at this time. Kohima and Nagaland are well worth a visit whilst travel restrictions allow. The scenery is spectacular and Naga friendliness and hospitality make a perfect match for this enchanting country. We left Nagaland with a heavy heart and made our way back to Dimapur and thence to Guwahati by train.

Below is the e-mail address for the Orchid hotel

General Manager -- Vizo Dimasha 



Here are some of the photos  John and Dan took during their visit to Kohima



1  Military Cemetary

2 On the road to Kohima

3 John with Anguli
The inscription reads
Nagas are not Indians; their territory is not part of the Indian Union.
We shall uphold and defend this unique truth  at all costs and always.


4 View of part of Kohima from Orchid Hotel

5 View of paddy fields from Khonoama village

6 another view from Khonoama village

 7  The caption reads;

"Head hunting was universally practiced by Nagas.
The taking of heads in war earned the warrior an exulted status of fame, honour,and glory not only in this world  but an honourable place in life after death.
The skulls are real trophies taken during head hunting raids


We are indebted to John for sending the clipping from the Times Newspaper of 30/10/09--describing travel in Assam plus the wonder of Kaziranga--the author Simon Barnes makes the point as to why nobody told him of this wonderful place equalling Serengeti, Kruger and Yosemite.

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June 10 2007
Our thanks to John for forwarding this story


The Elephants have their day



 Flag draped elephants take part in a procession during at the Kaziranga National Park about 150 miles east of Gauhati, the main city of the northeastern Indian State of Assam. The festival is held at the start of the year to foster awareness among local people of elephant habits. 
The animals have left trails of destruction throughout the State as their traditional habitat is destroyed. 
Their misadventures include raiding military depots and drinking liquor

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May 22 2007

The Stillwell Road today

This informative article is reproduced from the Times of London May  12 2007

Chinese troops fighting Japanese occupiers were the first to use the Stillwell Road linking India to China via Burma in 1945

It is still used by Buddhist monks in Burma to collect daily donations

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March 3 2007

We are indebted to John for producing this piece of vital 

 information for those who enjoy hot chillis--not sure if

 they would be safe to serve at Eastbourne   ?


For those who like hot chilli peppers--the facts


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