To be alive, to feel, to be is to remain wisely rooted in nature and to be drenched in it… to take a walk in the wild woods, feel the whispering wind behind you, against your face, climb the hills and mountains or go down to the river or the sea barefoot. As I write this, I am dreaming of a place… tall trees, enchanting woods, monsoon greens, wet ferns, happy summer hues, rich shades of fall and spring. It’s where my roots are. It’s a place I love coming back to – Dailong.
Tuck away in Manipur's far west, Dailong is one of the big Rongmei Naga villages in Tamenglong. Its original name is Taodailong, meaning a mountain with a huge rock. The rock remains in the heart of the village. Many villagers, today, have moved out of the village in pursuit of better life in towns and cities. But in recent years, the place has been attracting strings of visitors from far and near throughout the year. Visitors flock to see the beautiful Dailong Raengaan, which is a green fortress. 'Raengaan’ is a common feature of Zeliangrong Naga villages in the hills of Manipur. It serves as a resting place for weary travelers.
The mesmerising beauty of the place will captivate your soul and take you to another realm. The trees here are always tall. The ground beneath are always green during the summer. In the fall, the pathways are beautifully carpeted by fallen leaves in different shades of mellow and golden brown. It’s always cool, quiet and peaceful here.
The many steps to the natural fortress lead to an open theatre-like place. The walk beyond leads to series of resting places. Here, big stone slaps are set in the traditional olden ways for resting. One can blissfully dream away here, with no trace of time.
In the middle of the forest is a huge rock formation with an imprint of a giant sized footprint. Some say it is the footprint of a mytholigical heroic figure that existed long ago. But, nobody knows the real story behind it. It could be the mark of the sacred forest!
Little known to the world outside, the place remains enchanting in all its glory. If one has the time, a night or days in the village can add to the enriching experience.
Its hills are richly forested. The place is known for oranges, tea, wild pitai or yongchak, and many tropical fruits. Amost every household has tea gardens and orchards. And, the folks are warm and hospitable.
It is a must-see for those visiting Tamenglong. There is no public transport to the place, but one can trek down or take the help of the locals to arrange private vehicles for a visit to the place. If one is lucky, one gets to travel free to the place. For those who love trekking and hiking, there are many trails one can venture into.
There are no guest houses or hotels, but the villagers would gladly shelter a guest or visitors. What more can you ask on a travel apart from free stay and food.
Recently, the Manipur government declared Dailong as its first Biodiversity Heritage Site. It's barely an hour away from Tamenglong town, trek along and be one with nature here.