The bamboo interiors and rustic environs of Longchen Homestay, in Dimapur Nagaland, run by congenial hosts offer one an opportunity to feel at home in the far-off tribal lands.
Located close to the airport and a few strides away from the Dimapur Kohima highway Longchen Homestay is an independent bamboo furnished cottage on sweeping vast expenses overlooking a fishery pond beyond. The environs cast such a spell that even locals couldn’t resist dropping by on occasional family gatherings over a curated meal.
The main house, owned by Col. (Retd) David Toshi Jamir was converted into a homestay in 2015 with the help of locals artisans and interior decorators to lend it the touch of vernacular interior styling.The sprawling campus is spread over five acres and the homestead of hosts Toshi and Annie is tucked in with the family’s old paddy fields in their backyard.
An ornamental gate with Naga spears, a Mithun head, and the words ‘Ee ki (Our Home) Longchen’ greet the visitor coming from the arched gateway leading to Aoyimti, literally ‘Ao Village’.
A green gate grants independent access to Longchen Homestay – a pretty ochre bungalow suffused with ivy creepers fronted by a mithun head and private garden. A small foyer leads to two spacious rooms Morung and Hornbill with double beds, which open to a wide balcony that presents the daily ritual of planes landing and taking off from Dimapur Airport nearby, and the old fields below.
The decor is inspired by traditional Naga tribal settings with bamboo furniture (created at Nagaland Bamboo Resource Centre nearby) which is accompanied by cane chairs, chunky tree stumps, and a massive Konyak angh’s (chief’s) bed from Longwa serving as a center table.
A rattan cane screen wall partitions the fully furnished rustic kitchenette and dining. Separating it from the view of two rooms on the floor below facing a grassy patch, Tiaki I & II (House of Luck), fitted with twin beds.
Woodpecker, an independent unit comes with all-wood interiors and a balcony overlooking the fishpond. There are two more rooms on the first floor of a separate building.
The campus is flourishing with many shrubs and trees–mangoes, jackfruit, papaya, betelnut, bay leaf, Sichuan pepper, lemon and yongchak (stink bean), which Annie makes into pickle and chutney.
There’s also a cozy library and a handmade craft corner Naga Hut with lit-up candles fitted on stands, essential oils and bells made by Annie. One wakes up to the twitter of sparrows, and magpie robins, and experiences Naga hospitality, surrounded by greenery in this rurban (rural-urban) corner.
As Longchen Homestay has hosted a program on Naga cuisine featuring Chef Joel Basumatari and Chef Imna for Doordarshan, it continues to draw interesting guests–from all walks of life be it soil researchers, chefs, coffee entrepreneurs, cyclists, bikers, and so on.