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 your back, 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 Raengaan. It’s a green fortress at Dailong, in Tamenglong, far West of Manipur. ‘Raengaan’ marks an entry to a village of the Zeliangrong Naga (a tribe in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam) people. It is a common feature of the Zeliangrong Naga villages in the hills of Manipur. Also, it serves as a resting place for weary travelers.
An hour and half away from Tamenglong town, Dailong Raengaan lies pristine and idyllic and is one of the best that exist to this day. The many steps up the forest lead to an open air theater-like place with rows of sitting places in a natural setting created by the villagers. 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 lie on these rocky slaps and spend the whole day 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. Nobody knows the story behind it, but it could be the mark of the sacred forest! The trees here are always tall and green. The ground beneath and the pathways are always green during the summer and beautifully carpeted by different shades of mellow and golden brown leaves during the fall. It’s always beautiful, cool, quiet and peaceful here.
If one has the time, a night in the village can add to the enriching experience. Dailong is one of the better known Rongmei villages in Manipur. It is a fairly large and rich village. Its hills are richly forested. Almost every household has tea gardens and fruit orchards of the famous Tamenglong oranges, pineapples, apricots and many others. The folks are warm and hospitable.
Unknown to the outside world and with hardly any tourists venturing into this part of the world, the place remains enchanting in all its glory. It is a must visit for those visiting Tamenglong. There is no public transport to the place, but one can 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 spot.