War cemetery

Kohima, Nagaland

#Historical and Heritage


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Kohima War Cemetery is a memorial dedicated to soldiers of the 2nd British Division of the Allied Forces who died in the Second World War at Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, India, in April 1944. The soldiers died on the battleground of Garrison Hill in the tennis court area of the Deputy Commissioner's residence. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission(CWGC), which maintains this cemetery among many others in the world, there are 1,420 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War at this cemetery, and a memorial to an additional 917 Hindu and Sikh soldiers who were cremated in accordance with their faith.

The Kohima War Cemetery is located in the center of Kohima city, capital of the Indian state of Nagaland, at the location where a decisive battle was won by the Allied Forces during the Second World War, forcing the Japanese army to retreat. This location is on the ridge below and above the tennis court. The cemetery is on the northern side of the Imphal-Dimapur road (State Highway 39) and 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the Indo-Burma border. Kohima is well-connected by air services from Calcutta, Delhi, and Guwahati. On land, the journey from Guwahati is long and arduous.

HISTORY

In March 1944, the Japanese 15th Army attacked the British troops stationed in Kohima and Imphal in northeast India with intent to prevent an attack on Burma. In the first week of April, the Japanese attacked at Kohima and Imphal via Mizoram from the Indo-Burma border, to destroy the supply bases of the British. They laid siege on the Allied forces stationed at Kohima and also at Imphal.

Reaching Kohima during April 1944, the Japanese 15th Army occupied a strategic location on Garrison Hill and continually attacked a small contingent of the Commonwealth forces, which successfully held their ground until reinforcements were brought in. In the battle at the tennis ground (now marked by white concrete lines) of the Deputy Commissioner's bungalow (which was destroyed during the war), which also involved hand-to-hand fighting between the opposing forces, the Commonwealth forces prevailed over the Japanese forces and forced them to retreat in defeat. There were heavy casualties on both sides. This battle was the turning point for the Allied forces.

In 2013, the British National Army Museum voted the Battle of Imphal and Kohima as "Britain's Greatest Battle".

GETTING THERE 

Dimapur airport is the nearest to the War Cemetery and stands at 60kms from there, any taxi from the airport can bring you to this spot within an hour.

From Dimapur railway station, you can avail taxis and local transport to reach this War Cemetery. Tourism buses are available to reach the War Cemetery from Kohima. Any jeep or private car can be hired to reach the trekking point.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit this place is in winter. Trekking can be much more adventurous and fun in winter.

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54.236107, -4.548056
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