Situated on the banks of the Dhansiri, (originally known as Dong-siri meaning a ravine of peaceful habitation) Dimapur, often described as the ‘Brick City’ by European scholars and also by the Ahoms, was the ancient capital of the Eastern Kachari community and a independent nation of the Dimasa, who were once a powerful and predominant race in the Entire North-East India region (Brahmaputra/Kamrup valley). There are two accounts of the way in which Dimapur got its name : many writers are of the opinion that the name ’ Dimapur’ was derived from Dimasa Kachari words Di-meaning water, Ma-meaning big and Pur-meaning city or township in the Dimasa dialect; while others contend that Dimapur is a corruption of Hidimbapur, meaning the city of Hidimbi (of Mahabharata fame) - the rakshasi-turned-woman whose marriage to the Pandava prince Bhima led to the birth of Ghatotkacha - believed to be the progenitor of the Kacharis. According to the second theory, the name Hidimbapur is conjectured to have been abbreviated to Dimbapur and subsequently to have lost a consonant to become Dimapur. In some accounts preserved in Dimasa Kachari folklore Dimapur is called Dimabang Halali, possibly an earlier name of the city, later Sanskritised by the Brahmins. In the Ahom Chronicles, Dimapur Is referred to sometimes as ‘Che-din-chi-pen’ (town-earth-burn-make) meaning ‘brick town’ and at others as 'Che-Dima’ meaning town of the Dimasa.. Later, with references to researches and literature on Kachari history it can said that much of the history have been sanskritised by Brahmins, who wanted to subjugate the region under their Hindu Kings.
The seat of capital of Dimapur Kingdom was originally enclosed by a brick wall four feet wide and sixteen feet high, surrounded by an outer ditch sixteen feet in width and twelve feet in depth, except on the southern side where the River Dhansiri formed a natural moat. On the eastern side there was a fine solid gateway with brick masonry of pointed double arches. The gate was secured by heavy double doors, the hinges of which were seated in holes pierced in solid stone blocks. At both ends of the battlement there were turrets of half quadrant shape and in between the archway and the turrets were niches resembling ornamental windows. High up, on either side of the arch, were carvings of sunflowers, which were originally faced with brass so as to present a dazzling spectacle when seen sparkling in the sun from afar. In Edmund Gates' "History of Assam", it is said that the fortress in Dimapur was the first of its kind in the region. Even their kins' kingdom in Western Assam (koch kachari) or the one in the North/Upper Assam(Sutiya Kachari) which was later occupied by the Ahoms, never had such structures at the time. Dimpur marked a progressive point in the history of the lineage of the Mech/Mechha Dynasty(un-sanskritised heritage of the Kacharis). Inside the fortified city, there were seventeen ornamental stone pillars. These funerary monuments were decorated with carvings of foliage, flowers, familiar animals and birds but nowhere with any human images - such as those of gods and goddesses. This suggests that the Dimasa Kacharis were free of Hindu influence at that time. These monoliths are believed to be lineal monuments of the ruling kings of Dimapur. The largest of them was seventeen feet high and twenty four feet in circumference and was said to be the memorial of Makardhwaj, greatest of the rulers of Dimapur (to be equated probably with Khungkradoa Raja, later given a Sanskritized name by the Brahmins) in whose time the Dimasa Kachari Kingdom reached its apogee. It was during this golden age that the conquests of Manipur and Burma took place under the leadership of Seng yah (Veer) Dehmalu Kemprai, the greatest warlord of the Kacharis. Also during this period, heroes like Rangadao (after whom Ranga Pathar, the southern part of Dimapur, was named), Degadao and mystic heroines like Wairingma and Waibangma won renown in war and the pursuit of mystical attainment. Other V-shaped stone monuments, seventeen in number, symbolised the seventeen royal clans of the 'Dimasa Kachari Aristocracy’ a term coined by Dr. Francis Hamilton, a renowned scholar of the Dimasa Kachari Royal Clan.
Shri SK. Barpujari in his book ‘ History of the Dimasa’ and some writers opined that the Dimasa Kachari Kings to commemorate their Victory over other tribesman, erected monoliths of different shapes indicating the different traditions of the vanquished tribes. This tradition of carving victory memorials is part of the culture of the hill tribes and may have been adopted by the Dimasa Kachari Kings in order to demonstrate the legitimacy of their rule. Dr H. Bareh in the ‘Gazetteer of India’ writes that the oblong V-Shaped stone pillars closely correspond to the similarly V-Shaped post protruding from the roof of the house of wealthy Angamis, who are said to have adopted the practice.
The tallest and largest megalith, which lies isolated from others and has a unique Sultanate style, is believed to have been erected by the founder king of Dimapur, who after vanquishing the tribes all around made his triumphal tower to commemorate his victory and this became a tradition setter. In and around this old city, large number of tanks over fifty in number existed, although most of them have since either dried up or have been destroyed by reckless human encroachment without an iota of respect for the history. These tanks are believed to be dug by the kings for providing water supply to their people. Most of large tanks are rectangular and have a hardwood seasoned poles planted deep at the centre of the tanks, which have lasted for hundreds of years. Others are of irregular shapes without any such wooden poles. Inference in that, the former ones might have been dug by the kings for water supply and the later were habitation as Digjo Dijua meaning cut off from main river or stream’ and this tradition is still in vogue, and this area covers Dimapur and Dimasa Kachari inhabited areas of Karbi Anglong District of Assam in the Dhansiri valley. The present Dimapur is the commercial capital of Nagaland and is one of the fastest growing townships in the entire North-east region. But irony is, in the name of the modernity and development, this ancient city of Dimapur, whose historical relics finds a place in the World.
During World War II, Dimapur was the centre of action between British India and Imperial Japan. It was the staging post for the Allied offensive. The Japanese could reach Kohima where a siege was laid. Allied reinforcement came through Dimapur by rail and road for the push against the Japanese. An airport at Dimapur was also in use for supplies to the allied forces in Burma. The battle for Kohima about 77 km from Dimapur is considered the turning point for the Japanese retreat from South East Asia.
The Jains were amongst the earliest non-Naga settlors of Nagaland. A few Jain families came to Kohima in the 1880s and settled there. They later moved to Dimapur in 1944 due to Japanese invasion during World War II. Prominent among them were Phulchand Sethi, Udayram Chabra, Mangilal Chabra, Phulchand Binaykia, Jethmal Sethi, Ramchandra Sethi, Bhajanlal Sethi, Kanhaiyal Sethi, Nathmal Sethi etc. Phulchand Sethi, Bhajanlal Sethi and other Sethi and Chabra brethren set up the SD Jain Temple, SD Jain School, SD Jain Charitable Hospital. Kanhaiyalal Sethi, Phulchand Sethi and his brothers also built the famous Durga Mandir in Old Daily Market.
Present-day Dimapur has far outgrown its old town area (upto the old dhansiri bridge, now under reconstruction -2017). In fact, it is one contiguous urban sprawl from the Assam border at Dillai gate and newfield checkgate upto the foothills of Chumukedima, the designated district hqrs of Dimapur district.
Dimapur is hot and humid in summers and moderately cold in winters.
After the Statehood was given a new interim body was set up whereby Kacharis were given a representation in the form of membership in the government body. KACHARI were asked to nominate their member a qualified person could be found and hence they brought in a person from the Mech sub-tribe of the Kachari community, Late Shri Deblal Mech (a Mech Kachari), to represent the people.. The Kacharis are in the Dimapur III constituency of the state, where total voters would be around 20,000; these consist of Dimasa,Mech,Garo,Kuki, Nepali and others, including Angamis, kyong (Lotha), Chakhesangs, Sumis, etc. Dimasas kacharis or Kacharis honestly enrolled in the electoral roll the exact eligible voters whereas many other communities inflated their numbers very largely. At present, Dimasa kacharis' live along side other kachari sub tribes and the Naga community in Dimapur, and the Kachari community as a whole is considered as one of the indigenous community of Nagaland.
Census of 2011 put the city-population of the old Town Committee area (upto the old dhansiri bridge) at 122,834. Males constitute 57% of the population and females 43%. Dimapur has an average literacy rate of 69%, much higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 76% and, female literacy is 66%. In Dimapur, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age. Over the years, Dimapur has expanded up to the foothills of Chumoukedima. Purana Bazaar area and beyond areas are called East Dimapur. The entire agglomeration has an estimated population of nearly 4 lakhs (2011) and is one of the fastest growing Indian cities. Its population has more than tripled in the last two decades. Unlike other places in the state, this city has a heterogeneous mix of people from all over India, and for which it is also known as "mini India." Christianity is the majority religion in Dimapur. The population of Christians in Dimapur is 55,397 making up 45.10% of the city population as of 2011 census report. Besides the dominant Naga tribes who comprise about 50% of the city's population, other prominent groups include Dimasas, Bengalis, Assamese, Oriyas, Nepalese, Biharis, Marwaris, Punjabis and also Tamils and Keralites. In the last two decades Tibetan traders have also settled in the city.
Dimapur Jain Temple was built in 1947. The temple is architecturally very well built and has an impressive structure. The temple has some intricate glass work. The temple is considered very auspicious by the people of Dimapur. Principal deity is of Lord Mahaveer. The temple was built by the tireless effort of Shri Subhkaran Sethi, Shri Phulchand Sethi, Shri Jethmal Sethi, Shri Udayram Chabra, Shri Chunnilal Kishanlal Sethi, Shri Kanhaiyal Sethi and other Jain families present in Dimapur at that time.
Kachari Rajbari, which although is left in ruins after centuries of abandonment, after facing conflict with the Ahom King in 18th c. and with the settlement of township occupying almost half of its former glorious fortress, is still a national heritage site. It signifies great historical importance for the region of North-East. It also gives great value to the state of Nagaland.
There are various tourist attractions in Dimapur, such as ancient villages, waterfalls, ruins of the Dimasa Kachari Kingdom, and the Kali Temple.
Niuland subdivision and Chumoukedima Village is an ancient area with scenic beauty and waterfalls. The town of Medziphema, Kuhuboto, surrounded by villages like Sakipheto, Alato, Aoyimkum, Darogarjan, and Nihoto are visited by many tourists. The Kachari Ruins are visited for various temples, reservoirs and tanks that belonged to the Dimasa Kachari Kingdom. Noune resort, situated near Niuland, is an ideal place for boating. Niathu resort is the best resort in Dimapur so far.
Apart from these, Diphupar, Nichuguard, Sukhajan, Kuki Dolong, Thilixu and Seithekima Village are visited. Chekiye and Ruzaphema have bazaars, where tourists can purchase beautiful handicrafts.
The economic and developmental activities of Nagaland are centered around Dimapur. It is an important commercial centre for the region, acting as a gateway to Nagaland and the neighbouring state of Manipur. An increase of population and the related increase in the number of cars in the city has led to traffic jams in and around the Commercial areas of the city.You can Travel in the city By Auto Rickshaws or rickshaws.
The National Highway 39 that connects Kohima, Imphal and the Myanmar border at Moreh runs through Dimapur. NH 36 starts from Dimapur connecting Doboka and later Guwahati via NH 37.
Dimapur is the only city in Nagaland that is connected by both rail and air. There are direct train services to cities like Guwahati, Kolkata, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Dibrugarh and Chennai from the Dimapur railway station. The station is categorised as an A category railway station which lies on the Lumding-Dibrugarh section under the Lumding railway division of Northeast Frontier Railway.
Important trains :15665/15666 Guwahati - Dimapur BG Express
15669 15669/15670 Nagaland Express
Dimapur Airport is located at 3rd mile (NH 39). It is the only civil airport in the state and has flights to Kolkata, Delhi and Dibrugarh There are plans for expansion of the airport to meet international norms by buying land at Aoyimti village. Maintained by the Airports Authority of India, it is an important trade and commercial centre on National Highway No. 39, and wears a rather cosmopolitan look.
A number of shopping centers and markets have sprung up in Dimapur, with the Hong Kong Market, Central Plaza, New Market, Bank colony (Super market area) and Circular and NL roads serving as the main commercial areas in the city. The Complexes and shopping centres have sprung up to Nuton bosti. The places along the NH 39 is also developing into a commercial areas where there has been changes in the last few years. The city's Hong Kong Market is well known for imported goods from Thailand, China and Burma and is the main Shopping Attraction for Tourists visiting Nagaland. The wholesale foodgrain items are available at KL Sethi Market Complex, Jasokie Market etc at G S Road, Dimapur.
Dimapur is the only place in Nagaland that does not require the Inner Line Permit (ILP)for the non Naga, but one needs the Restricted Area Permit to go beyond the city. Formalities can be completed in the Office of the Deputy Commissioner. Dimapur remains the gateway to the states of Nagaland and Manipur. Recently, the Government of Nagaland has relaxed restriction on ownership of land in Dimapur and has permitted non-Nagas to purchase land as well.
The Government of Nagaland's Horticulture farm run by the Department of Horticulture, aptly called the Green Park, is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. Also, the Government of Nagaland hosts the bi-annual North East Agri-Expo Sale cum Exhibition at the North East Agri Expo Site at 5 Mile. The Expo is usually held in the first week of December. On the outskirts is the suburb of Chumoukedima from where one can take a short trek up the hill to the Naga Tourist Village and the Patkai Triple Falls. The North East Zonal Cultural Center, the hub for all cultural activities, is a kilometre away from the Airport.
The Nagaland Industrial Growth Centre is situated at Ganeshnagar of Dhansiripar Sub-Division, where most of the Dimasa Kachari lived — an area consisting of seven Dimasa Villages (Dhansiripar, Disaguphu, Amaluma, Doyapur, Ganeshnagar, Hazadisa and Manglumukh).
There are several schools and colleges in the city of Dimapur. The syllabus for education till Class 12 is taken care of by the Nagaland Board of School Education while the Nagaland University, Lumami controls all areas of further studies.There are also a few schools in Nagaland which follow the CBSE Curriculum. Dimapur Government College is the premier degree college of the town which was established in 1966. Patkai Christian College, the only autonomous college in the entire North East India is located 17 km from Central Dimapur. National Institute of Technology Nagaland was also set up in 2010 at Chumoukedima, about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from Dimapur and a temporary campus of nagaland university also situated at dc court junction.