War Cemetery

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India >> Nagaland >> Kohima >> Attractions >> War Cemetery

War Cemetery

History

The War Cemetery at Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, is a very important part of the history of India, one that we are proud of. The cemetery lies on the left of the Imphal-Diampur highway, and is close to the Kohima city center. It is dedicated to the 10,000 soldiers who lost their lives in protecting the country from the Japanese invasion during World War II, in the Battle of Kohima in 1944.

The Battle of Kohima had lasted for three months, during which a small group of soldiers had bravely blocked the Japanese troops at the border from invading India. The Kohima War Cemetery, previously known as Garrison Hill, was a tennis ground of the Deputy Commissioner before it became the battle ground for the soldiers.

The War Cemetery is designed in a series of terraces, with stone steps leading through the cemetery. The 18 plots cemetery is beautifully covered with carpet grass and roses and it scrupulously maintained. There are 1421 stone slabs, with bronze plaques inscribed with epitaphs, in the memory of the allied soldiers, who lost their lives during the battle, including soldiers from, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, East Africa and India. There are two crosses standing tall at the highest and the lowest points in the tranquillity of the cemetery.

This was one of the most bitterly and bravely fought battles, described as a “battle of Attrition” involving hand-to-hand combat. It makes us proud to know that by the end of the war, out of 85000 soldiers only 20,000 remained standing. Around 17,000 soldiers, Indian and British were reported killed, missing and wounded. Before leaving India, the British had this memorial erected in the memory of the brave comrades. The War Cemetery is engraved with a very apt and a moving epitaph which reads:

“When you go home, tell them of us, and say: ‘For your tomorrow, we gave our today.”

The War Cemetery is maintained by Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There is a sense of grave tranquillity and stillness in its beautiful surroundings and it makes your heart go out to the brave soldiers that gave up their lives in saving our country.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit the War Cemetery is during summers, when the temperatures are pleasant and cool. Winters can get very cold due to the temperatures dropping to subzero. Kohima receives very heavy rainfall, which could make sightseeing difficult.

Trivia

The Battle of Kohima is one the most stubborn and bloody fighting of World War II.

Garrison Hill on which the War Cemetery lies, was the tennis ground for the Deputy Commissioner before it became a battle field.

Timing

The cemetery is open for visitors when the staff members are on duty. It is closed on Sundays.


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