(Hin): कोहिमा kohima

‘Kewhi Flower’  [Kewhimia, Kewhi-ra] – City/Capital/District, Nagaland

Kohima was founded in 1878  and became the HQ of the Naga Hills region. When the state of Nagaland was created in 1963 it became the capital.

Kohima is a  British corruption of Kewhira and it has more derivations than you can shake a stick at, none of which bear close scrutiny.

  1. Some say it is named after the wild flowering plant Kewhi [perhaps Ang: kewhi is Euphorbia milii, ‘Christ plant’, ‘Christ thorn, ‘Crown of thorns’ – but it is not clear that this is the case]. 
  2. Others suggest that the founder wanted it to be called Ang: Kew-Hi-Ra ‘the land where all travellers are welcome’, or ‘welcoming all people to come and settle’.
  3. A further group suggest Ang: kewhimia, ‘people living in the hills’.
  4. A last batch of suggestions revolve around the name of a founder after whom the town was named: Whinuo, Kewhira.

The Battle of Kohima was a key moment in World War II. The Japanese defeat here and at Imphal (Man) prevented any further progress into India and paved the way for an ultimate Allied Victory in SE Asia.

For related place names see Indian Place names and Nagaland place names.

Kohima (Nagaland) with the Kohima Ao Baptist Church centre-right – The Anonymous Earthling