Not many states of India is as ethnically rich as the Northeast India, and perhaps Nagaland is one of the most vibrant and colorful one. Nagaland is the land of festivals as each tribe celebrates its own festival with dedication and passion. Keeping the spirits high, Hornbill festival is no less than a cultural fiesta; it is celebrated to encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of the Nagaland state.
What is the Hornbill Festival?
Hornbill Festival is the most anticipated festivals of Nagaland held between December 1st to December 10th every year. The State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments of Nagaland organizes the Hornbill Festival every year in the first week of December form 10 days, usually held at the picturesque Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, which is about 12 km from Kohima.
The tribes of Nagaland celebrate this festival with much gusto and fervor. Most of the population of Nagaland depends on agriculture and therefore most of their festival revolve around agriculture.
What to see in the festival?
The aim of the festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its traditional extravaganza. All the tribes of Nagaland, around 16, take part in this week long festival, with utmost zeal. Visitors can get a closer understanding of the tribal people and diverse culture of Nagaland, stir their taste buds to exotic Naga food, and enjoy the traditional dances, songs and indigenous games, fairs, and ceremonies, all under one roof.
According to the Northeast Today, nearly 600 artistes from 17 tribes will be participating in daily cultural performances.
Watch out for the very interesting and quirky head-gears that the different tribes wear.
In the name of the Bird
The Hornbill festival is named after the hornbill bird. The bird is highly respected and its importance is reflected in tribal folklore, songs and dances.
What to bring home?
Look out for woodcarvings, bamboo products, tribal fabrics and handicrafts, embroidery, Naga shawls, paintings and more. I’m sure you’ll be lured to pick them all.
How To Reach?
By Air: reach Dimapur Airport, which has regular airline services from Kolkata. Hire a cab/taxi from Dimapur and travel to Kohima for 2-and-a-half-hours.
By Road: The state capital Kohima is well connected to Shillong and Guwahati, which are two major cities in the Northeast India. First proceed to Dimapur then travel to Kohima.
By Rail: The major railway station is in Dimapur, which is well connected to Guwahati.
Visitor Formalities required:
It is a must to acquire a visitor permit before embarking on a journey to Nagaland.
Domestic Tourists should obtain the Inner Line Permit issued by authorities.
Foreign Tourists must register themselves at the local Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) of the district within 24 hours of their arrival in Nagaland. FRO is located at the office of the superintendent of police.
You must definitely take a trip to Nagaland during the highly anticipated Hornbill Festival and get to see India from a different perspective altogether, all for good reasons. This week long festival is a magnet for tourists from in and around the globe owing to its rich ethnic cultural display. As this will be the best time to enjoy the food, songs, dances and customs of Nagaland and take back unparalleled memories of a lifetime.
Trust me, you won’t forget the experience for a lifetime!