Incredible North-East India is eminent for its tantalizing natural profusion and cultural diversity making the region one of the pristine parts across the sphere. Hornbill festival is an exotic fiesta, which is celebrated with great gusto at the Kisama Heritage Village in Nagaland. The festival unites all the tribes and sub-tribes of Nagaland in the midst of lofty knolls and breath-taking ambience. The most colourful and cultural festival of Nagaland is usually celebrated for 10 days every year from 1st to 10th December.
Historic saga of Hornbill festival:
Leveraging the significance of tourism in Nagaland, the State Government has stepped forward in emerging the cultural affluence of the state through a weeklong fiesta on the auspicious eve of Nagaland Statehood Day on 1st December. This is how the popular Nagaland Hornbill Festival was brought into the picture for the first time in 2000 in the reverence of the Naga Community and prioritising the concept of “spirit of unity in diversity”. Today, Hornbill Festival in Nagaland is also popular as the ‘Festival of Festivals’.
On the other hand; according to many people, the festival was named after hornbill, the colourful bird, which is displayed in the myths of most of the tribal communities in Nagaland.
Nestled nearly 10-12Kms away from the capital city Kohima, the Hornbill Festival is celebrated at Kisama Heritage Village, Nagaland. Every morning the cultural program begins here at 9 am and continues till the dusk.
Organized by the State Government of Nagaland, the Hornbill Festival sees a huge influx of Naga community and local tribes featuring the traditional art, games, music and dance forms of Nagaland. With the thud of long drum instrument and haunting symphony, the intoxicating music performances in the state reach up to a vigorous extent at the end of the day.
The entire region of Nagaland gets enclosed with colourful stalls showcasing an array of crafts, flowers, foods, traditional weapons and much more eye-catching items to take home. If you happen to be there at Hornbill Music Festival, don’t forget to intensify your glee there holding a glass of local rice beer.
Key attractions of Nagaland Hornbill Festival:
Besides portraying the cultural significance of the state, the festival also offers two key attractions to behold. One is the Rock Contest at Indira Gandhi Stadium, where more than 20 music bands join hands and contends with each other. The music concert encourages all the participating bands with a winning amount ranging from INR 30,000 to INR 10, 00,000. This is a global platform for various promising music bands from India and other countries like Australia and South East Asia. And the next key attraction of this festival is the competition of eating Naga chilli, which is reckoned amongst the world’s hottest chillies.
The spectacular festival of Nagaland also drives a visitor through the blend of vivacious paintings, striking sculptures and alluring wood carvings. In addition, the Naga Morungs exhibition and the sale of herbal medicines are two other attractions that can equally be rejoiced at the festival.
If you wish to witness the trendy sides of the state, programs like Naga wrestling, Miss Nagaland beauty contest and traditional archery show are worth exploring in Nagaland.
The festival is not about only witnessing plenty of amusing activities, on the contrary; it allows the local community to attend their relatives in the surrounding villages whom they haven’t met since long. Apart from the local inhabitants, a huge number of tourists also flock here to witness the wondrous Hornbill festival. During the event, all Naga people dress themselves up in their traditional attire representing the traditional flavour of the state.
The night bazaar of Kohima turns absolute stunner on the eve of Hornbill Festival offering ample of products to pick by a shopaholic. The festival is evenly exhilarating in meeting up one’s gastronomic desire. Staring from ethnic Naga cuisine to basic food, the festival has no dearth of platters for a hardcore foodie. Naga food is quite popular for being spicy, and one can truly relish this tang from a variety of smoked flesh, pork, meat and fish when in the state of Nagaland.
Approaching Kohima for attending the Hornbill Festival is not a fuss. The state of Nagaland is well-accessible from various destinations in India. If you are planning a voyage to Nagaland during this Hornbill festival, here’s how you can get there conveniently:
By Air: The nearest airport to Nagaland is located in Dimapur, which is nearly 70Kms from Kohima. There are regular flights that ply to Dimapur Airport from the neighbouring destinations like Kolkata and Guwahati. From Dimapur airport, it takes nearly 2 hours to reach the event venue by car and taxi.
By Train: For railway commuters, the nearby railhead to Kohima is Dimapur railway station. There are number of trains that commute here from the places like Kolkata and New Delhi. On the other hand, Guwahti being the threshold to the north-eastern part of India, travellers can also reach Dimapur railway station quite conveniently from Guwahati. Some of the major trains to reach Dimapur include Ghy Rajdhani Express, Dbrg Kyq Specia, Ghy Dbrg Specia, Ndls Dbrg Rjdhn and Nagaland Express. From the railway station, tourists can hire a share taxi to reach Kohima.
By Road: Thanks to the excellent road connectivity that makes the tourists to get there in Kohima without a hassle. The capital city of Nagaland is well-connected to its neighbouring destinations like Guwahati, Dimapur, Shillong, Jorhat and Imphal. One of the cheapest modes of commutation to reach Kohima from Dimapur is the State Transport bus, which is nearly 4 hours driving distance. Besides, one can also reach Kohima by NH 37 and NH 39.
When in Nagaland, the best mode of commutation within the city is Nagaland Taxi, which is also popular as Nagaland Jeep. Additionally, one can also hire the full taxi and Yellow coloured shared taxis to travel in and around Nagaland.
Places to stay:
Being one of the least explored and tranquil hill stations in the Seven Sister States, one cannot expect plenty of swanky hotels in Kohima. But in any which way, it won’t throw cold water on your delightful stay in the city.
There is no denying of the fact that due to festival fever, availing a decent accommodation at the eleventh hour is quite challenging for a tourist. Hence, it is always advisable to book your hotel in advance at affordable charges.
For your convenience, some of the pleasant staying options in Kohima are listed as follows:
#The Blue Bayou
Address: Opposite World War ll Cemetery, midland Kohima, Nagaland- 797001
Address: Kohima-Mokokchung Rd, Lower Bayavü Hill, Kohima, Nagaland -797121
Address: Opposite Baptist Higher Secondary School, Mission Compound, Kohima, Nagaland -797001
Address: Officers Hill, Raj Bhavan Road, Near Governor’s Office, Kohima, Nagaland- 797001
#Central Guest House Kohima
Address: House No. 29, Sec II, Below New NST (Nagaland State Transport), Daklane, Kohima, Nagaland- 797001
Address: NH-61, Near Kohima Bible College, Indira Gandhi Stadium Road, National Highway 61, High School Colony, Kohima, Nagaland -797004