Hornbill Festival, Kisama, Kohima, Nagaland

India's Naga tribe dancers in traditional attire, perform a dance during the Hornbill festival at Kisama village on the outskirts of Kohima, Nagaland, India. The 10-day long festival named after the Hornbill bird is one of the biggest festivals of India’s northeast that showcases the rich tradition and cultural heritage of the indigenous Nagas.
photo courtesy: (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

Different fairs and festivals of any country not only showcase regional culture, art, dance forms, traditions etc but also provide the tourists a chance to visit the region and appreciate their vistas. Indian north eastern states are still retaining their natural beauty in its original form, largely untouched by avaricious development.

Hornbill festival in Nagaland is such an extravaganza which gives to the world an opportunity to witness the traditions and culture of Naga tribe of the state. The festival is named after a bird ‘Indian Hornbill’ which is a large and colourful forest bird of Nagaland and can be commonly seen prancing around in the forests of Nagaland although it is not the official bird of state.

Like a large population of India, the people of Nagaland mostly depend on agriculture and therefore most of their festivals revolve around agriculture. There observed many festivals in Nagaland by different tribes but the Hornbill Festival which is celebrated from 1-10th December, annually since year 2000, is the most popular one. The motive behind this festival is to promote tourism and inter-tribal communication and understanding. Hornbill Festival is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival with much pomp and show.

To the visitors, the festival offers a clearer glimpse into the Naga culture. Traditional arts are also featured, with paintings, wood carvings and sculptures by modern Naga artists on display. Usually the timings for the events are from 9 AM to 9 PM. Evenings are lighted by the thrilling Hornbill National Rock Concert in which bands from all over the country and abroad participate. This is followed by the amazing Night Market in the town but the most adventurous event at the festival is Naga chilly eating competition. Additionally, the pork eating festival which draws a lot of crowd evokes much fanfare and excitement. The foreign tourists are no longer required to possess the entry permit to visit Nagaland. However, they must register themselves with the Foreigner’s Registration Office (District Superintendent of Police) within 24 hours of their entry into the state.

This year the festival is being celebrated virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic.

How to Reach:

Kohima is situated amidst beautiful Himalyan range. So it doesn’t have any airport or railway station of its own. Dimapur which is also the biggest cityof the state, is the nearest airport (DMU) and railway station (DMV) to Kohima. Dimapur is connected to major cities like Kolkata and New Delhi by rail and air via Guwahati. Kohima is 74 km from Dimapur. One can take cab or bus services from Dimapur to reach Kohima.

Where to Stay:

Although not very good options are available though, Razhu Pru, Alder Retreat, Niraamaya Retreats Aradura, Aradura Inn are among few options available to stay in Kohima.


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