The eagerly awaited Hornbill Festival, is one of the most cherished festivals of Nagaland, India’s Far North Eastern state and celebrated by locals with much enthusiasm and zeal. The festival is named after Hornbill, one of the most venerated bird species in the state whose importance is reflected in a number of tribal cultural expressions, songs and dances. Almost 85% of Nagaland’s population still depends upon agriculture, so most of their festivals revolve around agriculture which they consider sacred. The Hornbill Festival is one of the largest celebrations of the indigenous warrior tribes of Nagaland.
Naga people have a rich tradition of maintaining their unique heritage and customs. In spite of the tremendous modernity entering into their lives, the people have preserved their customs and legacy and have kept the torch of their tribal identity lighted. Nagaland is called the land of festivals and people in the state have a fondness of celebrating the deeds of their ancient warriors and folk heroes as well as songs that immortalize love stories, folk tunes and gospel songs.
Each of the tribes and subtribes in the state have their own way of cultivating their individual culture. In addition to their traditional ceremonial attires which is different for each tribe, there are multi-colored spears, doas with dyed goat's hair, exotic headgears and ivory armlets. In earlier times, the fighters had to prove their bravery, in order to wear these. The Hornbill Festival is one the largest celebration in Nagaland and there is huge gathering and much merrymaking in the form of drinking, eating, singing and dancing.
When is the Hornbill Festival 2018?
Hornbill Festival is celebrated annually during the first week of December, i.e. from December 1-7. However, during the year 2013 it was extended for few more days. It now normally concludes on December 10.
Where is the Hornbill festival held in 2018?
The festival is held at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, located around 12 kilometers from the capital of the Nagaland, Kohima. It begins at 9 am each day. You can reach the venue by booking a taxi. Purchase the tickets at the entry gate and pass through the security check however make sure you have a valid pass to park the vehicle at the site.
How is the Hornbill festival celebrated?
Hornbill festival, also known locally as the “Festival of Festivals, is organized by State Tourism and Arts and Culture Department, Government of Nagaland to encourage inter-tribal harmony and promote colorful local culture and traditions, display its unique customs, rituals and practices as well as preserve its heritage. Tourists are warmly welcomed and are treated well. The celebrations are attended by all the major tribes of Nagaland who present themselves with various arts, folk songs, dances and games. There are numerous displays of handicrafts, handloom, multi-cuisine, local food stalls while a rich amount of rice beer always at hand to indulge in.
Evenings are lighted by the thrilling Hornbill National Rock Concert in which bands from all over the country and abroad participate to compete. This is followed by the amazing Night Market in the town. But the most attractive event at the festival is Naga chilly eating competition and pork eating festival which draws a lot of crowd and evokes much fanfare and excitement.
Tips for Travelers visiting Hornbill Festival
The following travel tips will be handy if you are planning to attend the Hornbill Festival which will be beginning from December 1, 2018 which is also celebrated as the Nagaland Formation Day.
- The festival is one of the top tourist attractions in the state, thus draws a lot of tourists from in and around the Nagaland State. Thus, make sure to have your bookings well in advance to avoid any last minute hassles and inconvenience.
- There is an option of bargaining at various stalls and souvenir shops so tourists can exercise this option to get the best deal.
- Foreigners 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) inside of 24 hours of their entry into Nagaland.
- There is a very helpful Information Center located near the festival site from where you can have the brochure which lists the festival events and other attractions in Nagaland.
How to reach Kohima, Nagaland
Kohima has a very good network of roads that connects it well to the neighboring states and nearby cities. National Highway number 39 link Kohima to Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur. Moreover, state highways also join the town to the important cities of Guwahati and Shillong from where other nearby states can be accessed. Several private buses operate back and forth from the capital and charge nominal price. Private taxi option is also available and you can hire an SUV that is easily getable in Kohima.
Kohima does not have a Railway Station of its own because of its tough hilly terrain. The closest rail link is in Dimapur, which is connected to the important towns of Guwahati and Kolkata. Although travelling by train can be a slow affair, it nevertheless is the best way to reach Kohima, not only it being the cheapest but it leading through some of the most scenic views of the amazing mountain valleys and hills.
Again Kohima does not have an airport of its own and the nearest airport is in Dimapur, at a distance of 74 kilometers. Dimapur operates only domestic flights and is connected to Kolkata and Guwahati from where there are direct flights. International travelers will first have to get off at either Kolkata or Delhi international airports and then catch a connecting flight to Dimapur. From Dimapur, it’s a two hour cab ride to Kohima for which many taxi operators run to and fro which can be hired. However, an option of a 30 minute helicopter ride from the airport is also available in case you are in a hurry.
Attend the celebration of diversity of tribes of Nagaland at the Hornbill Festival in Kohima. Before you attend the festival make bookings for your stay choosing from our collection of hotels in Kohima. Enjoy the natural blessings with stay in hotels that are equipped with modern luxuries. If you want to explore more of Nagaland and other delights of North East, you may want to browse through our collection of Nagaland tour packages. Also check North East tour packages that include the visit to the other mountains states. Book comfortable and hassle free travel plans to the unexplored North East with us.