Festivals in North East India are always vibrant and flaunt rich cultures. However, one of the most unique and enticing festivals is celebrated in the "Falcon capital of the world", Nagaland. Hornbill Festival is a prominent festival that is celebrated with much enthusiasm and fervour; consequently bringing Nagaland together. Like many other festivals in India, Hornbill festival is also related to agriculture. It is commemorated in December and is an ideal time to witness the cultural vividness and see rich backgrounds of diverse Nagaland.
The Hornbill Festival is held at Naga Heritage site in Kisama village, located about 12 km away from Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland. Though it is commemorated in honour of mother earth, the history of this festival goes way back and plays a significant role in Nagamese culture. Take a glimpse into the life of Naga people and know why Hornbill festival matters so much to them.
How To Reach Kohima
By air: Kohima doesn't have an airport. The nearest airport is Dimapur Airport, and it is about 75 km away from Kohima. However, Dimapur Airport is a domestic airport. Therefore, foreign travellers have to either reach Kolkata or Delhi International airports and then take a flight from to Dimapur.
By train: The nearest station to Kohima is Dimapur Railway Station. You can avail a bus or cab to reach the destination.
By Road: Roads to Kohima are well maintained and well connected to other major cities in India.
Commencement Of Hornbill Festival
The Hornbill Festival is held every year from December 1 to December 10. It is a ten-day-long festival that is sure to entertain and educate you, with and on Nagamese culture, respectively. December is the coldest season in Nagaland and temperature may drop as low as 10 degrees. So, do not forget to take adequate clothing to resist the cold.
Reasons To Visit The Hornbill Festival
16 Tribes At Naga Heritage Site
Initiated in 2000, the main objective of the festival was to unite 16 major tribes of Nagaland. Their cultures and customs differed and conflicted for many decades. Nevertheless, the Hornbill Festival has successfully allied the tribes, to represent them as one; Naga people. Therefore, Hornbill has become synonymous with prosperity and bravery of the Nagas. However, ever since the unification, the objectives of this festival has changed, and now it has become more commercial - expanding tourism in Nagaland and making it more accessible.
PC: Vikramjit Kakati
The legendary warrior tribe of Nagaland are depicted in many works of art, folktales, dance, songs and pottery. And Naga people pay homage to the ancient Naga warriors by draping themselves with ceremonial attire, ornaments, and headgears. Many folk songs and tunes are dedicated to their heroes. It is one of the highlights of the Hornbill Festival.
The Name Says It All
Hornbill, one is the most respected bird species in Nagaland, is synonymous with prosperity and bravery among the tribes. And since the festival was initiated to unite the 16 brave warrior tribes. This famous Nagaland festival was named after this large colourful forest bird.
Nights Of Wonder
PC: Mitu Gogoi
The Hornbill Festival is a ten-day festival that is celebrated night and day, without distinction. The campsites with picturesque background and stars, not only appeal to people in India but also to people around the world. It is not uncommon to see people revisiting this holy state, year after year. That is how incredible Nagaland is!
Exhibits Of Hornbill Festival
PC: Homen Biswas
You can indulge in authentic local cuisine, enjoy traditional dance and music shows, take part in the carnival, and relax and unwind beside the campfire. Apart from its cultural significance, the Hornbill Festival is tourist-friendly and offers anything to everything to have long-lasting memories. During the event, you can also visit the World War II Museum, which displays rare photos and many war souvenirs.
Things To Be Aware Of
PC: Mitu Gogoi
The Hornbill Festival is one of the most visited festivals in India and consequently gets over-crowded every year. Ensure you plan your trip because accommodations are limited and are available for early arrivers. Besides housing, the weather can also make things worse for tourists. December is the coldest season in Nagaland. So, do not forget to take adequate clothing to resist the cold.
Inner Line Permit
The ILP or Inner Line Permit is a pre-requisite for visiting protected areas in India. Tourists from other states or countries, who come to visit the states of Northeast India or those who come here looking for a job, must have ILP. Dimapur is the only place in Nagaland, that can be accessed. Dimapur, the largest city in the state, does not need permission. However, ensure you have a permit, to have a safe and comfortable trip.