The well-known Hornbill Festival is one of the biggest celebrations of the native warrior folks of Nagaland. The festival is named after the bird Hornbill which is ardently admired by the Nagas and it reflects in tribal dances, music and folklore. The festival takes place every year from the 1st through the 7th of December. Since 2013, it has been stretched out for a couple of additional days due to which it culminates on the 10th of December.
Where does the festival take place?
Located at a distance of 10 kilometers from Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, there is a small town known as the Kisama Heritage village. This is where the festival commences at 9 in the morning every day. You can hire a taxi service to reach the festival venue. However, make sure that the taxi has a pass which allows them to park the vehicle at the venue.
How is the festival celebrated?
Almost all the major tribes of Nagaland attend this festival. The main features of the Hornbill Festival include folk music, dance, games and traditional arts. All of these exciting activities are carried out amid impeccable imitations of tribal camping grounds that are equipped with wood carvings. The celebrators play the hollow drum instruments in mysterious harmony towards the end of the day. Besides, there is a great deal of food stalls, handicraft stalls and intoxicating rice beers for you to take delight in.
After the sunset, The Hornbill National Rock Concert steals the spotlight at the festival. There are various bands from all over the country who attend the festival to showcase their skills and compete against each other. Later, the people jazz around the night market. The most fervent event at this festival is unquestionably the Naga Chili eating contest.
Tips for Travellers
In order to get around easily, go to the Information Centre which is located at a spitting distance from the festival avenue. You can acquire brochures that list all the events that are going to be conducted at the festival apart from the other attractions in Nagaland.
If you are a foreigner, you no longer need to produce an entry permit to visit Nagaland. However, you would need to register yourself at the Foreigner’s Registration Office within 24 hours of arriving to the state. If you are an Indian tourist, you need to have an Inner Line Permit. You can get it from the State Government of Nagaland office or any Nagaland House.
Since the Hornbill Festival is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Nagaland, ensure that you book your accommodation beforehand.
There is no airport in Kohima. The closest airport is in Dimapur which offers back and forth flight services from Guwahati and Kolkata. Once you reach Dimapur, you are only a two-hour drive away from Kohima. If you can’t stand the two-hour journey, you can take advantage of the helicopter ride which will take you to Kohima in only a half hour.