Friday, 22 June 2012

The Hornbill festival of Nagaland

The Hornbill Festival - NagalandNagaland is one of the seven sisters of India situated in the north east. Nagaland is bordered by Myanmar(Burma) in the east, Assam in the west, Manipur in the south and Arunachal Pradesh in the North. Formed in 1963 Nagaland is the 16th state of the Indian Union. Nagaland has a strong tribal culture which highly influences its folklore and music.
Khonoma Village - NagalandNagaland has many festivals all year round. The government of Nagaland started an annual festival all year round to facilitate tourism and to spread the rich culture and heritage of the people of Nagaland. This seven day cultural extravaganza is much sought after by locals, Indians and many foreign tourists.
More than 60% of Nagaland’s population survives on agriculture and hence they consider their festivals to be extremely important. Evert tribe of Nagaland celebrates their festivals with extreme fervor.
While tourism triggered the creation of Hornbill festival the inter-tribal interaction was also achieved by bringing the various tribes of Nagaland together.
The Hornbill festival
Hornbill festivalNamed after a bird the hornbill festival is one of the largest and most unique celebration of the warrior tribes of Nagaland. Situated in the north eastern region of India, Nagaland celebrates this festival every year from December 1st to 7th.
Kisama Heritage Village The festival takes place at Kisama Heritage Village which is 10 kms from Kohima the capital city of Nagaland. Nagaland like many states in India has many indigenous tribes each with their own distinct characteristics. All the tribes of Nagaland attend the Hornbill festival.
Hornbill festival is an amalgamation of the unique dance forms, art, songs and traditional games of Nagaland. There is plenty for everyone from food stalls to handicraft stalls one can shop, eat or sway to the music or even better guzzle up some rice beer.
The most sought after event at the Hornbill festival is the Hornbill National Rock Concert. The concert showcases bands from across India who participate in the competition. The Rock concert is followed by a night market in the town. The celebrations and the events at the Hornbill festival start from 9 in the morning and go on till late into the night.
Travel tips at Hornbill festival –
  • It is recommended that you book your accommodation in advance since the Hornbill festival draws a huge number of tourists.
  • If you wish to shop do an remember to bargain.
  • Look out for the information center near the venue. It will always help!!
  • Unlike many states in India an entry permit is needed to enter Nagaland. Indian nationals need an Inner Permit Line and foreign nationals need a restricted area permit. Get all the information first hand.
Sumis Trible - NagalandPokhury TribeKonyak tribeAngami tribeAo TribeNoted for their distinct characteristics Nagaland has around 16 major tribes. Hence adding up to more festivals each year. Some of the major tribes of Nagaland are Kukis, Konyaks, Sumis, Lothas, Angamis, Aos and more.
Hornbill festival was first started in the year 2000 by the government of Nagaland.
Reaching Kohima
Since Kohima doesn’t have an airport those who wish to catch a flight will have to take one to either Dimapur or Calcutta. Dimapur is the closest airport to Kohima and also serves as the nearest railway station connected to major cities in India. The National Highway 39 connects Kohima to Dimapur.
Kohima, NagalandThere are frequent buses and shared and private taxis which leave from Dimapur to Kohima.
Staying In Kohima
Kohima being the capital offers many hotels both budget and deluxe. You could get in touch with the team at The Other Home who can provide you with details. The Shiyong Village homestay and the Khonoma Village Homestay situated near Kohima make a perfect destination to enjoy both the Hornbill festival as well soaking up the beauty of Kohima.
What not to miss out at the festival
While the festival lasts only for a week, it packed with various things one can do and experience. It unites not only the people of Nagaland but it also promotes the rich culture of Nagaland to the various visitors who make a trip in that part of the year.
NagalandThe Naga tradition is full of color and gusto. The colorful performance and the traditional Naga attire may draw you in instantly. The food fairs, various games, sports and the talented art and crafts of the Naga’s will woo your senses.
The Naga traditional art is a mixture of wood carvings, sculptures, paintings and also various knick-knacks on display. The Traditional Naga Morungs Exhibition and sale of Arts and Crafts is awaited by many.
If you are a herbal junkie Nagaland has many herbal products and these herbal medicines can be found at various stalls at the festival.
Many visitors look forward to the cultural medley songs, dance performances, the fashion show and the beauty contest. While the rock concert may attract most number of people the traditional archery and wrestling and other indigenous games also attract a fair amount of crowd.
Don’t miss out the organic market and the street entertainments portraying the true culture on Nagaland.
This year’s attraction will also be the open half marathon held on the 7th December. The marathon will be covering a stretch of 20 kms. Organised by the Elite Entertainment Enterprise this was especially initiated with the goal to promote youth activities and sports.
The festival and more…
If you still have a few days in hand there is a lot to do in and around Nagaland. While you are at it I would suggest don’t pack your bags just yet. The Kaziranga National Park is a world heritage site is a great place for a family. One can be lost in the wild wilderness.
Khonoma Village StayExperience the culture of Nagaland in beautiful and serene villages like Mokukchung and Khonoma. We at The Other Home have a wonderful village homestay in Khonoma not far away from Kohima. The only way you can soak in the culture and history of the Naga’s is by truly associating with them.
The modernization of Nagaland can be seen in cities like Dimapur and Kohima where advanced industrialization has taken place. The wonderful village of Kiphire is also a tourist hotspot. The numerous waterfalls and the Sabarmati Peak, the highest peak in Nagaland attracts many tourists all year round.
Make the best of your trip and experience Nagaland first hand!!
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