India is known for its diversity of culture, with that diversity comes the myriad number of festivals. Among this ocean of festival, the Hornbill festival of Nagaland has earned the title of “festival of festivals”. It is named after a bird, who is a symbol of ‘‘Respect’’ and ‘‘Folklore’’ among the Nagas. If you are someone who finds it exciting to witness all the diverse cultures present across the subcontinent, the Hornbill festival is a must go.

Hornbill Festival

When is this festival held?

It is a week-long festival held each year in the first week of December. This year it will be held from 1st to 10th December. It will be the 20th edition for One of the most cherished festivals of North East.

What is the venue for this festival?

The venue of the festival is Kisama, near Kohima, the Nagaland capital. Kisama, in itself, is a heritage City constructed with the purpose to showcase the indigenous culture of Nagaland.

Kasima Village

How to reach the venue?

The capital city of Kohima does not have an airport. The Closest airport to Kohima is can Take a domestic flight either from Guwahati or Kolkata to reach Dimapur. Once you land in Dimapur, you can easily avail taxi or a cab and reach the venue. Kohima and Dimapur are situated 74 km apart, and it is a two-hour journey.

What is a typical Day at the festival like?

The events of the day begin at around 9:00 a.m. make sure you reach well before time so that you will not have to stand in a long queue. Otherwise, you may lose out on some wonderful events. These series of events continue till noon.
Post noon, there is a lunch break. This is the perfect time for you to put your hands on some local delicacies and better understand the culture of the North-Eastern tribes. At around 2:00 p.m., the order of the day resumes, and there is a plethora of Talent Hunt and shows.
You can also try the indigenous rice beer, which is one of its kind. Keep it reserved for the evening because after this, the most awaited “Hornbill National concert” begins.

Naga Tribals

Is there any entry ticket for the festival?

Yes, you will have to spare out some ₹ 20 to 30 for each day to buy the passes of the event. In addition to that additional ₹50 may be charged for carrying the camera to the event.

Is there any permission required to enter the tribal area such as Nagaland?

Yes. Indian nationals must collect inner line permit from the local government. If you are a foreign national, you must register at the foreigner’s registration office of the residential district within 24 hours of arrival. This is to ensure that people with vested interests do not enter the area and create troubles.

Angami tribe of Nagaland performing 'Melo Phita' dance

Things to do

Do not merely be a spectator; you must have conversations with the people of the different tribes in Nagaland. This will help you understand the tribal culture of their practices and their way of life. You can enquire about their attires headgears the houses and their everyday practices.

Tribesman Of Nagaland

Make sure to Feast on traditional food of Nagaland.staple food served is the aromatic brown rice and slow-cooked pork and flavor changes as you move from one tribe to the next tribe. You should not miss out on the exciting chili eating challenge. A Disclaimer Naga “Chillies will blow you off.”

Explore the Morungs. These are traditional shops from where you can buy items produced by the is where you can buy handicrafts typical to the tribes. Jewelry in bright hues, handwoven red shawls that is typical of Naga tribes as well as pickles and chutneys – all are worth buying.

Morung (Youth dormitory) of Pochury tribe

3-4 days is enough time to spend at the Hornbill festival, to get a good flavor and overview of the tribal culture in Nagaland. So carve out a hole from your busy schedule and experience one of the unique festivals in the subcontinent from within.