In the entire world, our country, India, holds a different and unique position because people belonging to diverse cultures that live in harmony. The northern part of India is totally different from the south, just like the west is totally different from the east. Northeast India is very different from other parts of India. It is a mélange of different tribes and communities. Nagaland is one of the seven sisters of the northeast and is known as the “Land of Festivals.” Among the festivals, one such celebration, the Hornbill Festival, is a glorious carnival organized by the Government of Nagaland.
The Hornbill Festival
The Hornbill Festival is referred to as the ” Festivals of Festivals.” Since Nagaland is called the ” Land of Festivals,” there are many festivals celebrated according to the culture and traditions of the tribal communities. To promote the amalgamation of different tribes’ different cultures, the Government of Nagaland organizes this festival every year in the first week of December. The Hornbill Festival also proves to be of high economic value for the state as it attracts people from all over the world.
The Great Hornbill
The great hornbill is one of the most revered bird species in Nagaland. It is a large and colorful forest bird. This premier festival has been named after this magnificent creature due to its significance in Nagaland’s native folklore. The great hornbill is widely respected and is correlated with bravery and prosperity among the tribal communities. Ironically, it is one of the threatened species as per the IUCN Red List.
Significance of the Hornbill Festival
Nagaland is home to 16 major tribes, Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Kachari, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchunger, and Zeme-Liangmai. The majority of the population is involved in agriculture either directly or indirectly. The Hornbill Festival is highly significant as most of the activities at the festival revolve around agriculture. The objective of this ten-day long festival is to unite the 16 major tribal communities of Nagaland.
The Main Attractions
The Hornbill Festival is celebrated for ten days at a continuous stretch, without day and night distinction. The picturesque background of the site attracts tourists from all parts of the world. Such is the glory of this festival. People enjoy food, games, sports, and colorful performances.
The festivities include the traditional naga morungs exhibition and the sale of arts and crafts, food stalls, herbal medicine stalls, fashion shows, beauty contests, and indigenous games. Naga Morung is a traditional dormitory system where the boys post-puberty have to enter the ‘morung,’ i.e., the dormitory.
The hornbill festival showcases their traditional art such as paintings, wooden carvings, and sculptures by modern Naga artists. Not to forget, the medley of songs and dances of different communities, archery, and exhibition of flowers are worth experiencing. The green villages, Kohima’s night bazaar, and the music concerts are perfect for weekend getaways.
How To Get There?
The Hornbill Festival is organized in a heritage village, Kisama, designed as per the authentic Naga village norms. Kisama is designed to provide an extraordinary experience of Naga traditions to the tourists. The gentle slope of the steep mountain peek was designated to organize the Hornbill Festival. Kisama is 12 km away from Kohima city. The second world war museum at Kisama is also a widely visited place. The audio and visual presentations bring alive the memories of people who survived the war.
Travelers have to plan their itinerary up to Dimapur. The railway station to Kohima is Dimapur. Kohima is around 75km away from Dimapur. This festival is a must-visit as it gives a different perspective on the people and diversity that our country has to offer.