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Hornbill Festival


Introduction

In Nagaland, one of the biggest and most elaborate festivals in India is celebrated. This is the Hornbill Festival. The festival is known as the Festival of Festivals because of its grandiose nature. Every year the festival is celebrated from 1st December to 7th December and is organized by the Govt of Nagaland. The festival is a way of the government to promote Nagaland tourism and tribal culture. There are several events spread across the 7-day festival. The festival is held in the Kisama Heritage Village of Kohima District. The festival attracts lots of tourists to Nagaland serving its purpose. The festival has helped to a great extent in improving the conditions of Nagaland. The state’s rate of growth has increased since the festival.


OVERVIEW

Location: Nagaland

Nearest Railhead: Dimapur Railway Station

Nearest Airport: Dimapur Airport

How to reach: Via Taxi

Famous for: Tribal dance and music, Handicrafts, Nagaland Cuisines

Months Open: First week of December

Best time to visit: First week of December

WHAT TO SEE

  • Culture and Heritage of Nagaland
  • All the tribes of Nagaland and their colorful attire
  • Tribal music and dance forms
  • Visit Tribal huts
  • Nagaland Cuisines
  • Handicrafts, Naga Shawls and Jewellery


Details

Background

Nagaland is home to several tribes, each with its distinct culture. Each of the tribes in Nagaland has its own elaborate festivals. These festivals are associated with agriculture as people here survived on agriculture and the majority of them still do. Each tribe considers their festival to be sacred and hence participating in their festivals is of utmost importance. The festivals celebrated by different tribes are as follows:

  • In January, Sukhenyie Is celebrated by the Chakhesangs, Mimkut Is celebrated by the Kukis and Bushu is celebrated by the Kacharis.
  • In February, Sekrenyi is celebrated by the Angamis.
  • In April, Aoling is celebrated by the Konyaks.
  • In May, Moatsu is celebrated by the Aos.
  • In July, Nyaknylum is celebrated by the Changs and Tuluni is celebrated by the Sumis
  • In October, Yemshe is celebrated by the Pochurys
  • In November, Tokhu Emong is celebrated by the Lothas etc

These are individual festivals of the tribes. The govt has taken an initiative to celebrate an inter-tribe festival making the Hornbill Festival the biggest in the state. The festival is aimed at bringing the people of different cultures and beliefs together and improving the inter- tribe relations. This goes along with the aim to promote the cultural heritage of the state. The festival for the first time was celebrated in December 2000. The first day of the festival is 1 st December which is also Nagaland Day.

Festival

The festival is an elaborate display of the culture and heritage of Nagaland. The festival is an exhibition of several stalls that are set up selling a variety of stuff like traditional paintings, wood carvings, handicrafts, handloom and more. There is an array of stalls set up selling food of both Nagaland and other parts of India. There may be some stalls selling International cuisine too. There are several stalls that sell beautiful flowers both natural and artificial, other stalls sell medicinal herbs and ready medicine made out of natural herbs and plants. The festival also organizes several competitions like archery, cooking, beauty contest, wrestling, and other big and small events. The festival is complete only when there is a display of the traditional dances of Nagaland. People wear ancestral clothes and dance on the old beats.

Places to visit

  • Kohima: The capital city of Nagaland is Kohima. The city was founded by the British when they established their rule in the Naga region of India. It was named Kewhira by the British in 1878. The inauguration of the city as the official capital of the Nagaland of Free India was done in 1963. In Kohima, the battle between the British and Japanese took place during the Second World War and lasted for 64 days.
  • Dzukou Valley: Located on the border of Nagaland and Manipur is the Dzukou Valley. The beauty of the valley is breathtaking. It is lush green and during the blooming season variety of flowers fill the valley. Owing to this reason the valley is also called as the valley of flowers of the east. The popular flower here is the Dzukou lily. People come from far and wide to see the lily bloom. It is a very rare variety of lily. The valley is at an altitude of 2452m and experiences a cool pleasant climate. It is 25kms south of the capital city of Kohima. The valley is behind the Japfu Peak and has a rich flora and fauna.
  • Dimapur: Dimapur is though not the capital but the largest city of Nagaland. The scenic beauty of Dimapur is awe-inspiring. The city is drained by the River Dhansiri River. The city of Dimapur is a fast-growing city of the state. The city has several temples and astonishing ruins of the Kachari Dynasty. The city of Dimapur was the capital city of the Kachari community. The place has been ruled by Dynasties like the Kachari, Ahom and others. The place was also an important battlefield between when the Japanese attacked during World War II.

How to reach

To see the hornbill festival Nagaland in December one can reach Dimapur via a flight. From the airport taxi/ cab can be hired to proceed for 6 hr drive to Kohima. The airport of Dimapur is domestic and receives flights from major cities in India. The nearest railway station is also in Dimapur. The station of Dimapur receives regular trains from Kolkata, Guwahati, Delhi, etc. From the station, a cab can be hired to go to Kohima. Kohima is accessible by road. It is well connected to cities like Imphal, Dimapur, Guwahati, and cities of nearby states.




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