After spending two weeks in Arunachal Pradesh, attending the unique Basar Confluence and Mechuka Adventure Festival, I was rushing towards the station to catch the morning Shatabdi train to Dimapur. The excitement was soaring high as the train left the station. After years of planning, I was finally heading to Nagaland to attend the famous Hornbill Festival. This is one of the most vibrant festivals which has put Nagaland in the tourist’s map across the globe.
It has also opened the door for the outside world to come to North East India to get mesmerized by the unparalleled beauty of this exotic land . Hornbill Festival is the best introduction to the mosaic of Naga culture. The festival showcases the tribal ethnicity, tribal dance and music, authentic food and rare glimpses of the Naga way of life. In the oasis of Morungs, you can get up close with the tribal people from different communities to observe their varied lifestyle and be a part of it. Distinctively different, each Naga tribal community display their way of life in their respective Morungs.
Located 12 km away from Kohima, the Hornbill Festival takes place in a village named Kisama every year from 1st December to 10th December. Organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments of Nagaland, the festival is also known as “Festival of Festivals”. The vibrant feel of the festival is tangible and it engulfs you unconsciously. The upbeat sound of their instruments, the dominant voice of the singers, graceful dance moves, and the unique presentation, was one of the remarkable features of this festival. It also provides the best gastronomic experience to the food lovers. With a variety of local cuisines of each tribal community, numerous rice beers, fruits, lip-smacking snacks to choose from, you have the time of your life in sampling everything. Everything about this festival is intriguing.
What hooked me onto it were the fascinating faces that I came across during the festival. The sharp features, striking attires, distinctive headgear, prominent tattoos, and the pride they wear in their eyes, made me capture them into my lens.
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How to reach
The nearest airport and railway station is in Dimapur. It takes more than three hours to reach Kohima by road from Dimapur . You can opt for shared taxi and it will cost you 300 rupees. Be ready for a bumpy ride due to bad road condition throughout. From Kohima , you can take a private/shared taxi for Kisama ( festival venue ), located 12 km away from the city.
Where to stay
Kisama is pretty village , hardly 12 km away from capital city of Nagaland. Though you will get a lot of home-stays in Kisama and surrounding villages during the festival, you can also opt for campsites around festival ground. All thanks to Holiday Scout, I stayed in one of the popular campsites in the very close proximity to the festival ground. Due to its location, I could enjoy the festival at ease.
Best time to visit
You can visit Nagaland throughout the year. But if you wish to see the rich cultural heritage of various Naga tribal communities, visiting Nagaland during the Hornbill Festival is the wise choice. It gives you a broad prospective about the Naga Culture and allows you to meet the tribal people. Enjoying the festivities, attending concerts to sampling authentic Naga cuisines, you can see the Naga way of life in the most vibrant set up.
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