A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO HORNBILL FESTIVAL NAGALAND

hornbill festival of nagaland

 

Reverberating with the spirit of unity in diversity, the 24th Hornbill festival Nagaland is all set to take its visitors on the enthralling journey of the traditional and cultural heritage of Nagaland.

Key Points:

  • Hornbill Festival is an annual traditional and cultural fest celebrated in the state of Nagaland of India.
  • This colorful and unique celebration is held from 1-10 of December every year.
  • The festival is celebrated at Kisama heritage village near Kohima Nagaland.
  • From culturally rich performances to evening nights full of musical gigs, traditional cuisines to a myriad of unique ceremonial events, the hornbill festival of Nagaland has a lot to offer to its visitors.

For more details regarding the historical perspective and main events of the festival read the article.

 

Hornbill festival Nagaland is one of the most colorful and exuberant celebrations of the state showcasing the rich Naga culture and heritage. Also known as festivals of festivals this 10 day annual cultural fest is also an effort by the indigenous warrior tribes and the State Government of Nagaland to protect preserve and revive their ancient rich cultural heritage, art, customs and traditions.

The hornbill festival is held from 1 December to 10 December every year at Kisama, a Naga Heritage Village of Nagaland. Being one of the most thronged festivals of the country, people from all over the world come here to witness this exotic celebration of Naga culture and be a part of it. The festival is organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments of the Government of Nagaland with support of union government.

The extravagant affair of the hornbill festival is adorned with various religious and cultural parades of all tribes. Each tribe showcases its ancient traditions, customs, art and culture through various beautiful performances, folklores, melodies and much more. Various fun and sports activities are also organized to magnify the authentic rich essence of the culture.

Showcasing the rich and diverse Naga ethnicity, the hornbill festival Nagaland is also an effort towards the wildlife conservation while encouraging the inter-tribal harmony. Being united under one umbrella the festival offers a clear glimpse of the ancient rich culture of Nagaland.

Where is Hornbill Festival celebrated?

The hornbill festival is celebrated in the state of Nagaland in India. This lavish and exuberant celebration of Naga culture is held every year from 1st December to 10th December. The venue of the hornbill festival of Nagaland is set at the Kisama Heritage Village of Nagas, which is situated at the distance of 5 km from Kohima (capital of Nagaland). The tribal events celebration in these 10 days festival starts everyday from 9:30 a.m in the morning.

For tourists who are staying in Kohima, can take a taxi or a bus towards the Kisama hornbill festival venue. An entry fee of Rs. 20 is charged at the gate to enter the festival.

Why is hornbill festival celebrated in Nagaland?

Hornbill is a much revered bird of Nagaland which is a part of the common folklore of the land and is much respected by the tribal culture of Nagaland. The folklores sung during the festival also depict a special mention of the bird thus signifying the importance of the bird in the ancient tribal culture of Nagaland.

The feathers of the bird were once used for decorating the headgears of the tribal warriors of Nagas, for which excessive hunting of the bird started. Later, with the joint efforts of the tribal people and the government; conservation of the bird and other wildlife species was initiated. The hornbill festival was the first step towards the conservation of the bird and other wildlife species while promoting the inter-tribal interaction and harmony.

The hornbill festival Nagaland is also an effort to protect, preserve and revive the ancient traditional tribal culture and art of Nagaland while strengthening the bonds between the various tribes of the land. It also provides an amazing opportunity for the tribal and local artisans to showcase their ancient art and craft while boosting the local economy.

The Nagaland hornbill festival is also an effective way of celebrating and presenting the tribal culture, heritage, food, customs and traditions of Nagaland where all the tribes come under one platform and facilitate the outside world to experience the unique identity and legacy of rich Naga culture.

History of Hornbill festival of Nagaland

hornbill festival nagaland

The history of hornbill festival Nagaland seeds its essence from the motive of conservation of wildlife and protecting the rare species of the bird hornbill which almost got to the verge of extinction due to excessive hunting.

The bird hornbill is much revered among the tribal culture of Nagaland and is a part of the common folklores of the place even today. Realizing the threat to the bird and other wildlife species, government and tribal people of Nagaland came together and worked together for the conservation of nature and wildlife.

Another historical thread of hornbill festival roots its essence from the preservation and protection of the tribal culture of Nagaland. The state of Nagaland of India is known for its ancient tribal culture which is addressed with utmost respect among the people all over the country. The hornbill festival of Nagaland is a way of celebrating and preserving the ancient tribal culture of the state where all the tribes come under one platform and grace the celebration with their presence and colorful performances.

The aim of the festival is ensuring that the ancient cultural heritage of Nagaland is well preserved, protected and inherited by the upcoming generations. Also it’s a way of forming a bond of unity and harmony among the various tribes of the land.

First started in the year 2000 as a mélange of cultural exhibit, the hornbill festival Nagaland has already marked its 21 years of pride and happiness, still going strong with every upcoming year attracting tourists from all over the world.

When was hornbill festival started in Nagaland?

The first Hornbill festival of Nagaland was held in December 2000, after which it is organized every year from 1 December to 10 December. This festival is organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments of the Government of Nagaland and is also supported by the Union Government.

Why is it called the Hornbill Festival?

The festival roots it’s tale to an exotic bird named hornbill which is said to have an important role in the tribal culture of Nagaland. The bird is still a part of the common Naga tribal folklore.

The feathers of the bird were used in making headgears of various tribes. Unfortunately due to excessive hunting and killing, the bird almost got extinct. With a lot of government and local tribal support, people were made aware about the importance of the wildlife and thus the preservation of the bird species started. The hornbill festival Nagaland, organized by the state government in the year 2000 was the first step towards the conservation of the species bringing together all the tribes of Nagaland under one platform, thus naming the festival as hornbill festival. Today the hornbill festival of Nagaland has become a grand and most revered celebration of the state attracting tourists from all over the world.

How is Hornbill festival celebrated- Main Events and Highlights

  1. The main event of the hornbill festival Nagaland features unique religious and ceremonial parades by various tribes of Nagaland along with their distinctive rituals, customs and practices.
  2. All the 17 major tribes of Nagaland participate in the celebration. These tribes are Garo, Sangtam, Angami, Rengma, Zeliang, Kachari, Dimasa, Chang, Ao Chakhesang, Lotha, Sumi, Konyak, Pochury, Khiamniungan, Phom, Kuki, and Yimchungru. These tribes are all dressed up in their traditional attires which is a visual treat for eyes.
  3. All the major tribes of Nagaland participate in the celebration, while showcasing their unique traditions and customs through various exuberant ceremonial performances, folk songs, arts, dances and games. The performances by each tribe are elegantly beautiful and delivered in an eccentric manner.
  4. Traditional folk dance and musical performances by tribal people representing the cultural heritage of Nagaland.
  5. There are myriad displays of unique handicrafts, cuisines, handlooms and beautiful ornaments from each tribe which is a visual treat for eyes.
  6. Various energetic sports and other fun competitions are held in which tourists can also participate. These competitions add a fun element to the festival and also draw a lot of crowd while evoking much fanfare and excitement among the crowd.
  7. Various Naga indigenous sports like archery, wrestling and other athletics activities are held.
  8. Various delicious Naga tribal cuisines are available at the hornbill festival food stalls which is can be relished by the tourists.
  9. Local rice beer is also served in most stalls which has a flavor of its own.
  10. The festivities of the Nagaland Hornbill festival are not just limited to Naga Heritage Village. The capital city Kohima also hosts evening hornbill rock music festivals which attracts bands from all over the country to participate and magnify the thrill of the celebration.
  11. Vibrant night market of Kohima is a must to visit for tourists. The celebrations of the festival at Kohima are carried out whole night.

Where to meet the tribes during the hornbill festival of Nagaland?

hornbill festival of nagaland

For people who want to meet the tribal people and witness the rich tribal craft and heritage of various Naga tribes can visit the morungs at Kisama Heritage Village. These morungs are the wooden house like structures with dried grass roofs. Each tribe has its own morung representing their tribe’s ancient traditions and culture.

Hornbill Festival 2022 Schedule

The 23rd Hornbill Festival 2022 was held between 1-10 December in the Naga heritage village named Kisama. The inaugural function of the Hornbill festival nagaland 2022 was graced by honorable Vice President of India- Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Hornbill Festival 2023 – Dates, Timings and Venue

The annual celebration of 24th Nagaland Hornbill festival 2023 will begin from 1 December 2023, and will end on 10 December 2023. The cultural and tribal events celebration starts everyday from 9:30 a.m in the morning.

The venue of this Nagaland famous festival is set at the Kisama Heritage Village of Nagas, which is situated at the distance of 5 km from Kohima (capital of Nagaland).

How to Reach the Hornbill Festival Nagaland?

In order to avoid last hour rush, it’s advised to go for pre-booking, as the accommodations generally go full during the festivals.

By Air: The nearest airport to Kohima is Dimapur Airport, which is located at a distance of around 75 km. Dimapur airport operates only domestic flights and is connected to Kolkata airport which is linked to major airlines.

International tourists who are visiting the hornbill festival of Nagaland for the first time can take a flight to Kolkata once they reach Delhi. From Kolkata they can take a connecting flight to Dimapur. From Dimapur airport there are various cabs facilities available for Kohima.

By Rail: The nearest railway head to Kohima is Dimapur Railway Station which is connected to major junctions of Kolkata and Guwahati.

By Road:  Kohima provides connectivity to the nearby cities like Shillong and Guwahati. Also bus and personal service is always available for travelling.

Main attractions of Hornbill festival Nagaland

  • The hornbill festival is one of the most exuberant celebrations of the cultural heritage of Nagaland where all the tribes come together to celebrate, while showcasing their traditions via various ceremonial performances. If you are enthusiastic about knowing the vibrant and colorful traditions of a culture than hornbill festival of Nagaland is the perfect place to visit. Also you will learn a lot about the ancient rich culture and heritage of Nagaland with this festival.
  • You can get an opportunity to witness the most ancient art and craft of Nagaland, which is showcased frequently during the 10 days of the festival. Tourists can also purchase souvenirs for their festival memories.
  • The 10 day celebration of Nagaland hornbill festival also features biggest rock music festivals and night carnivals in different places of Kohima, which magnifies the festivities of this festival.
  • There are a lot of fun contests organized which allows tourists to participate and be a part of the cultural celebration.
  • The festival also hosts many indigenous sports activities like wrestling and traditional archery to fuel the competitive spirit and among the participating tribes in order to magnify the essence of celebration.
  • The hornbill festival food is an amazing opportunity to relish some exotic Naga tribal cuisines. The local rice beer is also a big part of the tradition and has a unique flavor which you can taste.
  • The fusion of rich traditional attires and dance performances of different tribal cultures are bound to leave you mesmerized. The Nagaland hornbill festival also features many tribal arts and crafts exhibitions which showcases the ancient art of Nagaland.
  • The night bazaar of the Kohima is quite famous for shopping and its authentic street food delicacies. The festivities of this week magnify the vibrancy of the night bazaar of even more.
  • The hornbill festival Nagaland also showcases the finest tribal craft works of woods and ornaments. The tribal handicrafts and textiles are also quite rich in terms of quality. You can buy some pieces as souvenirs while extending your support to the rare tribal arts.
  • Morungs are the biggest attraction of the tribal culture. These morungs are wooden house like structure with thatched roofs made up of dried grass and leaves. These morungs are made by the tribal people and are skillfully decorated with their tribal symbols and cultural pieces. Each tribe has its own morung. Before the ceremony starts people can visit these morungs and meet the tribal people and get to know about their ancient cultural heritage.
  • For photography enthusiasts this is an amazing opportunity to capture some most amazing and colorful memories worth a lifetime.

Significance of the hornbill festival

Hornbill festival Nagaland is a big effort towards the preservation, protection and reviving the ancient cultural heritage of the state. This festival is the biggest celebration of the unique heritage of the most indigenous tribal culture of Nagaland where all the tribes are brought together under one umbrella to showcase the uniqueness of their traditions and culture through celebration. During the festival each tribe showcases their unique ceremonial attires, and ornaments along with various exuberant tribal performances. The performances are blended with the unique tribal folklores and medleys which are cherished by the people.

This unique and vibrant Nagaland festival is also an initiative towards the preservation and protection of the hornbill bird species which has a huge respect in the ancient tribal culture of Nagaland. The importance of the bird is much reflected in the various tribal medleys, expressions and dance performances of Nagaland.

This famous festival of Nagaland is also an effort towards boosting the local economy of the tribal culture while reviving the local art and craft of ancient tribes. The celebration also provides a major boost to the tourism sector of the land, which will help people connect with the other parts of the world.

 

Epilogue

The Hornbill festival in Nagaland is one of the most exuberant celebrations of unity in diversity. Along with the most vibrant displays of the cultural heritage of India, this famous festival of Nagaland, welcomes its tourists and explorers from all over the world.

Being hosted with so much love and sincerity it’s the responsibility of the tourists as well to respect the traditions, and culture of the place in order to promote harmony and love.

 

Read More: Top ten Hill Stations in India that you must visit

 

Hornbill Festival Nagaland: Frequently Asked Questions

 

In which month is the hornbill festival celebrated?

The hornbill festival of Nagaland is celebrated every year from 1 December to 10 December.

When did hornbill festival started?

The hornbill festival started from the year 2000.

What is another name of Hornbill Festival of Nagaland?

The festival derives its name from the bird named Hornbill. It is also called the festival of festivals in Nagaland.

Where to Stay in Nagaland for hornbill festival?

Depending upon your preferences, you can choose amongst the luxury hotels of Kohima or the campsites close to the venue of the hornbill festival Nagaland.

Hornbill festival is celebrated in which state of India?

Kisama Heritage Village, Kohima, Nagaland

Why Nagaland is called the “Land of Festivals”?

The state of Nagaland is home to a number of indigenous tribes of India. Each of these tribes has its own traditions, customs, local dialects and even unique and exuberant celebrations associated with their own traditions and heritage. The “land of festivals” is a term given by people, to cherish the myriad hues of festivals in Nagaland that goes all around the year.

What is the Hornbill festival tickets price?

The entry ticket price for the cultural event at Kisama heritage village is around Rs. 20-30 (Indian rupee). For cameras tourists have to pay an additional charge of Rs. 50.

In case you are an international traveler you must register with the districts FRO (Foreigners Registration Office). For domestic tourists an inner-line permit from the local government is required.