The tribes of Nagaland celebrate their festivals with appreciation and fervor. More than 60% of the population of Nagaland depends on agriculture and therefore most of their festivals revolve around agriculture. They consider their festivals sacred and so participation in these festivals is essential. To encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of Nagaland, the Government of Nagaland organizes the Hornbill Festival every year in the first week of December. Organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments, Hornbill Festival showcases a mélange of cultural displays under one roof. This festival usually takes place between the 1st and the 7th of December every year in Kohima.
Hornbill Festival is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival. The aim of the festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza and traditions.For visitors it means a closer understanding of the people and culture of Nagaland, and an opportunity to experience the food, songs, dances and customs of Nagaland.
The state is mostly mountainous except those areas bordering Assam valley. Mount Saramati is the highest peak with a height of 3,840 metres and its range forms a natural barrier between Nagaland and Burma. It lies between the parallels of 98-degree and 96-degree East Longitude and 26.6-degree and 27.4-degree latitude north of the equator. The state is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna; it has been suggested as the "falcon capital of the world".
The Festival is named after the Indian Hornbill, the large and colourful forest bird which is displayed in folklore in most of the state’s tribes. The week long festival unites one and all in Nagaland and people enjoy the colourful performances, crafts, sports, food fairs, games and ceremonies. Traditional arts which include paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures are also on display.
Festival highlights include the Traditional Naga Morungs Exhibition and sale of Arts and Crafts, Food Stalls, Herbal Medicine Stalls, Flower shows and sales, Cultural Medley - songs and dances, Fashion shows, Beauty Contest, Traditional Archery, Naga wrestling, Indigenous Games, and Musical concert.The Hornbill Festival provides a colourful mixture of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs and religious ceremonies. The festival both exposes the culture and tradition of tribal peoples, and reinforces Nagaland’s identity as a unique state in India’s federal union.
Traditional arts are also featured, with paintings, wood carvings and sculptures by modern Naga artists on display. Naga troupes sing folk songs, perform traditional dances and play indigenous games and sports. In the evenings a programme of music concerts, catering for all tastes, ensure that the festive spirit continues through the night.
How to reach
The state has its airport in Dimapur, which is regularly serviced by major airlines. The city is linked to Kolkata by air. Indian Airlines operateregularflights to Dimapur. Tourists then have to travel to Kohima by road after reaching Dimapur. It takes 2 and a half hours to reach Dimapur by road.
By Rail: The major railhead in the state is Dimapur, which is linked to Guwahati. Guwahati is in turn connected to the rest of the country by important trains. Visit www.indianrail.gov.in and www.irctc.co.in to book rail tickets online.
By Road: A good road network covers the state. The state capital Kohima is linked to Shillong and Guwahati, which are important cities in North Eastern India. First proceed to Dimapur and then travel to Kohima.
Entry Formalities - Permits:
Before embarking on a journey to Nagaland, acquiring the entry permit is a must.
Domestic tourists should obtain the Inner Line permit issued by the following authorities : Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, New Delhi, Deputy Resident Commissioner, Nagaland House, Kolkota, Assistant Resident Commissioner In Guwahati and Shillong, Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung
Foreign tourists no longer require a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) / Protected Area Permit (PAP) to enter Nagaland. Previously, tourists were required to travel in a minimum group of four people. They were allowed to visit all 11 district headquarters and specified places with this permit, valid for 10 days, with an option to extend for up to a month. The new rules only require foreigners to register themselves at the local Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) of the district they visit within 24 hours of their arrival. This is a temporary change in effect for one year.
Note: RAP/PAP is still a requirement for Pakistani and Chinese nationals.
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