7 Things To Keep In Mind For The Hornbill Festival

Words by Sarah Merchant

The Hornbill Festival officially opens its gates to the rest of the world in late November. If you plan to attend this grand cultural melange in Nagaland, here are a few things you should keep in mind!

Hornbill festival- The vibrant and unique fiesta of Nagaland!

Hornbill Festival – The vibrant and unique cultural fiesta in Nagaland!

1) The Hornbill Lands At Kisama

Contrary to popular belief, the Hornbill Festival is held in the Kisama Heritage village, 12km south of Kohima, the capital of Nagaland. Initiated to preserve and showcase the unique Naga heritage, the festival gives the region’s tribal communities a stage to display their diverse culture, heritage and traditions. It’s almost like walking through an open-air museum of Nagaland’s hidden treasures, with each tribe setting up a morung or Naga hut at the venue to offer visitors an insight into their lives.

The Angami tribe's morung

The Angami tribe’s morung

2) 16 Gates, 16 Different Styles

The annual Hornbill Festival is spread out over a huge space and has 16 gates, dedicated to each of the 16 Naga tribes. Don’t be surprised or confused because no two gates look the same. Every entrance is constructed and designed to match the tribe’s signature colours and motifs.

3) The Strict No-Alcohol Policy

If you thought Gujarat was the only dry state in India, you’re in for a surprise because Nagaland is alcohol-free too! The state takes the no-alcohol policy very, very seriously and, in the past, has even employed a Special Task Force to conduct checks at the festival venue. But no alcohol doesn’t mean no fun. The Naga rice beer makes for an interesting alternative and is available all across the venue.

Alcohol maybe banned but their rice beer is just as good!

Alcohol maybe banned but their rice beer is just as good!

4) Expect Large Crowds

Fun fact: Last year, Nagaland hosted more than 1,70,000 guests for the duration of the Hornbill Festival, and the numbers are only expected to go up this year. So crowds, traffic, people, expect all of this and more.

5) More Than Music & Dance

The Hornbill Festival has many fun, engaging events to offer its visitors. There are wrestling matches, beauty shows, a famous fashion show, and pork-eating and chilli-eating competitions. Before you sign up for the chilli eating, be warned that the fiery Naga King Chilli is said to have bought even the toughest to tears.

The festival is not just about music and dance, they even play a variety of games

The festival is not just about music and dance, they even play a variety of games

6) Rock Concert

The Nagas definitely know how to party! Apart from the traditional dances and music, the Hornbill Festival hosts the country’s longest music event. And this is not your regular concert, international bands and famous singers have graced the stage in the past, and the lineup just gets better every year.

This pulsating modern music is sure to make you tap your feet!

Hornbill’s Rock Concert is famous all over the world!

7) Hornbill Is Not Even The State Bird

With all the importance given to the Indian Hornbill, one would think it was Nagaland’s state bird, but it isn’t! The hornbill is a prominent feature and appears in the folklore of almost all Naga tribes. And it is this shared link that gives the Festival of Festivals its name. PS: Nagaland’s state bird is the Blyth’s tragopan, an endangered pheasant species.

The Blyth Tragopan is Nagaland's state bird and not the Hornbill; wikipedia.com

The Blyth Tragopan is Nagaland’s state bird and not the Hornbill!

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We set up luxury tents in Nagaland from November 29 to December 12, to coincide with the dates of the Hornbill festival. We are also even operational in Ladakh from the May 15 to October 10, so book yourself a glamping experience in the Himalayan mountains. Or delve into the hidden secrets of the wild, in the forest reserves of Dudhwa at The Jaagir Lodge from 19 December 2017 to 15 June 2018  call +91 801 090 2222 or write to us at info@tutc.com.

Here’s a peak into the luxury and experiences we offer…

1 Comment

  • comment-avatar
    Man Singh July 1, 2018 (6:14 am)

    Most natural and ethical to live a tension free and crime free life.