All About Culturally Enriching Hornbill Festival Trip 2017


Evening scenes inside the venue

I long for winters, the nip in the air and soothing sunshine peeping through the cloud is marvelous grace to eyes. It is no secret that I have been a dedicated connoisseur of even badly made coffee on a winter morning. But, keeping aside my lyrical mood at the moment, winters brings the much awaited holiday season with Christmas and New Years round the clock. Working in a Catholic Dominant Beautiful state of Nagaland, who else can fancy winters better?

Casually chilling with artists from Hornbill Festival

About Hornbill Festival

Before I turn my poetic fangs on and perhaps walk on a different track, let me bounce back to my love for winters as it brings along the much awaited Hornbill Festival of Nagaland. The annual cultural festival of Nagaland is held every year for 10 days from 1st to 10th December at the Kisama Heritage Village, located 13 to 17 kms ahead of state capital Kohima.

The state comes to live that usually is lackadaisical with plethora of green but only a handful of visitors every year. It all started in the year 2000 when state government embarked on their nascent project of promoting diverse culture prevailing in different parts of Nagaland. The motive was to bring all tribes for 10 days under the same roof and cherish the richness. It gives you rich taste of culture for every tribe in Nagaland and has managed to attract tourists globally.

Pochuary Tribe Morung

How to Reach Kisama Heritage Village?

I visited Hornbill Festival, 2016 and did mention about how to reach the colorful celebration of culture at Kisama. The heritage village is a concrete infrastructure that remains barren throughout the years waiting to embrace the sweet cacophony during the festival. Assuming Guwahati as your first point of arrival, you have to take a train to Dimapur. Prefer taking a night train so that you can leave early morning for Kohima from Dimapur railway station.

You can choose to take a shared cab to Kohima from Dimapur available outside the railway station for Rs 250/- per person. After reaching Kohima, take a cab to Kisama Heritage Village that might charge around Rs 300-400. The second option is hire a cab directly from Dimapur to Kisama Heritage Village for Rs 1500-2500(strictly depends on bargaining skills).

Camping scenes with Kite Manja

Accommodation for Hornbill 2017

There are multiple accommodation options in and around Hornbill Festival. If you prefer the comfort of hotel at Kohima or somewhere close to the venue, make sure you book a month before. As the festival approaches, it is likely that all hotel rooms are sold out. From my vantage point, the idea of camping in the wilderness, bonfire, music and good people around is exciting.

I find solace under millions of stars and listening to winds whisper in my ears rather than sounds of nothing inside a hotel room. If that’s what gives you adrenaline rush, you can book yourself a tent accommodation with any of the camping organizers. I stayed with Kite Manja camps for two nights and totally recommend them. Their impeccable hospitality, amicable nature and perfect location close to the venue deserve magnified thumbs up.

Why Hornbill Festival Must Make It To Your Bucket List?

And so many tribes under the same roof

All tribes of Nagaland under the same roof

Tribes of Nagaland and its grand diversity is one of the most fascinating things about the state. With more than 17 tribes, the state is a representation of massive cultural diversity and a haven for people interested in tribal tours. However, with limited information, tourism is still at its primordial phase. Hornbill festival is an experiential representation of all the tribes under the same roof. There are Morungs or huts made representing each tribes and everyday there is a cultural show in the morning introducing all the tribes.

Cultural show of all tribes

Experiencing Rich Cultural Diversity of the State

The cultural diversity of the state is vast and attending Hornbill Festival gives you insight of each of the ethnic tribe. Every tribe in Nagaland has their own cuisine, festival, dialect, belief etc. and the festival brings you a step closer to all the cultures followed in Nagaland. The tourism in Nagaland is yet to be developed and hence Hornbill Festival helps bridging the gap by showcasing rich culture of the state.

This is just the beginning – so many food options

Eat your way out from Ethnic Plates of Nagaland

Who all are foodies here? If it was a live question, I surely know I would have seen a thousand or even more hands raised up high, really high. You can’t miss this event if you love trying new food with local made rice beer. With so many ethnic tribes of Nagaland together, single venue for all the gulping, you can eat your heart out and try different cuisines. Every tribe has their local made rice beer; taste may vary, served in traditional bamboo vessel.

Who loves camping scenes?

Camping in the Wilderness

A lot of people panic visiting Nagaland for number of rumored reasons, one shouldn’t. However, in the wilderness of the beautiful state, surrounded by lush green jungle, camping is a blissful experience. Visiting Hornbill Festival in the chill of December and camping in the wild is an experience worth everything. There are many campsites organized by tour and travel companies to experience Nagaland in its most serene and raw form.

And the colourful saga of cultural show

Enjoy Music and Rock Music Competition

If you love music and love the idea of swinging to the tunes of different bands, this festival is a colossal experience to your untamed heart and mind. The rock band competition is held every year during the festival where different bands compete. Earlier it was held in Kisama Heritage Village but from 2017, it is shifted to Dimapur. So after winding up with your memories from the festival, you can move to Dimapur to enjoy the rock show.

Souvenirs and more

Walk through the stalls and buy souvenir

There are many stalls around the festival with artifacts, ethnic souvenirs and decorative items. Take a stroll inside the Bamboo Pavilion to find some amazing bamboo products, Naga style knives & swords, jackets, pickles, accessories u and many other products. Been to Hornbill Festival? Do buy some beautiful souvenirs and carry back home. Recreate the memories of the festival as you add the souvenirs to your collection.

Konyak Tribe

Things to Keep In Mind

  • It gets really cold at night and temperature might dip down to around 5 – 6°C or even less. Make sure you carry a warm jacket, muffler, warm cap or beanie etc. to keep warm.
  • If you plan to stay at camps, carry tissue paper or toilet roll for emergency purpose. Do carry proper moisturizer as skin tends to get dry.
  • If you plan to stay in a hotel, make sure you book your accommodation a month or so in advance. It is difficult to get accommodation during the festival as everything is booked.
  • There is an ATM service inside the venue but still carry cash for emergency. There is no swiping facility anywhere and every payment inside is done via cash.

 Picture Stories From Hornbill Festival, 2017

The main ground of Hornbill Festival

Ah! I love my local drink

Fun and frolic performances

In love with the colours

Traditional dance performance

Cultural shows are heart of the festival

Kisama Heritage Village is a permanent set-up, one of the Morung

With Kachari Tribe

Ao Morung

Kachari Nohdrang Morung

And these cute munchkins, purest of the souls

Sumi Tribe Morung

10 days of utter bliss, fun and culture

Morung of Phom Tribe

On the streets of Hornbill Festival

Konyal Tribe Morung

Until Hornbill Festival, 2018


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3 Responses

  1. Hi Upasana! Really like the post! May I ask for this campsite, do they provide sleeping bags/mats in their tents? 🙂

    • upsy says:

      Hey! Thanks for reading and the kind words. I am glad you liked it. The campsite is Kite Manja and they provide tents and sleeping bags. You will meet amazing people in the campsite. I hope this helps 🙂

  1. October 25, 2018

    […] my first time camping with Kite Manja during Hornbill Festival, 2017, I knew I am taken and that’s the aura they spread amongst their guests. It feels like home, […]

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