In 2018, I took a trip to Nagaland. I was lucky to attend the last day of the annual Hornbill festival. The state-run festival is a popular attraction of North East. The event brings together all the tribes, to celebrate their unique identity. Kisama village, about 12 kilometers away from Kohima hosts the celebration every year.
I was late to the celebrations on the last day. It was noon when I reached, and the cultural events had begun quite early. Still, the best was yet to come. As the day went by, I got the opportunity to watch dances of traditional Naga tribes.
It was surreal to watch tribal people going around in their traditional clothing in pride. I explored various handicrafts and cuisines of the state. In a sense, the true spirit of Nagaland’s unique cultural identity was reflecting.
Nagaland has several tribes stretched over the state. Hornbill festival allows them to connect with one another and display their cultures. Watching the myriad diversity of the tribes was inspiring. It made me realize that it is difficult to define Nagaland in a single way. Nagaland is free spirit, containing an array of rich unique cultures.
Soon, the six-foot fire was lit up. Its warmth brought in the sense of brotherhood in everyone present there. The sweet music of folk songs filled the air with the symphony. People were cheering and singing along. They gathered around the fire to dance in unity. It was truly magical.
Hornbill festival was a gateway to understand what Nagaland is. The festival was filled with the aroma of Naga cuisine, colorful ethnic clothes, and warmth. It was a representation of diversity and rich cultural heritage. I felt welcomed in the abode of these humble and brave people.
There are several ways to get to the Hornbill festival in Kohima. Firstly, if you are considering traveling by air, catch a flight till Dimapur Airport. From here, you can travel to Kohima by road. The drive takes about 3 hours.
Secondly, if you prefer traveling by train, the nearest station to Kohima is at Dimapur. You could cover the remaining distance by car or bus. Finally, the state is well connected by roads, so you can easily find a bus to Kohima. You can first travel to Dimapur and catch a direct bus to Kohima from there. There are tents and camps available for festival attendees.
The festival takes place during the first 10 days of December every year. I came to Nagaland to learn about the land and its people. The Hornbill festival gave me all that I needed. Here Nagaland’s art, cuisine, music comes to life. It invites one and all to come to celebrate with them.