Nagaland, often referred to as the ‘Switzerland of the East’ is a state of exquisite landscapes, vibrant people, varied flora and fauna, pleasant climate and vast unending forest reserves. The land of the legendary head hunting warrior tribes, the traditional people of Nagaland have always held their dignity in protecting their villages from intrusions by other tribes and this valor of the people of Nagaland have always held high esteem to their guests where they consider the safety and well being of their guests as their prestige and honor. The culture, practices, traditions, attire, languages, way of living, etc. has always instilled an awe in the minds of people from across the World.

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
The colorful attire of the tribes of Nagaland at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

There are a total of 16 tribes and their sub-tribes across Nagaland and all of these tribes have their own distinct colorful customs and cultural traditions. Mostly practising agriculture as their primary occupation, these Naga people have celebrations revolving around the harvest seasons. These celebrations in their own literary customs and traditions have gradually transformed into a kind of festival wherein the people celebrate, make fun and merry, perform at their traditional songs and dances to mark a successful harvest and also plan for the coming year. These colorful practices and customs of the people of Nagaland are now catching the eye of visitors from across the World and they want to be a part of these festivities of Nagaland. However, each of the festivals celebrated fall across different months in a calendar year and happen in remote locations which even till now do not have well laid infrastructure to be reached. Inadequate transportation facilities often form a cumbersome journey across hilly terrains to reach these places.

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
The Vibrant colors of the tribes of Nagaland at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

So in order to promote the rich heritage and culture of these people, the Government of Nagaland in Association with the Department of Tourism, decided to provide a platform where all these tribes from across Nagaland would get an opportunity to showcase their rich tribal practices to people from across the World. This platform would provide a chance to visitors to experience these ancient traditions that have been passed down across many generations by the ancestors of the people of Nagaland. Some practices are so elaborate that keeping their traditions alive is becoming a challenge for the tribes of Nagaland and are gradually dying out. Therefore, it was in the year 2000 that the State Government of Nagaland took up this ambitious project to bring across the entire festivals of the tribes of Nagaland to come on one common stage; a platform that would showcase the rich culture, traditions, cuisines, way of life of the legendary head hunting tribes of Nagaland. And with so many festivals being hosted under one common roof why not name it as the “Festival of Festivals”. Then came the question as to what should this festival be named? What would define the valor, the heritage, the colors of  the people of Nagaland? Finally what would represent the ancient folklores of the legendary tribes of Nagaland?

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
The Majestic Great Indian Hornbill Bird Species ~ Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India. Image – Diganta Talukdar

If there is anything very similar to the traits of Naga warrior tribes when it comes to their alertness, their grandeur, their fierceness, their majestic attire, their colorful headgear and to what has always found mention in the States long history of tribal folklore; it is the species of the majestic Indian Hornbill. The impressive color and size of the Indian Hornbill has always intrigued the people of Nagaland and the people have always admired this bird for its impressive traits. The feathers of this wonderful bird have always adorned the richly decorated headgears of the headhunters of Nagaland up to an extent that in certain tribes their religious festival is incomplete without the hornbill feather. Hence was the name given to the grandest festival of India – the “Festival of Festivals – the Hornbill Festival”. Coinciding with the foundation day of the State of Nagaland, 1st of December, the Hornbill Festival started as a week long festival that enhanced the spirit of unity in diversity of Nagaland.

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
A Warrior of the Konyak tribe of Nagaland at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Originally started as a week long festival, the Hornbill Festival now is a 10 day long celebration that draws visitors from across the World. As per records, around 1,75,000 people visited the Hornbill Festival in 2017 and this number is expected to grow in the coming years. The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland has a primary motto to conserve the rich culture and traditions of the people of Nagaland and showcase the traditions to the people of the World. For visitors, it is a way of exploring and admiring the beauty of the State of Nagaland in a window of 10 days without having to go to each nook and corner of the State to live the rich experience of the people of Nagaland. Visiting the Hornbill Festival is to come closer to feel the rich vibe and culture of the people of Nagaland and to be a part of the festivities and to enjoy their songs, dances, food, practices and customs. At the Hornbill Festival one gets to see the colorful dance, handicrafts, traditional sports, traditional tribal food and tribal ceremonies of Nagaland. Rich handicrafts and handlooms of Nagaland are put up on display at the Hornbill Festival along with their sale. The Hornbill Festival also hosts a World War II peace rally, an International Rock Festival, an International Photography contest, Food and herbal medicine stalls, flower and vegetables sales, modern Fashion shows, a kids carnival, traditional Naga sport of Archery and wrestling and much more. The certain highlight of the Hornbill festival is the Naga King Chilli eating contest. The Naga King Chilli or the Bhut Jolokia is the spiciest pepper in the World. Another highlight of the Hornbill Festival is the Pork Fat eating contest. In both these events at the Hornbill festival, visitors are allowed to participate.

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Artists from Naga tribes perform at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

To Plan your visit to the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland please fill the form below ~

Venue of the Hornbill Festival ~

Kisama Heritage Village plays host to the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland every year. This Naga Heritage Village is located around 10 km from the State Capital of Kohima. The name Kisama is derived from the names f two traditional villages of Nagaland Kigwema (KI) and Penesa (SA) and MA means a village. The cultural objective of this heritage village of Nagaland is to establish a common ground of database by upholding the identity of the traditions and practices of the traditional people of Nagaland and in a sole way promote dynamic tourism across the State of Nagaland. The Naga Heritage Village is a large complex that houses 16 different houses of each of the legendary tribes of Nagaland in a typical Naga architectural concept. All these traditional houses at the heritage village are unique in design and are called as Morungs which translates to a Youth Dormitory. In addition, the Naga heritage village at Kisama also hosts a Second World War Museum as the Battle of Kohima was central around in Nagaland, a Bamboo heritage hall and Pavillion that hosts live performances, beauty pageants and fashion shows. During the festivities of the Hornbill festival, this heritage village comes to life and serves as an individual platform in uniting the tribes of Nagaland to showcase the rich cultural traditions and practices.

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga tribal Artists prepare to perform at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Hornbill Festival Events ~

The Festival of Festivals viz. the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is a 10 day long festive ritual that celebrates the legacy of the tribes of Nagaland. The Hornbill Festival is a rich celebration of their traditions, cultures, practices, rituals, dance, arts, crafts, cuisine and the spirit of the Naga society. And with more involvement of these legendary tribal people of Nagaland in the field of agriculture, their practices and customs too are revolved around these agrarian practices. The people of Nagaland consider their festivals as sacred as they are based upon a successful harvest of their crops that in turn leads to a season of food in abundance makes them to ensure to participate in these festivals with full enthusiasm and vigor. This 10 day long festival unites the people of Nagaland and they perform their best at the Hornbill Festival and visitors get a glimpse of the entire State of Nagaland and witness the various colorful dance and musical performances along with the Naga crafts, traditional food, sports, etc.

Some of the popular events organized at the Hornbill Festival are:

  • Hornbill Dance – This particular dance form is performed at the Hornbill Festival is dedicated to the admired bird species of the Great Indian Hornbill wherein the Naga tribes performed this dance by interpreting the various movements of this bird.
  • Greased Bamboo Pole Climbing – This is an interesting traditional sport of Nagaland wherein the representatives of each of the tribes of Nagaland, are allowed to climb a long pole smeared with pork fat. However, in order to create friction so that climbing across the greasy bamboo pole becomes easier mud is splashed on the participants and the pole to facilitate the climbing person and the first person to reach the pole top is declared as the winner.
  • Traditional Fire making – In this particular activity at the Hornbill Festival, participants compete among themselves as to see who would be the first to light a fire without the use of any chemical substances and mostly using a wooden handle, sliced bamboos, cotton millet straws and thatch only.
  • Naga Wrestling – Naga traditional wrestling is another important event at the Hornbill Festival, where the test of might is witnessed. At the traditional wrestling event at the Hornbill Festival, there is no category of weight, age bar,etc. and is open to everyone attending the Hornbill Festival event and is in a form of a knockout.
  • Naga King Chilli eating contest – This is the most anticipated and appraised event of the Hornbill Festival each year with open entry to everyone witnessing the Hornbill Festival. The Naga King Chilli or the Bhut Jolokia is the hottest pepper in the World. Open to visitors too, the person able to eat maximum number of chillies is declared as the winner.
Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival, Nagaland tourism, Camping Hornbill Festival
The Hot Naga King Chilli to be savored at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kisama ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
World War II Peace Rally organized at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Other events organized at the Hornbill Festival are –

  • Half marathon for both men and women (21 kilometers)
  • Pork Fat eating contest
  • Hornbill Festival snooker championship
  • Various adventure sports – Rappelling, beam balancing, monkey crawling, river crossing, tent pitching, angling, etc.
  • Hornbill Cycle rally
  • Hornbill International Motor Rally
  • World War II peace Rally
  • Hornbill Art Festival
  • Hornbill Music Festival
  • Fashion Shows
  • Beauty Pageants
  • Naga Rock Pulling Contest
  • Hornbill Global Film Festival
  • Hornbill Literature Fest
  • Hornbill International Photofest (HIPFEST)
  • Footloose – the Dance Competition
  • The Hornbill Chef Competition and much more…..
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Foreign Tourists participate with the Naga Tribe at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India. Image ~ Heather’s Naga Blog
Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival, Nagaland tourism, Camping Hornbill Festival
Schedule of the Hornbill International Music Festival 2018 ~ Kisama ~ Nagaland ~ India
Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival, Nagaland tourism, Camping Hornbill Festival
The 2018 Hornbill International Rock Contest pamphlets ~ Kisama ~ Nagaland ~ India

How to reach Hornbill Festival venue grounds at Kisama Heritage Village ~

Nagaland is well connected to India and other States of North East by Roads, Rails and Air. There is an Airport and Railway Station in the city of Dimapur and from Dimapur driving to Kohima by road takes around 4 hours. Kohima is well connected by roads and doesn’t have a railway station or an airport because of the hilly terrain of land. So the best option to reach the Hornbill Festival venue grounds is to arrive at Dimapur in Nagaland and continue your journey to Kohima. Although there is an Airport at Dimapur, not many regular flights operate to other parts of the country from Dimapur with regular flights only up to Guwahati and Kolkata. So the best option is to arrive at the Guwahati Airport in Assam and then travel to Kohima by road after a halt at the Kaziranga National Park. Spend a day at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park taking a Safari into the interiors of Kaziranga National Park to admire the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros here at Kaziranga and the varied flora, fauna and avifauna here and then continue your journey to Kohima. From Kohima, Kisama is around 12 kilometers and can be reached in a short time.

Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival, Nagaland tourism, Camping Hornbill Festival
Arriving at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds at Kisama Heritage Village ~ Kisama ~ Nagaland ~ India
Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival, Nagaland tourism, Camping Hornbill Festival
On our drive to the Hornbill Festival 2018 ~ Kisama ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga Tribe Artists in their colorful warrior attires at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Permits for Nagaland ~

Indian Tourists who plan to visit Nagaland and the Hornbill Festival must have a valid Inner Line Permit (ILP). ILP can be obtained from the Nagaland House Office at New Delhi, Kolkata, Shillong or Guwahati. Tourists can arrange for the ILP themselves by filling and submitting the application form at these offices or contact us for the ILP. We will submit the application on your behalf at the office and get the ILP made for you at a nominal service charge along with your tour plan for Hornbill Festival.

Foreign Nationals earlier required a Protected Area Permit (PAP, RAP) for travelling to Nagaland. But this has been abolished in 2011 and now Foreign visitors do not require PAP. They however need to register themselves at the nearest police station within 24 hours upon arrival at the State of Nagaland.

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Open Air Camping at the Hornbill Festival near the Kisama Heritage Village ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Accomodation options at Hornbill Festival ~

With over 2,00,000 visitors expected at the Hornbill Festival it is always advised to plan your tour to Hornbill Festival much ahead of schedule. There are many stay options in Kohima ranging from Hotels, Resorts, Guest houses and Homestays but most of these get filled up as early by the month of August itself. So it’s always advised to confirm your accomodations at these places by paying an advance booking amount and confirming your stay. We also run a campground called ‘Camp Hornbill’ very close to the festive grounds of Kisama. For visitors who are planning to visit the Hornbill Festival at the end moment we can surely accommodate you in one of our tents here. For more details about Camp Hornbill CLICK HERE.

To Plan your Visit to the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland please fill in form below – In order for you to choose your days of visit we have shown a sample schedule for the festival days (Day 1 thru Day 10). You can choose on which days you plan to visit the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland and continue to visit other destinations of North East

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Tourism Nagaland welcomes you at the Hornbill Festival near the Kisama Heritage Village ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Sample Itinerary Details for Hornbill Festival of Nagaland ~

Day 1 ~ Guwahati – Kaziranga National Park

Arrive at Guwahati Airport. On arrival you will be received by our representative at the airport offering a warm welcome in traditional Assamese style. From the Airport we will proceed to the Kaziranga National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kaziranga National Park is home to the highest population of the Endangered One Horned Rhinoceros species in the world. On arrival check into a Comfortable hotel. Visit the nearby tea gardens in the late afternoon. Evening Bonfire and cultural performances on request.

Night Stay: Bonroja Motel at the Kaziranga National Park

Meals Included: NA

Day 2 ~ Kaziranga National Park – Kaziranga Orchid Park

Early morning go for an Elephant Safari into the interiors of the Kaziranga National Park from the Bagori Safari Range. After Breakfast go for a Jeep Safari into the Kaziranga National Park from the Kohora Safari Range at the National Park. Late afternoon visit the Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park at Kaziranga National Park. The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park is the Largest Orchid Park in India.

Night Stay:Bonroja Motel at the Kaziranga National Park

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 ~ Kaziranga National Park – Kohima

After Breakfast depart to Kohima from Kaziranga National Park. Upon Arrival at Kohima, visit the Kohima World War II Cemetery near the venue of the Hornbill Festival and relive the memoirs of the Battle of Kohima. Also visit the Kohima Cathedral which is the largest Cathedral in North East India. Later, check into the Hornbill Camp near the Kisama Heritage Village (the Venue of the Hornbill Festival). Enjoy night Bonfire to beat the chilly weather. Savor freshly brewed traditional Naga wine with traditional Barbecue.

Night Stay: Open Air Tents at Camp Hornbill/Hotels or Resorts at Kohima Town

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4 ~ Hornbill Festival at Kisama Heritage Village

Today, spend your day witnessing the Festivities of the ‘Festival of Festivals ~ the Hornbill Festival’ at the Kisama Heritage Village near Kohima.

Night Stay: Open Air Tents at Camp Hornbill/Hotels or Resorts at Kohima Town

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 ~ Hornbill Festival at Kisama Heritage Village

Today, spend your day witnessing the Festivities of the ‘Festival of Festivals ~ the Hornbill Festival’ at the Kisama Heritage Village near Kohima.

Night Stay: Open Air Tents at Camp Hornbill/Hotels or Resorts at Kohima Town

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6 & 7 ~ Kisama Heritage Village – Dzukou Valley

Embark on your trek to visit the Pristine Dzukou Valley at the border of the States of Nagaland and Manipur. Admire the majestic landscapes along your journey to Dzukou Valley. Night halt at Tents at Dzukou Valley. Return back to Camp Hornbill the next day.

Night Stay: Open Air Tents at Camp Hornbill/Hotels or Resorts at Kohima Town

Meals Included (for Dzukou Trek): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8 – Kohima – Mokokchung

Today after Breakfast, we embark on our drive to  the beautiful town of Mokokchung. Perched atop a pack of hills, the Mokokchung is beautiful town of Nagaland and home to the legendary Ao tribes of Nagaland. The villages around Mokokchung are home to numerous stories of bravery by the Ao warrior tribes of Nagaland.

Day 9 – Mokokchung local Naga villages explore

Today after breakfast, we explore a couple of Naga villages near Mokokchung – Ungma and the local Mokokchung basti. At these villages we learn about the cultures and traditions of the locals people in these villages and learn their way of life and also take part in their day to day local activities.

Day 10 – Mokokchung – Majuli Island

Early morning we leave Mokokchung to embark on our journey to the Largest River Island in the World – Majuli Island. The hub of the Neo-Vaishnavite cult of Assam, Majuli is home to the Mishing tribes of Assam. A peaceful island far away from the hustle and bustle of a busy city life, Majuli Island is a perfect place to unwind before your journey at North East Ends.

Day 11 – Majuli Island

Today, we explore the mysteries of the largest river island in the World. We spent our day visiting the various Satras of Majuli Island. Learn about the lost art of traditional mask making at Majuli Island and also about the art of traditional pottery making. Unwind along the river banks of Majuli clicking pictures of rare birds and spend your timing fishing here.

Day 12 – Majuli Island – Guwahati

Today we start our drive back to Guwahati in the morning. Arrive at Guwahati in the late afternoon and board your late evening flight back home on for your onward destination. Tour ends. Bid adieu!

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga Tribal Girls wearing elaborate handloom at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Sample Schedule of Hornbill Festival ~ 2017 ~ Nagaland

Day 1 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

8.30 AM – Inaugural of Hortiscape 2017 – Exhibition cum Sale of Flowers, fruits, vegetables, spices, Departmental farm products, Horticulture Machinery & Horticultural products at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama – Department of Horticulture – Govt. of Nagaland

8.45 AM – Inauguration of Exhibition cum sale of Handicrafts & Handlooms products at Bamboo Pavilion – Department of Industries & Commerce – Govt. of Nagaland

9.00 AM – Inaugural of craftscape 2017 at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama – A portfolio on Naga Craft traditions – Tribal Weave

9.00 AM to 4.00 PM – Hornbill kids carnival 2017 at Children’s Park, NHV, Kisama (1st – 10th December, 2017) – Synergy Group Enterprise

9.30 AM – Artist’s corner at WWII premises continues – Department of Art & Culture & Nagaland Art Society

9.30 AM – Horse Riding & Pony Cart Transportation, Naga Heritage Village, Kisama (1st to 10th December 2017) – Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Sciences – Govt. of Nagaland

9.30 AM – Hornbill International Photofest (HIPPEST 2017), WWII Museum premises, NHV Kisama – Eastern Art Council

11 AM – Inaugural of Hornbill Festival 2017 – Sky Entertainment

5.00 PM onwards – An evening with Naga Artists at de Oriental Grand, Kohima –
“Expression” by Nise Meruno

5.00 PM onwards – Launching of Hornbill International Music Festival 2017 at Dimapur District Sports Complex (DDSC), Golaghat Road, Dimapur – Multi Task Force

6.00 PM – 9.00 PM – Hornbill Night Carnival at Y junction to Razhu Point – Kohima Chamber of Commerce & Industries – Govt. of Nagaland

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga Tribal Lady weaving elaborate handloom at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Day 2 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

7.00 AM – Flag off at Multipurpose State Stadium, Near DC Office, Dimapur. Arrival: WWII Cemetery, Kohima (12.00 Noon). Laying of wreath at War Memorial by Rally Commander, Arrival at Kisama: 2.00 PM, Closing Prize distribution a 2.30 PM – Nagaland Adventure and Motor Sports Association

8.30 AM – Online Registration, Exhibition cum sale of Flowers, fruits, vegetables, spices, machineries continues….. Department of Horticulture – Govt. of Nagaland

8.45 AM – Exhibition cum Sale of Handloom & Handicrafts Products continues…… Department of Industries and Commerce – Govt. of Nagaland

9.00 AM – City Tour in and around Kohima (2nd to 9th December 2017) – Nagaland Tourism Association (NTA)

9.30 AM – Artist’s corner at WWII premises continues…. Department of Art & Culture & Nagaland Art Society

10.00 AM – Horse Riding and Pony Cart Competition, Nagaland Heritage Village Kisama continues… Animal Husbandry & Veterinary sciences – Govt. of Nagaland

10.00 AM – Naga Chef – Season 5 at Kisama – Cooking Skills – Synergy Group Enterprise

10.00 AM – 3.00 PM – Craftscape 2017 at NHV Kisama – A portfolio on Naga Traditions continues.. Tribal Weave

10.00 AM – 4.00 PM – Hornbill International Photofest (HIPFEST 2017) continues…. Eastern Art Council

11.00 AM – 12.00 PM – North East Cultural Day & Madhya Pradesh Folk Troupe (Partner State Ek Bharat Ek Shrestha Bharat (EBSB) Morning Session – 11.00 AM – 12.00 PM, Afternoon Session – 1.30 PM – 2.30 PM) – North East Zone Cultural Center (NEZCC)

4.00 PM – 6.30 PM – 2017 Hutton lectures at the Kohima Institute, Meluri Road, Ziekezu, P. Khel, Kohima Village – The Kohima Institute of Advanced Studies

5.00 PM Onwards – Hornbill International Music Festival 2017 at Dimapur District Sports Complex (DDSC), Golaghat Road, Dimapur – Music Task Force

6.00 PM – 9.00 PM – Hornbill Night Carnival Continues…. Kohima Chamber of Commerce & Industries

7.00 PM – 10.00 PM – “Handshake Concert” at Raj Bhavan – Rattle & Hum Music Society

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Horticultural vegetable exhibits at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Day 3 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

8.00 AM – 6th Annual Hornbill Cycle Rally 2017 flags off from Directorate of Tourism to NHV, Kisama – Alaphara Groups

8.30 AM – Prize distribution for State Level Flower, Ornamental Plants, Fruits, Vegetables, Spices, etc. continues…. Department of Horticulture – Govt. of Nagaland

8.30 AM – 7th Hornbill Half Marathon & Great Hornbill Run. Flag Off at 7.00 AM, New Sectt. Junction & culminates at the same venue Elite Entertainment Enterprise (3Es)

8.45 AM – Exhibition cum Sale of Handicrafts and Handlooms Products continues… Department of Industries and Commerce – Govt. of Nagaland

City Tour in and around Kohima Continues.. Department of Industries and Commerce – Govt. of Nagaland

9.00 AM – 11.00 AM – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – Department of Art & Culture – Govt. of Nagaland

9.30 AM – Artist’s corner at WWII premises continues… Department of Art & Culture & Nagaland Art Society

10.00 AM – 3.00 PM – Craftscape 2017 at NHV Kisama – a portfolio on Naga Crafts Traditions continues…. Tribal Weaves

10.00 AM – 4.00 PM – Hornbill International Photo Fest (HIPFEST 2017) continues.. Eastern Art Council

12.00 PM – 1.00 PM – Traditional Fire Making – Department of Youth Resources and Sports

1.00 PM – 6th Hornbill Riders Meet – Registration of Riders at Gaili Village, Peren – Nagaland Motorcycle Club

1.00 PM – 2.30 PM – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – Department of Art & Culture – Govt. of Nagaland

3.30 PM – Pre-Christmas Gospel Night, Featuring Project Psaltery & Various Artist – Department of Tourism – Govt. of Nagaland

5.00 PM Onwards – Hornbill International Music Festival 2017 at Agri Expo, 4th Mile, Dimapur – Multi Task Force

6.00 PM – 9.00 PM – Hornbill Night Carnival Continues…. Kohima Chamber of Commerce & Industries

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga tribal youths await for their performance at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Day 4 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

7.00 AM – 3.30 PM – Hornbill Angling Festival 2017 at Chubri Bridge, Doyang, Panti Village – Anglers Association in association with Department of Fisheries

8.30 AM – Online Registration, Exhibition cum Sale of Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables, Spices, Machineries continues…. Department of Horticulture – Govt. of Nagaland

8.45 AM – Exhibition cum sale of Handicrafts and Handloom Products – Department of Industries & Commerce – Govt. of Nagaland

9.00 AM – Naga Wrestling Competition at Amphitheatre, Kisama with participants from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, Mizoram and many more. There will be a Tourist Championship category – Naga Wrestling Association (NWA)

City Tour in and around Kohima continues – Nagaland Tourism Association (NTA)

9.00 AM – Kohima downhill mountain race. Flag off: Vishwema village & Prize distribution: WWII Museum premises, Naga Heritage Village, Kisama – Native Station

9.30 AM – Artist’s corner at WWII premises continues

10.00 AM – Naga Chef – Season 5 – Invention Round – Synergy Group Enterprise

10.00 AM – 1.00 PM – 6th Hornbill Riders’ Meet – Cultural Exhibition & Games of Zeliang Tribe, Entertainment and BOnfire at Shalom Resort, Gaili, Peren – Nagaland Motorcycle Club

10.00 AM – 12.00 PM – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – Department of Art & Culture – Govt. of Nagaland

10:00 AM – 03:00 PM – Craftscape 2017 at NHV Kisama – A portfolio on Naga Crafts Traditions continues… TRIBAL WEAVE

10:00 AM – 04:00 PM – Hornbill International Photofest (HIPFEST 2017) continues… EASTERN ART COUNCIL

01:00 PM – 02:30 PM – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE

03:30 PM – Folk Tune Competition – HARMONY SOCIETY

05:00 PM – Live Music featuring Divine Connection, Abiogenesis, DGP Band, Mengu Soukhrie, Mezanuo Ngukha & Moka Koza – MACAA

06:00 PM – 09:00 PM – Hornbill Night Carnival continues… KOHIMA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRIES

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga tribal girls wearing exquisite colorful traditional attire at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Day 5 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

07:00 AM – Indigenous Go-Kart Racing, flags off from NSF Martyrs Park and Culminates at Phoolbari, Kohima – GO TRAVELS

08:30 AM – Online Registration, Exhibition cum Sale of Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables, Spices, Machineries continues… DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE

08:45 AM – Exhibition cum Sale of Handloom & Handicrafts products continues…  DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIES & COMMERCE

09:00 AM – 1st Hornbill International Strongest Man & Fittest Man Competition – ZUMU GYM KOHIMA

09:00 AM – 6th Hornbill Riders’ Meet – Flag off from Gaili, Peren at 09:00 am & Flag in at 01:00 pm Kisama (WWII Museum Premises) – NAGALAND MOTORCYCLE CLUB

City Tour/in and around Kohima continues..NAGALAND TOURISM ASSOCIATION (NTA)

09:30 AM – Artists’ Corner at WWII Premises continues… DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE & NAGALAND ART SOCIETY

10:00 AM – 03:00 PM – Craftscape 2017 at NHV Kisama – A portfolio on Naga Crafts Traditions continues… TRIBAL WEAVE

10:00 AM – 03:00 PM – Horse Riding & Pony Cart Transportation, Naga Heritage Village Kisama continues..ANIMAL HUSBANDRY & VETERINARY SERVICES

10:00 AM – 12 NOON – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – ART & CULTURE DEPARTMENT

10:00 AM – 04:00 PM – Hornbill International Photo Fest (HIPFEST 2017) continues… EASTERN ART COUNCIL

12:00 – 01:00 PM – Stilts Bamboo Race – DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH RESOURCES & SPORTS

01:00 PM – 2:30 PM – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – ART & CULTURE DEPARTMENT

03:00 PM – 07:00 PM – Screening of Short Documentary Films at the Heritage, Old DC Bungalow, Kohima – EASTERN ART COUNCIL

04:00 PM – Oldies Night at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama – SKY ENTERTAINMENT

05:00 PM onwards – Hornbill International Rock Contest 2017 – Audition Round, Agri Expo, 4th Mile, Dimapur – MUSIC TASK FORCE

06:00 PM – 09:00 PM – Hornbill Night Carnival continues… KOHIMA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRIES

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Savour ethnic Naga Cuisine and Tribal Alcoholic Beverages at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Day 6 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

08:30 AM – Online Registration, Exhibition cum Sale of Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables, Spices, Machineries continues… DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE

08:45 AM – Exhibition cum Sale of Handloom & Handicrafts Products continues... DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIES & COMMERCE

City Tour/in and around Kohima continues… NAGALAND TOURISM ASSOCIATION (NTA)

09:30 AM – Artists’ Corner at WW II Premises continues… DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE & NAGALAND ART SOCIETY

10:00 AM – Naga Chef – Season 5 at Kisama – Group Round – SYNERGY GROUP ENTERPRISE

10:00 AM – 03:00 PM – Craftscape 2017 at NHV Kisama – A portfolio on Naga Crafts Traditions continues… TRIBAL WEAVE

10:00 AM – 12:00 NOON – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – ART & CULTURE DEPARTMENT

10:00 AM – 04:00 PM – Hornbill International Photofest (HIPFEST 2017) continues..EASTERN ART COUNCIL

12:00 NOON – 01:00 PM – Pineapple Eating Competition only for Domestic & International Tourist – DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE

01:00 PM – 02:30 PM – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – ART & CULTURE DEPARTMENT

03:00 PM – 07:00 PM – Screening of Short Documentary Films at the Heritage, Old DC Bungalow, Kohima – EASTERN ART COUNCIL

05:00 PM onwards – Hornbill International Rock Contest 2017 – Audition Round, Agri Expo, 4th Mile, Dimapur – MUSIC TASK FORCE

06:00 PM – 09:00 PM – Hornbill Night Carnival continues… KOHIMA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRIES

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga Tribes perform with full vigour at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Day 7 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

07:00 AM – 05:00 PM – Flag off from Town Square & Proceed to Yimchalu gate, Sungratsu Village, Mokokchung – TRAIL HOUNDS CYCLING CLUB MOKOKCHUNG

08:30 AM – Online Registration, Exhibition cum Sale of Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables, Spices, Machineries continues… DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE

08:45 AM – Exhibition cum Sale of Handloom & Handicrafts Products continues… DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIES & COMMERCE

City Tour/in and around Kohima continues… NAGALAND TOURISM ASSOCIATION (NTA)

09:30 AM – Artists’ Corner at WWII Premises continues… DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE & NAGALAND ART SOCIETY

10:00 AM – Naga Chef – Season 5 at Kisama – Pressure Task –  SYNERGY GROUP ENTERPRISE

10:00 AM – 03:00 PM – Craftscape 2017 at NHV Kisama – A portfolio on Naga Crafts Traditions continues… TRIBAL WEAVE

10:00 AM -12 PM – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – ART & CULTURE DEPARTMENT

10:00 AM – 04:00 PM – Hornbill International Photofest (HIPFEST 2017) continues… EASTERN ART COUNCIL

12:00 PM – 01:00 PM – Tug of War – DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH RESOURCES & SPORTS

01:00 PM- 2:30 PM – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – ART & CULTURE DEPARTMENT

05:00 PM onwards – Hornbill International Rock Contest 2017 – Audition Round, Agri Expo, 4th Mile, Dimapur – MUSIC TASK FORCE

06:00 PM – 09:00 PM – Hornbill Night Carnival continues… KOHIMA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRIES

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga Tribes await for their turn perform at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Day 8 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

07:30 AM – 07:00 PM – Events at Chuchuyimpang Village followed by Closing Ceremony & Prize Distribution, Live Music, Dj Nite  – TRAIL HOUNDS CYCLING CLUB MOKOKCHUNG

08:30 AM – Online Registration, Exhibition cum Sale of Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables, Spices, Machineries continues… DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE

08:45 AM – Exhibition cum Sale of Handloom & Handicrafts Products continues… DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIES & COMMERCE

City Tour/in and around Kohima continues… NAGALAND TOURISM ASSOCIATION (NTA)

09:30 AM – Artists’ Corner at WWII Premises continues… DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE & NAGALAND ART SOCIETY

10:00 AM – Naga Chef – Season 5 at Kisama – Just Desserts -SYNERGY GROUP ENTERPRISE

10:00 AM – 03:00 PM – Craftscape 2017 at NHV Kisama – A portfolio on Naga Crafts Traditions continues… TRIBAL WEAVE

10:00 AM -12:00 NOON – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE

10:00 – 04:00 PM – Hornbill International Photofest (HIPFEST 2017) continues… EASTERN ART COUNCIL

12:00 NOON – 01:00 PM – Cock Fight – DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH RESOURCES & SPORTS

01:00 PM – 02:30 PM – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE

03:30 PM – Choral & Folk Music Competition at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama – All India Radio, Kohima

05:00 – 7:00 PM – Miss Nagaland 2017 at Regional Centre of Excellence for Music & Performing Arts (RCEMPA) – BEAUTY & AESTHETICS SOCIETY OF NAGALAND (BASN)

05:00 PM onwards – Hornbill International Rock Contest 2017 – Grand Finale, Agri Expo, 4th Mile, Dimapur – MUSIC TASK FORCE

06:00 PM – 09:00 PM – Hornbill Night Carnival continues… KOHIMA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRIES

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga Tribes Elderly wearing heir tribal traditional attires at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Day 9 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

08:30 AM – Online Registration, Exhibition cum Sale of Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables, Spices, Machineries continues… DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE

08:45 AM – Exhibition cum Sale of Handloom & Handicrafts Products continues…  DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIES & COMMERCE

City Tour/in and around Kohima continues… NAGALAND TOURISM ASSOCIATION (NTA)

09:30 AM – Artists’ Corner at WWII Premises continues… DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE & NAGALAND ART SOCIETY

10:00 AM – Naga Chef – Season 5 – Grand Finale at Kisama – SYNERGY GROUP ENTERPRISE

10:00 AM – 03:00 PM – Craftscape 2017 at NHV Kisama – A portfolio on Naga Craft Traditions continues… TRIBAL WEAVE

10:00 AM -12:00 NOON – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – ART & CULTURE DEPARTMENT

10:00 AM – 04:00 PM – Hornbill International Photo Fest (HIPFEST 2017) continues… EASTERN ART COUNCIL

12:00 NOON – 01:00 PM – Traditional Shot Put – DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH RESOURCES & SPORTS

01:00 PM – 02:30 PM – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – ART & CULTURE DEPARTMENT

02:30 PM – 03:30 PM – Naga Chilli Eating Competition – XL EVENT MANAGEMENT DIVISION & Sponsored by DEPT. OF HORTICULTURE

05:00 PM onwards – Hornbill International Music Festival at Agri Expo, 4th Mile, Dimapur – MUSIC TASK FORCE

06:00 PM – 09:00 PM – Hornbill Night Carnival continues… KOHIMA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRIES

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Sumi Naga Tribes of Nagaland perform a warrior dance at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Day 10 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

07:00 AM – Trail Hounds Mountain Biking – Mokokchung – TRAIL HOUNDS CYCLING CLUB MOKOKCHUNG

08:30 AM – Online Registration, Exhibition cum Sale of Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables, Spices, Machineries – DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE

08:45 AM – Exhibition cum Sale of Handloom & Handicrafts Products – DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIES & COMMERCE

09:30 AM – Artists’ Corner at WWII Premises – DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE & NAGALAND ART SOCIETY

10:00 AM – 01:00 PM – Craftscape 2017 at NHV Kisama – A portfolio on Naga Crafts Traditions – TRIBAL WEAVE

10:00 AM – 12:00 NOON – Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE

10:30 AM – 04:00 PM – Hornbill International Photo Fest (HIPFEST 2017) – EASTERN ART COUNCIL

01:00 – 02:30 PM -Cultural performances by various Naga Tribes – DEPARTMENT OF ART & CULTURE

04:30 PM – 07:00 PM – Declaration of Naga Chef Competition 2017 at Kisama, Grand Finale of Hornbill Festival 2017 with Bonfire Lighting and Unity Dance by Cultural Troupes at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama – Production & Choreographed by SKY ENTERTAINMENT

06:00 PM – 09:00 PM – Hornbill Night Carnival – KOHIMA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRIES

06:00 PM ONWARDS – Grand Finale of Hornbill International Music Festival 2017 at Agri Expo, 4th Mile, Dimapur – MUSIC TASK FORCE

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga ladies of Nagaland performing a traditional dance at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Details – Day 1 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

Inaugural function as per the programme prepared by the Tourism Department followed by Cultural Programme.

While welcoming the Chief Guest to the inaugural function, all the cultural troupes are to line up both sides from the main gate to the VVIP rostrum. All the troupes are to yell and yodel followed by beating of log drums in their respective morungs.

Allocated seat for the troupes as shown in the enclosed sketch will be strictly followed during the Hornbill Festival.

  • Nerhemia Cultural Troupe (Angami)
  • Phokhungri Cultural Troupe (Pochury)
  • Longtsung Cultural Troupe (Yimchungrü)
  • Dunagaon Village Cultural Troupe (Garo)
  • Dimasa Cultural Troupe (Kachari)
  • Uphai Cultural Society (Chang)
  • Medem Ruju Cultural Club (Ao)
  • Thenyizumi Youth Social Welfare Organisation, Phek (Chakhesang)
  • Bhandari Village Cultural Club (Lotha)
  • Yongshei Village Cultural Troupe (Yongshei Village Council) (Phom)
  • Sangvi Cultural Women Society (Sangtam)
  • Sumi Cultural Troupe, Sapoti Village (Sumi)
  • Pathso Cultural Club (Khiamniungan)
  • Sowa Kaingam Yaknyü Cultural Troupe (Konyak)
  • Phenshünyu Lowjvü Cultural Troupe (Rengma)
  • Kuki Cultural Troupe, Molvom
  • Nzaunalui Cultural Troupe (Zeliang)
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Koyak tribes of Nagaland performing a traditional warrior dance at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Details – Day 2 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

Morning Session: 10:00 AM – 12:00 NOON

Evening Session: 01:30 – 02:30 PM

NORTH EAST DAY

ARUNACHAL PRADESH – Berii Nyijir Ngunu

ASSAM – Moran Bihu

MANIPUR – Pung, Thangta & Stick Dance

MEGHALAYA – Shad Suk Mynsiem

MIZORAM – Cheraw

SIKKIM – Rai Silli

TRIPURA – Sangrai Mog

MADHYA PRADESH (FOLK TROUPE) – Partner State Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat (EBSB)

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Foreign tourists admire the festivities at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Details – Day 3 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

10:00 AM – 12:00 NOON
CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE TIME
Angami Tsiapou Phfe (Folk Song) 10 mins
Konyak Shuleipe (Folk Song/Dance) 15 mins
Ao Tenem Sungjok (Steps of the Hornbill) 15 mins
Rengma Rhacho (Indigenous Game) 15 mins
Pochury Hai… (Song/Dance) 15 mins
Chakhesang Wrestling 15 mins
Chang Lo-Chia (Gents Song) 10 mins
Sumi Aphilo Kuwo (War Dance) 15 mins
Kuki Sim Lakoi La (Song of romance) 10 mins

01:00 PM – 02:30 PM

SL CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE TIME
1 Lotha Woro Juhre Ojurhe (Dance) 15 mins
2 Kachari Remin Nelaiyaba (Indigenous Game) 10 mins
3 Yimchungrü Reku Lukhün (Beheading Enemy’s Head) 10 mins
4 Zeliang Herie Lim (Hornbill Dance) 15 mins
5 Phom Kahsho Asho (Folk Song) 10 mins
6 Garo Jaktong Sika (Traditional Game) 10 mins
7 Khiamniungan Khiozao He (Traditional Hair Washing) 10 mins
8 Sangtam Merry Folk Dance 15 mins

Details – Day 4 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

SL CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE TIME
1 Sangtam Butterfly Dance 15 mins
2 Kachari Slemah Dikhawbani (Folk Song) 10 mins
3 Zeliang Awaina Lim (Amur Falcon Dance) 15 mins
4 Khiamniungan Liamkie (Peace Treaty) 15 mins
5 Garo Wangala Chroka (Dance) 15 mins
6 Lotha Hayi Hala (Games) 10 mins
7 Phom Olangmiyoo (Folk Dance) 15 mins
8 Rengma Loshü Khwen (Folk Song) 15 mins
9 Yimchungrü Kuhüt Achih Khi (Traditional Hair Cutting) 15 mins

 

1 Chakhesang Melophe (Folk Dance) 15 mins
2 Chang Khük Pupbü (Brave man’s chest tattooed) 10 mins
3 Pochury Amishere (Folk Song) 10 mins
4 Sumi Angu Kupusu (Spear Kick) 10 mins
5 Ao Antipong Rara (Rooster Dance) 15 mins
6 Angami Chienuo (Folk Song) 10 mins
7 Kuki Jangcha Lam (Dance) 10 mins
8 Konyak Meitoi Pu (Hunting Game) 10 mins
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Handicrafts of Naga tribes on display at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Details – Day 5 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

Sl CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE Time
1 Angami Rü-ünuo Phichümevo 15 mins
Ketakechüzho (Folk Drama)
2 Lotha Eloe Loroe Rumphi khen (Folk Song) 10 mins
3 Garo Harvesting Dance 15 mins
4 Chang Khuyubü (Traditional Wrestling) 15 mins
5 Kuki Khulkon Lam (Folk Dance) 15 mins
6 Sangtam Cotton Spinning Song 10 mins
7 Konyak Yehok Taipe (War Dance) 10 mins
8 Pochury Hala Hulu (Traditional game) 15 mins
9 Zeliang Heka Lim (Fish Dance) 15 mins
Sl CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE Time
1 Ao Arpu Tsungsang (Battle Dance) 15 mins
2 Rengma Phünsen (Folklore) 10 mins
3 Chakhesang Devi Khu (Indigenous Song) 10 mins
4 Phom Laakho Asho (Dance) 15 mins
5 Yimchungrü Mükhünam Hut Khi (Shaving Beard) 10 mins
6 Sumi Amalimi Kuphulu: Sumi Tusu Tixe (Drama) 10 mins
7 Kachari Bai Maijai (Folk Dance) 15 mins
8 Khiamniungan Chesao (Folk Song) 10 mins
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga tribes perform an ancient tribal heritage at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Details – Day 6 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

Sl CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE Time
1 Khiamniungan Khaozaosie (Dance of Merry Making) 15 mins
2 Phom Sho Shinpü (Demonstration) 15 mins
3 Kachari Bhaikhon/Baijubu (Serpentine Dance) 15 mins
4 Sumi Alukumlale (Folk Song) 10 mins
5 Sangtam Singing in praise of Hornbill Festival 10 mins
6 Angami Kepenei Ketsü Dze (Folk Drama) 15 mins
7 Rengma Festival Dance 15 mins
8 Garo Budu Sala (Tug of War) 15 mins
9 Kuki Kangchong Kap (Top Game) 10 mins
Sl   CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM AND TITLE Time

 

1 Chang Local Grinding Tool Song 10 mins
2 Zeliang Tinggeune Lim (Honey Bee Dance) 15 mins
3 Yimchungrü Are Jangachihkhi (Settlement of 10 mins
boundary dispute)
4 Pochury Shaho Shaho (Song/Dance) 10 mins
5 Konyak Yangkhum (Burial Rites) 10 mins
6 Chakhesang Hozhale (Folk Song) 10 mins
7 Ao Keyi Arba (The art of snaring Tiger) 15 mins
8 Lotha Amongi Namvu Hono Cheta Merangta 10 mins
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Mizo tribes perform the traditional bamboo dance at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Details – Day 7 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

Sl CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE Time
1 Angami Rü-ünuo Phichümevo 15 mins
Ketakechüzho (Folk Drama)
2 Lotha Eloe Loroe Rumphi khen (Folk Song) 10 mins
3 Garo Harvesting Dance 15 mins
4 Chang Khuyubü (Traditional Wrestling) 15 mins
5 Kuki Khulkon Lam (Folk Dance) 15 mins
6 Sangtam Cotton Spinning Song 10 mins
7 Konyak Yehok Taipe (War Dance) 10 mins
8 Pochury Hala Hulu (Traditional game) 15 mins
9 Zeliang Heka Lim (Fish Dance) 15 mins
Sl CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM AND TITLE Time
1 Yimchungrü Müyanberü Müyampuhrü Jiyuk 10 mins
Achikhün (Song of Feast)
2 Chang Khüng Pupbü (Women’s Fore-Head 10 mins
Tattooed)
3 Lotha Ponchon Lona Benkai Oli Eri 10 mins
Nandang Shari Okhen (Song/Dance)
4 Konyak Lao Mo (Post Harvest Festival) 15 mins
5 Garo Badi Dake Nai Ade (Folk Song) 10 mins
6 Rengma Duba (Traditional game) 10 mins
7 Sangtam Grain grinding Song 10 mins
8 Phom Vesho Leijü owpü (Folk Dance) 15 mins
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Pochury tribes stand in front of their traditional home at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Details – Day 8 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

Sl CULTURAL TROUPE TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE Time
1 Pochury Yemshe Yow (Traditional Game) 15 mins
2 Konyak Monyu Hem (Aoling Song) 10 mins
3 Zeliang Rehuai (Indigenous Game) 15 mins
4 Sangtam Times of Retreat (Folk Song) 10 mins
5 Garo A nding O’ Ka (Traditional Game) 15 mins
6 Lotha Eloe Khvuri (Song/Dance) 15 mins
7 Phom Moonyu Vangngai Chingpü (Folk Dance) 15 mins
8 Chakhesang Tale Li (Folk Song) 10 mins
9 Rengma Peshünyu Dzükelu (Ritual) 15 mins
Sl CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE Time
1 Ao Poroparola (Traditional Game) 15 mins
2 Angami Terhüdo (Folk Dance) 15 mins
3 Khiamniungan Tsoin oap (Reception Dance) 10 mins
4 Sumi Ashekha Kikini Le Jole (Folk Song) 10 mins
5 Kachari Bai Vaba (War Dance) 10 mins
6 Yimchungrü Thule Nochak Khun (Ploughing Folk Song) 10 mins
7 Kuki Vakol Lam (Folk Dance) 15 mins
8 Chang The Standing Song 10 mins
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
The performance grounds of the Hornbill Festival at Kisama Heritage Village ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Details – Day 9 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

Sl CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE Time
1 Phom Unghang Ümon (Folk Song) 10 mins
2 Konyak Shamyim Pe (Marriage Ceremony) 15 mins
3 Chang Cultivating Song 10 mins
4 Ao Kongtsubet (Traditional Dance) 15 mins
5 Sumi Amikukula (Fire Making) 15 mins
6 Kuki Suhta Lam (Bamboo Dance) 15 mins
7 Khiamniungan Hoiyie Zui (Folk Song) 10 mins
8 Garo Gogripa or Chagripa (Wrestling) 15 mins
9 Pochury Shakvüdow (Folk Song/Dance) 15 mins
Sl CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE Time
1 Zeliang Kepie Lim (Ape Dance) 15 mins
2 Lotha Pani Kayi Nzan (Folk Song) 10 mins
3 Chakhesang Greased Bamboo Climbing Game 10 mins
4 Angami Ke Tsieshü (Folk Dance) 10 mins
5 Rengma Tepfvü Madu (Traditional Game) 10 mins
6 Yimchungrü Nimong Khekhi (Coundown to the 10 mins
fixed event)
7 Sangtam Mongmong Festival 10 mins
8 Kachari Bai Bin (Folk Dance) 15 mins
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
The venue grounds of the Hornbill Festival at Kisama Heritage Village ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Details – Day 10 – Hornbill Festival – Naga Heritage Village – Kisama – Nagaland

Sl CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE Time
1 Rengma War Dance 15 mins
2 Sangtam The Fruit of Hard Labour is Sweet (Folk song) 15 mins
3 Kachari Kram Vang Mai Duba (Folk Dance) 15 mins
4 Yimchungrü Tsü Khun (Folk Dance) 15 mins
5 Chakhesang Sükrünye Festival 15 mins
6 Zeliang Chehin Phinbe Lim (Farewell Dance) 10 mins
7 Chang Shangpila (Girls & Boys Song) 10 mins
8 Kuki Saipi Khupsuh (Folk Dance) 15 mins
9 Garo Dim Dim Chong (Folk Song) 10 mins
Sl CULTURAL TROUPES TYPE OF ITEM & TITLE Time
1 Pochury Bade Bade Sow Low-o (Folk Song) 10 mins
2 Khiamniungan Jamhang (Indoor Dance) 15 mins
3 Phom Mahteen Asho (Folk Song) 10 mins
4 Lotha Eloe Loroe Tona Khyingroe Rumphi 10 mins
Khen (Folk Song/Dance)
5 Angami Lapie (Indigenous Game) 10 mins
6 Sumi Ashekha Kikini Levole (Farewell 10 mins
Song)
7 Konyak Oü Yok Pe (Sacrificial Ritual) 10 mins
8 Ao Longmah Jenshir Otsu (Play) 15 mins

Exploring Hornbill Festival 2018 and Camp Hornbill with Co-owner of Camp Hornbill – Kaushik Das

Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is a once in a lifetime experience for any tourist interested in the culture, heritage and traditions of a place that they are visiting. The Hornbill Festival is a 10 day long extravaganza in which the 16 tribes of Nagaland gather at the Heritage Village of Kisama near Kohima and demonstrate their age old traditions, way of living, culture, food habits, traditional wines and beverages, traditional clothing, jewellery, performances of songs and dances and much more. Every year over 2 lakh visitors from both India and abroad come to the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland to witness not only the tribes and their rituals but also the host of cultural activities of the Hornbill Festival line up like the traditional naga warrior dance performances, games, pork eating contest, King chilli eating contest, Hornbill International rock festival, fashion shows, World War II peace car rally, Kohima Night Bazaar, Hornbill Adventure Rally, etc. And my friend and colleague Mr. Kaushik Das who assists me with executing my tours not only at the time of the Hornbill Festival but across the major destinations of North East India takes the opportunity along with his Angami Naga friend Mr. Adole Yokha to setup the Camp Hornbill near the festival grounds of the Hornbill Festival at Kisama and hosts hundreds of visitors from across India and the World to the Hornbill Festival.

Hornbill Festival Tour, Hornbill Festival Visit, Hornbill Festival, Nagaland Tourism
Welcome to the Festival of Festivals ~ the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

I had once visited Hornbill Festival hosted by the Dept. of Tourism Govt. of Nagaland in the year 2014 but it was towards the end of the festival and by the time the major activities and cultural events were almost over and so I was always longing to visit the Hornbill Festival again. I was at Kaushik’s home one time savoring some nice scotch he had brought over from Armenia during his visit there in 2018 and he has asked me to accompany him to the Hornbill Festival 2018 along with him. My travel company Jungelideas was going smoothly and my tours were planned upto November 20th, 2018 and later from December 20th. So I was free during the festive period of the Hornbill Festival. Kaushik needed some help as well to setup his camp along with colleagues in Nagaland and mostly he wanted someone to accompany him along the long drive from Guwahati to Kohima and so he asked me to accompany him so that this way I could be a part of his activities at Camp Hornbill and also at the same time witness the festivities of Hornbill Festival. It was a very wonderful opportunity for me to be a part of the festivities of Hornbill festival and also as I had through this website had a lot of bookings for Kaushik at Camp Hornbill (around 70 guests including one large student group from Guwahati of 37 members), this would also be an opportunity for me to be present at the camp and welcomes our visitors to Hornbill Festival along with Kaushik and his colleagues from Nagaland.

I had planned to travel to Jorhat in Assam and further to Majuli where myself and Kaushik co own another camp called as the La Lolat Eco Camp. As the guests to Camp Hornbill were scheduled to arrive from Nov 30th to witness the opening ceremony of the Hornbill Festival 2018 we decided to leave early morning on Nov 26th to Kohima from Guwahati and Kaushik would be driving his vehicle – a Tata Sumo Gold to Nagaland. The roads on the approach to Nagaland from Assam are still in the development process and so taking a smaller vehicle on a sedan vehicle was not advisable as Kaushik had told me and also he had to carry along some stuff for the Camp Hornbill so a vehicle with a good boot space was necessary to drive along and nothing beats a Tata Sumo when it comes to boot space. Including luggage on a carrier I have seen upto 10 passengers travelling on a Tata Sumo vehicle and that too on one of the most treacherous roads across North East India viz. from Tezpur to Tawang and from mayodia to Anini in Arunachal Pradesh during my days of exploration of North East India during the inception of my travel company.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Our ride to Kisama in Nagaland viz. Kaushik’s vehicle ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

So on November 25th evening we travelled to Big Bazar in Guwahati where Kaushik had to pick up certain essentials for breakfast like butter, cheese, maggi noodles, cup noodles, pasta, juice, etc. and after our marketing was done we loaded the goods onto the back of his vehicle keeping the first two seats for us. He came to my house at 6 AM in the morning on November 26th and my mother offered us some black tea before we headed on our long drive to Kohima in Nagaland to witness the ‘Festival of Festivals – the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland’. It was early for breakfast and so we decided to have it on the way at Nagaon and we settled with black tea and biscuits. At around 6.20 AM we started on the drive to Kohima from Guwahati and we would be taking the following route:

Guwahati – Sonapur – Jagiroad – Raha – nagaon – Diphu – Manjha – Dimapur – Kohima – Kisama (Hornbill Festival venue and Camp Hornbill Site)

We crossed Khanapara heading towards Sonapur and Khetri to reach Jagiroad in Morigaon district of Assam. The roads are a four way lane and the heavy SUV made us feel like a king on the beautiful roads of Assam.  We crossed Raha and finally reached the Nagaon Bypass at around 8.15 AM where we stopped for breakfast at Anurag Dhaba. This is a very popular Dhaba cum restaurant along the highway and is a popular stop point for visitors travelling to Kaziranga National Park and Upper Assam and vice versa to Guwahati. We ordered for roti and sabji and fried eggs along with tea for our breakfast that was very nicely presented to us. It was a hearty breakfast of Tawa rotis and a veg curry of gord, peas and carrot along with potato fry and a chutney made with coriander and pudina leaves. The eggs were scrambled and is better called as egg bhurji that is basically eggs scrambled and fried with chopped onions, green chillies, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander. The tea was milk tea we had as generally both of us preferred to drink only black tea itself. After our sumptuous breakfast we started on our drive to Diphu from the nagaon Bypass.

There is a huge circular diversion here and the road left leads to Nagaon town, the straight road leads to Kaziranga National Park and Upper Assam and the right road leads to Diphu and further to Dimapur and Kohima in Nagaland. There is also another access route to Nagaland from Assam from Golaghat where you cross the Nambor Forest Reserve to further reach Bokajan and later to Dimapur. Another approach to Nagaland from Assam is from Sonari near Sivasagar but that is an easier access route to Mon and not to Kohima or Dimapur in Nagaland. We took the Diphu route as this would mean we would encounter less traffic on the roads and this road was also newly constructed as well meaning the road conditions would be better. The drive distance from nagaon to Diphu would be around 2 hours and 30 minutes and we crossed Kampur town, Hojai and Lanka to go to Diphu. I remembered my childhood days when I used to visit Kampur and Lanka with my family during the summer and winter breaks from school and my Father’s uncle used to stay in Kampur and he was an influential politician during his time here at Kampur. My father’s ancestral home is at nagaon and so we used to visit Kampur from nagaon and then head to Lanka where my mother’s younger sister’s family used to stay. My uncle was working as an executive at Assam State Electricity Board and he used to be posted in lanka. My Dad’s uncle house was huge and I used to remember playing on the huge lawn area of the premises with my distant cousins. At Lanka my memories were that of our picnic outings when we used to go to the banks of a nice river here and celebrate the day of picnic with my aunt’s family and some of her neighbors. Driving across the roads her e made me feel nostalgic.

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Exotic Naga food and beverages awaited us at the Hornbill Festival at Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

After crossing Lanka we continued on left towards Diphu. Along the way we would cross Lumding that is one of the largest Railway junctions of Assam. We had no planned stops at these places but we decided to halt at Diphu for a cup of tea as we would be having lunch at Manjha at one of Kaushik’s favorite rest over points on his journey along Gf Guwahati to Kohima. We reached Diphu at around 11 AM and went to the Diphu town. Diphu is the district administrative headquarters of the Karbi Anglong hills of Assam and is a quaint hill station town. Diphu owes its popularity that being located on an elevation this town enjoys a pleasant climate across the year. We reached Diphu town and stopped at a small restaurant to have tea and some snacks. Even Kaushik needed a break after the three hour long drive from nagaon on a two way road with cars and trucks coming in from the other side and trying to overtake us along the way as well. But the very thought of witnessing the grandeur of the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland made us both excited and driving didn’t seem to be much of problem. I asked him to let me know if was tired so I could drive but he was comfortable.

Diphu is a town that has a mix of various communities of Assam from the Karbi people of Assam, Rengma nagas, Dimasa Kachari, Bodo Kachari, Garo Kachari being the major tribal population of the place. Across the town we could spot various temples, churches, mosques and gurudwaras as well meaning there was a mix of various people of different religions and communities. The Business community of Diphu town are widespread from across India and comprises of the Marwaris, Punjabis and Bihari communities. At the restaurant where we were waiting for our tea and snacks there was a board that illustrated the meaning of the name Diphu. It read that in the local Dimasa language – the meaning of Diphu is white water where ‘Di’ meaning Water and ‘Phu’ means White. As per historical data, the stream that flows across Diphu used to carry a lots of sediments during the rainy season and hence the color of the water looked white and hence the name became as white water or Diphu.

After our tea and snacks of nimki we started on our drive to Dimapur in Nagaland via Manjha. The entire stretch of roads from Diphu to Manja is filled with beautiful forests and the Karbi anglong landscapes isone of the most beautiful across Assam. It borders on one side of Kaziranga National Park and it is proposed that the sixth National Park of Assam will be setup on the Dimasa Hasao district here. With the lack of industries around the forest cover has not been disturbed apart from the occasional stone quarrying centers. The drive from Diphu to Manja would be around 30 minutes and now the roads were isolate and deserted with the frequency of cars being quite less. We kept driving towards the border of Assam and Nagaland approaching Dimapur. We reached Manja at around 12 PM and we were not so hungry yet Kaushik wanted tus to halt at a Naga restaurant here that served some amazing pork dishes. The drive to Kohima would be another 5 hours from here and so we had to finish our meal early as we had to target to reach Kohima before it was dark. The hotel served some wonderful Naga style cuisine cooked in traditional Naga recipes and making use of the Naga King chilli. I had earlier tried the Naga cuisine at a restaurant in Guwahati but then again being able to eat the cuisine at a place near Nagaland would be a different experience altogether as well.

The Hotel keeps the food prepared and so there is no need to wait. They serve the thali meal that has rice, dal, boiled vegetables, pork with bamboo shoot, roasted dried fish chutney and much more. If you see a Naga thali the color of the food will not be very tempting as they do not make use of anu artificial color and spices. But once you start tasting the food you can get a real feel and flavor of the food just bursting into your tongue. Also mind you the Naga cuisine is very spicy and they make use of the Naga King Chilli or the Bhut Jolokia as it is called in Assam which is one of the hottest peppers in the World! Our food was very delicious and as both of us are used to eating the Naga King Chilli we did not find the food very spicy. But we could see the people around us feeling the heat of the pepper. We left the place at 12.30 PM to drive to Dimapur in Nagaland. After driving for sometime we reached the border checkpost of Assam and Nagaland and we had to validate our Inner Line Permits (ILPs) here. Kaushik had applied for our ILPs at the Nagaland house in Guwahati and so we headed out of our car to get it validated and enter Nagaland. ILPs are a mandate for Indian visitors to Nagaland while Foreign visitors do not need any documentation to enter Nagaland. They need to report at the nearest Police Station within 24 hours of arrival in the state of Nagaland. And also during the festival days of Hornbill Festival visitors to Nagaland do not require an ILP and they can freely cross the border and access the rail route to enjoy the Hornbill Festival and this is done to facilitate tourism in the State. We were greeted by the officials at the checkpoint and they validated our ILPs and asked us about the purpose of the visit to Nagaland. Kaushik explained to them about his campsite and his colleagues in Kohima. One of the officials recognized his colleague as he belonged to the same village of Kigwema.

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Welcome to Camp Hornbill at Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

Interestingly he had visited Kaushik’s campsite at the Hornbill Festival last year. He said that he had a nice experience at Camp Hornbill and the barbecue arrangements was quite good and so was the food. They let us go after checking our documents and wished us luck for Camp Hornbill ands also to enjoy the festivities of Hornbill Festival of Nagaland. After this we started on our drive to Dimapur. It was a pleasure to be in Nagaland after quite some time as I do not often come here. My tours across Nagaland are conducted and executed by Kaushik as he is more aware of the place and so I do not come here often as he handles the guests from receiving them at the airport and then helping them take a tour of Nagaland. As most of the tours are during Hornbill Festival itself so it becomes easier for Kaushik as he is present in Kohima and helps the guests see around the festival days. Now the road conditions were not very good across one stretch and thankfully the SUV maneuvered across the roads easily. We finally reached Dimapur at 2.30 OM and had another 3 hours drive left as the roads are windy and uphill because the distance is only 74 km and also there would be lots of traffic on the streets of Kohima. Kaushik kept driving and we approached the mountain terrain. He was used to driving under such conditions because he had taken many road trips across the mountain terrains of Arunachal Pradesh and drive even to the easternmost fronts of India to Mechuka as well.

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The evening sky near Camp Hornbill at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

We reached Kohima at around 5.30 PM and it was a long 11 hour drive we took from Guwahati to Kohima in Nagaland today. Kohima is a beautiful city in Nagaland on a hilly landscape and owing to this elevation the temperature is favorable here. As we were visiting during the winter season and that too in December the weather was very chilly. We put on our warm clothes as it was getting dark and night temperatures easily fall below 10 degrees here. We approached Kohima City and to our surprise there was not much traffic on the streets today. We crossed the Kohima market and the Kohima War Cemetery to drive towards Kisama and we finally reached our destination of Camp Hornbill at 6 PM. Mr. Adole Yokha was waiting to welcome and greet us and he took us into his campsite. On our drive across Kohima we could witness the festivity preparations of the Hornbill Festival going on with huge signages across the city. The Rock Concert and Fashion Shows would be held at the stadium in Kohima city and we could spot signages of the various bands that would be coming to perform along with other event details as well. At the campsite JCB was present that had just finished levelling the grounds and the roads to Camp Hornbill. As it was already dark I couldn’t get a chance to view the area around the Camp and I thought I would explore the area the following morning.

At Camp Hornbill until the previous year viz. 2017 only tents used to be setup and the only permanent structure were the bathroom area. But this year they have brought out a unique concept a having a perfect homestay kind of an environment as well and they have built a permanent concrete house that has three rooms that could accommodate upto 5 guests while one room would be used as a store room for luggage of the guests who would be arriving for the hornbill festival at Camp Hornbill. The staff had just finished their work for the day and Adole offered everyone with tea and later with rice beer as well. Nagaland is officially a dry state and so IMFL shops are not to be easily found. However some establishments sell the liquor in the black market. We didn’t want to go out in search of IMFl as we were already tired and also we didn’t want to bother Adole and as we were about to witness a traditional festival we thought it would be better to savor local rice beer from the Kigwema village. Adole had asked one of his team members to fetch the rice beer from the village for all of us. By the time we finished our tea Kaushik examined the progress of the work at the campsite and about 90% of the work was completed and only the tents needed to be pitched  and other accessories like chairs and tables had to be setup and he was all set to welcome guests to Camp Hornbill a the Hornbill Festival 2018. I must admit it was getting very cold and I had to put on two layers of clothing to keep myself warm in the cold winter evening. Dinner would be prepared by one of the boys at the camp and the menu had rice, boiled vegetables, smoked pork curry and for snacks we had pork dry fry with king chilly.

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Rice beer with some snacks at Camp Hornbill ~ Kisama ~ Nagaland ~ India

To beat the chill of the winter night here in Kohima, the boys at the camp lit a bonfire for us before heading into the kitchen at the premises of the newly constructed homestay here at Camp Hornbill. I opened the bottles containing rice beer and helped pour it into the bamboo mugs that were present at the camp. These bamboo mugs of Nagaland are very unique and as bamboo is available in plenty across the forests of Nagaland and North East India, the local handicraft manufacturers use these bamboo to make various items of day to day use like mugs, cups, spoons, forks, skewers, seats, etc. Adole was telling us that during the Hornbill Festival days various bamboo and cane weavers from across Nagaland would come to the venue grounds and display various items of traditional handicrafts from across Nagaland. We toasted to the almost completion of Camp Hornbill for Hornbill Festival 2018 and with guests starting to arrive from November 30th morning meant that we had 3 more days to get the entire setup ready from pitching tents, arranging the furnitures, cleaning the bathrooms and doing the marketing for the food items from Kohima and it was sufficient enough time for us. I could get the aroma of the roasting of King Chillies from the kitchen and with the boys coughing once coming out of the kitchen and again going in as the smoke irritates one’s nostrils it was sure that the fried pork would be indeed quite spicy.

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Exclusive bamboo and Cane Handicrafts of Nagaland at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kisama ~ Nagaland ~ India

The rice beer tasted different from the ones I had tasted in Assam of the Mishing people in Majuli called as ‘apong’ and the Karbi people in Guwahati called as ‘Rohi’ and it is mostly because of the kind of rice used to prepare the brew. This one tasted a little bitter compared to the ones in Assam and yet it has a stronger taste and I could feel the taste in my throat mostly because it was brewed at home and was not mixed with water and was purely fermented rice used to make the rice beer of Nagaland. The strong taste helped us to feel a bit warmer as well. Kaushik and Adole were discussing the final preparations for the camp and how many tents they would be putting up this time. There are three layer like structures at the campsite while on the top layer the dining and kitchen area is setup along with the majority of the tents, the second layer also has tents while the third layer is a place to relax and chill overlooking the valleys of Kohima. This year too the setup would be the same and majority of the tents would be put up on the top layer itself. The boys came out with the fried pork and it was looking red in color due to the chilly added. As mentioned earlier, Naga food doesn’t make use of any artificial coloring and the flavors added are all natural from fresh ingredients. I tried the first piece from the plate and it tasted amazing. A lot on the spicier side the pork was boiled and cooked to perfection mixed with a certain sour herb that helped to balance the hot flavor of the pork. The pork had a mix of fat and meat chunks and looking at the quantity of fat it was obvious that this was reared at home and not a pig farm.

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The owners of Camp Hornbill Kaushik and Adole pose for a pic ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Pork meat can be distinguished easily whether it was reared at home or at a pig farm from the meat chunk. The ones reared at home and feeding on natural environment will have a layer of fat much thinner that the one you can find from the one reared in a farm that are fed with medicines and antibiotics along with their feed thereby making the pig more fattier. The boys had cleaned the meat very nicely and boiled it properly so the entire hair from the pork skin had gone away. And cooking it to perfection helped the natural flavors of the herbs to blend very well with the pork meat. We enjoyed the snacks with the rice beer and then they went in to prepare dinner. The vegetables were already chopped and now they would be boiling it with salt and later add a little bit of cornflour to provide the gravy with more consistency. The seasonal vegetables added in the broth were cauliflowers, potatoes, carrot, turnip, peas, green chillies, coriander, the Naga King chilli, etc. The flavoring would be with frying a little bit of onions, garlic, ginger and raw chillies and then adding it to the broth. Rice was plain white rice and it was organic rice brought in from their local village. The pork curry would again be cooked with certain herbs that they had picked from the nearby forests. I let adole and Kaushik do their talking while the other workers sat by the bonfire and would leave after having dinner with us and I headed to the kitchen to witness the boys prepare the dinner.

It was around 7.30 PM and the people here in Nagaland retire to bed early and get up early in the morning so the boys had to rush with the dinner preparations. They had a nice kitchen setup that had all the requirements for a fully functional kitchen and no wonder with over 60 guests staying per night at the campsite they needed all the requisites to cook a proper meal for everyone. The boys at Camp Hornbill were very energetic as well and they were from the local village nearby. They work in the agricultural fields they have across the year and during the days of the Hornbill Festival they come and attend to the guests here at the Hornbill Festival preparing dinner, breakfast, setting up the tents, making hot water, keeping the place clean, etc. The pork was already boiled and kept ready for preparation and I went in to help the boys peel the onions and garlic. They at first did not let me do any work as in Naga culture they consider guests to be supreme and do not let them indulge in any household work leaving the working in the kitchen at all. But I insisted and finally they let me hold the knife to peel the vegetables. I had little tough time communicating with them because they did not understand hindi or english. Then I realized that the Naga language is very much similar to Assamese and the tone in which they speak it is different so I spoke to them in broken Nagamese and they had a nice time hearing me out and kept laughing at me yet we were able to get our conversation going.

The boys were quite young hardly aged 20 – 21 and were very very hardworking. Most of the tribal people in North East India especially the ones working in agriculture are very hardworking and this is evident from the tone of their muscles. They are so lean and have the perfect body cuts the way any human being is intended to be built unlike me with a slightly protruding belly. They were listening to Naga songs and were quickly preparing the food. The pork curry was being prepared and it was interesting how they used the ingredients to cook it. Dinner was ready at 8.30 PM and the boys put out the food in hot casseroles in the kitchen itself and we would be taking the food from here and eating it near the bonfire area. Use of plastics is not allowed at Camp Hornbill and whatever waste is collected is properly segregated before being disposed off. We used a special kind of paper plate for the dinner that had a thick base. This helps in easy disposal of the plates and the boys do not have to spend time on cleaning the dishes after the night’s dinner during the Hornbill Festival days at the camp. The Naga King chilli was an essential part of the food preparation for today because Kaushik had asked for it and during the food preparations during the Hornbill festival days it is not used as an ingredient in the food at Camp Hornbill as visitors from across the World come here and they are not used to eating it. I thought of the Naga King Chilli eating contest at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds and though I was eating only a little of the chilli today and that too mixed with curries I wondered how it would feel to eat lots of it just raw and I had already imagined looking at the faces of the contestants eating it. The dinner was nice and we had a hearty meal to end our long day of travel. After dinner the workers left along with Adole in his car as they all belonged to his village of Kigwema and Kaushik and I too retired to our rooms at the Homestay at Camp Hornbill drawing our days to the Hornbill Festival 2018 closer!

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The lovely view of the newly constructed Homestay at Camp Hornbill ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

It was the morning of November 27 and the morning sun was up quite early. Across Nagaland and North East India, the sun rises early around 5 AM during the winter season and even earlier during summers and similarly it sets early as well and this is due to the proximity of the area towards the east. A place in arunachal Pradesh called as Dong Village receives the first sunlight in the country as well. And owing to this the people across the region especially the ones living across the village areas rise very early in the morning and it has been quite sometime that the people of this region have been demanding a separate time zone as compared to the rest of the country. I was awoken to the sounds of the roosters nearby and I checked my watch and it was 5.30 AM. I had a nice sleep of about 8 hours as we retired to bed by 9.30 PM last night and as the entire body was tired I didn’t even get up once in the night. Kaushik was still sleeping and I got up to get a proper view of the campsite today as last evening we arrived almost after sundown and it was dark already. The boys from the kitchen were up already and they were busy cleaning around the area of the campsite as the days to the Hornbill Festival was drawing closer and in the next 3 days we would be welcoming visitors from across the World to Hornbill Festival at Camp Hornbill.

The boys greeted me and asked if I would like to have some tea and I happily agreed. I walked out of the homestay and I was left mesmerized with the beauty of nature around the place. A beautiful valley view could be seen from across the campsite that was surrounded by paddy grounds and the locals practiced the terrace cultivation across the place. The sun was just up at the horizon and the sun rays filled the area around the valley and our homestay as well. With such natural environment I was sure that visitors to Hornbill Festival and planning to camp with us at Camp Hornbill we’re sure to find this majestic valley view and amazing sight to behold. I stood here admiring the beauty of mother nature and felt so peaceful far away from the madding hustle and bustle of a city life. Beautiful birds were flying around the place and Nagaland is renowned for being home to the Blyth’s Tragopan that comes here every year during the winter’s on its migration route. One of the boys came out with tea in a mug and gave it to me and got back to his cleaning work. As the place was not is use for the previous year lots of grass had come out on this land that was earlier used in agriculture activities and so the boys were busy cleaning up the place. With the monsoon season gone almost three months now and the dry season setting in the amount of grass had reduced considerably on its own.

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Kaushik and myself savoring some maggi noodles at Camp Hornbill ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

I took my tea mug and walked across the area of the campsite and it was a nice huge area and the land was in the shape of a strip and not rectangular. It was like as mentioned earlier there were three layers of land with the top two layers used to pitch in tents and the bottom layer used as a hangout place for the guests. The hill was not steep and mostly on a level ground itself. From the entrance at Camp Hornbill one had to park their cars or bikes and they would be reaching at the top level where they kept their vehicles and then walk towards the campsite. Here they would be welcomed at a makeshift reception center and their details entered into a log book and then they had to deposit their baggage at the counter and the tents at Camp Hornbill would be allocated to them. Kaushik was up and he came around to see the boys at work. Adole had left to his village last night along with the workers after dinner in his car as his family stayed there and he had to get back home. But during the Hornbill Festival days he spends the nights at Camp Hornbill itself to attend to the rush of the visitors to Hornbill Festival of Nagaland. Kaushik told me that we would be going for marketing to Kohima city tomorrow and we also would do some sightseeing in the city while the guys from his campsite along with Adole finished their marketing at the local market in Kohima. Today we would be going to Adole’s village at Kigwema to make arrangements for the furniture and also to meet up with his family and I would be getting a glimpse of my first village life here in Nagaland.

We took a walk around the campsite to see the roads and pavements were levelled or not. The JCB did a good job last afternoon of levelling the roads at Camp Hornbill and now visitor vehicles could easily enter the parking area. During the rainy season mud from the hilltop slides down along with the rain water and hence this makes the roads bumpy due to an uneven surface and the JCB cleared the path yesterday. Outside the camp many young children had come to catch a glimpse of the activities that were going on at the place. They were poor children of daily wage workers who were building the roads nearby, The kids were so cheerful and they were eagerly wanting to come inside the camp. It was so nice to see happy and cheerful faces and faces that were not addicted to mobile phoned and finding joy in smaller things in life. They reminded me of my childhood when I used to go out playing game slike marbles, gulli danda with the kids in my neighbourhood. Kaushik was so pleased looking at them that he decided to call them in to take a look around the camp and even have breakfast with su at the campsite. The children’s parents were also happy to let them come into our camp and they said that it was hard to find people like Kaushik who is ready to feed others without any work needed from them. The children played around the campus and Kaushik along with another boy get to prepare the breakfast of maggi noodles with vegetables and boiled eggs along with bread and peanut butter. Kaushik asked me to get ready as it was already 7.30 AM and after breakfast we had to go to Adole’s village at Kigwema.

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Workers building roads staying near Camp Hornbill at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

I got fresh and took a cold water bath to clean myself of the dust I had accumulated after the long days drive yesterday. By the time I finished getting ready breakfast was ready and the kids were all made to sit on the floor of the homestay as the furnitures had not yet arrives. They boys at the camp served them the breakfast of maggi noodles that was cooked with carrots and peas and the bread slices along with peanut butter and boiled eggs with black tea. The children were so ecstatic to see the breakfast itself and I noticed that two of the girls were not eating and I asked them why they were not eating. What they told me filled my eyes with tears. One of the girls told me that her parents who were working in the sun outsider the camp had not brought lunch for the day as they did not have time. they had rice in the morning and so she wanted to save the food for them for lunch as there was nothing around. I felt so terrible at my heart at the words of such a small girl who had so much of affection in her heart that she could sacrifice her food so that her parents did not go hungry. I spoke to Kaushik about his and he immediately asked the boys to prepare a simple lunch of rice, dal, potato sabji and scrambled eggs for everyone today and to convey the information to the parents who were working outside.

Out thoughts even brought tears to the eyes of the workers and they wanted to help out in return for the kind gesture by Kaushik. After they persuaded us a lot Kaushik told them that we might need some help in carrying the stuff around once it was brought in from the village the day after tomorrow and they agreed to help us. We too had our breakfast along with the kids and the boys at the camp and the boys felt nice with Kaushik’s warm gesture and they happily agreed to cook for these people who belonged to the same village of Kigwema as theirs. After breakfast we bid goodbye to the kids and the boys instructing them with work and Kaushik started his car to go to Kigwema at Adole’s village. The entire drive duration we could see trees all around the place highlighting the rich green cover of Nagaland. Being a state covered with mountains that harbor a rich variety of flora and fauna, Nagaland comprises of dense vegetation of tropical and subtropical forests. The vegetation cover can be seen across a major portion of Nagaland as not much area of the state has been covered by urbanization apart from the main known cities and towns of Kohima, Dimapur, Mokokchung, Wokha, Peren, etc. Even in the cities as well one can find pockets of forest cover all across. Also as it was the winter season, a chilly breeze was blowing that added to the chill of the weather and across the year the state of Nagaland enjoys a favorable climate. In about 20 minutes we reached Adole’s village of Kigwema and we could see people engaged in various activities preparing for the christmas celebrations.

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An aerial view of the Kigwema village near Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

Nagaland is a predominantly christian state and around 86% of the population of the state are Christians. Majority of them are Baptist Christians making Nagaland as the single most predominantly Baptist state in the World and the most baptist state in the World as well. Hinduism is the second largest religion of nagaland. After the celebrations of the Hornbill Festival are over the people get together in full swing preparations for Christmas and New Year. Kigwema is a predominantly Angami tribe village in Nagaland. There are 16 dominant tribes in Nagaland and Hornbill festival aims to preserve and promote the traditions, culture and heritage of these tribes who are mostly the Angami Nagas, the Sumi Nagas, The Ao Nagas, the Konyaks, The Pochury, the Rengama, etc. and in addition there are several smaller tribe groups as well. Across Nagaland even today tribes and clan traditions play an important role in the lives of the people here. And among these Naga tribes the art of weaving plays an integral part in the life of the people and this art has been passed across the several generations of the tribes. The Naga shawls are renowned across the World and are often the best sellers at Hornbill Festival. These shawls in the naga society even demonstrates the social status of the weavers as well. Apart from the shawls other handmade items of the tribes of Nagaland that can be witnessed creatively at the Hornbill Festival are decorative spears, the Naga Dao (special long knife), table mats, wood carvings, bamboo works, shoulder bags, etc.

We reached Adole’s home and the entire family was there to welcome us. Adole belonged to the Angami clan of Nagaland and they were the earlier warrior headhunting tribes of Nagaland. Headhunting was a common practice among the warrior clans of Nagaland where the Naga warriors used to go out on expeditions to conquer nearby villages. Fierce battles used to be waged and the warriors used to chop off the heads of the enemies and bring the skull back to their village and keep in at the porch of the house. The porch with the highest number of human skulls used to become the most respected house in the village. Although not much of it can be seen in the houses at the place apart from Mon (home to the Konyak tribes of Nagaland) after this headhunting practice was abolished. Adole introduced me to his family as they already knew Kaushik who was coming to their village from the past few years to organize Camp Hornbill during the Hornbill Festival. The house was not a traditional Naga home but it was built in concrete and the fact that modern civilization had penetrated in the state was evident. Yet there were few of the houses that resembled a traditional Naga architecture built with bamboo and thatch and roof that were in the shape of a triangle to get rid of the heavy rainfall during monsoon. We went inside the house to have tea and the family had prepared breakfast for us. As we were full we just agreed to have tea and Adole took us to show around his house that was spread across a nice green area.

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Local homes of the Naga people at Kigwema village near Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

The village of Kigwema is known to host many traditional Angami festival of Nagaland especially the Sekrenyi festival of the Angami people. The local people of Kigwema village are mostly into agriculture and are known to be very hardworking people who toil everyday on the fields to cultivate the main food of Nagaland that is rice. Nowadays tourism is gradually catching up and Kigwema village is gradually turning out to be a tourism hotspot for tourist who want to witness the rich and varied culture of the Angami people of Nagaland. Kigwema has a very picturesque surroundings and it is located at the foothill of the Japfu mountains. The trek to the Japfu peak can be accessed from this village and also it has a separate route to access the Dzukou valley as well. It is a small village comprising of around 700 families. The spread of Christianity across Nagaland could be seen here at Kigwema village in the form of three churches. The entire backdrop of the lush green paddy fields here at Kigwema is a treat to the eyes. If you are planning to visit the Hornbill Festival at the very end moment and instead of a campsite you want a homestay then Kigwema might still have some options left for you. Many a times Adole had hosted visitors to Hornbill Festival at his home who were not used to staying in tents and wanted a homestay environment to stay while enjoying the festivities of Hornbill Festival.

We had our tea and then Adole took us for a walk across his village where we would also go to the shop that would rent us the furniture needed for the campsite like chairs, tables and cutlery items as well and it was a basically a tent house that catered to the village weddings and social gatherings. A little ahead of Adole’s home there we could find traditional Angami homes that are built with wood and had traditional carvings of various animals like the Mithun and the Hornbill bird. The naga people revere the Hornbill bird and admire it for its qualities of alertness and grandeur – a trait very similar to the ‘Naga Warrior Tribe’ who are known for their fierceness and their majestic attire. The Indian Hornbill is linked closely with the social and cultural life of the people of Nagaland which is displayed in folklore in most of the state’s tribes. The Naga people’s admiration for the bird is symbolically displayed on most of the traditional tribal headgear worn during festivals across Nagaland. It is one reason that it is called as the Hornbill Festival as this is the state bird and the ancient Nagas used ot revere it. We walked into the house and saw various traditional instruments like weaving tools, bamboo handicrafts making tools and even a wooden rice pounder as well.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Wood carvings at a traditional home at Kigwema village near Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

People still prefer to cook food over fore in these villages and mostly because it helps them to smoke the meat. Naga people love their meat and being Christians they eat pork and beef both. They have a unique way of preserving the meat wherein they cut our chunks of the meat and then after drying in the sun they put it up in the kitchen where the smoke from the wood fire enters the meat and this helps to preserve the meat and imparts a special smoky flavor to the meat as well. Then they make unique chutneys out of this meat where the meat is pounded with lots of chillies preferably the naga king chilli, garlic, ginger, coriander and it is served as a chutney along with the meal. Across every household at the Kigwema village one can see a stack of firewood kept outside the house. We kept exploring the Kigwema village and the sight of the Japfu mountain peak greeted us everywhere. Across the villages nearby most of the names have a suffix as ‘Ma’ meaning a ‘House’ in the local Angami language. These villages apart from Kigwema were Mima, Zakhama, Vishwema, etc. Kigwema has gradually gained attention in the tourist map of Nagaland because of the World War II and this village faced a serious brunt from the attack by the Japanese forces on the fateful day of 4-4-44 when the village was attached by the Japanese troops at 3.30 PM.

Nagaland was one of the few states in India where the World War II was fought between the soldiers of the Allied Forces and the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army as it is evident from the Battle of Kohima and the Kohima World War II Cemetery. The Japanese troops had attacked the Kigwema village and in no time burnt the entire village down causing huge loss of infrastructure and human life. Local people had to run to save their lives and some village elder still survive to narrate the incidences of this horrific day. The stone memorial here at the Kigwema village stands as a testament to this barbaric attack. Today the village attracts several student groups and visitors who come to witness this pat of the village and this has helped Kigwema to become a community village. It was really nice to be a part of this experience of traditional naga village before the festivities began at the Hornbill festival. We reached the shop where we were supposed to get the stuff from and the owner had stepped away to the community fishing that was happening at a nearby pond. Adole took us there and we could see various naga people fishing in the pond It was like a celebration going on here with people drinking rice beer and roasting fish. Adole and Kaushik met the shop owner and he happily greeted them and apologized that he forgot they would be coming today and not being present at his shop.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Community fishing by local people at Kigwema village near Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

After meeting the shop owner all of us walked back to his shop at Kigwema village to discuss the costing of the rental plastic furniture’s, dining sets and the cutlery. I wanted to watch more of the community fishing but we had to head back to the campsite with just days to Hornbill Festival approaching. After their discussions Kaushik paid the man some money as advance and asked him to keep the things arranged and packed as we would come the day after to pick up the stuff and carry them to our camp where we would be assisted by the workers we met today near our camp to arrange and place the stuff accordingly along with the boys at Camp Hornbill. We went back to Adole’s house to pick up some stuff like bed sheets and other small toiletries as well as he had purchased them earlier and we had brought along the big car as well. Adole’s family was busy with the preparations for Christmas and they celebrate the festival with grandeur as they are one of the prominent families of the village. While Kaushik and Adole got to packing the stuff I admired the way the family was preparing the items for Christmas. As meat is an important part of the diet of the people of Kigwema village and also Nagaland and the delicacy being that of smoked meat, I watched as to how they had chopped off the parts of the pork and put it up on the ceiling for it to dry and also to get smoked. A huge chunk of meat was put up hanging from the ceiling and this would be a part of the Christmas celebrations post the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland.

Some members of the family were using a traditional pounder to ground rice that will be used to make rice cakes. This unique way of pounding rice is a conventional way of pounding and people here do not make use of mixer grinders to achieve the same. This is what they say helps in allowing the rice to have a unique texture and add the desired coarseness to the rice cake. How they do it there is a huge piece of wood and at the center it is hollowed out. There is another heavy wooden stick that is rounded at the bottom and this stick is used to pound on the rice that is put in the hollowed space and later pounded continuously to achieve the desired results. Two members were pounding the rice and pouring in the contents on a plastic sheet side by and two members of the family were busy preparing the rice cakes after mixing the rice mixture with some sugar and dried fruits. They asked me to try one of the rice cakes of Nagaland and normally these are later steamed up with boiling water but even without it the cakes tasted amazing with the sweet flavour and the taste of pista and cashew. Rice is a special food for any home in North East India and it can be used to prepare a variety of recipes. Eaten after boiling as a major part of all meals to provide adequate energy to the body, rice is also used to prepare certain other dishes as well like the comfort evening food of fried rice, a special dish of fish intestines were rice is added to get rid of the too bitter taste of these fish intestines. Right now I saw how pounded rice is used to prepare rice cakes and preparations of rice beer and rice wine can be seen not only in Nagaland but across North East India especially in Assam where the different tribes have different ways to brew rice beer and wine.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Traditional cane weaved baskets at a local home at Kigwema village near Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

During my days at Majuli I have witnessed the Mishing people brew their traditional rice beer called as Apong, the traditional rice wine called as Sai Mod and the traditional rice whisky called as Chulai. And the interesting part is that even though people might think that drinking these alcoholic beverages will be damaging to health but actually a lot of traditional herbs are used to prepare these beverages. Say for the Apong around more than 10 herbs are used to add to the rice that speeds up the fermentation process and add the flavor to the beer. I admit that over consumption would be injurious to health but social drinking of these rice beer and wine are instead beneficial to the health of the people and no wonder these tribal folks remain in the best of shape after consumption of these beverages. This was the first time I was witnessing the preparation of the rice wine in Nagaland and Kaushik told me that I would get a chance to savor these forms of rice beer and wine of the various tribes of nagaland once I am visiting the venue of the Hornbill Festival. They wanted to offer me some rice beer but Adole told them that it was not yet ready and hence would have a bitter taste and so I had to stick to some rice beer that was brought in the camp yesterday. By the time I finished the glass of beer the things were loaded onto the cat and Kaushik and I thanked Adole’s family and we left Kigwema to go back to our camp.

By the time we reached it was around 1 M and the boys were almost ready with lunch and they called in the workers and their children to have lunch as it was discussed earlier. They were around 14 members of them and all of them came in and used some water to refresh themselves after a hard day’s work. Their work starts early in the morning at around 7.30 AM and they end work by 3.30 OM with a half an hour break for lunch in between. The side of the roads had become uneven and also lots of grass had grown alongside the stretch of the road and so they were working to remove the grass and make the roadside even so there is enough walking space for people who use this road to travel to their villages from Kohima. A lot of the people from the village carry fresh produce to the local markets around Kohima. And as they have to walk for certain distances if they do not find reasonable transport so the roads were being leveled up. After lunch they wanted to help us unload the goods from the car as a small token of their appreciation . We all sat down for lunch and the boys had taken a lot of trouble to prepare a simple yet delicious meal for everyone. We asked the workers to thank the boys for their initiative and as they were all from the same village they had a good rapport among themselves.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Traditional cooking way of bamboo at a local home at Kigwema village near Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

The meal had rice, dal, scrambled eggs, mashed potato chutney and a smoked meat chutney with naga king chilly. The recipe was easy to cook as the boys boiled the potatoes along with rice and later mashed them with raw onions, green chillies, coriander and little salt to make a very colorful mashed potato recipe. The dried meat they had brought along with them from the village and as I said earlier it is a delicacy among the people here. It was pork meat and they pounded it in a hand grinder along with to same ingredients of chillies, king chilly, tomato, onions, fried garlic and coriander. All the fresh herbs had imparted a special flavor to this chutney. The dal was simple plain dal and it was boiled and later mixed with onions and garlic fried up in little oil and topped off with coriander garnishing. The scrambled eggs had salt, turmeric, onions and coriander. It was a simple but a heartiest meal I had in a long time and it may be the joy of being able to feed the workers and the kids that brought in a whole lot of satisfaction. I was observing the faces of the kids and they were all in delight to have their meal at Camp Hornbill. The workers said that the campsite was coming up nice and it looked very beautiful from the outside and they wanted to come inside to see it but feared that we might tell them something. Kaushik told them there was nothing to worry as this lace belonged to them and we were like guests who had come to their place and them.

After lunch we got back to work and the workers helped us unload the items from the vehicle and they thanked us and got back to their work as they had about an hour and a half before they called it a day. Kaushik directed the boys to keep the things properly inside the homestay as we would set u everything on the morning of Nov 29th once the furniture arrived from Kigwema village. I was thinking about the Hornbill festival and Kaushik told me that this year the Hon. Union Home Minister of India Mr, Rajnath Singh would be coming as the chief guest to inaugurate the Hornbill Festival and along with him the various other dignitaries would be present like the Hon. governor of Nagaland and the hon. Chief Minister of Nagaland. the inception of Hornbill festival was in the year 2000 and since then the various dignitaries from across India have graced the festival like the Hon. PM of India Narendra Modi and the Hon. President of India Ramnath Kovind as well. We took a while to rest after finishing the work and at 4 PM Kaushik started to pitch some of the tents. Generally it doesn’t rain during winters and so putting up the tents a little early didn’t matter. Because each tent takes about 15 – 20 minutes to set up he thought it would be better to start pitching the tents to save time on 29th and tomorrow we would be going out to kohima for shopping for supplies.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The view of the pitched tents at camp Hornbill at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

I was busy attending the phone calls that were coming from the visitors who would be coming and were booking with us. This time we were pre booked much earlier and by Nov 2nd week most of the camp was running full for the first 5 days of the Hornbill Festival starting from Nov 30th. We had guests from across the world who were coming to the Hornbill festival and had made booking arrangements with us as most of the Hotels and Homestays in and around Kohima are already booked by major tour operators by the month of August itself. With over 2 lakh visitors expected stay arrangements at Kohima were limited and so campsites like ours makes arrangements for the stay and food of the visitors during the Hornbill festival. As nights would get cold Kaushik had made arrangements for sleeping bags for everyone as well but visitors had to pay a nominal price to use the services of the sleeping bags in case they didn’t carry one. By the time we continued to pitch the tents at Camp Hornbill site it was already around 5 PM and it got dark already and we managed to put up only 10 tents for the day. Sundown is quite early and so the people finish the work early and retire to bed early as well. Today evening only the two of us along with the boys at the camp were present as Adole had to attend to a family function at Kigwema village.

We had to go marketing to KOhima city tomorrow and bring in supplies to last across the festival days mostly things like potatoes, rice, dal, onions, masala powders, tea, coffee and some other stuff that had a larger shelf life. Kaushik had brought along the supply of maggi noodles, pasta, oil, butter, etc from Guwahati itself as during the Hornbill Festival days it gets really busy at the camp and stepping out every time to bring in these things from Kohima is not feasible at all. So the things that will come fresh t the camp everyday from Kigwema were the supply of meat, eggs, vegetables of the day, milk and other certain items that get spoilt quickly and so had to be brought in fresh everyday so that after spending the day at the functions of the Hornbill Festival the visitors can come back and savour freshly cooked dinner, evening snacks and the breakfast for the following morning. Kaushik and the boys got together in the evening to make a list of items that they needed to buy from the Kohima market. During the festival days another person joins the boys to assist them in the kitchen and he was expected to arrive on Nov 29th from Jorhat. He is a distant cousin of Kaushik and owns a restaurant in Jorhat so he is well adept in cooking for a larger group and helps to supervise the boys in the kitchen and tells the right amount of spices to be added in the dishes. As a varied group of visitors come to Camp Hornbill during the Hornbill Festival days so we cannot just offer them Naga speciality dishes as they might not be used to the taste as it is across mainstream India so the cuisine is mostly standard Indian cuisine like chicken curry, mixed veg, yellow dal, fried rice, white rice, chilly chicken, chicken manchurian, pork gravy, pork chilly, dry pork, etc.

Hornbill Festival Nagaland, Hotels Hornbill, Kohima Hotels, Camp Hornbill Kohima
Barbecue for our Guests at Camp Hornbill in Kigwema during the Hornbill Festival ~ Nagaland

After they finished noting down the things it was time for some rice beer and some snacks before preparations for dinner. One of the boys brought along some chicken from the nearby market and they would prepare a nice gravy out of the chicken by boiling it along with certain herbs and spices. For starters we made the smoked pork chutney but with less chillies and also we didn’t pound the meat this time and instead chopped the meat into smaller chunks and mixed it with raw onions, some green chillies and coriander with salt and lime. One of the boys got a bamboo skewer and he mixed the chicken with ginger garlic paste, some spice powder and put it near the fire for roasting. It was nice to see how the local people make use of the things around them to prepare unique food. To make this chicken roast he didn’t need an elaborate setting of a barbecue grill though we would be using one once our guests start coming during the start of the Hornbill festival. Today instead he just used the skewer and pierced the meat chunks across it and allowed it  to roast over the fire. Our dinner tonight would have rice, dal, the special chicken curry, a mixed vegetable curry of potatoes, carrot, beans and peas. We spoke about the guests arriving to the Hornbill Festival and especially the group of 37 students from Guwahati and we learnt that they were students of an International School in Guwahati and were sons and daughters of high profile dignitaries of Assam and Nagaland. We had to ensure their comfort and safety to the utmost as one of the high profile bureaucrats from Nagaland had already called Kaushik and informed him of the arrival of his son at Camp Hornbill. They wanted to have the camping experience and so they chose to stay with us. They would be accompanied by 3 teachers from the school luckily and so we didn’t have to share their responsibility alone. Around 15 guests in groups of 5 were coming from Germany, USA and UK as well and so the total guests on the night of 30th Nov would be around 70. We had the adequate number of tents and then some additional as well in case of any last minute check in as well. We finished our dinner at Camp Hornbill and thereby ended our day of Nov 27 with only 3 more days approaching the start of the festivities of the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The view of sunrise from the Homestay at Camp Hornbill ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

On the morning of Nov 28th I was up at 5.30 AM and so was Kaushik as after completing a little of our work at the campsite we had to travel to Kohima city – the capital of Nagaland. In about an hour’s time we pitched in some more tents to manage time on the last day viz. tomorrow. Of the three boys 2 of them would be travelling with us to Kohima city while one of them would be staying back at the camp and as he was not aware of the process to fix the tents we guided him on how to go about it and he helped us do it. Today for breakfast we had some left over rice from last evening and the boys wanted to prepare maggi noodles for us but we didn’t want to eat the packed noodles everyday and so I asked one of the boys to prepare egg chicken fried rice for us with the left over rice. He seemed unaware of how to prepare it and so I went in the kitchen to help him out while Kaushik continued to setup the tents. Today a plumber would be also be coming over in the morning before we left to Kohima as there were certain plumbing and water setup requirements to be finished as the toilets and bathroom had to be cross checked before we opened up to the visitors before he start of the Hornbill Festival. We were using the bathroom fine but still it was better to do a final check up so that visitors to Camp Hornbill do not have any worries and the only thing they should think about is to enjoy the festivities of the Hornbill Festival.

I went into the kitchen to help the boy prepare the egg fried rice. I asked him to chop the onions, chillies, garlic, coriander, potatoes, peas and then I asked him to mince the chicken pieces that were left over from last evening. As the weather was cold even though the meat was not put in our refrigerator it was till quite fresh. Then I asked him to fry the ingredients along with eggs and then add the rice and mix the ingredients properly topped with soya sauce , vinegar and coriander and the fried rice was ready. The boy was delighted with the ease in cooking this recipe and he thanked me for teaching it to him. We were scheduled to leave to the market at Kohima at around 8 AM because it was a weekday and from 9 Am the traffic in the city would increase and vehicular movement almost gets to a standstill as people go to work in the many govt. offices of Kohima in Nagaland. So we started to get ready and Adole too had left Kigwema to come to Camp Hornbill. We quickly got ready as we didn’t want to get stuck in the peak traffic and at 7.30 AM we started to have our breakfast. In the meantime Adole arrived with the plumber in his car. After explaining the plumber with the details of the work and the boy to take care of things at the camp we started on our driver to Kohima with Kaushik’s vehicle.

It would be an expected one hour long drive to Kohima and to reach the local market here. On the day of coming I didn’t get a chance to experience much of the life at Kohima city as it was already dark by the time we reached so today I would take a chance to explore the market, the Kohima World War II Cemetery and the Kohima Cathedral as well. Kohima is the capital city of Nagaland and is a bustling city with a population of above 1,00,000 people. Home to the Angami and the Rengma naga tribes of Nagaland the city is located on the foothills of the Japfu range with an average elevation of 1200 m above MSL. The earlier name of Kohima city was Kewhira and the Britishers came here in 1878 and renamed the place as Kohima and established their headquarters of the Ngaa Hills here in Kohima and it took them almost 4 decades to conquer this territory because of the stiff resistance from the Naga warrior tribes. Today Kohima being the state capital sees many people from the state of Nagaland come here and reaside in search of better prospects. This has made Kohima home ot the 16 tribes of Nagaland with Christianity being the dominant religion. Kohima is the land of the Hornbill Festival as Kisam,a falls under its jurisdiction and most of the accomodations can be found here. Most of the visitors who make prior reservations to the Hornbill Festival fly in to Dimapur or by road and railways to Dimapur itself and then they drive to Kohima to stay for their duration of the Hornbill Festival and as Kohima hosts majority of the events of the Hornbill Festival like the rock concerts, Wor;pd War II peace rally, fashion shows, etc. along with the Kohima night bazaar, people get a chance to witness these activities along with the festivities of the Hornbill Festival at Kisama Heritage village as well.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The beautiful view of the city of Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

We approached the city premises and could feel the favor of the celebrations of Hornbill Festival all around. The entire city was getting ready to welcome the visitors to the ‘Festival of Festivals – Hornbill Festival’ and also the most awaited festival of the year – Christmas. The houses were all being decorated with beautiful lights and the Christmas star. Across the city various signage’s welcoming dignitaries and visitors to the Hornbill festival could be seen. Hoardings were to be seen all across the area with large signage’s with the with the Chief Minister’s pictures welcoming delegates and visitors to Nagaland and Hornbill Festival. The Kohima traffic welcomed us and even though we entered the premises of the city by 8.30 AM there was an ample amount of traffic on the streets. Adole told me that the traffic that I was seeing at presently was nothing as compared to the another hours time at about 9.30 AM when it is literally at a standstill and this is mostly because the offices are centered at one place in the city near the market area and so most of the cars approach this place and so then is an evident traffic jam. The scenario is even more worse during the Hornbill Festival days when more number of cars from across the state and also tourist taxis and vans of other states come into Kohima city. I remember the time one of our Innova drivers told me that during one of his tours with Kaushik’s guests he was almost stuck and it took him about an hour’s time to cover stretch of a kilometer. Still to witness a festival of the grandeur of the the Hornbill Festival visitors do not mind being able to have to wait for an hours time because it is an experience of a lifetime.

The traffic at Kohima reminded me of the Shillong city traffic where the stretch from the Rhino point to Police Bazaar is a nightmare of sorts and the vehicular movement is similar to the one in Kohima as well. Also as both these cities are located on a hilly terrain the scope to expand the roads is not much of an option here and the added vehicles on the streets each day adds to the traffic woes during the peak hours. Anyways we kept driving and moving slowly towards the heart of the Kohima city. By the time we reached Kohima market it was 9.20 AM and we were late by around 20 minutes. We parked our car and Kaushik headed out along with the list to shop for the supplies along with the boys and we too followed him. The plan was that Adole and the boys would continue with the shopping while Kaushik and I would go to visit the places of interest in Kohima city viz. the Kohima World War II Cemetery and the Kohima Cathedral. but Adole told us that looking at the peak traffic conditions at present is wouldn’t be advisable to venture out in the city again with the huge vehicle. So he planned that we would be done by our marketing by 2 hours and by the time people would get into their offices as well and the traffic would ease down and the it would be nice to travel to sight seeing places in Kohima and as we didn’t have much work at the campsite today we would be able to go back by late afternoon as well and then after marketing at the Kohima market we could finish our sightseeing and then go back to Camp Hornbill.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The entrance of the Kohima War Cemetery at Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

The plan sounded good to me and Kaushik and this way they wouldn’t miss out on buying anything as well as on discussing certain items that we forgot to put on the list as well well we could buy it and save the trouble and fuel of coming back to Kohima again during the Hornbill Festival days. Also this would give me a chance to explore the Kohima Market as well. I like exploring these local markets especially the vegetable and meat markets where I get a chance to see some of the unique foods and vegetables of the local people who bring them in from their villages. I had visited the Bara Bazaar in Shillong, the Sunday market at Lokhra in Guwahati and the Ima Keithel market at Imphal and the vibrant colors of the fruits and vegetables that are all organic is a real feast to the eyes once you visit these local markets in North East India. The Kohima Market too is a similar to these markets and once can find the various traditional foods of Nagaland here. At first there is the vegetables and fruits section followed by the grocery section and later towards the end the meat and fish section. I walked around the vegetable market looking and admiring the all local grown produce brought in by the local vendors. Some unique fruits and vegetables of Nagaland were to be found around here and what draws your attention are the stacks of Naga King Chilies that are kept in huge baskets and the vendors sitting around it selling them to the customers. Various varieties of vegetables were to be seen at the Kohima market like carrots, brinjals, pumpkins, gourds, bitter gourds, cucumbers, coriander, various local herbs and ferns that the village traders had brought in from the forests near their villages all freshly plucked. And as Hornbill Festival days were nearing closer we could see the owners of major hotels, resorts, homestays in and around Kohima coming to buy their required goods to cater to the guests who would be staying at their places and witnessing the festivities of the Hornbill Festival. Thankfully we planned on sourcing our supplies of vegetables and meat from Kigwema village so that we didn’t have to come to the rush at the Kohima market often.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The busy street food vendors near the Kohima market at Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

We picked up the stock of vegetables needed like potatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies and some other vegetables with a longer shelf life like pumpkin, gourd, etc. and then asked the boys to pack thew bags so that we could hire a porter to carry the things. Outside the market there are many daily wage workers with carts wo help traders in the market as well as the buyers to carry the big sacks across the market and the car parking in their small hand carts that they push around and they charge a nominal fee for pushing the cart around in the Kohima market. Next we went to the grocery section to look around the place and shop for the essentials we would require at Camp Hornbill. We needed condiments like spices, salt, red chillies, paneer (cottage cheese boxes), bottled peas, spap, washing powder, etc. and all these items would be picked up from a grocery store. Although we wouldn’t be buying any meat and fish because we didn’t want our guests to eat refrigerated meat and vegetables but yet I decided to take a look around the market and perhaps pick up some local fish for our dinner tonight as we would mostly eat our for our lunch today. The meat and fish market was vibrant and bustling with various customers. On one section there was a beef market and on the other side was the pork market. Even in  a place like Nagaland where people consume both these meat varieties and yet a certain distance was maintained between the shops as certain part of the population eats only either of the meat. The poultry section was at the beginning here at the Kohima market and the fish section was alongside it.

A variety of fishes were present here at the Kohima market and with the upcoming festivities of the Hornbill Festival drawing closer the traders and vendors had brought in fish in more quantity and varieties. As people from across India would be coming to the Hornbill Festival, people prefer fish to be a part of their diet while their stay in Nagaland because a majority of them do not eat either pork or beef and so they try to avoid any meat of sorts while in Nagaland and rely on fish to be apart of their protein necessities. As I operate numerous tours across North East India I am aware that people while travelling mostly prefer to keep a vegetarian diet especially the foreigners with the occasional boneless fish dishes. The fish market had fishes that were brought in from the local fisheries, lakes and rivers and also fishes brought in from sea mostly from places like Andhra Pradesh. The fishes from Andhra Pradesh are brought in containers filled with ice to keep them from getting spoilt and are brought in various truck across North East India with major hub being at Guwahati in Assam. These fishes are slightly less expensive than the locals one brought in from the rivers and he major varieties are Rohu, Kos, Magur, Borali, Roop Sanda, etc. I was mostly looking for some local fishes caught in the ponds and I found some local carp fishes being sold by a vendor and I asked him to weigh one fish for our dinner. It costed me INR 250 per kg and as it was a smaller slightly over a kg I had to pay the vendor a total of INR 300. I picked up the fish and strolled along the ,eat market for sometime here in the market in Kohima. The meat kinds too were various from broiler chicken, country chicken, pork, beef, turkey, qualis, ducks, etc. Earlier dog meat too was found in the market as certain population of the people of Nagaland considered this meat to be a delicacy but now there has been a ban on the sale of this meat and hence it is no longer found in the market.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The neatly aligned burials at the Kohima War Cemetery ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

After I finished exploring the Kohima market the other members of my group had hired the services of the porter and they had loaded the items we had bought into the cart and we were ready to leave Kohima market to head to our sightseeing destinations in Kohima city. We left the market at 11.30 AM to go to the Kohima World War II Cemetery that is located in the heart of Kohima city and is a memorial of the brave soldiers of the Allied forces who load down their lives during the World War II fighting against the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army. The Battle of Kohima is often called as one of the greatest battles in the history of mankind and was the fighting grounds where the Allied Forces had a clear gain over the Japanese forces. We drove towards the War Cemetery and reached the parking spot area here. The Kohima War Cemetery was built and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Mission and is one of the Four (4) Commonwealth War Cemeteries in North East India with the others being at Digboi, Guwahati and Imphal. This war cemetery is the largest among the four having burials of over 1400 brave soldiers who laid down their lives during World War II and sees visitors from around the World especially during the Hornbill Festival. an interesting thing about this place is that it is located at the same site where the original battle was fought. Neatly aligned burials of the soldiers can be seen and each burial has a stone and on top is a brass plate with the names of the soldier and the platoon to which he belonged to. The entire area is beautifully green with a carpet of grass cover and beautifully attended garden. Each of the grave has a rose or some flower shrub growing alongside it that gives a wonderful attraction to the Kohima War Cemetery.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The Holy Cross at the center of the Kohima War Cemetery ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

There is a huge cross at the center of the Cemetery and two memorial stones at each end of the cemetery that lists the names of the soldiers whose burial are to be found here along with a statement that brings tears to every person’s yes who come here to visit the Kohima War Cemetery and learns about the sacrifices of these great men. It reads like “When you go home.. Tell them of us and say for your tomorrow we gave our today…” The neatly aligned burials brings in a sense of calm to one’s soul that we are living our today in freedom because of these brave departed souls. The cemetery overlooks the city of Kohima that looks very beautiful especially during the Hornbill Festival and Christmas time and you forget the traffic woes that you had to brave to reach this place. We walked around the campus of the war cemetery and paid our respects and tributes to the soldiers and after an hour we bid farewell to the Kohima War Cemetery. Our next stop was at the Kohima Cathedral that is a short drive away from the Kohima War Cemetery.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The Memorial at the end of the Kohima War Cemetery ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

Also called as the Mary’s Help of Christians Cathedral of Kohima, this is among the largest churches in Asia and it is renowned for its special architecture that incorporates the various designs of Naga houses and its traditional architecture. We went in to explore the Kohima Cathedral and a beautiful structure greets you here and what seemed to me like a huge Naga house because of its design. At the Kohima Cathedral there is a 16 feet high carved wooden crucifixion that is one of the largest crosses in Asia. The building was constructed in 1991 and was mostly funded by the Japanese who wanted to build a remembrance of their soldiers who died during the Battle of Kohima. we went to the altar shrine and the huge crucifixion crosses present there with a huge hall where the Sunday masses are held. The entire campus is green and is a sprawling area at the Kohima Cathedral. After finishing our visit at the Kohima Cathedral we started to drive back to Kisama to Camp Hornbill. On the way we stopped for lunch at an ethnic Naga restaurant on the outskirts of the city of Kohima. It seems this place served Adole’s favorite fusion food viz. Chinese dishes with a tang of Naga twist. Say for example I have at least across India never tried noodles soup with rice noodles and smoked pork topped with naga king chilli or say the barbecued chicken with sour herbs and naga king chilli oor the signature chicken drumsticks with smoke chicken. This place near Kohima is a very popular hang out spot among the youths of Nagaland who come here especially during the evenings to hang out because of its traditional Naga ambiance and well spaced outdoor area where visitors can spend their time reading a book over a cup of local Naga coffee that is brewed locally here.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The Kohima cathedral at Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

We stepped into the restaurant and it had a mix seating arrangement with a low seating on one side with cushions and cane mattresses while on the other side there were chairs and tables along with bean bags as well. A nice place near the counter was also available to sit where one could drink coffee and various mocktails as cocktails and alcoholic beverages are not sold here. We took our seats at the table as a large student group was sitting on one the low seating side of the place. Adole placed the order for lunch for the five of us and he ordered the three of the dishes I had mentioned earlier. The food took a little time as the place was full and people had placed orders much before us. The place has nice to hang around and so we didn’t mind having to wait for a while. Our order arrived after half and hour and Adole was indeed correct, the place served some of the best fusion food in Kohima. The rice noodles was prepared by hand in the place itself and it was not purchased in the market that imparted a unique texture to the noodles and the king chilli flavour added to the soup was not as extensively spicy when it comes to tasting the chillies itself raw. The chicken drumsticks were having a unique smoky flavor and the marinade of the king chilli spice along with certain herbs made it all the more appealing. It was a sumptuous lunch and the boys liked it a lot because being poor they couldn’t afford to eat such a meal and looking at the smile on their faces made us happy. We even packed one portion of the food for the other guy back at the camp.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The Crucifixion cross at the Altar of the Kohima cathedral at Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

After lunch we drive back to Camp Hornbill and as the traffic woes were less in the afternoon we hardy took 30 minutes to reach back to Kisama. At Kisama we stopped to look at the arrangements of the venue grounds of the Hornbill Festival and the last minute details were being added to the site. The platform where the signatories would occupy was almost ready and chairs were being brought over to to placed. The venue ground where the naga tribes would perform their traditional songs and dances was cordoned off with bamboos so that visitors couldn’t enter the performance area once the tribes are performing their ritual songs and dances. The entire area and atmosphere was looking very festive and no wonder I could feel that the preparations of a grand festival to be hosted was undergoing the process of finalization. We finished exploring the Hornbill Festival venue and we would be coming back again on the 1st of December with our guests at Camp Hornbill to witness the Hornbill Festival 2018. After this we went back to our camp and the boys started unloading the sacks and segregating the vegetables in the storage area of the kitchen. we gave the food to the other boy who had stayed back and he looked overjoyed and thanked us for this gesture. The plumber had left by the time we reached and Kaushik went to the bathroom to check for the job done and he had done a good job of fixing any leaks and adding new tap outlets outside the bathroom area as well.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The venue grounds of the Hornbill Festival at Kisama near Kohima ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India.

Camp Hornbill has a permanent bathroom setup and is the pioneer to do do at the Hornbill Festival Campsites so that visitors do not need to worry about water during their stay along with cleanliness and hygiene conditions. Everyday the bathrooms are properly cleaned and disinfected before use of the guests and the same is repeated in the evening as well. For hot water requirements there is a big vessel that is powered by firewood and water boils in the vessel. Visitors need to go to the place just outside the bathroom with a bucket and hot water is provided to them. Kaushik and Adole have taken a lot of effort into building this campsite and to ensure adequate comfort to the visitors who come to Camp Hornbill to enjoy the festivities of Hornbill Festival of Nagaland. Also 20 tents were fixed and there were another 30 tents to be fixed for the accommodations of the travelers who would be coming on Nov 30th. We decided to take some rest before we put on some of the other tents to end the day. Tomorrow the furniture’s would arrive along with it we had to setup the electrical wiring’s as well as Camp Hornbill offers electric charging sockets at the common areas for guests to charge their mobile phones and the any other electronic gadgets. Other small things had to be settled out and we would complete everything by tomorrow afternoon. We took little time to relax and later the boys prepared tea for all of us. I told the boys on how to prepare the fish curry but then I realized that it would be better if I prepared the same as they were not used to preparing it and so I told them to cut the items needed for preparing the fish curry and I would be preparing the same in the evening.

Kaushik got to pitching the tents and I asked Adole to get some rice beer but he told me that he would arrange for a bottle of rum for us today and nothing would be better to have old monk rum with warm water in the nice climate of Kohima. He also told me that he would get some pork and cook it in a special naga style with bamboo shoot for snacks and dinner as well. So today the kitchen would see two chefs one preparing the fish curry with herbs and the other cooking pork with bamboo shoots a naga delight! Kaushik finished pitching the tents and it was already sundown. They boys got to starting the bonfire and this fire is a soul savior here in Kohima especially during the winter evenings when it gets quite cold. Today there was no barbecue as Adole would be preparing the pork recipe with bamboo shoot in the kitchen. I asked the boys to collect the herbs and to chop the ingredients before the two of us started cooking and one job I gave them was to slice the fish and fry it after applying a marinade of salt and turmeric. Today the fish curry I would prepare with elephant apple and a local fern called as ‘Dhekia’ in Assam (I don’t know the local nagamese name for it). Adole came back with the old monk rum bottle and I did not bother to ask him how he managed to arrange it here in Nagaland and the pork meat along with the bamboo shoot as well. We went to the kitchen to start the preparations as it was 6 PM already and the boys had to sleep early after a tiring day today so we planned to start early. Adole started with his cooking and I didn’t have much to prepare the curry and I just needed to boil some potatoes in the cooker and then mash them to form a gravy to give consistency to the curry.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
One of the boys setting up the reception area at Camp Hornbill at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

I cut open the elephant apple and the ferns had to be at first washed properly and then roasted on top of fire as this helps to eliminate any small insects hiding in the leaves of the ferns. After this it is needed to be chopped and then mixed into the curry after frying the onions, ginger and garlic, green chilies, tomatoes, salt and turmeric powder then adding the potato water into the mix and later the chopped elephant apes to add the sour taste to the gravy and the chilies bring in the desired spice to the curry and finally topped with some local naga coriander leaves. Adole too was busy preparing the pork dish where he added the boiled pork, spring onions, tomatoes, naga king chili, bamboo shoot, salt, ginger garlic paste, turmeric and allowed it to saute for a while. After the meat started to cook in its own fat he allowed it to dry up and top it with coriander to end the preparation. Looking at him cook the meat I was sure that some interesting meaty delights would await for me at the Hornbill festival venue grounds. we boiled some water and took some of the pork meat to savor the old monk rum brought by Adole. Kaushik was sitting by the bonfire and he had started the preparations to make the drinks with the warm water we got it. I tasted the pork to begin with and it was so very delicious. I am not a big fan of bamboo shoot but the naga bamboo shoot is quite different and doesn’t have a strong aroma like the ones I had earlier in Assam. The pork was cooked to perfection and the meat almost squeezed into my fingers due to the boiling process of the meat and also because the bamboo shoot tenderizes the meat as well.

We started to have our rum and this was the first time I was drinking it with warm water because earlier I had mixed it either with coke and sometimes normal water as well. But this way of drinking it seems to help to increase your body heat so that you feel a little warmer during the chilly weather. We planned our day for tomorrow over the drinks and also how to accommodate the guests who would come in on Nov 30th. The student group would be allotted the tents on the first terrace on top and the other guests on the second terrace top if land. Also I had to go to the heritage village to bring in the other guests who would be coming. By the time we finished discussing everything it was already 8 PM and knowing the boys were quite tired we wanted to free them early and so we stepped in the kitchen to have our dinner. The meal had rice, fish curry, pork and salad and we helped ourselves with the meal. The fish curry I prepared turned out nice and the sour taste powered by the spice of the chilies made the curry more flavorful. The pork tasted much better with the rice and the boys jokingly told us that we hired them for no reason and instead the two of us could only cook for the guests. It was a nice compliment we got from the boys and we were glad that they enjoyed the dinner. We sat talking about few more things by the bonfire while the boys cleaned up and retired to bed. Adole and Kaushik decided to sleep in the tents and I guess the warmth from the rum made them brave the cold weather and they went into the tents without the sleeping bags and just carrying blankets with them. I did not brave myself too much and went into the comfort of the bed at the homestay and we ended our day.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Evening view of the tents at Camp Hornbill at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

The next morning on Nov 29th Kaushik started pitching in the remaining tents and the electrician also arrive by 8 AM. Kaushik showed him the place where the switch board needed to be fitted and he got to work. We had a quick breakfast of the food that was remaining from the last evening along with a potato curry and some hot rice that the boys had prepared. The furniture from Kigwema village came in by 9 AM and all of us got to unloading the same from the mini truck and began placing them in the respective locations. The entire campsite now looked complete and we were getting ready to welcome guests to Hornbill Festival 2018. The cutlery and buffet items were placed on the site where the food would be served and one of the boys got to cleaning them first it would be ready for use. The tables and chairs were placed accordingly in the respected areas like some near the bonfire area, some of the chairs near the sitting area outside the tents, some for the buffet dinner and so on. Kaushik setup the welcome to Camp Hornbill signage’s across the entrance, dining area, common area, restrooms, etc. The electrician was busy fixing any loose ends on the electrical connections and Adole was getting ready to pick up Kaushik’s cousin from near the Kisama Heritage Village. It was a true festive atmosphere around with people running around making the last moment preparations and my wish of witnessing the Hornbill Festival was getting to look to becoming true soon.

The locker area was arranged where the visitors would be putting in their luggage for sage watch by the boys and water dispensers were setup for visitors to refill their water bottles. Floor mattresses were places in the floors of the tent areas and the bathroom areas and the barbecue station was fixed. The meat and vegetable vendor from Kigwema had come over and he took to helping us as well as we wanted Kaushik’s cousin to join in before placing the order of meat and vegetables for dinner as he had prepared the menu for the Hornbill Festival days at Camp Hornbill. At around 11 AM Kaushik’s cousin and Adole arrived and we greeted him and he had packed lightly as he would be staying only until 5th of December as he had to rush back home due to some medical emergencies. Along with him I too could go to Jorhat and continue my journey to Majuli as well. He took out the menu list and placed the orders to the vegetables and meat vendors as to what meat and vegetables items would be needed for each day and how much of a quantity as well during the Hornbill Festival days. Fresh food has a different aroma to it and guests would not stand any chance to complain here at Camp Hornbill be it in their stay or in the food as well. It was afternoon and the setup was ready at Camp Hornbill. All the tents were pitched, the bathroom neat and tidy, the cloak room was settles, Barbecue station ready, the dining area well laid out, the reception area and the lounge area equipped with all requisites.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Guests start arriving at Camp Hornbill at Kisama for Hornbill festival 2018~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

We took a picture of the cam and toasted a mug of rice beer to celebrate the completion of the site of Camp Hornbill for the Hornbill Festival 2018. It was time for lunch and we realized that we had nothing to prepared for today and so Kaushik’s cousin got to work and decided to cook a meal for all of us. He went into the kitchen to see the food items we had brought and he saw the eggs and so he started preparations for an egg omelette curry, mashed potato chutney, boiled dal with vegetables and a dried fish spicy chutney with rice to go along with the meal. It were simple recipes and one of them prepared the egg omelettes and cut them into smaller pieces to be added to the curry. The dal was boiled along with the vegetables along with salt and turmeric and later a mix of oil with sauted onions, garlic, green chillies was added to it topped with fresh green coriander. The mashed potatoes had raw onions, green chillies, coriander, salt and topped with little mustard oil. The rice was plain white rice and the egg omelette curry was cooking in a tomato gravy and after frying in the onions, garlic and ginger paste, tomatoes, potatoes the water was added to the curry and the omelette pieces dropped in to make the curry more flavorful. Lunch was ready by 2 PM and all of us took our seats to enjoy our sumptuous lunch.

Today evening was mostly free for us and the only thing left was to fill the tents with the mattresses and put in the blankets and pillows. The sleeping bags would not accompany each tents and upon payment of the nominal amount towards charge of hire we would be handling them to the guests who could use the comfort of the bags to beat the chilly weather. Many of the guests are seasoned backpackers and they know how to travel to locations with such weather conditions and they mostly carry a sleeping bag along with them. It was necessary for the student group who would be having their first camping experience and the costs of the sleeping bags were already included in their package. So we had to ensure to put sleeping bags in the tents that would be allocated to them. So we started after lunch to fix the tents and the six of us got together to work. Kaushik, Adole and myself carried the stuff into the tents each with mattresses, two pillows, bed sheets, pillow covers and sleeping bags and we kept the things in the tents while the boys went into the tents and arranged the bed-sheets, covered the pillows with pillow covers, arranged the blankets and put in the sleeping bags. We took a short tea break at around 4 PM and got back to work and by 5 PM everything was setup.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Tent setup complete at Camp Hornbill at Kisama for Hornbill festival 2018~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

We sat down to finalize the menu as certain changes were necessary based on the inputs provided by the supplier as to what he could provide and what he couldn’t. Certain vegetables couldn’t be found in the local village and so we had to change the items to suit the availability. Meat recipes remained the same as the same could be found in the village in abundance and the supplier could provide us with the desired quantity. Cottage cheese we had brought enough supply and were in boxes with a long shelf life and so were the pea bottles as well so matar paneer would remain in the menu. The mixed vegetables recipe had to be tweaked as the vegetables were not available and so we sorted it out. By the time we finished our day it was 8 PM and the dinner was prepared by the boys. We had some rice beer to relax ourselves and after dinner we retired to bed to start the next morning to welcome guests to the Hornbill Festival at Camp Hornbill. The next morning we woke up by 6 AM and walked around our camp admiring the beautiful landscapes. The completed campsite looked all the more beautiful now. The guests would start arriving by afternoon as they were on transit. The student group would be arriving in from Dimapur as they was staying there at some of the student’s home and as many belonged from prestigious families in Nagaland they had huge homes to accommodate the entire group. We had a breakfast of fried rice and tea and took notice of any last minute preparations that were necessary. The meat and vegetable vendor came around by 10 AM with the desired vegetables and meat cuts for the day. Around 5 foreigners group would come over by 12 PM and they had asked us to prepare lunch for them and so Kaushik’s cousin got busy in the kitchen with one of the boys to prepare lunch and also to gets the things ready for the evening to accommodate dinner for 60 – 80 guests at Camp Hornbill.

I went into the kitchen to see if the boys needed any help as it required a lot of preparation to cook a meal for around 80 guests in total. We were expecting some local people also coming to our campsite for dinner who were our well wishers and had helped Kaushik and Adole during their early years in setting up Camp Hornbill and therefore every year during the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland they come to the campsite to see the preparations and have dinner with us. As far as lunch was concerned only 5 foreigners would be having lunch and so Kaushik’s cousin knew that an elaborate preparation was not necessary because the foreigners are very concerned about what they eat and having hosted many of them at his restaurant in Jorhat he decided to prepare yellow dal, white rice, a simple chicken curry, a mashed potato chutney with less chillies, carrots, beans and peas fried and a green salad. Again all a simple recipe yet very healthy and nutritious and not spicy at all. The water dispensers were filled by Kaushik an Adole was waiting at the entrance to welcome the guests who would be arriving in sometime. The foreigners arrived at 11.30 AM and they were from various nationalities like France, Germany and UK and they were travelling across North East India and made their stop to witness the ‘Festival of Festivals – the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland’. They were the first guests to arrive for Hornbill Festival 2018 at Camp Hornbill and Kaushik took them to the reception area where they took their seats and produced the requisite documents like visa and filled up a form that had to be submitted to the nearest FRO office to report their arrival to Camp Hornbill and their duration of stay during the Hornbill Festival days.

Hornbill Festival Nagaland, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Camping Hornbill Festival

They all looked like seasoned travelers with their backpacks and travel kit and I had helped them to book their reservations at Camp Hornbill and so I welcomed them once I finished my work at the kitchen. Their tents were allotted and one of the boys assisted them to put their luggage in the cloak room and they carried a smaller bag with them to their tents that had important documents and gadgets. Each tent accompanies a small lock as well and Kaushik handed the lock to each of them who had chosen a single tent ans two who had a sharing tent. They wanted to get fresh and so I showed them the way to the bathroom and as they wanted to have bath we asked them to wait for sometime as we had to get the hot water ready. They had explored Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh already and their final stop was in Nagaland where they would explore the festivities of the Hornbill Festival and later the other destinations of Nagaland at Khonoma, Mon, Longwa as well. We would be travelling to Khonoma on the 2nd of December so I told them that they could join our group when we go there and they happily agreed. The water was ready and so they took their turns to get refreshed and after this we would be having our lunch. We had our lunch at around 1.30 PM and the guests enjoyed the meal and they even took a second serving and they wanted to know if they could find such meals across the duration of their stay for 4 nights here at Camp Hornbill. Kaushik told them that we would be having a varied buffet dinner for everyone and the food items would be changing in the menu every evening and certain items would be present like the plain dal, white rice, salad and the other items would be different and for them we would prepare some mashed potatoes every day and they liked the idea as well. After lunch we all sat at the common area while some of them went into their tents to rest.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Top view of the tent setup at Camp Hornbill at Kisama for Hornbill festival 2018~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

The student group arrived at around 3 PM and the entire place was filled with guests at Camp Hornbill. They had hired a luxury bus for the group and they arrived in style here. Some bodyguards also accompanied the bus in separate vehicle and they immediately got down and Kaushik welcomed the students and the teachers to Hornbill Festival and Camp Hornbill. They all followed us to the reception and the body guards stood outside the entrance area of the camp. It was really wonderful to view the camp now with all the guests coming in. The teachers entered the details of the students in our record book as we wanted the details of who had visited Camp Hornbill as per the order and instructions of the local authorities of Nagaland. Adole took them top the entire area where their tents were pitched and the children were all very excited for their first camping experience here at the Hornbill Festival. One of the teachers informed us that as some of the students belonged from nagaland and were children of the top bureaucrats here they had already experience d the Hornbill Festival earlier and they wanted their friends to experience it as well and so they had brought all of them to Nagaland. I got an unexpected call from my Uncle in Guwahati and he too was one of the top IAS officers of Assam and I was wondering why he had called and so I spoke to him. He told me that some students were sons and daughters of certain bureaucrats of Assam as well and as the school was locate din Guwahati and the parents had called him when they came to know that I was present at the venue of Camp Hornbill during the Hornbill Festival and he asked me to take care of the kids and I happily obliged.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Our student group at Camp Hornbill at Kisama for Hornbill festival 2018~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Few of the other guests from Bangalore and Chennai arrived as well and few of Kaushik’s friends from Guwahati were expected by evening. The children were exploring the area of the site and the teachers arranged for some group activities for them. Tea was being prepared for all the guests and Adole and myself go to getting the Bonfire and Barbecue station ready at Camp Hornbill as it was already around 4 PM and by 6 PM we had to get it ready. The other boys and Kaushik’s cousin were all busy in the kitchen marinating the meat to be barbecued and also preparing the dinner ready and generally dinner at Camp Hornbill  during the Hornbill Festival days is served by 8.30 PM. Everyone had their evening snacks and tea and by the time the bonfire was ready. People gathered around the bonfire and Kaushik arranged for chairs for them to sit. Some of them sat on the floor with a mattress on the ground. One of the boys got the marinated meat pieces in a container and then put them over the fire for it to roast while Adole monitored the movement of the meat so it doesn’t get charred. Visitors do not need to pay any additional amount towards the barbecue ans the cost is adjusted with the dinner charges at Camp Hornbill. Songs kept playing in the background and the visitors were all having a good time and getting to know each other before the opening ceremony of the Hornbill Festival tomorrow. Kaushik’s friends arrived by 7 PM and it was a long drive for them as well as they drove all the way from Guwahati in three vehicles. They had brought some rum along with them and after getting fresh they went to the third terrace floor and enjoyed their rum and a small fire was lit for them there and some meat was provided as starters. Dinner was ready by 8 PM and the boys took the buffet utensils and put the food in them from the kitchen and served them on the dining area. The guests were all tired and they wanted to go to their tents early and they immediately helped themselves with the dinner.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The Road Tripper Co arrive at Camp Hornbill at Kisama for Hornbill festival 2018~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

They local people came over and they were mostly Adole’s friends who knew Kaushik. They all were some executives who were in-charge of arranging the activities at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds and were busy with the preparations across these days. Their work was over today and early morning tomorrow they had to get busy again to see that the festivities are arranged properly at the Hornbill Festival. They had come over for dinner as this was the first opening day for 2018 and they came to see the campsite as well. The guests had already finished their dinner apart from Kaushik’s friends who told us that they would eat with us. The local people started their dinner and they liked the arrangements of the dinner that had white rice, dal, salad, mixed vegetable, matar paneer, chicken curry, pork chilly, chutney and pickles. They finished their dinner and then headed back to the Hornbill Festival venue grounds where they were staying tonight. After everyone finished we had our dinner and the boys got to cleaning the things. It was a long day today and the guests had retired to their tents while some of them were waiting near the bonfire and sipping rice beer they had brought along. We too joined them for company and at around 10 PM we all retired to our tents to end the day and prepare ourselves for the following morning where we would be witnessing the opening ceremony of the Hornbill Festival 2018!

On December 1st 2018, visitors at Camp Hornbill were all up after a good night’s sleep as they had mostly slept early and I guesses they were all excited to witness the opening ceremony of the Hornbill Festival 2018. The boys at the camp were running around busy arranging for hot water for guests who requested a bath but with the chilly weather of Kohima many of them just opted against their bath and just wanted to refresh themselves with the toiletries they were carrying. I had to wake up Kaushik’s cousin who had to rush tot eh kitchen to instruct one of the boys to prepare the breakfast. Adole was already in the kitchen making the bread toasts and to avoid the rush in the mornings we try to keep a simple and yet nutritious breakfast at Camp Hornbill during the Hornbill Festival days. Earlier Kaushik tried offering Indian breakfasts like roti sabji, puri sabji, etc. but with the morning rush at Camp Hornbill the food always used to get delayed and visitors do not like waiting so long especially after a long night for breakfast so now he sticks to ready to cook breakfast like maggi noodles, pastas, tetra-pack juices, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, cornflakes, milk, banana, apples, bread toast, etc. Today for breakfast at Camp Hornbill there would be bread toast, peanut butter, butter, veg maggi noodles, cornflakes, milk, boiled eggs, bananas, tea/coffee.

Hornbill Festival Nagaland, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Camping Hornbill Festival
Our foreign guests at Camp Hornbill ~ Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

I helped chop the vegetables for the maggi noodles that included carrot, onions, peas, cauliflower and Kaushik’s cousin cooked it, Two of the boys were helping the guests with he hot water where they poured the water from the large vessel into the buckets. For the children one of them helped to carry the buckets to the bathroom as well. These boys are indeed vary hardworking and they do not complain about anything and no wonder they have been with Camp Hornbill since its inception and now with the homestay up they would be having an employment opportunity here across the year as well. The breakfast items were ready and we served breakfast at 7.30 Am as people were planning to leave Camp Hornbill by 9 Am to walk to the Hornbill Festival venue grounds at Kisama Heritage Village near Kohima. It is a 15 min walking distance to the venue grounds and the festival activities were estimated to start at around 10 AM when the various dignitaries including the Hon, Home Minister of India Mr. Rajnath Singh would be present to inaugurate the Hornbill Festival 2018 of Nagaland. It was evident as there were so many dignitaries honoring the Hornbill Festival the security at the venue grounds would be tight and visitors had to always undergo some screening before they entered the festival grounds.

The guests started their breakfast in groups and took seats near the dining area. Apart from Kasuhik’s friends who had drove all the way from Guwahati most of the others were up. We had to manage time and so Kaushik went to wake them up and asked them to get ready. Adole and myself would accompany the guests to the Hornbill Festival venue grounds especially the children group as I was instructed by my uncle, while the others would mostly explore on their own. My earlier experience of visiting the Hornbill Festival was in 2014 and as I had mentioned I had visited during the closing days of the ceremony and so this would be my first experience of witnessing the opening ceremony of Hornbill Festival as well. Kaushik’s friends were ready quickly and so after all of us had our breakfast we proceeded to the Hornbill Festival venue grounds at Kisama Heritage village near Kohima. The bodyguards came to the camp and they wanted the students to come in the bus but all of them insisted to walk to the venue grounds and so they escorted the entire group. Beautiful views of the Japfu mountain peak greeted us along the way and the entire area looked very picturesque. The students enjoyed the view of a lot and staying in a city environment they rarely got to experience the beauty of nature in such a way and this was mostly a break from the city life to witness the rural life of Nagaland and learn about the varied culture and heritage of the 16 tribes of Nagaland here at the Hornbill Festival.

To speak more about the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland it is an annual event that is hosted every year from Dec 1st to Dec 10th to celebrate the life, culture, traditions of the indigenous people of Nagaland. These people have been inhabiting the region of Nagaland and areas around the state since times immemorial and across these years they have been practicing certain customs and rituals that have been indigenous only to them and this festival aims to promote the life and culture of these people of Nagaland. Today, the Hornbill festival is a major tourism attraction in India and draws visitors in huge numbers from across India and the World. The Nagas were earlier the major hunter tribes of India and they believed in head hunting as a practice as well These warriors used to go out on expeditions for days together is search of food and territory and during this time they would encounter other warriors from distant villages as well. To show their powers and dominance they used to attack these villages and during battle chop off the heads of the warriors of the other clans and bring the head along as a trophy of their conquest. This was a practice commonly followed among the Konyak, Sumi Nagas, Ao and the Angami tribes of nagaland. They were fierce Naga warrior hunters and even today they are revered because of this powers. The chopped off heads would be then brought and the skulls put up on display at the porch of the village house. The house that had the most number of skulls would be a considered the most powerful house in the Naga village.

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Sumi Naga people outside their Morung at the Hornbill festival 2018~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

The Naga people have customs and practices very similar to the Wa people of Southeast Asia and they organized themselves from early times into various indigenous communities and villages. Having a strong warrior tradition their customs and practices are revolved around these warrior traditions. Also as the community is agrarian as well most of their traditional festivals are based on certain traditions of agriculture and based on certain traditions of agriculture as well. Even though the Naga people are separated and subdivided into tribes and sub tribal groups most of these tribes have a similar dress code, eating habits, customs, traditional laws, etc. The Naga people living in the villages are having different territories called as khels. Usually every home in the Naga a village rears a pig for meat and these homes are generally constructed using bamboo. The local people bond themselves in certain economic, social and political ties. One important aspect of the Naga society is the Morung that is basically a self governing body to protect the village and train the young men and women of the village wherein the are admitted to these Morungs at a very young age and taught about the necessities of life and also the naga culture, customs and traditions are imparted to the youth in the form of traditional songs and dances, folklore’s, wood carvings, weaving, etc. Each tribe had a separate way of constructing a Morung or a dormitory and all of these can be witnessed at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. These Morungs were generally grand buildings constructed at the village entrance and were guarded by the Naga warriors. Through these Morungs various meeting announcements, death and warnings were given out by the naga elders with the sound of a beating drum.

Each of the tribes of Nagaland have certain traditional festivals that are based on the agrarian practices and are centered around the harvest month of crops. Some of these festivals are the Angami Naga – Sekrenyi, the Rengma Naga – Ngada, the Tankhul Naga – Luira Phanit, the Pochury Naga – Yemshi, the Sumi Naga – Tuluni, etc. And to promote inter-tribal interactions and to showcase the rich cultural practices of the traditional festivals the Dept. of Tourism – Govt. of nagaland organizes the Hornbill Festival every year since December 2000. Across each of these festivals of the Naga people, folk songs and cultural dances are an essential part of the festivities along with drinking of rice beer and consumption of meat. These Naga folk dances and songs are a combination of romance and history and its a way of keeping the oral traditions alive. These songs and dances of Nagaland have instances of bravery of their ancestors and certain special incidents in the Naga history and also as these festivals are based on agricultural practices certain seasonal songs describes the agricultural cycle as well. These dance forms of the naga people are mostly performed in groups by both men and women. However, the warrior dances are performed only by the men folks that are accompanied by war cries, sound of beating drums and warrior songs. To create the music various traditional musical instruments are used like bamboo flutes and mouth organs, drums made of cattle hide and log drums.

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The decorated stage area at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

To promote the arts and crafts of the people of Nagaland who are expert weavers and bamboo and cane craftsmen a separate section is dedicated in the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. Not only during the Hornbill Festival but you can see these delightful arts and crafts across the entire State of Nagaland. Beautiful traditional Naga homes constructed using wood and straw can be observed and that are elaborately decorated using special wooden crafts and the entrances have the skulls of buffaloes. The Naga women especially are skilled weavers and the Naga shawls that are weaved by them are renowned across the World mostly for its vibrant colors and the texture that is a result of handmade exquisiteness. So expert as their skills in art and crafts that is is often said that the naga people make their own clothes, hats, head gears, own cooking vessels of clay, medicines and even have their own substitutes for cutlery as well. Other art forms of the people of Nagaland are baskets, beaded jewelry, bead works, metal works, etc. Our walk to the venue grounds of the Hornbill Festival ended soon and we were welcomed to a huge congregation of people from all across the World. There were visitors from Nagaland, Assam, Manipur and rest of India, Backpackers from foreign countries and tour groups escorted by guides all waiting eagerly to enter the festive ground of the Hornbill Festival.

A nominal entrance fees is charged to enter the festival grounds and I stood in line to purchase the entry tickets after collecting money from the entire group. We soon got our tickets and entered the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. The entire atmosphere was filled with energy and vigor and we could see the various Naga tribes all dressed in their traditional attires and waiting to welcome the dignitaries and later demonstrate their warrior songs and dances. At the center of the venue there was a huge open ground cordoned by bamboo poles and surrounding this area are galleries constructed using wood that allows visitors to sit and enjoy the festival. There is also a stage area that is constructed that would witness the opening ceremony of the Hornbill Festival and the dignitaries would offer their speech. It is designed in traditional naga architecture with models of the traditional naga spears and the wooden crafts attached on the top. We took our seats at the pavilion area of the venue grounds of the Hornbill Festival and observed the vibrant and joyful atmosphere around us. Today at the opening ceremony after the address of the dignitaries the Indian Air Force would be displaying their might on the skies of Nagaland with the Air Devil team where troopers would demonstrate the para mounting and sky diving skills as well. The pavilion at the venue grounds was designed ergonomically so that the visitors could get a clear view of the performances and other activities going on at the festival grounds and there would be no obstruction in sight.

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The vibrant colors and attires of the naga warrior tribes at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Though the schedule to start the Hornbill Festival 2018 was at 9 AM I knew that with so many dignitaries coming in there would be an obvious delay and I was not proved wrong because until 10 Am there were no sign of them. Then suddenly after 15 minutes movements started happening at the venue ground. Security guards and police personnel were all running around the grounds and this marked the arrival of the dignitaries. Adole told me that what actually happens is that the dignitaries are given a warm welcome much ahead of the main venue where the naga warriors dressed in traditional attires await their arrival at eh entrance in long queues and when the dignitaries arrive these warrior Nagas perform a naga dance and rituals and welcome them to Nagaland and the Hornbill Festival. Anyways the dignitaries had finally arrived and upon entering the Hornbill Festival venue grounds the Union Home Minister of India Mr. Rajnath Singh and the hon Chief Minister of Nagaland waved out to the entire crowd and the people greeted them back. The dignitaries took their seats and the Hornbill Festival 2018 started with the host starting with the speech of the details of the festival and a glimpse of the people of Nagaland, their culture and thereby welcoming the dignitaries.

The crowd cheered and clapped and later the Union Home Minister took the dais where he spoke to the visitors as to how much he enjoyed and was influenced by the Hornbill Festival in 2017 that this year again in 2018 he wanted to come to the festival in Nagaland. He spoke about how the annual Hornbill Festival is a wonderful event to witness the rich ancient culture and civilization of the people of Nagaland and how each of these Naga tribes is truly unique having a cultural richness and yet there is a unique unity among these tribal folks. He extended to say that this is what India is all about a country having unity in diversity. The Union minister also thanked and encouraged the state government of nagaland for hosting such a unique and elaborate event very year and also commended the state government on introducing similar festivals to the various parts of the state as mini – Hornbill festivals. His speech also stated that the state government of Nagaland has taken unique steps to promote the diverse Naga culture and heritage at the national capital of New Delhi and this has helped the people of the country to understand the diversities in the culture of the Naga people where folk dances and songs are an essential component of their traditions. Ending his speech note stating that the Hornbill Festival annual event not only offers the different tribes of Nagaland to interact with each other and demonstrate their cultural heritage but is also a platform for people from neighboring states to unite in the true spirit of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’ and he declared the Hornbill festival 2018 open.

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The Honorable dignitaries of stage at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

 The opening ceremony saw the various naga tribes dressed in their traditional attires and elaborate head gears perform the traditional naga warrior dances at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. The beating of the drums, playing of bamboo flutes and trumpets were done by one group on the stage that were connected to loud speakers so the sound of the music could reach the ears of the large audience at the venue grounds while another group performed the warrior dances on the festival grounds. While the Konyak warrior tribes saw only hr male members perform the Angami and Sumi Naga tribal groups had a mix of men and women both performing the warrior dances displaying the valor and gallantry of the earlier warrior tribes of Nagaland. A basic story in a naga warrior dance starts by display of men and women in their local naga village working on their daily chores, then a call of war happens and the men folks fight illustrating the war and the various tactics and ends with the warriors returning home and the reunion of the men and women. I watched the performance with a lot of interest and it helped me understand the pristine way of life of the Naga people and how they managed to survive in their surroundings blending in with nature and using resources to perform all their activities.

These dance performances halted for a while and were to resume in the afternoon and this time to explore the venue grounds the gates of the Morungs were opened of the various naga tribes and I was all excited along with the group to visit these different tribal morungs that is basically the society hut of each of the tribes of Nagaland. These morungs of the naga people as mentioned earlier are somewhat like community centers where the young boys and girls are taught about the various facets of life. Mostly the naga boys are admitted in batches here at the Morungs where they learn about the ancient culture and traditions of their tribes and their elaborate history. Also taught to them were songs, dances, arts and crafts of bamboo and cane and most importantly the war tactics to become adept naga warriors. At the Hornbill Festival visitors get a chance to witness such Morungs of the various tribes of Nagaland that are generally spread out on 3 different levels that has a house like structure made of wood and traditional naga architecture roofs that are built of dried grass and dried leaves. The entrance to these morungs are extensively decorated with various naga warrior symbols mostly that of animal skulls and Hornbill birds and there are open spaces outside each Morung that has bamboo benches where the visitors can sit and admire these architecture of the Morungs.

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The Pochury Naga Morung at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds at Kisama ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Just outside of these Morungs one can observe a board that tells us to which tribe each of these Morungs belong to like Angamis, Aos, Pochury, Sumi Naga, Konyaks, Chakesangs, etc. and on a large seating area young boys and girls of each naga tribe sit and display their beautiful bright colored traditional attires and the elaborate head gears. we went to explore one of these Morungs and it belonged to the Pochury tribe of Nagaland and just outside of the Pochury boys was standing dresses in his traditional attire and holding a traditional naga sword in his hand. He did not make nay movements and we clicked dour pictures here. Inside the Morung they have an arrangement to prepare food and it also serves as a restaurant where the prepare a lots of delicious traditional Pochury Naga food like pork meat – various parts including liver and intestines, some exotic food like grasshoppers can be found along with traditional naga rice beer and wine. But mid you the naga people love their dog meat and even though it was banned but during the Hornbill Festival days this meat is available and is displayed in plenty in the Morungs. As it was still in the morning time and also as the food preparations were still going on in the Pochury Morung we did not have anything here and Adole told us that we will try the food and beer at the Lotha tribe Morung that had some special delicacies later on.

It was time for us to interact with the various naga tribes at the Morungs and as the group consisted of many locals from nagaland along with the naga Guards I was sure that communication won’t be a problem as Adole was also there and he would be able to explain to us what the tribes were speaking in case they didn’t speak any English or Hindi. We visited the Morungs of the Angami, Sumi Naga, Chaksangs, Rengma and other tribes. Each of these Morungs had a similar setup and outside each Morung there were bamboo setup for seating of the guests and outside the naga boys and girls from each tribe were seating displaying their traditional attires and head gears. We visited inside these Morungs to catch a glimpse of the traditional style of the these people of Nagaland at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. We spoke to them about their way of life and how they led a life but interestingly most of these boys and girls were in the modern cult and they knew everything about Internet, Google, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. I realized that they have adapted to the modern civilization and they do not follow indigenous practices any longer. To understand more of the life of the true indigenous naga people one has to travel to remote villages in Nagaland.

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Naga warriors dressed in traditional attire sitting outside a Naga Morung at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Anyways looking at the wonderful architecture of these naga Morungs was indeed a treat to the eyes and visitors could surely witness and learn the culture of the people and their traditional food habits at these Morungs. The location of the Naga Morungs at the venue of the Hornbill Festival ground is near the hilltop area and hence from here one can get a bird’s eye view of the festival grounds as well. We finished exploring four of the naga Morungs and later headed on to visit the stalls that demonstrated and displayed the weaving art and crafts of Nagaland. Nagaland is endowed with vast natural beauty and the state is filled with forest reserves Across your travel through Nagaland you are sure to sight various forest pockets and even in the cities like Kohima and Dimapur you can witness lots of trees all around. However there was a time when lumbering was a very common occupation among the people and this had resulted in a lots of loss of these forest to lumbering. This practice has now been banned across the state and even much before this the local people of Nagaland realized the destruction caused by the lumbering activities and they themselves formed committees in their villages to abolish this practice. The best example of this is the Khonoma village near Kohima that is dubbed to be the first and only green village in India.

People here resort to sustainable practices and do not cut trees in the forest area surrounding the village. Even if they do for household activities they ensure to plant more trees than they cut. They use various sustainable farming practices as well and this is what has helped them achieve this status of being a green village. One noteworthy plant growing in the forests of Nagaland is the bamboo and can be trees and the people have since times immemorial realized and reaped the benefits of both these alternate forms of wood. Bamboo being a grass is known to grow very quickly and hence chopping bamboo trees is not devastating to nature because it can regrow again quickly thereby providing the adequate lumber for firewood purpose to the naga people. The naga people use bamboo to build homes in which they stay and even provide a a border around the area of their land with the bamboo poles. It can be easily seen in the Hornbill Festival venue grounds where bamboo is used to cordon the performance stage on the venue grounds and even used to build the stage and pavilion areas along with the seating area outside of the Morungs as well. But what makes these bamboo and cane really unique is that the naga artisans use them to create wonderful and attractive handicraft items.

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Naga lady preparing artwork with clay at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Beautiful flowers on display at the Horticulture section at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Various products like chairs, sofa sets, tables, sitting tools, window screens, flower pots, wall hangings, coasters, cutlery, etc are designed with bamboo and cane. Cane when treated properly becomes quite strong and the cane chairs and sofa sets have the capacity to handle a lot of weight as well and these last for a long duration as well. Various stalls at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds had on display these handicraft products made of bamboo and cane and the sheer attractiveness of these products is a real treat to the eyes of the visitors at the Hornbill Festival. Visitors could even purchase these items from the stall and carry them home as souvenir of their visit to Nagaland. Next up we visited the other stalls around that on display other naga arts like wood works, naga beaded jewelry, naga shawls, traditional naga outfits, naga daos and spears, products made of stone, naga traditional pickles and much more. It was astounding and commendable as to how the Naga people used such naturally available materials and transform them into such unique products all on display at the Hornbill Festival grounds. What intrigued me most was the specimen of the naga beaded jewelry where the naga women use various colored beads to design beautiful ornaments like earnings, nose rings, necklaces, etc. They are so colorful and it is sure to attract the attention of any female visitor here. The girls in the group got all excited looking at these beaded jewelry and they immediately got to purchasing these jewelry items and is costs a fraction of what the gold or silver jewelry would cost them.

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Naga Beaded Jewelry put up on display at the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

And to my luck I turned out to know the lady who was selling these beaded jewelry as I had met her at the NEDfi house in Guwahati once when she had come to an exhibition here. It was nice to see her and she too recognized me and got infuriated as to why I did not tell her that I had come to Nagaland. She insisted that I visited here home in Kohima once before I left from here and I told her that I would not assure her now and if my time permitted I would surely visit her place once. She told me that her business was doing quite well now and she now exports naga beaded jewelry to various countries in Europe and even the USA as well. Next up the Naga shawls looked so vibrant with the various colored wool used to weave them making them a prime attraction of the stalls here at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. The naga shawls are a pride of the naga warriors and we could see both men and women weaving it around their body to beat the chill of the December weather. it adds to the already colorful attires of eh traditional naga people and they provide adequate warmth during the chilly weather of Nagaland. These naga shawls are in demand across the World and huge numbers are exported from Nagaland all across. The traditional weapon stall is also a prime attraction at the Hornbill Festival and one can see the various naga spears, knives, swords and daggers. As the ancient naga people were mostly warriors and weapons defined them and at times when there was no modern weaponry these metal objects served to protect and even attack enemies and also go for hunting as well.

I remember even in my home in the 1990s we used to have these naga spears as decorations in the house hung on the walls in the living room because they are so attractive to look at. The top of the spear has the arrow while the body is designed with wool and it looks very bright and colorful. The other weapons called as the naga daos are unique hunting instruments used by naga people to go to the forests while hunting wild animals. The traditional products made of stone were also unique as they had stone made crushers and grinders like it was used in the olden days. Other stone made products were sculptures and decorative items as well. The stone grinders were the earlier versions of mixer grinders that people used to make pastes of mostly whole spices like ginger and garlic, chillies and coriander and as smoked meat is a popularity in Nagaland as can be seen in the Hornbill Festival venue grounds this meat is put in the hollowed out center of the grinder and mixed with herbs, ginger, garlic, chillies and coriander and then pounded until it attains a coarse paste like form and later served with a meal. Another form of such a grinder is a flat stone slab and a kind of a rectangular piece of stone that has many small holes on its body along with the slab. This is used to coarse grind and make pastes of items like green chillies, dal, onions, ginger garlic, etc. It was so interesting to witness how the indigenous people made use of such natural items that have paved way to modern machines like the mixer grinders however these old products made your body do the workout and hence helped you to stay fit unlike machines that have removed the hard work and hence made life more simpler leading to obesity.

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Exquisite bamboo and cane handicraft products at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Next up we visited the Horticulture section of the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. Nagaland as mentioned earlier is rich in floral diversity and this makes the state to have various flowers, fruits and vegetables that are edible and this as a section is put on display here at Kisama. This section displays organic vegetables and fruits from the different regions of the state of Nagaland and all around we could see fruits and vegetables like oranges, bananas, cabbages, kiwis, pumpkins, etc. Visitors can see and even purchase these items in the various stalls at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. Some interesting and noteworthy fruit items to bee seen here are ones brought in from the forests of Nagaland like wild grapes, wild apples, wild lemons, wild mangoes, bananas, cherry, mulberry, etc. These are pure in form directly brought in from the wild without the addition of any harmful pesticides and chemicals to artificially ripen them, This section also has on display various medicinal plants of the forests of Nagaland. The ancient Nagas knew the benefits of these plants and they had remedial cures for all ailments made from the bark, leaves and roots of certain plants and trees even the treatment of leprosy and cancer by the use of the Chalmugra seeds. Nagaland is also home to a wide variety of orchids and flowers and thee very rare Dzukou lily and the Shirui lily are found in the state. Many varieties of flowers were put on display here at the horticulture section as well. Also present were juice extracts from various fruits and other derivatives like jam and especially the natural honey extracted from the bee hives of the forests of Nagaland. This section is a must visit if you have a sweet tooth and want to experience food that is free from any adulteration brought in fresh from the source and all to be seen and witnessed at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds.

The next section is completely dedicated to art because it is the section of paintings and photography. Being bestowed with such beautiful natural landscapes that are teeming with flora, fauna and avifauna one has to automatically get into an artistic bent of mind and try to capture these amazing landscapes in canvas in the form of various paintings. And with the advent of a generation where people use their cameras to capture every moment in their life it is good to see that they have explored their talent to capture Nagaland in a way that no one has seen before. from the nature, scenery to the distinct tribes of Nagaland and their way of life, their culture and traditions, their hunting skills, their tattoos, their warrior dances, their warrior skills, the beautiful orchids of Nagaland, the glimpses of the awe of mother nature at the pristine Dzukou Valley, these photographs describe entire nagaland in a nutshell along with the portraits that are so beautifully painted that it looks life like. These photographs and paintings are on display and on sale as well so visitors to the Hornbill Festival who are left awestruck and amazed with these paintings can buy them and carry it as a souvenir back home as well.

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Naga tribal lady weaving exquisite naga handlooms at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Next up was the section for children and it had some adventure activities for the children to enjoy while the adults savored the food, beer and wine at the Hornbill Festival. This section had the options of zip-lining, trampolines, swings and various other adventure activities. We asked the children if they would be interested in these activities and they agreed to walk into the section and enjoy the activities. The guards were there and so we did not have to worry about their well being. We told the guards that we would be at the Morung of the Lotha tribe and asked them to bring the children here once they had finished their activities as we would be having our lunch there. So after leaving the children to spend their time at the sports section Adole, myself and the other guests went in to visit the Morung of the Lotha tribe for our lunch and to taste some of the Lotha naga rice beer. This Morung of the Lotha Naga people were like the other Morungs and had a similar setup with elaborate decorations of wood work of various animals and birds along with the skulls of the Mithun on top and outside there was a seating area made of bamboo along with the dais where the Lotha naga boys and girls were sitting dressed in their traditional attires and the boys wearing the colorful headgear. We had to finish drinking our rice beer before the children were back and so we ordered the rice beer at first long with some chicken cooked mostly barbecued with traditional Lotha naga herbs accompanied with a spicy chutney made of chillies, herbs and coriander. Also available on the menu were pork meat, smoked pork meat, Mithun and the dog meat. We were strictly against the dog meat and so we ordered the roast smoked pork and the food arrived to us shortly. The chicken and pork tasted quite good along with the rice beer that was served in bamboo mugs.

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Rice beer with pork served to us at the Lotha Morung at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kisama ~ Nagaland ~ India

Bamboo is indeed a versatile plant and it could be used to create anything like just in this setup we were sitting on a platform of bamboo along with the table that too was made of bamboo. We were sipping rice beer from a bamboo mug and the meat was put up on skewers made of bamboo, the fire used to roast the meat was with bamboo and even the tooth pick like sticks we used to eat the meat was made of bamboo. Last of all the entire Morung was constructed using bamboo. bamboo can be an alternate to wood for all works and this can be seen here in nagaland and North East India as well. Even the camp I run at Majuli in Assam is also constructed entirely using bamboo. So important is this tall grass of North East India that no wonder it is often called as the green gold. The rice beer of the Lotha tribe tasted different from the one we had in Kigwema that was brewed in Adole’s village and Adole told me that it was because they used a different rice variety to make it. Varieties of rice crops are grown by the naga people and the soil plays a role in the flavor of the rice. While the ones grown on terrace cultivation is different than the ones with the Jhum cultivation.

The students arrived and by the time we had finished our rice beer as well. We ordered lunch for everyone where we would be having the special ‘Galho’ – the Lotha traditional rice and along with that we ordered some smoked pork curry with herbs, chicken curry, a special naga chutney made with roasted tomato, king chilly and coriander. Some of the local naga students who were accustomed to the food here even ordered pork liver and intestines and a smoked pork chutney. The owner of this Morung was having a good time today looking at the size of our group he would estimate a good profit. The Morung members were all busy with our order and they even stopped taking orders from other guests. In sometime the sumptuous lunch was served to us here at the Lotha tribe Morung at the venue grounds of the Hornbill Festival. The rice had a different color and it was not pure white with a shade of brownish texture to it and it could be had just like it because it had a special flavor to it. But with the amount of food we had ordered we had a lot of sides to it. I tried the rice with a little of the smoked pork curry, chicken and the pork intestines. It was a wonderful and flavorful presentation of food and no artificial spices were added to it. The pork intestines had a real nice flavour to it and it was cleaned and boiled at first then added to it were sour herbs along with lots of ginger, garlic, spring onions, coriander, vinegar was used to saute it. I was at first skeptical about trying the pork intestines and liver because it is a natural fact as to what pigs eat and process it in their intestines. So my mother had always asked me to stay away from these two parts of the pork meat as it is said to contain various bacteria and pathogens.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Food preparations going on at the Lotha Morung at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

But then Adole told me that it was cleaned and rinsed adequate number of times so that any traces of digested food was removed and also it was boiling at a high temperature for quite some time and there was no chance of any bacteria to survive at such temperatures. And also the vinegar and the various herbs are known to eliminate bacteria so it shouldn’t be much of a cause to worry. Across Nagaland, the people rear pork for its meat mostly because it is inexpensive to rear pigs and once fully grown the animal provides enough meat to feed an entire village. Therefore none of the meat goes to waste and each and every part of the pigs body is used to cook some recipe or the other like the meat and fat is grilled and also smoked to make a curry. The head is also used to prepare some recipe along with the toes and ears. The liver and intestines we were already eating here at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. And to tell the truth the liver was tasting pretty much like the goat liver as it was properly boiled and simply dry fried with curry leaves with some spices and topped up with chopped onions, green chillies and coriander. But what made it more flavorful was the dip or the chutney that is made with roasted tomatoes that is at first roasted over fire, peeled, crushed and mixed with green chillies, naga king chilli, coriander, slat, vinegar and lime juice. We finished our lunch and thanked the members of the Lotha Morung at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds for arranging this wonderful and sumptuous lunch for us and later we went back to the venue grounds to watch the performance of the various naga tribes who would continue to perform their traditional naga warrior dances for demonstration of their culture, traditional and heritage to the visitors at the Hornbill Festival.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Beautiful Naga girls in traditional attire perform at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

We took our seats at the pavilion area and there was another 20 minutes left for the performances to start as the other guests were busy exploring the Morungs and also as it was lunch time and so the dance performances were scheduled to start at 2.30 PM. We ensured to return to Camp Hornbill before sundown as we had to walk for around 20 minutes and so by 4 PM we decided to leave the Hornbill Festival venue grounds to go back to our campsite. We took our time admiring the efforts that went into the preparations of the ‘Festival of Festivals’. The sheer amount of hard work is evident and the results clearly visible with over 2 lakh visitors expected at the Hornbill Festival. The dance performances started soon and we were expecting to see the traditional warrior dances of the Angami, Konyak, Sumi Naga, Lotha, Pochury and Rengma naga tribes of Nagaland. These dance forms depict the various facets of a traditional naga warrior life where the naga people from each tribe get together in groups and perform wearing their traditional tribal attires and elaborate head gears carrying along the traditional weapons that were used in the head hunting days of Nagaland. All of these acts and dances that are performed by each of these traditional tribes of Nagaland are actually a narration of how they used to survive in the ancient times like how they went out hunting in search of food and headhunting expeditions when they went out to conquer land and expand their territory and wage wars against the other clans and chop off the heads of the enemy and carry it back home. This act is depicted especially by the Konyak tribes who were the fiercest among all naga headhunters.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The legendary Naga warriors await to perform at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

The interesting part of these dance performances are the attires of the men folks as the men mostly went out on war expeditions and the naga women stayed back in the village protecting their families and taking care of the cultivation and farming. The attire of the men folks during these dance performances at the Hornbill Festival is grand and comprises of hooks and belts made from animal hide that they tie around their waists to carry certain hunting instruments of metal like sword, spears, arrows, the Naga Dao, etc. It is a common practice of the Naga men to carry a Naga Dao (Machete) with them whenever they step out of their homes. The Konyak warriors when they used to out on hunting expeditions their mother and sisters used to chop off their hair and offer them as a sign of good luck and the warriors used to proudly attach their tresses to their behind like a tail reminding them of who is awaiting for them back home and they had to fight gallantly to win and return. The warriors wore an elaborate headgear that described how powerful their clan was and each tribe had a different type of head gear that differentiated them from each other. Certain among these head gears used to have Hornbill feathers and this was considered a family lineage and used to be passed on only to the successful warriors in the clan. These naga warriors also used to carry a bamboo basket tied around their waist and in this baskets during the wars they used to cut off the chopped head’s ears to proclaim their victory.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Young Angami naga boys and girls at the Morung at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Coming back to the dance performances, the first act was that of the Angami Naga people who are the main inhabitants of the Dimapur and Kohima and considered a superior clan in Nagaland even today.. They presented their dance form of Pita wherein it was a demonstration of how they hosted other people in their local Angami village during festival time and how they vowed to protect each other during good and bad times. These Angami naga people are a very close knit community of Nagaland and they care and protect about the other Angami Nagas that has made them very successful today. Today in the modern world Angami nagas hold major positions in the government services of Nagaland. Next was the dance performance of the Ao Nagas of Nagaland. The Ao Nagas are a community inhabiting the Mokokchung district of Nagaland that is a hill station and one of the most beautiful towns in Nagaland. Mokokchung is home to the largest Baptist Church in Asia and today the Ao Nagas is also one of the most educated tribes of Nagaland. But they had strived hard to keep their traditions alive and this is demonstrated at the Hornbill Festival when they perform an act describing the grandeur of the Hornbill bird. Their dance would imitate the movements of the revered Hornbill bird that flies from one tree branch to another. What the Ao nagas believed is that is the Hornbill bird can sit on this tree branch that is good enough for it that meant that tree branch would be good enough for the Ao nagas to use at their homes as well. So they used to go out into the forests in search of a Hornbill bird and follow it. The bird jumped from one tree branch to another and later settled on one branch and that tree branch they would cut and bring back home to their village. The Ao nagas performed other acts as well wherein they demonstrated the activities during their harvest festival and even the post harvest festival when a rich man from the village threw a summer feast to thank the villagers for their help during the harvest.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The Sumi Naga warriors at the Morung at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

We made up our mind to leave the Hornbill festival venue grounds after watching the performance of the Konyak warriors of Nagaland as it would get dark and if we stayed for the entire performance demonstration. I really wanted to see the Konyak nagas performing because this tribe of Nagaland intrigue me the most because they are the last of the surviving head hunters of Nagaland and their exquisite tattoos are a thing to look out for. Their teeth are black used to create a sense of scare among the other clans and this was achieved mostly through rubbing of wood charcoal on the teeth that made their teeth stained and strong as well. The Konyak nagas are known for the use of opium and even today when you visit their villages at Longwa in Mon district of Nagaland you can see the elderly konyaks use opium. The Konyak nagas performed a bamboo dance at the Hornbill festival where the members of the group had to jump in and out of the bamboo squares that are created by men holding the two ends of the bamboo and a rhythmic music that keeps changing without any warnings keeps playing and the warriors had to keep up to it. This requires a lot of concentration because one miss step and you fall to the ground so while the Konyak nagas kept their concentration and performed this dance the other tribes waiting nearby tried their best to distract them and lose their concentration.

It was an amazing first day ceremony of the Hornbill Festival 2018 at the Kisama Heritage Village and the celebrations continued. Though the celebrations across the Hornbill Festival at the venue grounds are more or less similar across the festival days yet the pleasure of witnessing it on the opening ceremony is a different experience altogether. I would not be coming back to the venue grounds again because I had to travel to Khonoma village the next day and visit the Kohima night bazaar and then continue further to Dzukou valley before coming back to Camp Hornbill and head back to Jorhat and then to Majuli in Assam so this was my final experience at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. I must admit that witnessing the rich Naga culture and heritage changed my perspective about life and I understood how simple people like the nagas have tried to preserve ancient traditions even though they have adopted much of the modern lifestyles of today and they proudly showcase their ancient traditions and practices to the world. I learnt how they live in harmony with nature and make use of the resources around them to make biodegradable objects of daily use and preserve the forest cover across the State and lastly I realized how rice can be used as a food to prepare various items like rice beer, rice cakes, rice wine, etc.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The Naga warriors perform the traditional beating of log wood at the Morung at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

The festivities at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds continued and more tribes were performing and after the performances would be over by 5 PM the Morung gates would be opened again and the visitors would continue drinking rice beer and savor their choice of meat with various genre of music playing in the background. Rice beer is an unlimited supply and keeps flowing freely along with the pleasant aroma of the various roasted meat recipes and the spicy chutneys to accompany along with it. We left the Hornbill Festival venue grounds and started on our walk back to Camp Hornbill admiring the beautiful evening sky of Kohima and waving goodbye to the various tribes of Nagaland. We reached back at Camp Hornbill at 5 PM and it was already dark as the sun sets quite early in this part of the country and one of the boys was lighting the bonfire. Kaushik was busy welcoming few of the other guests who had arrived from Delhi and Mumbai and today there were an addition of another 15 more guests at Camp Hornbill taking the total number to 70. The student group would be leaving tomorrow morning and so the number would reduce to around 40 with a few more guests expected to arrive the next day. Adole and myself went to help out the boys and the team for the evening bonfire, barbecue and dinner. Adole rushed to the Bonfire area while I headed to the kitchen to oversee the progress. The Barbecue meat was being prepared with the spices marinating on the chicken and the pork. There was a goof up with the meat delivery today as the vendor interchanged the quantities of pork and chicken by mistake.

Generally we place a larger order for chicken because we have visitors who come from across India and the World and many of them are not accustomed to pork meat and eat chicken only. We ensure to cook both these meat separately so that no one has an issue and also as we see a lot of people who prefer to eat only vegetarian for them we have the vegetables and the paneer along with the dal, salad, pickles, chutney, etc. So what happened was that the vendor brought in more pork instead of chicken and so Kaushik had to go back to Kigwema again to get the required quantity and also as he was not ready to take back the pork meat Adole had to intervene over phone call and had to get the matter settled. The chicken order was brought in the right quantity and the preparations were now on in full swing to host the evening bonfire and barbecue at Camp Hornbill. The dinner menu today would be a Chinese one along with the regular rice and dal for people who preferred to eat a simple dinner and the mashed potatoes to the foreigners. After having the heavy meal today at the Lotha Morung at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds I was at least full and not feeling hungry for dinner because there was barbecue meat to be savored as well pre-dinner along with some rum brought in by another group here at the Camp. The boys were chopping the vegetables to prepare the fried rice and the chilly pork and chicken manchurian and the other items and I took the marinated meat to the barbecue area.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The Chang Naga warriors perform the traditional dance at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Adole and Kaushik were ready with the bonfire and the grills placed alongside it and Adole started to prepare the barbecue and he would be in-charge of the BBQ station today. Everyone got fresh after a long day at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds and the students and the other guests took their seats around the bonfire. Adole grilled the meat properly and today as per the vegetarian’s request we had some paneer and vegetables put on the grill as well. Tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum cubes were put on skewer’s along with the paneer and it was slow roasted over fire. Kaushik started to play some nice country music at the background and the guests started to discuss their day among each other. The student group would leave tomorrow and I asked them if they wanted to come to Khonoma with us but the teacher said that they had to travel to Guwahati and so it would be better for them to leave early in the morning by 7 AM to reach Guwahati before sundown and they had to ensure to leave Kohima before the traffic started on its streets and I couldn’t agree less with them. We all enjoyed the bonfire and the barbecue while the elders sipped on rice beer and wine the students had soft drinks along with the barbecue. Dinner was served at 8.30 PM and everyone went to have their dinner after a long day especially the children who were not used to such long schedules. The chilly pork was very tasty and so was the chicken manchurian. The boys kept running around keeping up to the needs of the guests and it was all finally over for the day at 9.30 PM. I asked the boys to rush in with the cleaning as the next day they would need to be up by 5.30 to heat the water for the student group who would be leaving early. Everyone retired by 10 PM and this ended our day 2nd at Camp Hornbill and the first day at the Hornbill Festival.

The next morning we had to start early on the request of the student group who had planned top leave Camp Hornbill before 7 AM and so we had to get on our feet early to get the hot water ready for them along with a simple breakfast. Kaushik had planned on an easy and quick breakfast for them that would have ready to eat maggi noodles, cornflakes, boiled eggs, bananas, muffins, milk and chips. One of the boys got to boiling the eggs on one burner and to prepare the maggi noddles with carrots and peas on the other burner and the two of the other boys got to get the boiling water and all at 5 AM in the morning. The group got up by 5.30 AM and it was damn cold and I wondered how they could think of having their bath in this weather. But they were very active and one by one they entered the bathroom with hot water buckets after refreshing themselves and by around 6.30 AM all of them were ready with their bags packed and ready for breakfast. The breakfast was laid out in the dining area and the children took their turn to serve breakfast and they finished by 7 AM and after having some black tea/coffee they boarded their bus and bid goodbye to us to travel to Guwahati. We thanked them for coming and hoped to welcome them to Camp Hornbill and the Hornbill Festival again soon.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The beautiful cover of the mountains near the Khonoma village ~ Khonoma ~ Nagaland ~ India

The other guests were all getting up by now and they used the bathroom to refresh themselves and for them there were some other food for breakfast like pastas and pohas which are popular breakfasts in the country and by 8.30 AM breakfast was served again for the other guests. Today myself, Adole and a few of the guests staying with us who went tot eh Hornbill Festival venue ground yesterday would travel to the Khonoma village. Few of the guests who arrived yesterday would visit the Hornbill Festival venue grounds today and Kaushik would be accompanying them for the first half today and return by early afternoon so as to avoid any more confusions with the food delivery. We were ready by 9 AM and we took Kaushik’s vehicle to drive to Khonoma village as Adole was accustomed to driving it. Including me there were a total of 8 members and so we started on our drive to Khonoma village – the only Green village in India. The drive to Khonoma would take around an hour and fifteen minutes from Kisama and we drove across the mountain terrains of Nagaland on Kaushik’s Sumo to visit Khonoma.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The traditional Angami head gear near the Khonoma fort at Khonoma village ~ Khonoma ~ Nagaland ~ India

Adole told us about the legacy of Khonoma village as to why the village folks adopted a principle of not to hunt and not to cut trees here at the Khonoma village. The people here used to practice hunting and lumbering and then came a point when in 1993 around 3000 Tragopan birds were killed by hunting alone and lots of trees were fell and it was then the village headmen or the ‘Gaon Buras’ called for a village meeting to call an end to such practices and promote Khonoma as a green village that would serve as a model to other villages across Nagaland and help create awareness among the people to live in harmony with nature and protect and conserve the environment. Khonoma is the oldest Angami village in Nagaland and with its green practices today this village is renowned across the World and many tourists, students and researchers come here to admire the culture and heritage of the Angami people here. We reached the entrance to the Khonoma village at around 10.15 AM and there was a huge gate that welcomed us to the Green Village of Khonoma. In addition to being home to the oldest Angami village Khonoma was also known as the place where the British had to face stiff resistance from the Naga warriors during their quest they had a tough time colonizing Nagaland due to this resistance.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The legacy of the Khonoma fort at Khonoma village ~ Khonoma ~ Nagaland ~ India

The Naga warriors finally had to be given in their struggle to the modern artillery and due to this many of the Angami naga warriors to lay down their lives and today the fort at Khonoma stands as a testament to his will and determination of these warriors. And as it was during the Hornbill Festival time we were expecting to meet many tourists here at the Khonoma village and not to be accompanied many tourists had already gathered at the Khonoma village exploring the rich history of this place. We parked the car and then went in to visit the village where at first Adole took us to a view point of the village from where we could see a signature cross and from here we could view the entire green area of Khonoma village. The villages here practice jhum cultivation wherein the naga people change their land after few years of farming on them. This was now seen as a threat to the environment as they had to chop down trees to create farm lands and so now they have switched to ‘renewable jhum cultivation’ wherein they plant alder trees and cut them occasionally avoiding the use of fire so that the trees can grow back from nothing. Also this helps to retain the fertility of the land now as the land is not used over and over again continuously and allowed time to rest before the next time farming is done again. From here we could get a glimpse of the tall mountains and the rocky cliffs that resembled the face of a human, Today Khonoma after becoming a green village attracts thousands of tourists every year. Khonoma is known for its practice of traditional naga wrestling and the Angami nagas are indebted to having kept this tradition alive in Khonoma.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The young naga boys practice for wrestling at Khonoma village ~ Khonoma ~ Nagaland ~ India

In this was of wrestling the Naga boys enter the Morungs from a very early age where they are taught how to combat and wrestle and train. This training is a very tough regime here in Khonoma where heavy planks of wood or a tree trunk are kept on their backs while they are in a push up position and then with the heavy load on their backs they are made to train as it helps to build their overall strength of the body. This practice of wrestling as demonstrated here in Khonoma village including how the young boys train to become wrestlers. There was a demonstration scheduled soon and we took our seats at the kind of a courtyard area along with the other guests who had come to Khonoma village. I could recognize some of the faces from the Hornbill Festival venue grounds and they were mostly foreign tourists who had visited Khonoma today. The demonstrations began and one of the Angami naga men showed us how the young boys are trained by showing us how they work out and later train to practice for the wrestling moves. Everyone was intrigued to watch the boys show so much of zeal and commitment to their training here at the Khonoma village and the crowd started cheering once they experienced the wrestling moves.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Lunch served for guests at Khonoma village ~ Khonoma ~ Nagaland ~ India

After this lunch was served at the courtyard area and as the naga people eat an early lunch so it was just around 12 PM and they asked everyone to have their lunch. A variety of food was laid out in front of us from rice porridge, rice, pork curry, smoked Mithun barbecue, a vegetable curry, a salad, spicy tomato chutney, dal, etc. The meal costed only INR 250 per head and we enjoyed it to the fullest. Next up we explored the remnants of the Khonoma fort here at the Khonoma village paying our tributes to the brave Angami men to had put up a brave resilience to the British troops. Built of huge stone blocks this fort like structure has the timeline of the various stages of its construction to its damage and the times it was reconstructed as well. There are names of the many of the brave Angami men who sacrificed their life here fighting to save the Naga legacy here at Khonoma. Next up we admired the lush green Mountain view and the point from where we could get a glimpse of various naga homes here at Khonoma that are constructed on a hill and looks beautiful in construction. The houses are built along the cliff side and the downwards is the valley view and it would feel so nice to get a glimpse of the  diverse nature once you are up the mornings and can get a view of the sunrise from atop the mountains.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Various woodwork at the entrance of the Morung at Khonoma village ~ Khonoma ~ Nagaland ~ India

Next we came back to the Khonoma village to explore a Morung and later visit some of the local Angami naga homes here. The Khonoma village offers visitors a blend of the traditional and the modern world. On one side there are the village elderly who keep the ancient traditions alive be it in the food they eat or the cloth they wear and the customs they follow while on the other there are the naga youth who adopt a most modern approach to life wearing modern attires and hanging out with their cell phones. The Angami Morung at Khonoma was huge when compared to the model ones built at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. It resembled more of or less a huge home built entirely with bamboo and wood and its on an elevated platform. Even today this Morung is used to train the young boys and girls and for the village meetings and announcements. The entrance to the Morung is decorated with wooden arts like the Naga Daos, hunting instruments, the face of an Angami warrior, a woodwork resembling the face of a Mithun, a modern rifle, brooms and other things. Inside the Morung we could see a sitting area, old baskets and other decorative items as well. We explored the Morung and later came out to visit some of the local Angami Naga homes here at the Khonoma village.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Naga homes built alongside cliffs at Khonoma village ~ Khonoma ~ Nagaland ~ India

While most of the homes around the villages had modern built with brink and mortar and the signature tin sheet roofs that were laid out in an elevation to ward off the monsoon rains some of the homes were still the traditional naga architecture with bamboo and thatch roofs. We went into one such home after seeking the families permission and they welcomed us in and showed us around. We went into their kitchen premises where we could see that they had hung up a mithun left for smoking and the meat piece looked very delicious. We explored the other Angami homes here at Khonoma and after clicking our pictures with the locals we bid farewell to Khonoma village to go back to Kohima. Adole told us that we would visit the night carnival area at Kohima before heading back to Camp Hornbill. We reached Kohima town by 5.30 PM and the festivities of Hornbill Festival we could sight all around us with visitors from across the World traversing the streets of Kohima exploring the rich Naga culture and cuisine. We wen to the area near the Nagaland State Transport office where they block an entire street to host the evening carnival celebration. Here at the carnival we could see everybody in a festive mood and wearing various Halloween masks. Here the various street food of Nagaland could be savored. Various food stalls covered each side of the pavement here at the Kohima night carnival area and one could find street vendors dishing out some real delicious Naga fast food recipes that mostly comprises of fried and saute food like momos, pork, chicken, beef, certain insects like grasshoppers all blended with the flavour of the Naga king chilly and much more.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
An Angami naga elderly lady at Khonoma village ~ Khonoma ~ Nagaland ~ India

And with this being the month of Christmas, the celebrations were visible all across the town of Kohima with people enjoying themselves to the fullest and helping the visitors from across the World discover the treasures of Nagaland. We too walked around the night carnival as a part of the Hornbill Festival festivities and savored some real nice Naga fast food here. I tried the pork momos as this is a signature dish of North East India and people love to eat the momos and the momos in Nagaland unlike the ones found in Assam have a yellow color skin while the ones found in Assam and other parts of the region have a white skin. I loved the momos as they were quite juicy and had a huge filling of pork meat inside that was minced meat mixed with certain vegetables and steamed and also fried. The soup offered along with it was a chicken soup and the spicy chutney accompaniment that was made with a mix of coriander, mint and naga chillies. We explored the area around the Kohima carnival and later visited the venue grounds where the music fest was being held with various local Naga bands performing. Generally every year at the Hornbill Festival an International Rock music festival is being held at Kohima but this year the venue grounds was changed and it was being hosted in Dimapur due to certain reasons. The International Rock Festival sees bands from across the World come to Nagaland to perform on the occasion of the Hornbill Festival and also there is a cash prize to be won that is a sizable amount. Unfortunately as this year it was being held in Dimapur we couldn’t make it and so we decided to witness the performance of the local Naga bands.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Street vendors busy cooking delicious naga fast food at the night carnival venue grounds ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

The Naga youth are extremely talented musicians and they have music in their genes. They are very hard core fans of rock music and generally every household has a musician who plays some sort of musical instrument with the most popular one being a guitar. From a very early age these youngsters learn about music and compose songs in their native language while even singing to the tunes of the various international bands. We took our places near the stage area here at the NST and the bands started performing to various International and local numbers. We spent some time here and later left the Kohima carnival grounds in Nagaland to go back to Camp Hornbill. The streets of Kohima were still quite busy in the late evenings so we took a little while to drive back to the camp and we arrived at 8.45 PM. The guests who had stayed back today to witness the festivities at the Hornbill Festival were having their dinner along with the guests who had arrived today and we said hello to everyone and went to freshen ourselves before we started our dinner. Today without the children around the people were having a gala time with drinks flowing around freely. The visitors managed to arrange for all kinds of liquor from whiskey, rum to local rice beer and the barbecue session was going on.

Only a handful of the guests had started the dinner while most of them took their time today to relax and unwind and we gathered at he third terrace where another bonfire was lit and people were savoring their alcohol with the chicken and pork barbecue items. We freshened up and I went around to ask the guests if they needed anything and they said everything was fine and they did not expect anything more. The food menu today had white rice, dal fry, chicken curry cooked with sesame seeds, fish cooked with a sour herb, pork fried with tomatoes, green salad, paneer bhurji, chutney, pickles, papad, etc and the guests loved it. The boys along with Kaushik’s cousin ensured that the food was always the best in class at Camp Hornbill and because of the food here visitors who stayed with us here during the Hornbill Festival days ensured to come again to visit not only for the camping experience but also to savor the food that is a cuisine popular across India. This is because during the afternoon when they are at the Hornbill festival venue grounds and they already get a chance to savor the naga cuisine and so in the evening they want to eat something that is generally found at their homes as well and so we stick to such menus instead of having a traditional naga menu that is already available at the morungs at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Our group members pose for a picture at the night carnival venue grounds ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

I joined the guests who were enjoying their bonfire and drinks and as it was 9.20 PM we generally close dinner service by 9.30 PM as the boys need to clean up and take rest so Kaushik had asked everyone to have their dinner and then continue their last round here. I went in and they offered me a glass of whiskey and it was a nice scotch. It was good to have nice whiskey after long and in the meantime they went to have their dinner. I spoke to Kaushik and he asked me to accompany few of the guests to the Hornbill Festival venue the next day and later the next day embark on the trek to Dzukou valley as few guests wanted to travel there too and I too would be visiting the valley for the first time accompanied by Adole. It would be very cold there and so we had to be careful to carry adequate warm clothing before going there. The guests enjoyed their dinner and while some of them went to sleep some joined us and I asked the boys to get the things cleaned up and had my dinner as well. By the time we went to bed it was 10.30 PM thereby ending Day 2 of the Hornbill Festival festivities at the Kisama Heritage Village and Camp Hornbill.

The next morning we repeated our schedule and at 9 AM were ready after our breakfast if fried rice, scrambled eggs, cup noodles, tea, coffee, bread, peanut butter, bananas and we started on our hike to the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. We reached at 9.30 AM and purchased our tickets to enter the venue grounds. It was a new way of exploring the Hornbill Festival today as there would be various other performances to be witnessed as I had missed out on certain performances the last time. By the time we took our seats the various tribes of Nagaland had already started their dance performances. When we started to witness the Yimchunger naga warriors were performing their traditional warrior dances dressed in their traditional attires and elaborate head gears. Their dance involved both men and women and the brisk steps taken by the men folks look very illustrative along with the women following them. They were followed by the dance performances of the Zeliang naga tribe of Nagaland ans the Pochury tribe as well. At 12 PM there was another important demonstration by the Department to Youth resources and sports of Nagaland wherein they demonstrated the act of traditional fire making here at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. During the earlier times when there was no easy access to lighting fires with match sticks/lighters the Naga warriors used various traditional ways of lighting a fire. And as they were warriors they were mostly out on expeditions and they had to rely on a fire source for various chores like to keep themselves warm in the winters, to boil water, to roast the hunted meat, scare off wild animals and perhaps even set an enemy village on fire after the conquest and all this required fire power.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The Phom Naga warriors perform the traditional dance at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Since the early ages before starting of fire became as easy as the tap of ones fingers on a lighter or a stroke of hand with a match stick, the people considered fire to be as sacred as God and they worshiped fire and the naga warriors too believed in the same. Before the advent of Christianity these warrior nagas worshiped nature mostly the sun, moon, rivers, mountains, trees and anything that provided them the source of energy and food and fire was also one among them. And so to keep this legacy alive the people of Nagaland preserved the ancient techniques of lighting the fire with stone and sticks and this was being demonstrated at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds today. A group of Naga men belonging from the Department to Youth resources and sports of Nagaland assembled at the stage area and they started demonstrating the various acts of lighting a fire. A person on the microphone was narrating the various things that were being used and also the steps that were being undertaken to light the fire things like accumulating the hay, placing dried grass leaves, etc and hen rubbing of stones in a particular way to create a spark that would help light the fire form a spark. These were no ordinary stones and they were collected from rive banks and polished by rubbing against the ground to make the surface rough and so the spark would light easily.

There was another technique where they used wood to light the fire and this process involved rubbing of a wooden stick end vigorously on a flat wooden plank that had a hollowed out space where the dried grass was placed. The rubbing of the small stick briskly against the hollowed put space created enough friction to create heat that helped to light up a fire. It was very interesting to witness these ways of creating the fire and it reminded me of the many movies I had watched earlier like the cave men and the ones based on the remote tribes in Africa and the demonstration of how they used to light the fire. The demonstration ended and after this the visitors went out to explore the Morungs and the have their lunch at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. Our guests went out on their own to explore the Morungs this time and I went at first to meet the naga lady who had her stall at the venue grounds where she was selling the naga beaded jewelry and I went in to say hello to her. Today she had come along with her daughter who had a break from her college and I had met here earlier at Guwahati as well. She was very excited to meet me again and she told me that her mother had told her that I had visited and she wanted to speak to me as she was graduating this yea and she planned on coming to Guwahati to enroll herself for her masters in Guwahati University. I told her it was not an issue at all and I would help her to my best while she was in Guwahati. I spoke to the family and the girl asked me if I had my lunch and she agreed to take me to have my lunch at the Angami naga Morung as she belonged to the Angami tribe of Nagaland.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The Yimchunger Naga warriors perform the traditional dance at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

We both went to the Morung and she seemed to know everyone here and she introduced me to everyone. The Angami Morung I had visited the last time at the Hornbill festival venue grounds but only looked around the place and did not eat eat here as we had food at eh Lotha Morung as suggested by Adole mostly because I thing Adole himself being an Angami naga was used to eating their cuisine and he wanted to try out the Lotha cuisine. Anyways we all enjoyed the meal and it was a very elaborate presentation. This time it was time to savor some local Angami naga cuisine and she took me to the kitchen area where I witnessed the preparation of an Angami meal and also how they were preparing the rice beer. The beauty of the meal that was kept here was like a feast to the eyes. The chunks of meat were sliced while some cut into cubes and all of these would be used to prepare different varieties of meat. The girl showed me around and explained to me the different processes involved in the meat preparations here at the Angami tribe Morung at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. The process of boiling the meat along with bamboo shoot was a first of a kind experience I had witnessed and the entire Morung was filled with the pleasant aroma of the boiling bamboo shoot. The pork meat takes a beautiful color that is imparted from the bamboo shoot and I was offered a piece of meat to eat along with a naga king chilly chutney dip. The meat melted in my mouth and the power of the king chilly filled my mouth with a blast of taste and I enjoyed every moment of it.

The rice beer was brewed freshly and we ordered some roasted pork with herbs to be had with the beer. The Angami naga have a different way of offering pork where they do not cook the pork by cutting the meat into smaller chunks and instead they use big meat pieces and they offer the meat chunks to the visitors and later cut them into smaller pieces if desired. While I was not used to eating such large pieces of meat especially of pork I asked them to cut it into smaller pieces. The meat was very tasty and the flavour of a certain herbs made the meat even more flavorful. After our rice beer we had our lunch of white rice, boiled dal, boiled vegetables with bamboo shoot, pork with akhuni, roasted smoked pork, bamboo shoot salad, minced meat and king chilly chutney here at the Angami Morung at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. I thanked the sweet girl for her kind gesture of allowing me to experience the Angami lifestyle with her and savor this delicious food as well. After this I went back to meet the group who were having their food at the Lotha Morung and they too had finished their lunch. we explored few of the other Morungs and then headed back to the pavilion area at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. This time we were to witness the cultural performances of the Phom, Pochury, Sangtam and the Tangkhul tribes of Nagaland. As today we did not have students and children with us the group decided to stay back at the Hornbill Festival grounds a little late to witness the evening celebration and enjoy the music, rice beer and the meat delicacies so we would go through the culture performances of these tribes of Nagaland before the evening celebrations started at 5 PM.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Visitors exploring the Naga Morungs at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

The tribes started to come and gather at the grounds and one by one each group started their performances. The various warriors were dressed in glorious costumes and hats and carrying their clan weapons of choice where they displayed their might in the arenas of war and how they used to celebrate their conquest in traditional warrior dances. The practice of head hunting in the form of a warrior dance and how they went about their conquest in the other villages and neighboring clans. There were performances wherein the group members of each of the Naga tribes demonstrated their harvest festivals. Most of the communities in Nagaland rely on agriculture as their primary occupation and hence after months of hard work in the fields they finally gather to celebrate their harvest and they have days of fun and merrymaking where they feast on rice beer and various traditional preparations of meat. The entire village gathers and becomes a part of this post harvest celebrations. Often among the tribes the rich people of the village who own major portion of the cultivation land host a feast and they call the villagers into their home and offer them the rice beer and meat delicacies and thank them for their hard work in the fields and these tribes at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds demonstrated these acts in the form of dances.

I was left enthralled by watching their performances and this made me feel the meaning of life. I was very sure that I was not destined to sit back at one place by an office desk and work in front of a computer my whole life. I was bound to explore and travel destinations and learn about the culture and traditions of the indigenous people and live their way of life and what better place to experience this other than North East India – a region that is home to over 200 indigenous tribal groups and a kaleidoscope of picture perfect nature and heritage at its best. The beautiful performances of these legendary warrior tribes of Nagaland ended and the Morung doors were now open for an evening of festivity on Day 3 of the Hornbill Festival 2018 at Kisama Heritage Village at Kohima in Nagaland. The visitors started to leave the pavilion and click pictures with the tribes who performed at the venue grounds and later they visited the Morungs. Our group too split into groups of their choice and I asked everyone to come back by 7 PM so we could go back together to Camp Hornbill before time for dinner or else Kaushik would be seriously annoyed and might even scream at me for not bringing the guests back quickly as we do not want to delay the other guests at the camp. Everyone dispersed and they visited the separate Morungs to enjoy the cultural evening at the Naga Morungs and feast on sumptuous meat offerings and lots of rice beer.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Naga tribe girls in traditional attire pose for a picture at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

This time at first I went to visit the Phom Naga Morung and try their food they had here. I was accompanied by two other foreign guests who were finding it comfortable to explore the festivities at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds with me and so we took our seats outside the Phom Naga Morung. The traditionally dressed Phom nagas were sitting outside their Morungs and welcoming visitors and screaming out the various meat delicacies and rice beer that was available at their Morung to attract visitors who would else visit the other Morungs and spend their money there. These ten days of the Hornbill festival is an opportunity for many people in Nagaland to earn a good revenue and as around 3 lakh guests visit the Hornbill Festival and spend an ample amount of money tasting and buying things the vendors and the Morung owners take this opportunity to attract as many guests as possible and make a sizable revenue to sustain themselves for a few months. So they take every opportunity to attract more number of visitors to their stalls and Morungs to reach that additional revenue. We admired the Phom Naga Morung and a young girl came to us to ask us what we would like to eat and drink. The various offerings were pork with akhuni, smoked pork with naga chillies, mithun smoked and roasted,l pork liver and intestines, chicken roast, chicken barbecued, etc.

We asked the girl to get us some rice beer and the chicken roasted and the chicken liver and gizzard roasted with vegetables as the foreigners who were with me did not want to eat pork or mithun. The girl happily took our order and went in to get our food. Across Nagaland one can find the women folks very active and carrying out regular businesses like the men folks. The women also hold reputed positions in the government offices, run successful entrepreneurship ventures, successful business establishments and even take care of the agricultural fields including taking care of the family and households. No wonder the Morung we were sitting at was run by a lady and most of the people working were also girls. Not only in Nagaland but across North East India women are in equal empowerment with the men. Mostly in the State of Meghalaya the Khasi tribes here follow the custom of a matrilineal system where the family lineage is taken from the mother’s side and the entire family property is inherited by the youngest daughter in the family. Even after marriage it is the men who go to live with the family of the women. Most of the local khasi business establishments are run by women and it is the man’s job to stay back at home and take care of the family and do some other chores. This empowerment of women can be also be seen in the states of Mizoram, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh as well.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Traditional colorful accessories worn by the naga warrior men at Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

At a time when the entire World is speaking about women empowerment here in North East India we can witness the power of women already and how they are contributing in running the economy of the state as well. The food and beer arrived and we gorged on the meat that was so very delicious all infused with fresh aromas of the herbs and the spicy chutney. After drinking a few mugs of rice beer I could feel a little high along with he other guests and I checked my watch and it was 6.45 PM so I started calling everyone and asked them to come together at the entrance of the Hornbill Festival venue grounds. Everyone came and all of them looked tipsy with the rice beer downed in and they were all smiling (must be because of something they had smoked up) and we started walking back to Camp Hornbill all in a jovial moos thereby ending or day 3rd at the Hornbill Festival. We took our time and at around 7.30 PM we reached back to the camp. Kaushik welcomed everyone and it the other guests who had come in today. The boys were busy with the bonfire, barbecue and dinner preparations along with Adole and Kaushik’s cousin. It so happened that today few of my friends from Guwahati had also arrived and they were known to Kaushik as well. They were excited to see me here and asked me why I didn’t tell them that was coming to the Hornbill Festival and staying at Kaushik’s place and also today being the World of social media they were even astonished as to why I didn’t even post any pictures as well. I am not a very active social media person and do not keep posting anything and everything of my daily life in Facebook or Instagram. Anyways we got to speaking and they discussed their plans for the Hornbill Festival.

I told them that I would be travelling to the Dzukou valley tomorrow and even they seemed interested but in the interest of time they had to opt out of it. There would be five of us travelling and trekking to Dzukou valley from the Hornbill Festival and three other guests along with Adole and myself would be visiting to Dzukou from Vishwema village. With the winters around we took adequate war clothing and we also had to hire the services of a porter to carry our sleeping bags and certain other stuff. Adole arranged for our stay at the rest house at Dzukou and it is a basic setup with rooms and floor mattresses to accommodate guest at Dzukou valley. Generally during our treks to the valley during the monsoon season we keep our guests here and as it was winters camping was also an option but not during the chilly December weather when the temperatures would be almost freezing. At 8.30 PM dinner was served and the guests had their food and I waited until everyone finished and the boys cleaned up and later we went to bed ending Day 3 at the Hornbill Festival and Camp Hornbill.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
On our way to Dzukou Valley at the times of the Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Next morning after breakfast while the guests went tot the Hornbill Festival venue grounds Adole and myself along with the three foreign guests started on our drive to Vishwema village from Kigwema. A Sumo vehicle was called and it took us to Vishwema village and dropped us thee. As it was during winters the roads were dry and Adole told me that in the monsoon driving on these roads is a challenge and only SUVs can access this road. At Vishwema we were welcomed by the porter who took our sleeping bags and some other stuff with him and we started on our trek to Dzukou Valley. Our trek commenced from Vishwema village to Dzukou valley and as it was during the dry season of winters the track was very much approachable while in the monsoon when there are numerous stream crossing along with muddy tracks but that is the best time to visit Dzukou in the months of June – July – August when the rainfall is at its peak because that is when the rare Dzukou lily along with other flower species bloom in the valley along with the ample growth of vegetation and trees – hence Dzukou is often called as the Valley of Flowers. The entire area looks like a green carpet on an uneven land and the mystic views had made Dzukou valley one of the most popular trekking destinations in North East India and visitors from across the World come to Nagaland to conquer the Dzukou valley. There are two routes to accessing the Dzukou valley from Kohima in Nagaland. One is from the Vishwema village and the other from the Zakhama village. The Vishwema route is often taken by most of the visitors and hence we too decided to take this path.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The majestic mountains of Dzukou Valley at the time of the Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

Dzukou lies at the border of Nagaland and Manipur and so there are available access routes to this paradise from Manipur as well and as Adole told me those are the more challenging routes to access. We started on the climb towards the valley top and Adole led us towards the summit. We were easily accessing the trek route sighting the various green cover of mountains and although much of the trees had shed their leaves yet with he amount of moisture and clean air around the tree cover was still green. We continued on our hike and reached a valley crossing that had a little amount of flowing water still with some source on top but unlike the monsoon where Adole told us that they had to tie strong ropes at each end to cross the stream because of the water current. This time we managed to cross it easily by stepping on the large rocks in the water. The weather was starting to get colder as we got higher up on the elevation. After walking for about an hour we stopped to take a break and hydrate ourselves and have some snacks as well. The area is a litter free zone and one has to ensure to dispose water responsibly here at the Dzukou valley and it is advised to carry the thrash along with oneself and keep it for disposal at the rest house.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The rest house at Dzukou Valley at the time of the Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

While we were waiting there another group of trekkers who were coming along and they stopped by to say hello to us. They were a mix of nationalities accompanied by a tour guide and I knew they were from Europe because the tour guide belonged to one of the reputed tour companies of Assam who had office in UK and they mostly did tours to Hornbill Festival. After discussing on our experiences at the Hornbill Festival and the journey ahead to Dzukou we started back on the trek after sharing our snacks. Now it was a different group altogether with the foreigners speaking to themselves and Adole, myself, the porters and the guide walking together. Occasionally we stopped to click pictures of the majestic surroundings here at Dzukou Valley. After three hours of walk around the mountains we finally approached the Rest House at Dzukou. The caretaker welcomed us in and it was so interesting to learn how this person survived in such a place away from human settlement and with no mobile network coverage. There were few other boys staying close by but yet it was kind of frightening for me to be able to survive at a place like this. The nature and beauty around was mesmerizing but coming to a fact check I couldn’t have survived long in such conditions away from mankind for long. Anyways we got to look around the place and admiring he wonderful green cover all around us with no pollution of any sorts. Adole had brought along some pasta, noodles and smoked meat and he gave it to the boys for preparation who had rice and vegetables boiling for lunch.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The breathtaking landscapes of Dzukou Valley at the time of the Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

We had our lunch and after a long day’s trek we were all quite hungry and took to our food very quickly. After lunch we explored the area around the rest house and the unique graffiti on the wall of the guest house caught everyone’s attention. Across the place beautiful glimpses of the valley could be seen as well. The sun sets quite early atop the mountains and by 4.30 PM it was already dark and the temperatures started to all drastically. We took out our warm clothes and the boy started a fire in the kitchen area and we all gathered around it. He was boiling water for us to drink and the guests brought out the rum stock they had bought along. We took a sip of the same with hot water and it helped relax in the cold. The preparations for dinner started and we would be having rice, beans, smoked pork with herbs, potatoes and pickles. It was tough to learn how the boys even managed to get this stuff and they told us that there is a local market at a village a little distance ahead and they bought the supplies from here. They had to bring in vegetables that did not spoil quickly and lasted for a wile and so potatoes was a better option along with pumpkin and some varieties of gourd. As they see visitors not everyday and occasionally they cooked these food whenever they got the opportunity and provided for the guests.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
Cooking of dinner at the rest house in Dzukou Valley at the time of the Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

The meal tasted great and thanks to Adole for the smoked pork we were able to have adequate protein to carry back on our trek the next day. After dinner we spoke for sometime and retired to bed early. The next morning we were up early and we panned on hiking a little up ahead to admire the beautiful mountains at Dzukou Valley and then head back on our trek to Vishwema. We came back to the rest house after admiring the natural landscapes at Dzukou and had our breakfast of rice and potato curry and after paying the boy we head on our trek back. This time we would be accessing the trek via the Zakhama village and later board our car to go back to Camp Hornbill. We bid our final farewell and left Dzukou valley. On our way we admired some more of the beautiful landscapes and gradually our mobile phones started receiving the signal strength. We reached Zakhama by afternoon and Adole had called in the Sumo to pick us up and then we said goodbye to the porter and the other group and drove to Kigwema to arrive by lunch. Kaushik had prepared lunch for us as the other guests had gone to the Hornbill Festival venue grounds and we went to have a bath and later assembled for lunch. The foreigners would be staying back today as they were tired but they had earlier planned to go back to Dimapur and then to Jorhat and further to Majuli.

I asked them to stay back so that we could go along with Kaushik’s cousin the next day in his car to Jorhat and then after a night’s halt we could go to Majuli and I would be hosting them at my camp. After lunch we spent time at the campsite area we did not go to the Hornbill Festival venue grounds mostly as we were tired. Today being mine and Kaushik’s cousin’s last day at Camp Hornbill Adole decided to treat us with some special rice beer that was fermented for a long time and would have a strong taste along with special pork recipes that his family would prepare for us. Also today as some of the organizers of the Hornbill Festival would be coming to our Camp the dinner menu too would be elaborate and one special cook had come over to help the boys as well. After tea everyone got busy to make preparations for the bonfire, barbecue and the special evening dinner. The menu would be a mix of traditional Naga cuisine and North India cuisine with various dishes like pork with bamboo shoot, roast pork, chicken curry, palak paneer, chicken with sesame seeds, salad, white rice, veg fried rice, devil eggs and chutney. The preparations went on and by 7 PM everyone came back to Camp after spending their day at the Hornbill Festival venue grounds.

Hornbill Festival, Kohima Hotels, Kohima Homestay, Dzukou Valley, Nagaland Trekking
The final glimpse of Camp Hornbill before we left at the time of the Hornbill festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

The music started and people gathered around the bonfire savoring the barbecue and the rice beer and it was time for dinner. The food turned out to be one of the best ever hosted by Camp Hornbill and Kaushik and Adole were appreciated for all their efforts by the visitors as well as the organizers. I retired to be after a long day and thereby ending my visit to the Hornbill Festival 2018. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life to witness the life of the people of Nagaland and understand their diverse customs, traditions, cultures and age old practices. The beauty of nature and how people live in harmony with nature at he only green village in India. The sumptuous cuisine and the traditional way of preparing food away from the unhealthy junk is what indeed made my time here at the Hornbill Festival one of the best moments to cherish for a lifetime. Bringing all these thoughts to my mind I dozed off to sleep. The next morning after breakfast we bid farewell to everyone at Camp Hornbill and started on our drive to Jorhat from Kohima taking with us a bouquet full of memories and a promise to return back to Hornbill Festival and Nagaland sometime soon!

Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Heritage Konyak tribes of Nagaland perform at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Various colorful flowers of Nagaland at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Our camping grounds of Camp Hornbill at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Our young guests at Camp Hornbill at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Tribes of Nagaland wearing colorful traditional attire at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Festivities continue at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Horticultural fresh fruits of Nagaland on display at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga Konyak tribes display their rich costumes at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Rich flowers of nagaland on display at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga traditional food being served at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Open air tents at Camp Hornbill at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga tribal ladies display their rich traditional attire at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga tribes watch the performances on display at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Yimchunger Naga warrior tribes perform at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Angami Naga warrior tribes perform a Naga traditional dance at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga warrior tribes perform a dance move with traditional musical instruments at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Sumi Naga tribal ladies perform a warrior dance moves with traditional weapons at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga Chang warrior tribes perform a warrior dance moves with traditional weapons at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga Chang warrior tribes perform a warrior dance moves at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
Naga warrior tribes perform a traditional ritual at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
A Naga couple standing in front of their traditional home at the Hornbill Festival ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India
Hornbill Festival, Kaziranga National Park, Hornbill Festival Tours, Nagaland Tourism
The venue grounds of the Hornbill Festival at Kisama Heritage Village ~ Kohima ~ Nagaland ~ India

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